Sunday, 2 October 2011

Countdown

Our first cruise of the 2011-12 season is only one month away, and preparations are running at full speed……..

Karin has been back in Khao Lak for a month already, getting all the administration and logistics sorted. She is also busy setting up our brand-new website…

…together with Paul Sant, our new colleague. Paul is a Padi Master Instructor and as our head instructor, he will be in charge of our land-based scuba courses and divemaster internship program. With more than a decade of experience as instructor and having certified nearly 1.000 divers, our students – from beginner to pro – are in safe and good hands with Paul.

Great news: our tourleader, Bernie, is returning again this season – he’ll be in Khao Lak mid October, in time to get the boat ready for our guests. Bernie and girlfriend Stina spent the low season in Malaysia, so they are bound to have some good dive stories to tell ;) Stina will be freelancing for us again this season.

We have a couple of new freelancers this season – together with a couple of the “old” ones. We’ll tell you more about this later ;)

This time of year is always very expensive……….we invest in the safety and comfort of our guests - we believe you are worth it ;)

Our life rafts have just had their yearly inspection, where they are tested for 24 hours and the consumables – such as flares, food rations, first-aid kit – are replaced. It’s expensive, but we sleep better at night knowing that we do everything we can to keep our guests and staff safe.

In terms of comfort we had new cushions and pillows for the sofa’s and comfy-chairs made. The old ones didn’t look too bad – but we can certainly see the difference!

All our tanks and Scubapro regulators have had their annual inspection and service, so they are ready to be brought back to the boat as soon as she comes back from the shipyard on Phuket.

We are leaving for the shipyard tonight and expect to be there for 2 weeks. There are many advantages of having such a big boat, but there is one big disadvantage: we have to take her all the way to Phuket to bring her on land, because the ship-yards here cannot handle a boat her size.

A few boards will be replaced – that’s normal with a wooden boat – and we’ll have her cleaned and painted again. Same Swedish colours of course ;) Some of the furniture will be replaced and the dinghy will have a complete overhaul. We’ll post some pictures on here once she’s back from the shipyard, looking all fresh and shiny ;)

From a booking perspective, things are looking good. We have a couple of full trips already – for instance the Christmas cruise. There are still a few spaces left on the New Years cruise, but that one is filling up quickly as well. For inquiries or bookings please contact Karin anytime on karin@mvoktavia.com or phone +66 (0)833 904 199. And of course we’ll let you know when the new website is done.

Happy October to everyone
Your Team OKTAVIA

Thursday, 28 April 2011

Last trip of Season 2010-11

The M/V Oktavia returned from her last trip of the season yesterday. It was a great trip with perfect weather, hardly a wave in sight, great visibility and some amazing dives with great guests.


It was another international cruise with Thailand, Germany, Denmark, Scotland, Ireland, India, Singapore, Sweden and England represented. Jette and Gregor decided to join us again after a great cruise April 18-22 and unknown to them, their Thai friend, Kung, had booked herself on the trip. What a great surprise to them :D Cara and John were on their first live-aboard and are certain it wasn't their last. Nam started her open water course and will come back next season to finish it.


Another great trip and a brilliant way to finish this season.


Today, the compressors, tanks, nitrox blending station and dive gear were taken from the boat for the annual servicing and throughout the coming months Oktavia will undergo some minor repairs and beauty jobs. We'll be updating the blog through low season to keep you posted on the progress.


Finally, we'd like to say a big "thank you" to everyone who joined us this season. We've been very happy to say "welcome back" to many of our old friends and to have met many new ones.

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Thank you for your kind words!

We always appreciate feedback from our guests. It's nice to hear what we're doing right and it's equally nice to get fresh ideas on improving our service. Thank you for posting on TripAdvisor

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

April 7 - 12, 2011: UW Paparazzi Alert

On this cruise we were very excited to present our first UW photo workshop on the M/V Oktavia :D We started a co-operation with well-known, respected and brilliant photographer Adriano Trapani.

Follow this link to see what Adriano wrote on his blog about the cruise  

Adriano includes a buoyancy section in his workshop to address the special circumstances when shooting underwater pictures. This way divers both avoid damaging marine life and learn to improve or develop their photo skills. Thanks to the individual attention, photographers of all levels benefit from the workshop and if you don't have your own camera; no problem: you can rent one for the duration of the cruise.

Season 2011-12 Adriano will hold workshops on the M/V Oktavia on a regular basis - we'll publish the dates well in advance :)


Thursday, 7 April 2011

April 1 – 6, 2011: A birthday and no April’s fool ;)



On this trip we were happy to welcome back Leslie. Maybe that’s not an accurate description though…..

Leslie was on the Oktavia trip March 26 – 31, which was cut short because of a storm front passing the Similans :( Three guests were able to change their schedules and join us on the first April trip instead: Leslie, Alex & Linus.


On this trip Catherine from Switzerland finished her Rescue Diver course with Bernie. Sven-Arne from Norway earned his Enriched Air Diver certification and Swedish Erik can now call himself an Advanced Open Water diver. Well done and congratulations to you all J




We were also very happy to welcome Andrea and Markus from Austria and George, who “only” joined us three days. You were great company and we hope to welcome you back onboard J



The first two days of this cruise we had family Hansen & Windfeld onboard the Oktavia. Mom Louise and dad Rene are Danish, but they live in Nepal with their three sons – and the whole family came to Thailand on holiday. Rene was diving together with Alexander (11) while Louise chilled with Christoffer (6). The trip was special for Sebastian: he did a Bubblemaker with our instructor Rachel, and celebrated his 9th birthday on the Oktavia. We’d organized a surprise birthday cake and luckily there was enough for everyone ;)













We’re always happy to arrange surprises, so please let us know if you are celebrating something special while you’re with us – we’ve had wedding proposals, birthdays, honeymoons and wedding anniversaries so far and we’re happy to expand our repertoire :D



A big thank you to Rene Taus Hansen for supplying all the pictures for this entry.

Saturday, 12 March 2011

March 6-11, 2011: A trip of firsts



Emil & Tommy on Tachai Beach

For the first of hopefully many times, we welcomed back Tommy, Therese and 10-year old Emil from Sweden. The family joined the Oktavia in the spring 2010 as snorkelers and did several try dives.  This time they enrolled in the Open Water Course and all had a great time. Many adults struggle with the theory, so we were all impressed that Emil passed all exams with very good results. Congratulations, we look forward to diving with you again.






Luke and Jessica were on their first holiday as husband and wife: they made the Oktavia cruise part of their honeymoon. They are a lovely couple and we wish them many happy moments together in their married life.
While Steen was fun diving, son Mikkel enrolled in the advanced course together with Eric – they both got certified, congratulations from our team. During their course they saw a huge sailfish at Turtle Rock – also a first for experienced Oktavia tour leader Bernie.


Eric & Bengt, dive buddies from Sweden

Everyone was happy to see an impressive eagle ray hanging out with the divers at Christmas Point and our dolphin luck continued as we headed towards Koh Bon.


Victor on Tachai. Does he sleep with his snorkel gear on?

4-year old Victor discovered snorkeling and enjoyed it so much that mum Lone and dad Søren had to invest in his very own snorkel set. Grandma Karen did her first live-aboard and enjoyed it thoroughly, though she leaves the water activities to the younger generations ;) Lone was well pleased to see her first shark: a beautiful white tip reef shark at Elephant Head Rock – a place we often see white- and black tips. Another first: Lone did her first night dive.




Guests, who do not wish to enroll in the Advanced Open Water Course, can easily take an adventure dive. This involves reading the corresponding chapter in the Adventures in Diving book, finalize the knowledge review and do the dive together with their instructor. The student receives a form, confirming that he/she has taken the adventure dive. After five adventure dives, including deep and navigation, the student can be certified as Advanced Open Water Diver.  Oktavia guests who are Open Water certified must take the applicable adventure dives to dive at night or deeper than 18 meters. 


The group getting ready to leave Tachai Island

Sunday, 27 February 2011

A fun day on the M/V Oktavia

At M/V OKTAVIA we see our social responsibility as a vital part of our business. We continuously work on improving and increasing our efforts, because this is an area where the job is never done.

One of our favorite charities is Home & Life, a home for orphans in Thai Muang, located between Phuket and Khao Lak, founded and operated by Khun Root and his wife, Khun Rose. Read more about Home & Life here.

In October 2010 our operations manager, Karin, visited the home and immediately had the idea to give the children a fun day out, a break from everyday life. And that's exactly what she organized.

On February 26, children older than 4, staff and volunteers were invited for daytrip on the M/V OKTAVIA. 17 kids and 6 adults had a great day of fun, games and of course food. Highlights of the day were when some of the kids caught a big fish while we were cruising up the coast and later, when all kids jumped in the sea, swimming and playing - quite a sight with 17 kids wearing bright orange life vests, swimming around the Oktavia :) After the swim we started our cruise back towards Tap Lamu. Exhausted, most kids went to sleep in the guest cabins, while others looked through fish identification books or played games. Our videographer, Cinzia, joined the trip as well - and now Home & Life has a DVD with memories of their day on the ocean.

M/V OKTAVIA continuously supports Home & Life in any way we can, for example by collecting donations from our guests and friends. This week alone we've received 1.000 Baht worth of donations - enough for a week's consumption of eggs. K. Root and the kids of Home & Life already look forward to the Oktavia trip next year - and so do we :D




Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Welcome to the M/V Oktavia Experience

We're welcoming you to our new blog where we'll keep you updated on the M/V Oktavia.......


The Similan and Surin National Parks are closed 1st May through 31st October and so the season 2010-11 is coming to an end. We still have two more cruises to go though, and conditions have been great lately with lovely weather, the sea calm as a bathtub and sightings of both Manta Rays and Whale Sharks :)


Kulan, Bernie and Karin are still in Khao Lak and look forward to going on the trip  April 23-27 together for some fun diving. Samme is already working in Indonesia and most of our freelancers have left town.


We'll keep you posted.........