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Taking a leap into Sabah’s marine life
Published on: Tuesday, June 01, 2021
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Alex preparing her scuba diving gear.
BORNEO is the third largest island in the world and is surrounded by some of the most bio-diverse marine habitats on the planet.

With Sabah lying in the heart of the coral triangle, its beauty below the waves has been attracting divers and snorkellers from around the world since the world famous underwater explorations of Jacques Cousteau.

Until now, this underwater paradise full of exotic creatures and unknown entities has been a mystery to Alex, but that is all about to change ... 

Having just emerged from the jungle, presenter Alex is ready to jump feet-first into another experience that is way beyond her comfort zone.

Having done little more than dip her toes in the seas around Borneo previously, now she must face her fears, learn new skills, gear up and descend into the deep.

But Alex is not phased by pushing her limits and boundaries; having recently stared in movies, become a TV host and survived the challenges of Sabah’s rainforests in her previous series with Scubazoo – Borneo Jungle Diaries.

Who is better equipped to take the viewers on a journey into the marine world of Borneo exploring its natural wonders, than an adventurous local discovering them for the first time themselves?

When asked about the challenges, Alex replied: “I am curious to know more about Sabah’s marine environment.

I have never swum out of my depth in my life before, so I think this experience is going to be invaluable to me.

Becoming a diver will definitely take me out of my comfort zone!” 

Although Alex admits to feeling a little nervous about throwing herself into this latest challenge, learning to scuba dive has always been one of her ambitions.

In episode one of the new series, she joins up with Mark Hedger, Padi regional manager for Brunei, Malaysia and Singapore, to start her open water dive course at the Borneo Divers Padi 5 Star facility, on Mamutik island, in the Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park (Tarp).

Covering an area of around 50km2, the marine park is one of the most accessible dive locations in Sabah, just 15 minutes away from Kota Kinabalu by boat. 

The five islands in the park are littered with over 30 dive sites, with an amazing variety of marine life and habitats; if you were going to learn to dive, you couldn’t hope for a better location than the calm, diverse tropical waters of Tarp. 

This is to be Alex’s classroom on the first part of an adventure that will take her around Sabah, to discover a part of Borneo famous for its underwater wonders.  

So as Alex starts her Borneo Ocean Diaries challenge, the ocean realm will be Alex’s home for the next month, either underwater, with marine scientists and conservationists, or bobbing about on the sea surface in a variety of boats – a little daunting for someone who suffers terribly from seasickness. 

Taking her dive course is the first step for Alex that will allow her to fully immerse herself in the challenges ahead – to learn as much as possible about the underwater world around Borneo, to speak to scientists studying, working with and trying to save marine creatures and habitats and to witness the environmental issues herself.

But perhaps most importantly of all, to fall in love with this new world so she could passionately spread the message about conservation and help raise awareness for this spectacular place that is so close, yet seen by so few. 

For Alex, this is a completely new experience, but one she will jump into wholeheartedly with both feet, literally! On completion of the series, she will be embarking on a series of talks throughout schools, colleges, and universities around Malaysia, to share her passion, experiences, newfound knowledge and hopes.

Maybe she will be able to inspire the next generation of scuba divers and marine conservationists. 

The future

Like many habitats around the world, Sabah’s seas are under threat from pollution and destruction, but there is also an added threat of overfishing which could upset the balance of the ecosystem.

One of the main reasons that Alex decided to accept this latest challenge was because of her love and passion for conservation.

Alex feels that it is her duty to try and bring the conservation message to fellow Malaysians as well as the world, to help protect the oceans for future generations. 

“I hope everyone, including young children that watch the show, will want to protect our oceans and make eco-friendly choices throughout their lives.

The most important thing is to be educated and aware of the threats facing our wildlife and habitats.

When we are aware of this, we will be able to make the right choices in everyday life. And by making the right choices, we are already making a big difference.”

Will Alex face her fears, qualify as a diver and start her journey of discovery? Tune into Borneo Ocean Diaries every week to follow her adventures!

The new series of Borneo Ocean Diaries will be shown for free on www.scubazoo.tv with a new episode being launched every Monday from May 31st.

Being available for free, it is hoped that as many people as possible both here in Malaysia as well as around the world will learn about Malaysia, its marine habitat, wildlife and the local scientists that try to make sense of it and protect it.

As Alex sums it up “It is very important for every one of us to know and be aware of what is happening to our environment. Be aware and make the right choices.”

A curious false clownfish.

 


Alex and Mark diving around featherstars. (Pic courtesy of Scubazoo)

 

Filming the ‘confined open water’ training sessions in the pool.

 

The island of Mamutik, just off Kota Kinabalu.

 

“Kota Kinabalu-based natural history production company, Scubazoo Images

S/B, is proud to announce the launch of Borneo Ocean Diaries – the latest of the ‘Borneo Diaries’ series, on its free digital online viewing platform www.scubazoo.tv. Funded by the Sime Darby Foundation, and following on from the success of

Borneo Jungle Diaries, Alex Alexander (local Sabahan presenter and actress) steps out of the jungle and plunges into the tropical underwater world of Borneo.”

* To see more of Borneo Ocean Diaries, and many other natural history productions, please visit www.scubazoo.tv. Follow Scubazoo on Instagram and Facebook: #scubazoo

 





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