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Dive Review of Wakatobi in

April, 2004, an Instant Reader Report by Matt Adams, CO, USA
Report Number 1439
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
101-250 dives
Where else diving
Fiji, Bonaire, Caymans, Belize
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

calm, currents  
Water Temp
76   to 79    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
90   to 150    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
No restrictions--everyone was on computer, but no reason to go deep.  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
Whale Sharks
> 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  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  
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
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
4 stars
4 stars
Service and Attitude
3 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
Dive Operation
4 stars  
Shore Diving  
5 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
3 stars   
4 stars    
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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