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Dive Review of Wakatobi -- Pelagian in
Indonesia/WaKaToBi Islands

October, 2006, an Instant Reader Report by James Jenkins, CA, United States
Report Number 3079
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
Over 1000 dives
Where else diving
Caribbean, California, Cocos, Galapagos, Hawaii, Fiji, Truk, Palau,
Solomons, PNG, Malaysia, Indonesia, etc.
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

Water Temp
77   to 80    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
20   to 80    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
Divers generally accompanied the dive guide, but were free to leave the
group and ascend on their own.  Buddy teams were required, but not strictly
enforced; gloves were not permitted, but some divers wore gloves.  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
1 or 2 
1 or 2 
Whale Sharks
> 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  5 stars
Tropical Fish
5 stars  
Small Critters
  5 stars
Large Fish
2 stars  
Large Pelagics
  1 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
4 stars  
Boat Facilities
3 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
4 stars  
Shore Facilities  
The camera room is a bit small  fine for about 4 or 5 photographers or
videographers.  The inflatables were a bit cramped and it would have been
difficult carrying 6 divers and more than two large camera setups.  The
inclusion of Buton in the itinerary provided critter sightings rivaling
Lembeh Straight; wide-angle reef scenes were among the best although the
visibility was not the best Ive seen.  Only the absence of pelagics
reduces the rating.
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
5 stars
4 stars
Service and Attitude
5 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
Dive Operation
4 stars  
Shore Diving  
3 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
3 stars   
4 stars    
Overall, this was one of our best liveaboard experiences, even given the
absence of pelagics.

There were only two other negatives:  the water was colder than advertised
 be prepared for thermoclines of 75° or lower with average temps in
the 78° - 79° range; the zodiacs were cramped for 6 or even 5

(The inflatables were the same size as those Ive been on that comfortably
hold 6 divers (or more) plus the pilot, dive master and even a helper.  The
reasons for the boats being cramped were all very positive:  1. On many
chase boats, you put your weights and tank on aboard the main vessel then
awkwardly board the zodiac.  The Pelagians inflatables have a tank rack. 
The pilot and dive master help you on with your tank just before entering
the water.  This saves on back pain and is generally much safer.  2. These
zodiacs had a pilot consol in front; this gives the pilot more control and
better vision for pickups.  The zodiacs had twin engines  faster and
safer.  3 The ladder was fixed to the floor.  Most are just hung over the
side  if there is a ladder!  Entries were easy, even with tanks on. 
(However, most guests took off weights and BCs in the water and the crew
hauled them up.))
The reefs were pristine, healthy and full of small life.  Wide-angle
opportunities abounded with soft corals, huge barrel and vase sponges,
fans, whip coral, black coral trees and more.  The macro subjects at Buton
Bay rivaled Lembeh.  We saw only a few reef sharks; some guests saw a
couple eagle rays and mobula rays.  We did see some large tuna, turtles,
bumphead parrot fish, Napoleon wrasse, and a small school of jacks.

Heres a list of critters from just a few dives at Buton Bay:  false stone
fish, stone fish, lots of scorpion fish, crocodile fish and lion fish, leaf
scorpion fish, various pipefish including winged, scores of different
nudibranchs and flatworms, jaw fish, razor fish, juvenile sweetlips,
mandarin fish, long-arm octopus, various eels including, dragonets, frog
fish, robust ghost pipefish, ornate ghost pipefish, squid, large octopus

Diving was only from the inflatables and was limited to a maximum of 4
dives per day (2 morning, 1 afternoon and one dusk or night dive).  You
could not dive from the ship and could only dive the organized schedule. 
However, this made for a relaxed, unhurried schedule with time for sunning,
cameras, chats, and naps.  Marco and Sissy (the dive masters) were
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Note: The information here was reported by the author above, but has NOT been reviewed nor edited by Undercurrent prior to posting on our website. Please report any major problems by writing to us and referencing the report number above.

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