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

Wakatobi -- Pelagian, Oct, 2006,

by James Jenkins, CA, United States . Report 3079.

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

Weather sunny Seas calm
Water Temp 77 to 80 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 5
Water Visibility 20 to 80 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
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.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks 1 or 2 Mantas 1 or 2
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 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 N/A
UW Photo Comments 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):

Accommodations 5 stars Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 4 stars Shore Diving 3 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 4 stars
Comments 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 divers.

(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 excellent!
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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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