On one of our first 4D4N trips of the 2017-18 season we had booked a large group of experienced and mainly middle-aged Dutch divers at Similan Islands & Richelieu Rock on Lapat. They were all good friends, and apart from three middle-aged Spaniards, the Dutch had the boat pretty much to themselves. We even had a Dutch instructor on board.
After several months of organisation (both the boat and the booking) November 4th arrived, and not without drama. Our 11 experienced Dutch divers flew in via Moscow, but one of the ladies’ bags had missed the flight. This included her full set of brand-new diving gear. Our taxi team was waiting to meet the group at Phuket International Airport to bring the group into Khao Lak for the check-in process and to then relax and have lunch at Walkers Inn. That’s where they collected their free t-shirts and other gifts, such as dry bags and beach towels. While everyone was acclimatising to the hot weather and the onset of jet lag, the group’s organisers were paying the balance and worrying about the bag that never made it. However, we had a plan… as we always do.
Lapat set sail in the evening and after setting up equipment and dinner, everyone had a few drinks and a good night’s sleep on board. The following day the delayed luggage arrived and we organised for it to be taken via another boat to meet Lapat at Koh Bon the next morning. On the morning of the second full day the lady got her luggage, which included the diving gear. The sea was rough, and some boats couldn’t go as far north as Koh Bon, never mind Koh Tachai & Richelieu, but MV Lapat is big and strong enough to handle the waves, and these Dutch divers were happy to sacrifice a bit of comfort for the best scuba diving in Thailand and some awesome sunsets over the sea, while enjoying great food throughout each day.
At the end of the trip, they all returned to Tab Lamu Pier, where we had two minivans waiting for them. A twelfth friend had flown in that morning and met the 11 divers at the pier. Thanks to Boss at Cheaper Than Hotel taxis our two minivans then whisked them all off to Koh Lanta, where they spent the rest of their holiday in Thailand. Koh Lanta is quite far away, and the drivers needed to arrive at the pier before the final ferry of the day, but Boss’s team are experienced drivers who know how to balance efficiency while maintain a safe speed.
But it doesn’t end there. One of the Dutch group had lost a pair of sunglasses, and while we were trying to locate them on the boat Boss’s taxi team contacted us to say his driver had found them in one of the vehicles. The following week Boss’s taxi team then went all the way to Koh Lanta to collect some of the group to drive them to Phuket Airport to return to The Netherlands, and of course drop off the sunglasses, too.
Although our largest group of divers of this season so far didn’t see any Whale Sharks or Manta Rays, and there were a few hiccups on the way about luggage and rough seas, they had an awesome time. The weather was fine, the beer was cold, the diving was great, and the whole atmosphere on MV Lapat was a friendly party for the not-so-young!
MV Lapat liveaboard is one of our most-popular liveaboard diving boats, and it can easily take up to 16 lucky guests. We have divers booked on most of its trips, including the occasional full charter booking.