Wednesday, 18 January 2012

January Similan Islands

The month of January has got off to a brilliant start with M/V Oktavia and the new team are settling in well and coping with all situation being thrown at them. The first cruise of the year and the last of 2011 saw a great group of people on board with differing levels of experience.

A family of five from Yorkshire came on to enjoy a New Year with a difference and were just snorkeling. This turned out to be the best spot as they saw a shiver of sharks, six in total, at different times throughout the cruise while the divers were down below.

The second trip of the year departed on the 4 January and encountered a few problems along the way. Firstly the compressor sprung a leak and were not filling up quite as quick, although still doing 30 bottles in two and a half hours, and the second was both GPS packed up on the way to the last dive site of the trip Boon Song Wreck. It was eventually found and dived but it did mean we were a little later back than usual into Thaplamu Pier and we now have two GPSs again (one for back-up).

On the trip that departed on 10 January we had a quiet last few days but Mother Nature was going to have it her way...During the last dive, before returning to Thaplamu Pier, at Boon Song Wreck one guest was stung we believe by a jelly fish. She was quickly treated by staff and was given oxygen and first aid treatment before a doctor met her at the pier. He examined her and gave her some medication before releasing her to go about her travels. Of course we helped with this by organising a private transfer back to her Phuket hotel.

Out at the minute we have an almost full boat with a full team back together after Chris, the tour leader, returned from Singapore where he was getting his new visa. The next two trips are pretty busy so if you're thinking about joining us this month you'd better get a move on...

Saturday, 14 January 2012

Insurance Nightmares

Many of us travel around everyday and never really give a second thought about insurance. If we travel in our cars they are insured, in a public taxi they are insured, on a bus or train on our daily commute to work they are also insured but what about when you want to go diving in the Similan Islands.

In today's digital world we our now booking our flights, accommodation and activities separately making the travel agent almost redundant, but what they did for us when we booked a package holiday was to include insurance in the price. Today many people think about insurance as a last measure, I've done it myself when on holiday and paid the price but have continued to skip insurance except when I'm doing something classified as extreme sports.

Trips that I've taken which have included things like whitewater rafting, rock climbing and skydiving I made sure my insurance covered me for any possible outcomes, if it didn't I got extra cover. The same can be said of scuba diving in Thailand, okay it's not really extreme, more nirvanaly (is that even a word) pleasant, but standard insurance doesn't cover it.

I did a little research the other day into the cost of using a decompression chamber and the costs shocked me. I was told the normal absolute minimum treatment is five hours and this costs $795/hour, a quick calculation makes this $3,925 for one session. Expensive stuff if you don't have insurance to cover the cost.

This is just a thought for everyone who goes diving or is thinking about in the near future. Insurance is so cheap in comparison, less than $10/day, and gives people peace of mind, well it certainly gives me peace of mind...

Friday, 6 January 2012

2012 With a Bang

Firstly we'd like to say Happy New Year to all our guests, customers, agents and everyone else we've met in the past year, hope to see you all again soon.

The New Year has got off superbly for Oktavia Dive Center Thailand. The M/V Oktavia is currently out at sea with a full load of happy guests and hard working staff. Reports coming back are saying the weather has picked up in the Similan Islands, bright sunshine and the sea like a millpond.

Two guests who thought they were coming out to just do a little snorkeling for five days have now caught the bug, both are currently doing an Open water course and enjoying their new found love for what lies beneath.

We also welcome on board to the Similan Islands Soren Wiesauer from Dykkerbutikken in Denmark. This is his first trip with us and along with him he has brought a few guests to help him sample M/V Oktavia so he can rave about us in Denmark.

A belated Happy New Year to everyone...

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Christmas Similan Diving

Christmas is just about upon us and everywhere around the world people are packing up work for this Festive Season. Well not here at Oktavia Dive Center, we're just getting going.

Going out today is a packed M/V Oktavia with a variety of different nationalities including a group of teenage school children from India! The kids have all spent a night in Phuket City and have no doubt had their first taste of Thai culture. All guests are out for the full 5-day 5-night package and it will be a Christmas to remember.

Leading the way is Chris, our new tour leader for this season, who's assisted by an experienced crew of divers and of course our wonderful Thai staff through this Similan diving trip.

I'm sure everyone is going to have a whale of a time (excuse the pun) on this Similan diving trip and again we hope to see lots of photos when they get back to dry land.Have a great trip guys...

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Goodbye to Karin & Bernie

For those of you who have ever been aboard one of our liveaboards or have done business with Oktavia you are sure to at least have had some form of contact with Karin who was our Operations Manager and Bernie who was the tour leader on M/V Oktavia (as well as backup for when Karin wanted to head out on the boat).

Karin joined the crew in 2009 and has been a valuable member of the team putting in the man hours and making sure everything ran smoothly for our customers and staff. Karin has now spread her wings and has sadly left us to venture into a new territory in the UAE. She has taken up a position as Sales & Marketing Manager with Divers Down (her boyfriend Paul's dive shop) in the UAE where she will undoubtedly be an asset. We wish her all the luck with her new appointment and hope she'll come back to visit with us and maybe come aboard M/V Oktavia as a customer for a change.

Bernie also joined Oktavia in 2009 and has been a master in his work with us, if you have met Bernie you'll know what we mean. He has just finished his last trip with us on the 16th December and will be heading back to the UK, with his girlfriend Stina, to spend Christmas with his folks before embarking on a new journey. Stina and Bernie have yet to decide where they are going after the festive season but we wish them well and again hope to see them in the near future.

Saturday, 17 December 2011

Xmas & New Year

Christmas and New year is almost upon us here at Oktavia Dive center and we've just sent our last Similan liveaboard out before the peak period. We've a great team out there with a vast range of languages and experience to ensure our guests have the best time ever.

Leading the way on this trip is Chris, our new team leader, with Branco and Jelena to assist him and our wonderful guests. When this trip ports at Thaplamu on the 23rd December we should be able to upload a few more photos to our website and FB page.