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Dive Review of Wakatobi Dive Resort in

Wakatobi Dive Resort: "Wakatobi: A Marvel of A Dive Operatio and Magical Diving", Nov, 2013,

by Kendall Valentine, DC, US (Reviewer Reviewer 3 reports with 1 Helpful vote). Report 8058.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 5 stars Food 5 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity 5 stars
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving 4 stars
Snorkeling 4 stars
Value for $$ 5 stars
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments Executive Summary: This is an excellent resort with superb diving, attentive staff and five star food. Living accommodations are comfortable, all have air conditioning and 110 v outlets and hot and cold water (pressure variable). Considering the remoteness of the resort and within its environmental context, the resort merits 5 stars for accommodations. There is satellite internet; WiFi is more available in the main building and dining hall. Superb meals are served buffet style with multiple choices. It is the best resort I've visited in 15 years of diving. Yes, it's a long way to travel, does cost some money and I would return at the drop of a hat.

Getting there: We flew Chicago to Seoul, Korea (ICN) - 14 hours; Korea to Bali (DPS) - 6 hours; Bali to Wakatobi 2 1/3 hour (jet) or 4 hour (turboprop) flights. Others went via Moscow. Wherever you get the best connectio and price (or have miles). The 2 1/3 hour charter flight from Bali is followed by a 15 minute van ride and a 20 minute boat trip. The resort built airstrip is on one island, Wakatobi is itself is on another island, nearby. Sub Aquatic and Sports (SASS) Dive Shop in Kalamazoo, MI, made all my arrangements, including land tours in Bali and coordinating with the Wakatobi resort. Our trip went very smoothly in spite of significant "TBS" (tired butt syndrome) from siting to long in economy.

To and Through Bali: On arrival in Bali, we were met by a Wakatobi staff representative who whisked us through through immigration and customs formalities, then escorted us to waiting vans for 90 minute ride to Ubud, our base for a week of land touring. We had recovered from jet lag and were ready to dive at the end of a magical week in Bali and when we arrived at the airport, the same Wakatobi staff member escorted us to the charter flight terminal and arranged to store any extra luggage. The jet trip over was direct and pleasant. Wakatobi staff also met us two weeks later, when we returned to Bali and helped us get to our "day hotel" for a few hours sleep prior to a 3:00 a.m. flight to Korea.

At the Wakatobi Resort: At the resort's house pier, staff brought our bags to the cabin I shared with a friend. Our cabin was about 150 feet from the main building/dive shop and a three minute walk from the dining hall. Paths are sand and swept broom constantly. After the first day or two, I just went barefoot. We had an afternoon checkout dive, demonstrated basic diving skills (which I appreciated and note many resorts are doing now) then took a short tour of the house reef. The next day, we began our routine of breakfast at 7:00, two morning dives, lunch, two afternoon dives, then dinner or a night dive. We could dive 24/7 on the house reef. Boat dives were done tour style and normally lasted between over an hour. A resort divemaster is assigned to groups of 4-6 divers. Indonesia's diving is famous for critters and Wakatobi is no exception. The reefs are in excellent shape. I've seen more vibrant life only in the Galapagos. Anemone fish abound. Of the 14 known species, 9 were sighted at Wakatobi in recent years. Staff reported that a few weeks before we arrived, a 10th species had been sighted. I bought a magnifying glass at the resort found it really helped We saw eels, a number of turtles and all sorts of small shrimp, pigmy sea horses, etc. The resort has evening sessions in fish identification and other areas of interest to divers that I found fascinating. Current is variable and may change direction and force more than once during a dives so situational awareness is important. Wakatobi's no touch policy was explained to everyone at the initial briefing and emphasized throughout. One time, I got too close to the reef and our dive master firmly and politely let me know I needed to keep greater distance between my fin and the reef.

The resort itself is a marvel. On a tour of the facility he personally led, the owner explaiend that he built it beginning with island scrub and his dream. He imported all infrastructure, including electric generation, water desalinization and purification, electricity (110 v available) and imported or built and maintained on site. Nitrox was always available. At night, when resort needs a less, the excess electricity is donated to a number of villages on the island so students have more time to complete homework.

Attention to detail and personal service abound. Wakatobi divemasters are international, including French, Japanese, English and Indonesian and multilingual, reflecting its clientele. All ours were fluent in English and U. S. diver idiomatic expressions. Other resort staff, even if not as fluent in English, were super polite and responsive. Dining staff made a concerted effort to remember our names. By day staff had us ID'd. Once, as we were on the dive boat returning to the resort, the DM asked if there were anything that we would like to have done/fixed. I mentioned that the foot basin in front of our cabin was low on water. As I was walking down the pier to the cabin, a staff member was filling it. On moe than one occassion, I observed the owner, working on the buffet entreeline serving dinner and bringing ice water to guests. He and his staff are justifiably proud of their creation. All staff exude pride for their resort and to the reef. I sensed a genuine concern for the environment. The mantra for all staff, both dive and resort seemed to go something like: "How may I make your time here more enjoyable."

An aside on custom: Although Indonesia is tropical and Bali has a reputation for accepting various life styles, other areas including the Wakatobi islands, are more traditional. For example, while shorts and tank tops might be a common sight within the resort, some women who decided to take an early morning run off property in tank tops and running shorts, encountered reproachful looks from village residents.

Recommendations: Save up and go to Wakatobi, at least two weeks. Have a dive shop or a dive travel agent make arrangements, and make sure they coordinate with Wakatobi. On the way over, take an additional week (or more) to visit Bali. Some of our group dove there and said it was excellent. Pack light but at least one pair of light weight long pants (no jeans, they are too heavy for the hot and humid weather and a long sleeve light weight shirt. ATM's are ubiquitous, particularly in tourist areas. No need to convert money before hand.

Bottom Line: Visit Wakatobi!

Websites Wakatobi Dive Resort   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 501-1000 dives
Where else diving Caribbean, Galapagos, Australia,
Closest Airport Dempasar (DPS) Getting There Wakatobi has its own charter flight from Dempasr (DPS) Airport, Bali, to the resort.

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas currents
Water Temp 80-86°F / 27-30°C Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 50-95 Ft/ 15-29 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile no
Enforced diving restrictions Must stay with divemaster on boat dives. Could dive own profile on house reef/pier.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? yes

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 4 stars
Large Pelagics N/A

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

Subject Matter 5 stars Boat Facilities 4 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 4 stars Shore Facilities 4 stars
UW Photo Comments I did not have a camera. My ratings are based on reports from my observations and discussions with trusted members of our group who are very experienced photographers.
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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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