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The Private, Exclusive Guide for Serious Divers Since 1975
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January 2023    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Vol. 49, No. 1   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Wakatobi Dive Resort, Sulawesi, Indonesia

world-class diving, world-class dive resort

from the January, 2023 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

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Dear Fellow Diver:

If just one thing sets aside a great dive resort from a good one, it's the ability to walk to the beach, strap on a tank, and get in some top-notch diving. And that describes Wakatobi and its House Reef Wall, which rates among the best anywhere.

After descending the wooden stairs at the pier, a few kicks lead to a shallow gully opening to a sheer wall dropping to around 120 feet. A usually gentle current dictated whether to turn left or right; either direction provided beautiful soft coral trees, fans, and sponges. Our dive to the left brought a diversity of butterflyfish, including pyramid, long-nosed, ornate, and red-fin specimens, pennant bannerfish, crocodile fish, trumpetfish, pink and spine-cheeked anemonefish, and short-nosed boxfish. A juvenile scorpionfish and other diverse critters hid in the low corals. Two turtles feeding on a sponge put a finish to our dive. The diving is so exceptional that some visiting divers spend more time diving here than boat diving. If a current's running, the staff will motor divers up current so that they can drift all the way back to shore.

Wakatobi Dive ResortEn route, my first stop was Bali, where a Wakatobi agent whisked my buddy and me through immigration. We were off to decompress at my favorite Bali resort, Puri Santrian, 30 minutes from the airport. Three days later, a Wakatobi rep at the airport escorted us through check-in and to the lounge to await our 8:00 a.m. two-hour flight to the southeastern tip of Sulawesi, where a boat would be waiting for the 20-minute trip to the isolated hotel. When Wakatobi opened its doors in 1996, they posted instructions over the toilets to check for sea snakes before sitting down. Twenty-five years later, Wakatobi has morphed into a true luxury dive resort.

Wakatobi has several villas and nearly 30 palm bungalows. After arriving, I unpacked in my bungalow, had a fine lunch, and afterward listened to the dive briefing from divemaster Hery. Then off to the pier, where the crew carried our gear down the stairs to the water for our voluntary check-out dive....

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