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Dive Review of Wakatobi Dive Resort in

July, 2008, an Instant Reader Report by Steve Tulsky, CA, USA (1 report)
Report Number 4319
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
51-100 dives
Where else diving
Bonaire, Maui
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

sunny, windy  
Water Temp
77   to 78    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
30   to 50    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
Time limit--65-75 minutes, depending on the dive.  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
1 or 2 
1 or 2 
Whale Sharks
> 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  5 stars
Tropical Fish
3 stars  
Small Critters
  5 stars
Large Fish
2 stars  
Large Pelagics
  1 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
5 stars  
Boat Facilities
5 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
5 stars  
Shore Facilities  
5 stars  
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
5 stars
5 stars
Service and Attitude
5 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
Dive Operation
5 stars  
Shore Diving  
5 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
5 stars   
4 stars    
Going to Wakatobi is like going to a summer camp for diving. The trip
begins and ends on the same date for everybody. All the campers gather in
the VIP lounge of the Bali airport nervously awaiting the adventure to
come. One can practically picture the parents scurrying around wondering
whether Junior remembered to bring his toothbrush.

Finally the plane is ready, and the campers file aboard for the two and a
half hour flight. On this writers particular outbound trip Wakatobi was
using a new charter airline, and the seats were adequately comfortable. The
return flight on their regular providers plane had seats that were
positioned insufferably close together, a form of torture for the vertical

When the plane lands on Wakatobis  private jungle airstrip, a handful of
counselors scoop the campers into a half dozen dilapidated minivans for the
five minute jaunt through town (and its throngs of excited, welcoming
children) to the dock. From there one of Wakatobis spacious dive boats
takes them on a fifteen minute cruise to the next island and the resort.

Once there, before they are allowed to go to their bungalows, the campers
are herded through the sign-in and equipment rental process which the camp
staff wants to complete before the impending dusk. This is annoying given
that everybody is tired, still dressed in travel clothes, and tripping over
their hand luggage, but is necessary to enable the diving to start first
thing the next morning. Fortunately this process is efficiently completed,
and the campers are finally shown to their bungalows, which they find to be
spacious, nicely appointed,  and appropriate for the setting. Prior
complaints in UC about inadequate bedside reading lights seem to now be
inoperative, undoubtedly the victim of the Swiss owners passion for making
the Wakatobi experience absolutely perfect.

One thing to know about Camp Wakatobi is that it is spread over a couple of
adjoining areas that while separated by less than a two minute walk, are
latitudes apart in terms of weather. Coming from the San Francisco Bay
Area, your scribe thought that he knew all about microclimates, but this
was ridiculous! His party was housed on the blowy South side of the resort,
and experienced what felt like gale-force winds and crashing surf during
much of their stay. A very brief traipse towards the center of the resort,
however, quickly ushered them into an island paradise of sunny skies, calm
winds and quiet seas. It was completely bizarre, and made their choice of
premium waterside accommodations feel wasted.

It is soon time for the first camp dinner, where the campers learn the mess
hall routine. Tasty, hearty food mixing Indonesian and Western cuisines is
served buffet-style in the large, comfortable restaurant. It is
all-you-can-eat, as long as you are able to keep the overly eager bussing
staff from scarfing your utensils while you go for seconds. A lot of love
is put into meal preparation at Wakatobi, and the chef makes great efforts
to serve food that accommodates a broad range of tastes. Hot beverages are
gratis, and alcohol and soft drinks are available at the cash bar, but here
is where the campers discover Camp Wakatobi's only true deficiency--there's
no Bug Juice!!! Which kid who has ever been to camp can forget the Bug
Juice, the colorful, iced sweetened liquid poured generously from large
pitchers at all meals. Wakatobi should offer some kind of cold flavored
beverage (sweetened, unsweetened, iced tea, Kool-Aid, anything) as an
alternative to the unappealing desalinated sea water that they otherwise
serve to those who don't choose to purchase sodas, cocktails, or bottled

The next morning arrives and the campers finally get to go diving! They are
each assigned  to one of the four Wakatobi longboats, which they will
remain with throughout their stay. There are no more than 15 divers
assigned to each boat, and most have a dozen or less. At their first dive
briefing the campers meet their dive counselors, who will remain with their
group except on their rare days off. When they reach their boat, the
campers find their equipment waiting for them on-board, placed there by the
two tank attendants who will do all of the heavy lifting for the remainder
of their stay.

As the group heads off to the first dive site, the campers quickly discover
what makes these boats so wonderful. They are comfortably large, the cabins
are completely shielded from the equatorial sun, and they have plenty of
space for prepping cameras, a very low freeboard for easy exits and
entries, and perhaps most importantly, very large and very useable toilets!
Furthermore, the crew are great. The tank attendants work hard to learn the
campers personal preferences, from equipment set-up to choice of
after-dive hot or cold beverage to the dry towels presented after each
return from the deep.

The program is two tanks in the morning and one in the afternoon. Two of
the afternoon dives during the course of a ten-day stay are replaced by
night dives. The divemasters are generally excellent both as underwater
spotters and as counselors striving to show the campers a good time. The
corals are awesomely beautiful and healthy, the fish are fascinating and
often well camouflaged, and theres lots of cool tiny stuff to see. 

As at all great camps, the adventure ends too quickly. The departing
campers are shuttled to the airstrip, crossing paths with the next load of
eager new campers as they deplane from the inbound flight. It takes almost
an hour at the primitive airstrip to painstakingly refuel the plane out of
half a dozen steel drums. The campers know theyve returned to civilization
when upon arriving at the Bali airport, a huge tanker truck pulls up which
will accomplish that same task in five minutes. The campers say a fond
farewell to their new friends, already looking forward to returning next
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