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Dive Review of Wakatobi in

June, 2006, an Instant Reader Report by James Jenkins, CA, United States
Report Number 2544
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
Over 1000 dives
Where else diving
Caribbean, California, Galapagos, Cocos, Hawaii, Palau, Truk, Fiji,
Solomons, Coral Sea, Papua New Guinea, Sipadan 
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

Water Temp
78   to 82    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
39   to 100    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
No solo diving, no gloves, no deco  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
1 or 2 
Whale Sharks
> 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  5 stars
Tropical Fish
5 stars  
Small Critters
  3 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
4 stars
Service and Attitude
5 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
Dive Operation
5 stars  
Shore Diving  
4 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
4 stars   
4 stars    
Wakatobi is a beautiful resort catering to up to 50 divers on 4 large,
purpose-built boats where everything runs like a Swiss watch.  (We had 39
divided into three groups on three boats.)

	They meet you upon arrival in Balis Denpasar Airport, coordinate your
entry, transfers, and give you the schedule for their private plane
	They fly you to their own landing strip in south eastern Sulawesi and
transport you to the Resort.  
	The schedule is breakfast 7:00a, briefing 8:00a and onto your boat for
two morning dives; back to the resort in time to shower and change for a
1:00p lunch, then a single afternoon dive at 2:30p (back by 4:30p or so);
dinner 7p.
	There are two night dives via your boat in the 11-day charter; these
are really dusk dives and are done early enough to return and change for
	The house reef is very good and is open from 6a to 10p; there is a
small boat service available from 6:30a to 6:00p to take you out or pick
you up.
	The food is varied and very good including both Indonesian and Western
style dishes.
	The bungalows are spacious and have adequate AC.  There is a library with
a computer and internet access and free wired & wireless internet.
	There is a large camera room centrally located next to the rinse tanks
with 110V and 220V, fresh towels, mild AC and lots of space.
	Dinning is in a separate restaurant; the Long House includes relaxed
seating and tables, a shop and a media room for presentations.  There is a
bar at the end of the pier for enjoying sunsets, and there are chairs,
tables, all around the break wall.
	The largely local staff is very helpful; most speak some English, and are
very accommodating (within the boundaries of the schedules and rules).

	The dive guides I dove with (4) were good guides and spotters.  They are
very respectful of the reefs.  Theyll help you with buoyancy, etc. in a
friendly, helpful (not draconian) manner (no gloves).  There were no more
than 6 divers/guide.  (Technically, there is no solo diving  or only solo
diving for Instructors with pony bottles.)
	The groups dove the same sites with staggered entries.  Guests were
allocated to boats based on who was traveling together, skills, etc.  
	They change your tanks, schlep your gear back to shore, help you up the
ladder, and help you on with your tank.  About the only thing we did was to
verify and log our NITROX mixes.  
	The walls and slopes rise to within a meter of the surface and are very
healthy (with virtually no storm damage and very minor human damage).  The
corals (hard and soft) and sponges are beautiful.  Usually the last 20  30
minutes of each dive was a long safety stop  most of the interesting
things were in the shallower water.
	The diving is generally easy diving  either no current, or drift dives
in very manageable currents.  Visibility ranged from 30 during some
outgoing tides to up to 100+ on more remote sea mounts.  Dives are limited
to 70 minutes (60 for night dives) but we sometimes pushed that by 5 or
10 minutes as a group.  Even then, most returned to the boat with adequate
air since the dives were fairly shallow and required very little exertion.
	We saw crocodile fish and lion fish on virtually every dive; there were
plenty of scorpion fish, leaf scorpion fish, cuttlefish, turtles, bumphead
parrot fish and abundant reef fish.
	The guides could usually find one or more varieties of pigmy sea horses
on most dives.  Other critters included:  frog fish, winged pipefish, false
stone fish, stone fish, a good assortment of nudibranchs & flatworms
(but not abundant, by any means), 5 types of cardinal fish including the
pajama, banded sea snakes, eels, mantis shrimp, many small (macro) shrimps,
blue (and black juvenile) ribbon eels, octopus, jaw fish, decorator crabs,
and more.
	There were very few big things (other than turtles and medium-sized
bumphead parrots).  In 32 dives we saw one pair of eagle rays and a couple
white tips.  There were a few small and medium-sized tuna and a small
school of chevron barracuda.  Thats about it.  

Overall, if you enjoy resort-based diving, like to be pampered and are
happy with 3 dives a day (and dont need to see large fish), I would highly
recommend Wakatobi.  

With the boat schedule, its almost impossible to really do the three boat
dives and two more shore dives.  You can, but its hard.  We had low tides
every evening which meant that to do a real night dive we had to walk down
the beach to a specific entry point.  The outgoing tide meant that wed
have poor visibility and the possibility of strong currents if we didnt
hit the slack just right.  So, we didnt do after dinner dives.  I settled
into the routine and did enjoy it.  The diving was very nice, we did see
critters, beautiful coral, and enjoyed the diving, the pace, the
environment and the service.   

If you are a liveaboard sort of diver  4 or 5 dives a day (or more!), dive
solo, love real night diving (after dinner), etc., then save Wakatobi for
AFTER your liveaboard trip.  After 40 or 50 dives on a liveaboard, you
might enjoy the slower pace and being pampered! 

Despite its remote location, I would recommend Wakatobi for less
experienced divers (but not beginners).  Its easy diving, manageable
currents, and the guides are excellent and very alert.  The boat pickups
were all expertly managed.  There was no reason to go deeper than 100  110
feet and that was only on a couple dives for the frog fish and some elegant
dart fish.  
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