Tuesday, August 11

Taking the plunge to mark Women’s Dive Day

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The women divers surface from their first dive smiling although it was a rainy and cold day.

FIVE women took the plunge on July 18 to celebrate the Professional Association of Diving Instructors’ (PADI) Women’s Dive Day at two diving sites not far from Kuching.

This is the fourth year in a row that Premier Marine and Scuba Centre (PMSC) has organised the dive in the state capital, and over the years, more women have taken up this water sport.

For this year’s event, limited slots were offered due to the Covid-19 pandemic with priority going to healthcare workers to appreciate their roles as front-liners. They got to try out their new gears, attend a short refresher session and go over the Green Fins recommendation for best practices for recreational divers.

The divers visited two sites with totally different topography and saw many species of nudibranch (sea slugs) and reef fish.

At one point, a huge grouper started to follow the divers, causing a slight scare and excitement — among the group.

Nanthini Balakumaran said the event, which made them feel more appreciated, was also a great way to destress.

“What better way to spend a beautiful day out with beautiful people. For those who have been working hard at the frontline, this is a stress buster among friends as we enjoy the sun and explore the underwater world,” she said.

Fellow diver Julie Till-Dowling commented that the session was a perfect opportunity to learn more about Sarawak, especially its natural wonders.

“We were diving at a place that has not yet been discovered by the diving fraternity. The corals are pristine and unlike anywhere else I have been to so far,” she said.

The divers explore the edge of a coral reef.

PMSC’s Ernest C Teo said strict health protocols were adhered to during the preparatory stage, the event itself, and after the event for the safety of the participants and crew members.

He added that the dives were carried out at the reefs near Satang Island, a popular diving spot.

According to him, PADI started the Women’s Dive Day six years ago to encourage more women to go scuba diving.

On PADI Women’s Dive Day, passionate divers take up the charge and plan thousands of fun and inspiring events that change lives and strengthen diving fraternities around the world.

Within five years, nearly 4,000 events took place across 183 countries where women came together to enjoy various diving activities, promote marine conservation, raise funds, and get certified.

He said other than Satang Island, Kuching is popularly known for its wreck adventure diving, such as at the location of the Katori Maru shipwreck.

“We have World War II Japanese wrecks. Each is big enough to cater for a few dives and the depth is just nice for recreational scuba diving,” he said.