OKUVAYA: HOW THE NAME CAME
One could have the impression that OKUVAYA derives from one of the Polynesian languages of the South Pacific. Instead I owe the name to a young boy from Germany:
A few years ago I stayed with my friends and their two little boys near Frankfurt. The older one, Ben, used to call me Onkel Fabian (uncle Fabian). His younger brother Henry, of course followed his example. But being merely two years old at that time, what he said sounded more like Oko Faia. I thought it to be really cute…
The summer of the following year I began to build a small sailing catamaran following the plans of James Wharram. This legendary designer preferred to call his boats Polynesian double canoes as that was their provenance in the South Pacific. I thus needed an adequate name. After a lot of musing and trying I remembered what Henry had called me and that it almost sounded a little Polynesian. With a little creativity and exchanging of some letters the name for my name soon was born: OKUVAYA.
Today not only my two boats carry that name. OKUVAYA stands for everything that is connected with the adventure of my life. Because basically OKUVAYA is me: Uncle Fabian, in a child’s language…
Above all I consider myself as being adventurous: there is so much to explore and find out in this world! I travelled to almost all continents, lived in Canada for a while, went to Argentina and New Zealand and all across Europe. Wherever I went I found really nice people with sometimes very interesting lives. But I haven’t seen enough yet.
I was born in Hamburg in the summer of 1975 and grew up in that city with the second biggest port in Europe for the first 25 years of my life. My parents raised me to independent thinking and always left the choice of what kind of sport I’d do to me. As long as I practiced some sport, like swimming or playing field hockey or practicing martial arts. That sure contributed to my today’s need for activity, both physically and in my mind. Oftentimes I can’t do as much as I wish for.
I am a pretty nosy and curious person, love to tell and listen to stories. I really like to play with words and language, speak several languages and sometimes I think too much and critical about me and the rest of the world. On the other hand I love my inner child very much and jump around in puddles while very seriously grown-up grown-ups pass by, irritatedly shaking their heads. It is just then when I laugh all the louder...
WHY I DO IT
For a long time I did’t really have any serious connections to the ocean, diving or sailing, apart from getting a boating license when I was 16. But I always loved water, and when I look back I always lived close to a huge stream, near lakes or the ocean. As a kid I joined the local swimming club and took part in competitions until the pressure for performance became too high for my liking. So I turned towards other sports activities, sport should be fun, at least for me.
After a swim training in the public pool I met a scuba diving instructor about 12 years ago, with whom I then trained and got my first diving certification from. Very soon it was followed by other diving courses, certificates and regular dives in various dark and cold German lakes. A year later I went on a diving holiday in El Quseir, Egypt. And I was totally hit by the „underwater world“ and particularly the ocean. I could hardly let go of my regulator and my dive gear. When I shortly after moved to Leipzig, I was frequent guest with the diving club at the local lake. Ever since I keep asking myself why I hadn’t started to dive much earlier…
In 2013 two things had a major impact on my future. I came across a marine biological institute called Meeresschule Pula in Croatia, got in touch and soon after seriously involved in their operations and their work: teaching kids and youth about the marine life in the Northern Adriatic.
During that time I learned a whole lot about the marine biology. It is one thing to go diving, maybe being able to identify a few fish, indulge in the beauty of the tropical seas and marvel at the 96th blue spotted ray. It gets a lot more interesting when you begin to understand how this huge habitat works, what the creatures look like in detail and why some sea urchins cover themselves with shells, stones and sometimes trash. Or how you can distinguish a male from a female spider crab. Of course I was still only scratching the surface, but I felt like living in the center of a BBC documentary. I almost thought about studying again and become a marine biologist.
The other experience was that during my work at Pula, I was in the water every day and several times a day. Diving for sea urchins, shell fish, spider crabs and the like on a single breath. My dives became longer and deeper and only later I learned that I was actually freediving. The relaxation I experienced was unparalleled, moving effortlessly through the water, with just me and my thoughts and the air that I carried in me, I enjoyed the silent and yet not so silent world underneath the surface. It was a break in the breathing cycle, where you get in touch with your inner self, sometimes confronting fears and other emotions. It’s a challenge and didn’t let go of me, the peace of mind kept for almost half a year. I wanted to get back to that state of mind and not leave anymore and that is why I belong here: the ocean.
It never occured to me that the experience I had made would involve a boat, too, and that soon after I would actually build one. In fact two, to live on a bigger catamaran some day. Yet, that year I also took part in the first sail trip of my life. And it was then that the path of my life changed. "I need Vitamin Sea". What followed during the next years was freediving courses, sailing certificates, more sail trips, half of which I skippered myself, and the building of my little catamaran. Sounds like adventure? Absolutely, as stated in the beginning! "But its an ongoing story"
OKUVAYA FREEDIVING & SAILING
Meanwhile I became an AIDA freediving Instructor, and indeed I am currently building a second, an ocean-going sailing catamaran. It’ll serve as a platform for freediving as well as a very special boat for guests to take on sailing trips. It is so much nicer to have others participate in my own adventure, to pass my own excitement about the water, sailing, nature and the colourful world of the ocean. And teach them how to freedive.
Maybe after reading through this I kindled some desire in you, too, to have a little share. Feel free to look around on my website and learn more about freediving and the courses I offer. Get some further information about James Wharram and my two sailing catamarans or simply get in touch. You are most welcome!