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Dive Review of Wakatobi Dive Resort in
Indonesia/Wakatobi

Wakatobi Dive Resort: "Wakatobi: Unsafe at any depth", Apr, 2015,

by Steve Hess, CA, US ( 1 report with 2 Helpful votes). Report 8566 has 2 Helpful votes.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations N/A Food N/A
Service and Attitude 1 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation N/A Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 1 stars
Beginners 1 stars
Advanced 1 stars
Comments Last April my wife and I took our dream vacation but instead we had to endure a Wakatobi nightmare.
We are experienced divers with over 500 dives each. We selected Wakatobi for its beauty, pristine reefs and full service dive operation. I bought a new high-def camera, housing and light and we flew half way around the world for this trip.
What we found was a resort that was unsafe, with staff that was unprofessional, deceitful, and thoughtless.
We were shocked to discover that this remote, expensive resort (with mostly great PR) is unprepared for medical/diving injuries, reluctant to, or unable to call for medical advice (such as DAN) and/or indifferent to their guests’ plight. Wakatobi maintains no operative phone system. No satellite phone, or working cell phone. The wifi was often down. With only one flight out that week, I needed medical attention and was trapped and unable to get any help. If you read the other reviews carefully you will see that our problems are NOT unusual at Wakatobi.

Here is our story:

We arrived at the airstrip on Monday 4/27/15 along with all the other guests. We were directed to several Wakatobi cars at the airstrip to drive us the short distance to the waiting dive boat to take us the 10 minute ride to the resort.
Following the driver's instructions, we all walked down a long flight of concrete steps to the dock. The steps were covered with a mossy slime; more slippery than black ice. 4 guests slipped on it, and I fell head over heels off the steps, continuing to slide and tumble 15 feet onto rocks. Luckily I did not hit my head, as I take a blood thinner and a head injury could have killed me. Wakatobi told us they had been trying to get the local village to make the steps safer but that had not happened yet. Knowing this, they continued to direct us down these steps with no warning.
I immediately told the Wakatobi staff people of my blood thinner status and once the boat brought us to the resort I was directed to the first aid area.
Marco, the photography instructor met me there and told me he had taken a first aid class. There were no other medically trained staff people at Wakatobi. He seemed quite frightened at the extent of my injuries, as I was bleeding all over my arms, legs and back. He put alcohol and gauze on me.
From then on, my wife and I were shocked at how little help Wakatobi provided. My wife tried to call DAN but the Wakatobi phone wasn’t charged and when it was ready, the call dropped. The office staff was sitting right next to her, but offered no other assistance with contacting DAN for the rest of our ordeal. The DAN doctor just had time to tell her that I should not dive with open wounds. The Wakatobi computer was not in service. The wifi drifted in and out. It took several requests to get ice delivered.
For the next few days we tried to negotiate with the Wakatobi staff for a safe return to Bali for medical care. I was in tremendous pain, requiring narcotic pain relief (we brought some in our personal first aid kit). I couldn't dive, swim, or even sit comfortably. The only plan the Wakatobi office manager came up with, to get us to Bali, was dismissed by the Wakatobi owner as being too unsafe, arduous, and risky for us to undertake.
I was finally able to get word to my daughter stateside who is a nurse. She called DAN directly and presented my case. They immediately indicated that they were worried about me and made arrangements to air evacuate me to Singapore (where they felt they could provide me with the best medical care). They were then able to stay in contact with me through my smartphone apps.
DAN was fantastic in every way! The contrast between their competence and caring and the Wakatobi indifference was extreme. The jet arrived with a MD and nurse. The doctor assessed my wounds and immediately started an IV with pain relief. It was the first time in several days that I could be comfortable and feel safe.
DAN flew us directly to the hospital in Singapore where I discovered that I was anemic from so much blood loss. Luckily no bones were broken. After two nights in the Singapore hospital DAN was able to fly me back to the US, providing me with the ability to lie down on the flight as sitting was too painful.
After returning home to heal and undergo several medical treatments, I emailed Wakatobi relating our damages, both physical and financial. We asked the CEO to forward our email to their insurance company. We waited but got no reply. A second email went to other senior members of the Wakatobi staff again with no reply.
After a month of waiting, with no response, I called Paula Butler, the local representative who had worked with me on our original booking to Wakatobi. I told her about my attempts to get a response from management and she said she would contact Valentin, one of the owners.
In fact they made no response: no offer to reimburse me for any of the days/diving/services we never used. No apology. Nothing.
I have now concluded that while Wakatobi is beautiful IT IS NOT WORTH THE RISK of going to that remote corner of the world to a resort that is not equipped for diving or medical problems and (most importantly) indifferent to the plight of their guests. While the management was charming and admitted negligence and responsibility for my injuries, in fact they never took responsibility.
We are not the only guests who have reported this. If you research this online you will find others.
BEWARE. We are sorry we trusted the Wakatobi glossy image and didn’t look beneath it to see the dangerous underside. I could have died from their lack of care.

Bruised but unbroken,
Steve Hess
Websites Wakatobi Dive Resort   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 501-1000 dives
Where else diving Red Sea, Philippines, Honduras, Cozumel, Channel Islands, Florida, Monterey, Bonaire, Dominica
Closest Airport Denpasar Getting There Charter

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, rainy Seas
Water Temp -°F / -°C Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility - Ft/ - M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile ?
Enforced diving restrictions I never got in the water.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks None Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles None Whales None
Corals N/A Tropical Fish N/A
Small Critters N/A Large Fish N/A
Large Pelagics N/A

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

Subject Matter N/A Boat Facilities N/A
Overall rating for UWP's N/A Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments [None]
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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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