|     Lyna Mohamad     |

AS part of its continuous growth and diversification in different sectors, Poni Divers held a ‘Tec Night’ seminar at Balkony Café in Kiulap last Saturday.

Managing Director of Poni Divers and Xinstec Wong Thye Sing began the seminar by introducing what technical diving is about and how to get into it. He also discussed the different technical associations and talked about the history of technical wreck discovery in Brunei by the British Sub Aqua Club back in the 1980s.

Technical diving is diving deeper than 40 metres or dives that require decompression stop or using mixed gases, or diving with no open access to the surface.

Xinstec is the sister company of Poni Divers that focusses primarily on technical diving.

Following Wong’s presentation, Xinstec Technical Diving Director Shinichi Sawaumi explained about rebreather diving and how to get certified for it.

Sawaumi became a JJ-CCR instructor in 2011 under Dave Thompson, the co-creator of JJ-CCR. Having retired from the corporate world in the early 2000s, Sawaumi had been a part of the International Association of Nitrox and Technical Divers (IANTD) SEASIA for some time and now runs IANTD open circuit and International Association of Rebreather Trainers (IART) JJ-CCR courses out of Xinstec Brunei and Xinstec Bali, (Poni Divers’ sister company in Bali, Indonesia).

Attendees at the Poni Divers ‘Tec Night’ event. – PHOTOS: PONI DIVERS
Technical diving

Hailing from Japan, Sawaumi has conducted various JJ-CCR courses in Brunei, and under Xinstec, they had welcomed divers from Australia, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia and China to Brunei Darussalam in just the last two months.

In his presentation, Sawaumi explained that rebreathers were originally seen only as military equipment or as potential rescue units from mines and submarines.

Also presenting was Global Underwater Explorers (GUE) Instructor Jimmy Choo from Singapore who spoke about cave diving as well as GUE and their fundamentals.

Choo explained that GUE is a non-profit organisation formed by leading explorers, researchers and educators in 1998 to increase the quality of aquatic education. This being his first visit to Brunei, he hoped to introduce more Bruneians to the organisation.

Diving was put in the forefront after last month’s extraordinary story where 12 Thai boys and their young football coach got trapped in a flooded cave for over two weeks before being rescued, resulting in heightened interest in cave diving and diving in general since then.

Xinstec has been officially launched this year together with their updated website (xinstec.com) with active participation in media publications and expos, namely the Diving Resort and Travel (DRT) expos in Kuala Lumpur and Shanghai, Asian Dive Expo (ADEX) in Singapore and Malaysian International Dive Expo (MIDE) in Kuala Lumpur.

This is to promote the Sultanate as a technical diving destination, given the ever growing interest in diving and with the word getting out that Brunei ranks as a top technical wreck diving destination.

For Poni Divers Club members, the seminar was one among a series of events held this year to promote diving in Brunei, given the latest promotion of diving courses available providing a great opportunity for those wanting to learn and take up diving.


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