Diving has always been about exploration and technical diving gets him to places few have been.
Thye first started diving in Brunei in 2004 when he was 18 years old and quickly moved on to become a PADI Scuba Instructor by the time he was 22 years, backpacking and diving around the world, doing his Divemaster in Vietnam and his Instructor rating in Mexico. What most people don’t know is that he did most of his diving in the cold lakes of Alberta and the Rocky Mountains after founding an award-winning dive club at the University of Alberta in Canada.
In 2009, Thye established Poni Divers, a pioneer in the diving industry did his Technical Diver rating with under the local BSAC club with Terry Dukes on the Petani Mistral Wreck. After finding out about the exciting technical wrecks of Brunei, of which there are five, two of them being WWII wrecks, some of them having only been dived on by a handful of divers since their discovery in the 80s, Thye began to develop the tech diving division of Poni Divers.
Despite these wrecks having been discovered in the 80s in Brunei, some of their coordinates had already been lost or improperly recorded, so hunting for these deep tech wrecks ranging from depths of 47m to 70m on air and nitrox was a bit of a challenge. Thye met IANTD SE ASIA in 2012 where he received support from them to develop Brunei’s fledgling tech diving industry. He became an IANTD Advanced Nitrox Instructor with Sani in 2013 and then a Normoxic Trimix Diver with Shin in 2014 and started diving regularly on these local tech wrecks becoming the first diver in Brunei to dive on all 5 tech wrecks multiple times in the same year. He still regularly explores and hunts for new wrecks in Brunei with help from local fishermen.
Thye is also a JJ rebreather diver and a commercial diver getting his ticket in the UK and Australia and is often called in to assist local authorities with search & recovery operations and diving training. He also runs courses in underwater photography & media, scientific diving, and basic archaeological diving courses. Through the years Thye has dived and taught in many countries learning from various experienced instructors and is keen to share his knowledge with his students.
Thye accumulated more than 3000 dives in his diving career. He loves to watch the Mola Mola (sunfish)
Technical diving is something Mak really connects with. He could never imagine to stop diving!
Maclen (Mak) first worked in the diving industry as a dive guide after high school and quickly became a dive guide in the Philippines. However, it was only when he came to Brunei and worked with Poni Divers, that he got his first proper certifications. Quickly learning and working his way through the diving certificatons, he became a PADI scuba instructor after 3 years in 2013.
After hunting for the technical wrecks during the exploration phase, Maclen began to develop a keen interest in technical diving and diving deeper. He became an IANTD Advanced Nitrox Instructor in 2014 with Shin and has been actively supporting and leading technical and rebreather diver groups visiting Brunei since. Maclen is also a JJ rebreather diver and spends most of his time managing the dive center operations and equipment service center.
Maclen has a very practical approach to teaching courses with many students learning quickly with his hands-on style of teaching.
Mak loves diving (4000+ dives) as much as
the hammer heads swirling around him.
Being underwater for Akim (Bajau) has always been second nature having spent most of his life diving since he was old enough.
Akim first started diving in 2003 to help with fishing & eventually became a PADI Instructor in 2015. After exploring Brunei’s technical wrecks in the early days of Poni Tec, he became an IANTD Advanced Nitrox Instructor in 2018 with Shin and has been dedicated to diving the tech way since. Akim is also a Freediving instructor and spends most of his time managing & maintaining the dive equipment.
He enjoys technical diving because its a whole new world of knowledge with an active engagement of discipline. He runs his tech courses at an easygoing pace and demands consistency from his students.
Akim has lost count of dives but has easily over 5000 dives and loves the Spanish mackerel.