For most certified scuba divers, diving is a recreational activity that they indulge in; exploring and enjoying the beauty of the marine life, but for me, diving is not just about jumping into the water to see the beauty of the underwater world. To me, diving is a serious sport that’s not only physically demanding, but requires you to be knowledgeable as well. Practical skills and theory must walk hand in hand, or you can’t call yourself a competent diver.
In my opinion, diving is all about knowledge and lifelong learning as well. It’s something that must be done responsibly. Knowing just how to dive in the water and swim along in the current but not knowing what’s going on with your body while you’re diving, not aware of your environment and not knowing how to handle crisis when situation calls for it does not make you a competent diver.
Yes, it is important to keep blowing bubbles and brush up your diving skills as you go along. I don’t deny that. But personally speaking, I think it’s also important to continuously equip yourselves with knowledge and theory about diving as well so that you know when to apply it when you’re diving. You got to keep improving and keep upgrading your knowledge as you go along.
Being supremely bored due to travel restrictions aside, wanting to be a competent diver got me constantly looking for dry courses as well, where I can learn more about diving and it’s technicalities as well as everything that’s related to it. Problems? Yes. Not all dive centres in Malaysia offers a one stop e-learning centre with proper facilities to accommodate real-time online-learning.
Luckily for me though, there’s KAIA Underwater Academy. Apart from being your regular dive centre that offers all services that’s related to scuba diving, KAIA Underwater Academy is an SSI dive centre that facilitates real-time e-learning at your convenience. We’re talking about real stuff here; e-learning with proper studio that offers smooth experience and clarity that can rival a face-to-face learning experience without interrupting noises and internet speed disruption.
My first online course with KAIA Underwater Academy was SSI Marine Ecology Specialty. It’s was a specialty course fully sponsored by SSI. I’ll be completely honest with you. I stumbled upon a posting about them offering the course to divers and non-divers alike for free in a Facebook group. Naturally, as a person who likes freebies, I signed up for it, even though I’m not a diver that was certified by SSI. (I took my Open Water with PADI and trained with SDI)
Since it’s just an online course with no practicals required, just some self-learning and answering knowledge reviews via MySSI apps/website, I didn’t expect much from it even though there’s one compulsory class that must be attended before they issue a certificate of completion.
The class was done via Zoom. I was expecting the entire experience to be another one of those boring webinar, where no interaction whatsoever during the zoom session but I was completely wrong with my initial impression.
The class was highly interactive with loads of interaction between instructor in charge and participants of the course. My, instructor, Ms. Shahnaz Adilah was also very helpful in answering questions. In the SSI Marine Ecology specialty program, I learned how ocean organisms interact with each other and their environments and how energy flows through communities and the links between different ocean ecosystems. Through the program, I was also taught how to be a responsible diver by co-existing with the marine ecosystem in a non-destructive manner. It was indeed a great learning experience for me.
My second specialty course with KAIA Underwater Academy was the SSI Enriched Air Nitrox Specialty. This is a program that allow divers to learn new skills and increase their knowledge whilst learning how to safely plan and dive with enriched air mixtures of up to 40% oxygen.
I have always wanted to take up this course as although diving with Nitrox does not allow you to dive deeper in comparison to diving with air, but it does help to increase your bottom time and allow you to dive longer. Apart from that, it also shortens the surface interval and some says it helps to reduce fatigue. This will definitely be very useful for me if I were to go for a multi-days-diving trip where time is definitely an essence and I would want to dive and explore as much as possible in a short period of time.
Again, the e-learning experience with KAIA Underwater Academy is fantastic. Reading manual alone does not cut it for this course as SSI Enriched Air Nitrox Specialty requires divers who takes up this course to understand alot of technical part of it.
Unlike my learning experience with Marine Ecology, the SSI Enriched Air Nitrox Specialty is not as straight forward as I taught it will be. There’s dive planning and calculations involved, something that’s definitely not my forte.
To be honest, I have never passed my maths and anything related to it since I started going to highschool. My maths score was always D and below, much to my parents’ chagrin. I’m more to the art kind of girl but my Nitrox instructor, Mr.Suhaimi Salleh have made it simple enough for me to easily understand things that’s otherwise complicated and I’m very grateful that I managed to pass this course and I’m now licensed to dive with Nitrox. I believe this course have given me an added value as a diver and I’m glad that I made the decision to sign up for this one.
The most recent course that I signed up with KAIA Underwater Academy was the SSI Dive Computer Specialty. I signed up this one for both myself and my husband to commemorate his birthday, and also our 19th wedding anniversary, which happens to be on the same day. I’ve always thought that birthday cakes and fancy dinner as overrated and would usually travel or go for a getaway to celebrate but since travel ban is still enforced due to the Covid19 pandemic, what could be better than the gift of knowledge for both of us?
Now, if you’re a diver and wondering; why take this specialty? You can just read the divecom’s manual to understand divecom. It’s not as if we need a cert or license to use a divecom. All divers can use it. If you think it’s a waste of time or money, that’s where you’re wrong.
SSI Dive Computer Specialty course does more than just guiding you on how to use your divecom and how to plan your dives, but it’s practically an introduction to decompression diving where you’re taught quite extensively on safety aspect of it. This course also touched abit on Nitrox &multi-gas diving and what to do if you exceeds your NDL limit. If you’re planning to go into technical diving/techrec, this is definitely something you will have to learn along the way. I seriously recommend this course, to both old and new divers alike. You’ll be amazed on how much you can learn during the entire course.
One thing I like about e-learning with KAIA Underwater Academy is that the classes are all real time, and presentations are clear and uninterrupted, thanks to the state of the art studio facility that they have.
If you have any questions, you can raise it and your instructor will immediately assist you and show you how things are done through the screen. Most meetings/ classes that I’ve attended via Zoom or Google meet is not as convenient as this as the teachers/presenters still struggle to show things to the attendees if they don’t prepare the material for presentation beforehand, but with KAIA Underwater Academy, such thing is non-existent.
These are the things that makes me feel happy these days, despite the gloomy situations; diving Specialty certifications and those congratulatory notifications whenever I completed the course.
Anyway, now that you’re forced into a long surface interval as your government enforces travel and recreational restrictions, why not consider signing up for some specialties and gain some knowledge
while waiting for the day we can dive again? KAIA Underwater Academy is offering plenty more dry courses like React Right, Science of Diving and many more.
For more info on courses be it wet or dry courses, you may reach out here: