Diving Cert, Pulau Aur or Tioman?

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Diving Cert, Pulau Aur or Tioman?

Post by Akimbo » Mon, 28 Oct 2013 9:21 am

Hi guys, I've done some research, and I want to get my diving cert some time early next year, as I hear diving season is already over now around here.

Anyway, as most have posted around the net, I should either get PADI or NAUI certificate for Open Water diving. I've read some diving forums, and taken a conclusion, that PADI gives a standardized course, while NAUI gives a more in-depth one and also gives a more challenging test for your knowledge. (I could be wrong...)

Although some of the forums also said, your training will depend mostly on your instructor, whether he's a good one or not.

I've looked in both the PADI and NAUI OW certification course here in SG, and I think the only difference is the place where I'll be doing the course, and the extra one day pool lesson for NAUI. Cost is essentially in the same. ~$600

http://www.leeway.com.sg/course/diving/ ... cuba-diver
http://www.gilldivers.com/padi-open-water-diver/

So in your experience there, which island would be better for leisure diving?

tl;dr Which island would be better for leisure diving (w/ accomodation and stuff)? Pulau Tioman (PADI) or Pulau Aur (NAUI)?
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Post by Stevie_W » Mon, 28 Oct 2013 11:15 am

I think PADI is orientated more for leisure divers.
NAUI course, i've been led to believe is a little more hardcore. Also, i think as you progress and do different advanced courses, you must have done a certain number of dives beforehand. That's what i understand for NAUI if my memory serves me, which quite often it doesn't.

As for dive sites, i can only comment on Tioman. There are quite a number of different areas to dive in and some are probably better than others depending on what skills you are practicing. I like Tioman. Been there twice already and going again this weekend.

For Pulau Aur.............aren't Malaysia imposing some sort of levy on divers there? Also aren't they also restricting the number of divers that can dive there? I seem to recall reading something about that, in fact in this very forum.

Also, diving season is still going on till around 21st November in this area. Alternatively, when the diving season is closed here, there are always other places you can go to in SE Asia where you'll still be able to dive and do your course.

I actually use a different dive center to the ones you've mentioned. PM me if you want the details. Personally, i think they're good and i did my advanced OW with them.

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Post by sundaymorningstaple » Mon, 28 Oct 2013 12:26 pm

I'd have to basically agree with Stevie-W. I've been a NAUI diver for over 36 years now. PADI is commercially oriented while NAUI is professionally oriented. I personally recommend NAUI, but again, after over 40 years of diving SCUBA and 20 years of commercial hard hat diving, you might say I'm a bit biased. :cool:
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Post by JR8 » Mon, 28 Oct 2013 1:43 pm

Diving season isn’t over quite yet, for example Tioman is ‘open’ until mid-Nov [and guess who has squeezed in a last minute end of season trip next week :wink: :D , ooooooh yeah, woooo-hoo!]. Even when ‘closed for monsoon’, a few dive centres are still kind of open. It’s just that during monsoon, the water can be a bit more turbid... and it rains sometimes. But it’s far less busy, and cheaper too. Given the range of options regionally available, most divers during monsoon can choose elsewhere vs a place that’s temporarily at 75% of it’s best. That’s why you have shops doing ‘monsoon shut-down’, there is inadequate critical mass of clientele. Try suggesting ‘off-season’ to a gnarly diver in Ireland, Northumberland, Berlin or Warsaw, who’d happily dive in 1 metre ‘vis’ in a 7C quarry, if that was the only option for half the year.

The PADI/NAUI question is one that gets repeated. PADI is recognised almost everywhere. PADI comes in for some stick re: commercialisation, especially from ‘club divers’ like BSAC some of whom get snobby and say it stands for ‘Put Another Dollar In’. But PADI aim to train people for occasional, generally, holiday diving, rather than (BSACs) ‘’’Advanced tri-mix (HELIOX+) underwater mine clearance deco procedures (nocturnal) course, whilst using Argon as a dry-suit inflator as all we purists know the passive absorption of gases via the skin alters your deco gas gradient, w/DIR [‘Doing It Right’] protocol’ hahaha... staff having ‘ranks’, and they probably go around poolside, running on the spot and saluting each other, as they’re all hung-up ex-military... ... [sorry, I did not just criticise another agency there did I ... ;].

NAUI, yes, I’ve come across them. They’re smaller than PADI in my experience, well particularly in the major dive zones of the Red Sea and SE Asia. I expect that doesn’t apply in the US and Caribbean? Typically a dive centre will have a training affiliation, example: it will offer PADI courses, or if big enough PADI and NAUI. But to teach NAUI it needs a NAUI instructor on it’s books ... = $

You can do ‘cross-over’ courses. Train with NAUI to Open Water level, but then cross-over to say PADI ‘Open Water’ and then ‘Advanced’, and so on.

I think the PADI Open Water course does what is required of it. It gives the average recreational diver a thorough education of every aspect of what you need to know to be a typical 5-day-a-year holiday diver. The route from there forward, is very clearly defined, and attainable, if you have the interest.

Yes it’s worthwhile seeking out a good instructor, but, really, if you seek out a reputable club/shop/operator, the instructor should be reputable too. The industry is pretty incestuous, and in some way divers self-regulate, if they see less than good practise, you’ll hear about it on the internet (examples: chat re: cutting corners, no briefings, incompetent staff, bad gas-fills etc).

Leeway, a RM400 ‘marine parks’ fee? Forget it, that’s just taking the micky.... taxing the industry out of existence! In Tioman I think this tax is RM 5 or 10. I happily support that as I’ve seen the valuable work they do with the funds.

The Gill Divers www looks professional. I’ve heard of them, forget where they are on Tioman, but probably up at ‘ABC’ beach (?).

I’ve been to Tioman several times for diving, and I love it. It’s still very very unspoilt, but there are a few restaurants and bars to feed and water you. Aur? Never been, I’m sort of surprised (though I shouldn’t be) that this is now opening up...

p.s. If you are time/leave-poor, you could consider doing an ‘OW referral course’. That would mean you do the pool-work, and course-work here. All you do on holiday is the few open water dives, and you’re done. Max, 2 days. Plus, they get incorporated into general leisure-dives (you might spend 15 minutes of an hour long dive, demonstrating skills etc)... so it’s pretty easy-going and uses up little holiday leisure time).

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Post by Akimbo » Mon, 28 Oct 2013 2:30 pm

Thanks for taking your time and write that explanation as well as giving your opinion on a lot of things, JR8!

I guess I won't be diving as much as you guys, I just want to have a lot of different experience (and I guess certs :roll:...I just finished my 1-star Kayaking course yesterday) as much as I can.

Heck if there's a cheap Sky-Diving course in Singapore, I'd take it in a heartbeat and do all the tandem jump as much and as quick as possible so I can jump on my own. :cool:

Anyway, with my leisurely diving intention in mind, I'm settled with PADI and going to Tioman for getting it then. I'll check around the net for the diving centers that I should go for in Singapore. But of course, if all of you can already point me to the best direction, that'd be much appreciated. :)

PS. One more thing, I saw somewhere that you need at least one refresher course if you haven't any diving for the last 6 months. Is that really needed? (is there something like a red cross blood donation card or something? :P) Divemasters such as yourself JR8 must not need to do so I think... :lol:
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Post by JR8 » Mon, 28 Oct 2013 4:47 pm

Before you try it, you would have no idea how profoundly psychological diving can be. There's an old expression, you become 'Tribe'. It is perhaps a minor subset of being like an astronaut, you're in a group that have seen and enjoy seeing the world from an angle that most never will ...

Ironically I have a local friend who is very into sky-diving. But as with bungee, no, nah, I want to be precisely in control of 'the risks' that I take, and hence won't try it :)

I can't suggest any dive schools here. I never found one that I like the vibe of. I tried to hook up with two (Beach Road area), and it was just hopelessly amateur. One was shambolic, the other led at the whim of a really nasty little piece of work. Shame, as if vibe and loyalty (that 'Tribe' thing again) is put before $$$ for 5 minutes, it's not that hard to achieve a real spirit and loyalty/following.

It's a very good question you ask re Refreshers, but alas the answer is subjective. If you have a person, who has done their 5-dive Open Water course, then not dived for a year you as a dive centre will need to check them out (for their own benefit of course) via a Refresher course. But what about the person with 500, 1000 dives over 10/20 years who has been out of the water for two years? I'm in those shoes, I don't feel like I need a refresher, but rather I want to get back in via day #1 having a 1-1 guide. So it's all clockwork, and .... and... and... any unscripted drama, is managed, and enjoyed to the max. One bad dive can mar and haunt the following 200.

So it's quite subjective. If you've 10 dives, all in the Maldives, the last 1 year ago and you're now wanting to quarry dive in Europe, yes they will try and sell you (require) a refresher. It is a paid for course, but also it is to just make sure that 'everyone's cool'.

Blood donor card? ... don't know... don't think anyone would want mine ;; Might you be refering to the EFR course? http://www.padi.com/scuba/padi-courses/ ... -response/ I'd recommend that. It opens your eyes in an unexpected way, and really leaves you feeling empowered.

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Post by Akimbo » Mon, 28 Oct 2013 6:50 pm

Actually there's a grammar error on my last post...it should've been "(is IT something like a red cross blood donation card or something? :P) " So, meaning...everytime I finish one dive at anywhere in the world, I stamp a card...hahahah.

I have gone diving once before. In the Sea World Aquarium in Jakarta. Only 7 meters deep, but I guess it's okay for a first try. Heck, swimming with some sharks and flying over people using the giant stingray or the big sea turtle was fun! And about the "Tribe" thing, I probably won't reach your level JR8, but I can understand what you mean. It's one of some the things that I'm trying to do. Being a self-thought ambidextrous person is one of them. (hence the name, Akimbo, from dual wielding guns :P)

But your emergency first responder thing looks quite awesome! I'll find it if possible. It's also time to do a refresher course for the Singapore Red Cross for me. It's almost 3 years since. :)
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Post by Stevie_W » Mon, 28 Oct 2013 6:56 pm

Whichever dive center you choose to do your course with, they will provide you with a log book with which to record your dives.
I also use this to make personal notes on my experience for that particular dive, e.g. how bad my buoyancy is, or whether the experience was good or bad. It's not to say that you have to do the same though.

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Post by JR8 » Mon, 28 Oct 2013 9:40 pm

Ummm yes, most divers keep some form of log-book. I do. To an extent, and occasionally, you need to prove your credentials. But a log book can also cross-over into being a diary of a holiday (my logs are legendarily looooong :)) . It’s funny the snobby-ness of not writing logs, or writing minimal ones, and the biting faux-surprise ‘Hey JR8, I thought you old time, but you write life-story ah?’ <Stab>...... hehehe

The irony is, the first 5 metres are the hardest to master (it’s physics, gas laws). If you can master buoyancy in 0-10M, then you’re set for anything deeper. If you were ok at 7M, that’s a great sign. Oh no I’m not ‘that level’, just a holiday diver, who got the bug, and er, went quite often :)

That EFR course is interesting, and valuable. I found it valuable how it changed my mind-set from being a passive passenger to someone ‘a stranger on the street’ who could maybe try and save a life if called upon. Your whole perspective changes... is it an example of ‘’’’empowerment’’’?

St. John’s Ambulance used to offer ‘EFR’ courses, and probably very reasonably. If not find a decent local dive shop, and they’ll do it. You need to do the course as part of you ‘PADI Rescue Diver Course’ so the EFR course is by no means obscure. It’ll be cheaper if you can synch in with a few other students (the course is only 2-3hrs, then you have an exam after, but much of it, if you relax and think, is common sense...)


p.s. Stevie-W. Exactly.
Check back, check last kit configuration, Kgs of lead (the single most important thing to make a dive work well). It's gives you a leg up to get it right on day one when you've been off for a while. The tales of boozing and women... hehe.... perhaps one day I'll get back to them... but I haven't finished writing these things yet

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Good diving school?

Post by mtgoren » Tue, 25 Mar 2014 2:20 pm

Hi everyone, read your interesting posts. I would like to go with my son for the weekend open water diving course. I'm already advanced, but for him it would be the beginning. Couldn't find much responses as of recommended schools in Singapore? Any ideas? Thanks!

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Post by Stevie_W » Tue, 25 Mar 2014 2:54 pm

I'll PM you my recommendation based on my personal experience with this dive center, but keep in mind that this is only my recommendation and it does not necessarily mean they are better than other dive centers.
Others may post their preferences but at the end of the day, the decision is yours as to who you choose to do the course with.

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Thanks Steve!

Post by mtgoren » Tue, 25 Mar 2014 3:57 pm

So strange - this forum won't let me even reply your PM with a PM until I post enough posts... Anyway, thanks for the name you sent me. Did you take a diving course with them? Did you go to Tioman? Was it a good trip? What about the other people you refered? Were they happy too?
Thanks a lot!!!

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Post by Akimbo » Wed, 26 Mar 2014 12:32 pm

I'm going to Tioman this weekend through one the dive centers I've mentioned above...the classes were last week, and it was okay. It does felt slightly unprofessional and rushed though at one point...but maybe it was my group (during the confined water class), because our instructor seemed to teach us just fine. Clear instructions and all.

But some people learn fast, and some people don't...

I'll post something up after the dive :)
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Post by Stevie_W » Wed, 26 Mar 2014 1:17 pm

Yes. I did my AOW with them. Also completed some speciality courses as well.
I've been to Tioman about 4 times now, each time always different experience; sometimes because you see different things, sometimes, change of weather, or sometimes just a completely different experience due to equipment. Tioman isn't probably the best place to go diving in. But still, i like the place, company is usually good, and resort staff are quite friendly too. And i think it's quite a good training ground, whether it be for completely new divers or whether you just want to practice certain skills.
So far, everyone that has taken their Open Water course with my recommended dive center have given me positive feedback about them.
Another thing that i will add is that they are quite safety conscious, especially with beginners.

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Post by Beeroclock » Wed, 26 Mar 2014 2:17 pm

I did OW in Tioman and AOW in Aur, based on our experience, much preferred Tioman of these two. A lot of good beginner sites around 10-12m deep where you can immediate surface if needed, and still decent things to see turtles etc especially around renggis.

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