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Dive Review of Wakatobi in
Indonesia

Wakatobi, Apr, 2004,

by Matt Adams, CO, USA . Report 1439.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 101-250 dives
Where else diving Fiji, Bonaire, Caymans, Belize
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas calm, currents
Water Temp 76 to 79 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 90 to 150 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions No restrictions--everyone was on computer, but no reason to go deep.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks None Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 5 stars Tropical Fish 4 stars
Small Critters 5 stars Large Fish 1 stars
Large Pelagics 1 stars

Underwater Photography 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Subject Matter 4 stars Boat Facilities 4 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 4 stars Shore Facilities 4 stars
UW Photo Comments Unbelievable photographic opportunities--nudibranchs everywhere, octupi, ribbon eels, everything but pelagics and larger reef fish. Amazing profusion of corals. Good camera room, but e-6 was dowm. Caters to photographers.

Ratings and Overall Comments 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Accommodations 4 stars Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 3 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 4 stars Shore Diving 5 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 4 stars
Comments Wakatobi was a great experience, but not without challenges. The transfers were seamless, Crispin (the Bali contact) could not have been more helpful, and travel to this outpost went without a hitch. They do a checkout dive including buddy breathing and mask removal (first in a while) and then you go dive the house reef. It's everything they claim; probably better diving steps from the resort than anything in the Carribean. Hunting jacks, octupi, turtles, and amazing corals at the end of the jetty. The currents can rip on the house reef. We had one dive where the current changed three times--we were carried away from the jetty (they have tenders that will come pick you up) about 1/3 mile, then the current reversed and carried us past the resort in the other direction, and then reversed a third time and took us back to the dock.

The health and diversity of the corals here cannot be overstated. When shooting a picture and looking for a piece of dead coral to put a finger on, it was normal to not find one. Reefs looked like an idealized fantasy of what a reef should look like. There was small stuff everywhere. We saw over 10 types of nudibranchs, popcorn shrimp, ribbon eels, and many other critters. On the other hand, the largest fish we saw was probably a jack. There were a few turtles, and other than that, no biggies. We're used to the opposite--ailing coral life and some big fish. Not complaining, and I love the search for nudies, but eventually you start to want a surprise.

The divemasters were almost naturalists, pointing out things that no one would have thought to look for, and doing excellent dive briefings. However, there was some serious conflict. There was a large group of photographers travelling together, and their skill level ranged from amazing to awful. After the worst offender in the group had repeatedly kicked coral, blown the sea horses off the fans, and pushed other divers off subjects (literally), and had been reprimanded by other members of her group, one of the divemasters was delegated to deal with the problem. Who decided that this new (to the resort) divemaster should address the whole resort at dinner with the issue is unclear, but it confused some people and angered many of the photographers. Although the owner of the resort was on hand, he did not address it himself, or appear to back up his divemasters. This made for a very tense situation for the remainder of the trip. This led to some of the photographers ignoring the dive briefings and confused and crowded dives. We started going in separately from the group and avoinding them.

The resort was everthing we expected--relaxed, good food, not too hot (request a bungalow to the right of the main building--windward), plenty of diving. But, there were more people to a boat than one would expect for the price. As has been said before, Wakatobi is great, but...given the cost and the 40 hours of travel to get there, and the lack of big fish, we'll probably keep exploring.
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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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