Friday April 13, 2007
Diving paradise for children
Story and photos by NIK NAIZI HUSIN
REPUTEDLY one of the 10 most beautiful islands in the world, Pulau Tioman is the place to bask and frolic under the sun and also to swim among its amazing corals and marine life.
As such, it is the perfect place to introduce scuba diving to youngsters and, at the same time, teach them to appreciate nature.
A scuba camp for children aged between eight and 18 was held recently by Scuba Schools International (SSI), a certified scuba training facility based in Bangi, Selangor, with the cooperation of Salang Pusaka Resort, Tioman Development Authority (TDA) and Tourism Malaysia Pahang.
The shallow water in some parts of the island is suitable for the children to discover and learn about scuba diving which is a popular recreational activity.
Three children - Mohd Afif Asmayani, 12, and siblings Dhaniyah Hishamuddin, 11, and her brother Daim, 10, passed the test to become holders of intermediate scuba ranger licences, having logged 10 dives in the pool and open sea.
Dhaniyah and Daim’s younger sister, eight-year-old Dorrah, were awarded the scuba ranger licence after successfully logging five dives.
The certificates were presented by Tourism Malaysia Pahang director Amirul Ariffin Nasir. Also present were TDA general manager Datuk Hashim Mat Tahir, economic development assistant manager Idrus Yahya, former Tourism Malaysia director Jeffri Munir and Salang Pusaka Resort manager Khalid Mohamad.
“The main objective is to boost their confidence in the water and for them to have a totally different experience when they are underwater.
“The scuba camp is open exclusively for Kids Scuba, Scuba Rangers, Junior Open Water and Open Water certified students and their families and we have 20 instructors to guide them,” he said in Pulau Tioman recently.
Syed Abdul Rahman also said the children were taught standard diving techniques tailored to their ages as well.
“Scuba diving is a beautiful experience as one can reach out and touch real marine life,” he added.
He also said the camp served as a family gathering for its members and families and games such as football and tele-matches were held.
On the Kids Scuba programme, Syed Abdul Rahman said it was a pioneer programme for children in Malaysia and SSI had successfully organised such activities since 2005 on the island.
“We have trained hundreds of Scuba Rangers and Junior divers and we are the only diving centre that specialises in training children for this activity,” he added.
Syed Abdul Rahman also claimed that Kids Scuba was now the leading SSI Scuba Rangers Club in South-East Asia.
This was based on the achievements awarded during the Asian Diver Expo held at the Singapore Suntec City convention and exhibition centre in April last year where Kids Scuba was honoured with the SSI “Rising Star Award” from SSI International.
It received the award for its efforts of certifying the most numbers of SSI Scuba Rangers in Asia and organising the first Kids Scuba Camp in Asia in March 2005.
In December 2006, Kids Scuba was officially certified as the leading SSI Scuba Rangers Club in South-East Asia.
SSI conducts full scuba courses for beginners, children, teenagers and adults as well as advance, rescue and CPR courses for certified divers and the diving control specialist (Divemaster) level.
More information can be obtained from its website at www.scubarangers.com