I completed a 3 month internship with Downbelow Adventures and can't praise them enough. Initial contact with the team was informative and helpful providing me with a tailored internship program at a price that was great value for money.
I stayed at the Adventure Lodge during my trip and found the accommodation sufficiently clean, tidy and comfortable. The lodge it is conveniently situated among many restaurants offering local and western cuisines that are, mostly, very reasonably priced.
I travelled on the boat to Pulau Gaya every day (10minute boat ride) where I was greeted by some superb local staff who are constantly enthusiastic and happy to see you. I truly consider many of the staff to be good friends of mine now whom I hope to visit again in the future.
The dive centre has all the facilities you'd expect from a 5 star PADI centre and all the staff are very knowledgeable about the recreational diving industry. If you have a keen interest in photography then I'd highly recommend coming here as both course directors have lifelong experience and interest in underwater photography and many interesting species of animals can be seen around the island as well as underwater.
My courses, rescue diver, EFR, divemaster and IDC were all superbly organised and my main instructor Oli made the experience 100000x better. Lots of laughter on a daily basis, challenging tasks throughout and over-exaggerated rescue scenarios that made lasting memories. The IDC itself was conducted over a 2 week period which gave us plenty of time for practice exams, revision, in water practicals and even spare time should we wish to take it. It seemed to be the perfect time frame for all the courses and I'd like to thank all staff instructors and course directors for their time and patience in preparing myself and other course candidates for success during the IE.
The diving around TARP ranged from good to superb. Yes, there were days of bad visibility and yes, sometimes the water temperature dropped to 26 degrees celsius but this is all part and parcel of scuba diving. Its often on those colder, poorer visibility dives that you see some of the most interesting and memorable species. Some of the marine life I witnessed included whale sharks, frogfish, yellow box fish, numerous species of nudibranchs, hawksbill & green turtles, blue spotted stingrays, ghost & banded pipefish, moorish idols, eagle rays, seahorses and many many more. Not to mention the vast array of soft and hard corals prominent around the 45 dive sites available.
All in all, I had a superb time making great friends, memories and improving my diving ability tenfold. I'd highly recommend Downbelow Adventures for anyone who wishes to learn or progress their diving abilities and equally to view some of the fantastic marine life that Borneo, Sabah has to offer.