Wednesday, November 23, 2005

World-class international diving centre in Brunei


Scuba Tech invites divers to explore underwater treasures

By Azrol Azmi

Brunei now has a world-class international diving centre at the Empire Hotel and Country Club. With the collaboration of Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI), International Resorts Association and SCUBA-TECH International and the support from the Brunei Tourism Department, Brunei waters are open to divers interested to experience one of the top diving destinations in Southeast Asia.

Scuba Tech International Diving Centre is strategically located at the Empire Hotel and Country Club, Marine Centre and offers various water activities.

Pg Anak Hjh Ameenah, Chairlady of Scuba Tech, expressed her delight at the launch of Brunei's first diving centre. A press statement said that Brunei has beautiful underworld treasures which must be preserved and enjoyed.

The product launch was officiated by Sheikh Jamaluddin Sheikh Mohamed, head of Brunei Tourism. He said that Brunei Tourism Department was proud of the centre and would help and support the centre in promoting the diving centre to the tourism world.

Several beautiful reefs have been identified as diving spots such as Brunei Patch, Princess Avenue, Clowfish Avenue and Burn's Patch within 15-20 minutes ride in the Scuba Tech International catamaran. For those interested in exploring Brunei's 'deep blue', there is also "wreck diving".

Michael Aw, one of the world's most acclaimed documentary photographers and Editor of Scuba Diver Austral-Asia Magazine, has described the dive sites of Brunei as being loosely divided into three categories - reefs, rigs and wrecks.

Reefs are generally shallow to about 12 metres with exceptional fish and coral life, but the sites are exposed to currents and visibility is at best an average of 10 metres.

The rigs are overwhelmed with soft corals and lush sedentary growth of sea fans, sponges, shells and tunicates. About 25 minutes from Scuba Tech Dive Centre is Rig Reef, a complex reef created out of decommissioned oil platform structures.

Meanwhile, Michael Aw said that wrecks are perhaps Brunei's most unique attractions among the diving destinations in Southeast Asia. The Bolkiah Wreck is easily accessible, but further offshore are the S.S. De Clerk a 100-metre long Dutch passenger/cargo steamer, the USS Salute AM 294, Admirable Class Minesweeper and the photogenic MV Tung hwang in Brunei Bay which are all part of the repertoire of dive sites offered by the new dive centre.

Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin

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