Connect with us


First PADI Instructor Exam in Brunei



Known as the green heart of Borneo, Brunei is fast becoming also known for its stunning blue seas and underwater treasures! A truly unspoilt gem, Brunei recently hosted its first PADI Instructor Exam with fantastic results! From the 15-16th of February this year, 11 candidates partook in both written exams and confined water evaluations conducted by PADI Instructor Examiner, Rommy Heung, who flew in specifically from Hong Kong to direct the program.

Beginning with the written exams and confined water evaluations, which were held at the Mentiri Civil Service Centre in Brunei, candidates then travelled by speedboat to Pelong Rock Island to complete the Open Water presentations. Pelong Rock is well known for its great reef diving, offering varied coral formations to explore and various Japanese shipwrecks can be found around the island.

With all 11 candidates successfully certified, the program was a huge success and was followed with a dinner and award ceremony hosted by PADI Dive Centre, Poni Divers and Seamonkey Dive Centre Malaysia – a PADI 5 Star Instructor Development Centre. In attendance were Brunei government officials, including Guest of Honour, YB Pehin Yahya, Minister of Industry & Primary Resources, Haji Halidi, Acting Director of the Fisheries Department, Faten Shahrani, Project Officer at Brunei Tourism and Major Rudy Halyarmin, Ministry of Defence.

Among the 11 participants were Afiq Whalid and Suhaimi HJ Taja, who are now officially the first locally-certified Bruneian PADI Instructors. Afiq was overwhelmed by the support of PADI, Poni Divers and Sea Monkey Malaysia for making this dream a reality, “it was an unforgettable experience, and I’m proud to be one of the first Bruneian’s to do an IE here in Brunei.” Maclen Torres will also be the first Philippine national certified as PADI Instructor in Brunei.

Course Directors Arnold Yap and Thien X Do were congratulated by PADI for their efforts and contribution to making the first PADI Instructor Exam in Brunei a triumphant achievement. “I feel honoured being the first PADI Course Director to conduct the first ever IDC in the Sultanate”, said Yap. “The local Bruneian’s certainly made us all very welcome and have shown us excellent hospitality throughout the entire IDC and IE. Having created history by conducting the first IDC in Brunei, we are now planning about 2-3 Instructor Exams in Brunei every year as the diving industry becomes more and more popular amongst locals. The dive sites are great with the main attraction being the ample wrecks in the local waters, and I am looking forward to coming back towards the end of the year to conduct another IDC here.”

With 4500 hectares of coral reef and coastline Brunei is a true oasis for diving. From wreck diving to shark sightings, sheer underwater cliffs, oil rig dives and a vast and varied array of corals, Brunei has something for every diver. The water is warm, the marine life tantalising and the abundant wrecks shrouded with enough mystery to tweak any curious soul. Brunei is one off the beaten track destination to add to your dive list.

Find out more about becoming a PADI Instructor here.  

Marine Life & Conservation

Komodo National Park found to be Manta Hotspot



Through a collaborative effort between citizen divers, scientists from the Marine Megafauna Foundation (MMF), and Murdoch University, a new study reports a large number of manta rays in the waters of Komodo National Park, Indonesian, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, suggesting the area may hold the key to regional recovery of the threatened species.

Reef mantas (Mobula alfredi), which grow up to 5m, tend to reside and feed in shallow, coastal habitats. They also visit ‘cleaning stations’ on coral reefs to have parasites, or dead skin picked off by small fish. Courtship ‘trains’ are also observed adjacent to cleaning stations. In Komodo National Park, manta rays are present year-round, challenging the famous Komodo dragon as the most sought-after megafauna for visitors.

Scientists teamed up with the dive operator community to source identification photographs of manta rays visiting the parks’ waters and submit them to – a crowdsourced online database for mantas and other rays. Most of the photographs came from just four locations from over 20 commonly visited by tourism boats.

I was amazed by how receptive the local dive community was in helping collect much-needed data on these threatened animals,” said lead author Dr. Elitza Germanov. “With their support, we were able to identify over 1,000 individual manta rays from over 4,000 photographs.

People love manta rays—they are one of the most iconic animals in our oceans. The rise of the number of people engaging in SCUBA diving, snorkeling, and the advent of affordable underwater cameras meant that photos and videos taken by the public during their holidays could be used to quickly and affordably scale data collection,” said MMF co-founder and study co-author Dr. Andrea Marshall.

The photographs’ accompanying time and location data is used to construct sighting histories of individual manta rays, which can then be analyzed with statistical movement models. These models predict the likelihood that manta rays are inhabiting or traveling in between specific sites. The study’s results showed that some manta rays moved around the park and others as far as the Nusa Penida MPA (>450 km to the west), but overall, manta rays showed individual preferences for specific sites within the Park.

I found it very interesting how some manta rays appear to prefer spending their time in some sites more than others, even when sites are 5 km apart, which are short distances for manta rays,” said Dr. Elitza Germanov. “This means that manta rays which prefer sites where fishing activities continue to occur or that are more popular with tourism will endure greater impacts.”

Fishing activities have been prohibited in many coastal areas within Komodo NP since 1984, offering some protection to manta rays prior to the 2014 nationwide protection. However, due to illegal fishing activity and manta ray movements into heavily fished waters, manta rays continue to face a number of threats from fisheries. About 5% of Komodo’s manta rays have permanent injuries that are likely the result of encounters with fishing gear.

The popularity of tourism to these sites grew by 34% during the course of the study. An increase in human activity can negatively impact manta rays and their habitats. In 2019, the Komodo National Park Authority introduced limits on the number of boats and people that visit one of the most famous manta sites.

This study shows that the places where tourists commonly observe manta rays are important for the animals to feed, clean, and mate. This means that the Komodo National Park should create measures to limit the disturbance at these sites,” said Mr. Ande Kefi, an employee of the Komodo National Park involved with this study. “I hope that this study will encourage tourism operators to understand the need for the regulations already imposed and increase compliance.”

Despite Indonesia’s history with intensive manta ray fisheries, Komodo National Park still retains large manta ray aggregations that with careful ongoing management and threat reduction will benefit regional manta ray populations. The study highlights that marine protected areas that are large enough to host important manta ray habitats are a beneficial tool for manta ray conservation.

For more information about MMF visit their website here.

Continue Reading


Euro-Divers opens to guests at Alila Kothaifaru Maldives



In celebration of Euro-Divers’ 50 Years of Diving with Friends in the Maldives, the team have opened a new PADI 5 Star Dive Center at Alila Kothaifaru Maldives.

Alila Kothaifaru Maldives retreat lies at the northern edge of the Maldives in the tranquil Raa Atoll, reached via a panoramic 45-minute seaplane voyage from Male. The island has 80 all-pool-villas, 36 of which are over water with a private pool for your enjoyment and 44 beachfront villas designed seamlessly to immerse guests in the natural surroundings. In support of sustainable tourism, Alila hotels adopt Earth Check operating standards, integrating their environments’ natural, physical, and cultural elements.

Raa Atoll is well-known for the excellent scuba diving it offers. The underwater landscape of Raa Atoll is characterized by a high number of thilas scattered inside the lagoons. These underwater coral mountains are magnets for marine life including huge schools of tropical reef fish, a generous splash of colour, iconic bucket-list-must-see marine creatures including sharks, mantas (appearing during the entire year), turtles, and uncrowded dive sites—a perfect diver’s heaven for beginners and experienced divers. We offer a full range of PADI courses for different levels. From November till March, the Manta cleaning station is located 15 minutes away by boat.

The team from Alila Kothaifaru Maldives look forward to welcoming you soon.

Find out more at:

Continue Reading

E-Newsletter Sign up!


A luxurious dive resort in the heart of Lembeh Strait. Enjoy refined services while exploring the rich waters of Indonesia.

The resort is nestled around an ocean front deck and swimming-pool (with pool-bar) which is the perfect place to enjoy a sundowner cocktail at the end of a busy day of critter-diving.

All accommodation is full board and includes three sumptuous meals a day. Breakfast and lunch are buffet meals and in the evening dining is a la carte.

Book and stay before the end of June and benefit from no single supplements in all room types!

Booking deadline: Subject to availability – book and stay before end of June 2022

Call Diverse Travel on 01473 852002 or email

More Less

Instagram Feed