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Dive Review of Wakatobi -- Pelagian in

Wakatobi -- Pelagian: "Give it a lot of thought or Sit it out?", Nov, 2014,

by Leonard, CA, US ( 1 report with 1 Helpful vote). Report 8078 has 1 Helpful vote.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 2 stars Food 3 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity 2 stars
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving 5 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 1 stars
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 2 stars
Stayed 17 days Nov 2014 7d in Bungalow #22, 5d on Pelagian, 5d in a Villa #2. We are from Southern California.
Our bungalow (#22 for 7d) was located on the windward side of the resort, opposite end from the Villas. Thank god as the AC never worked right despite our complaints. It kept the temp 2 - 4 degrees F lower than ambient hence during the day it never went below 82 F and at night it strained to hold 78 F. Recommended only for those wanting to stay in a sauna! At least we had a breeze - most days. Heard similar complaints from others, but not confirmed.
Pelagian (5d) was fabulous. Master suite is over the top and other accommodations are very, very good for a liveaboard. Brass handrails, great bed and AC that was too cold till we learned to turn off one of the three units. We had the very expensive Master suite - hoo rah!
Villa (#2 for 5d). Two AC units were mostly able to keep up with the heat. Only two of the villas have pools. Ours did not. No big deal as you are steps away from a very large pool called the ocean and nature heats it to 82-84F. You are however a distance from the restaurant.
Menu is very varied for a week. Our second week at the resort the menu almost repeated. (I know - we stayed too long). It is buffet service. Help yourself to all you want. Meat (no pork - Muslim country), seafood and/or vegetable entrée choices lunch and dinner. Choice of two or more appetizers lunch and dinner, choice of hot or cold soup lunch and dinner, choice of three to four deserts lunch and dinner. Steamed rice and various pastas on request. Ice cream (home made) various flavors on request. They have turkey bacon for breakfast and it isn't too bad but I prefer Nasi Goreng (fried rice), Mie Goreng (fried noodles), or rice porridge with an egg. The Indonesian eggs are a little weird but so are their chickens. We spent 3 weeks on Bali before going to Sulawesi and I have visited Bali, the Nusa Tenggara and Flores 5 times before this trip so I know the eggs. I think some are duck eggs but I could not confirm this. The wait staff is fabulous they know your name and seating preferences by day 2 and are overly pleasant and accommodating. THE DOWN SIDE. Do you want flies with that? Yes flies, not fries. The flies are everywhere especially on the food. The food is brought out with several servings covered with plastic wrap (not very ECO). If you are the first then you only have to shoo the flies away from your own plate. If you are not first then be prepared to find that seared wahoo appetizer black instead of the expected white pink. Of course it is white pink after you chase the flies off. The flies even invade the hot entrees, however they don't eat much and they taste better cooked. Why the resort does not use simple fly tents, as many other places in Indonesia do, is beyond me. You will be nickeled and dimed to death at the resort. Iced tea is $3.50, a Long Island Iced Tea is $14.00, a bottle of the cheapest wine $55.00. A fresh coconut is $6.00. I paid 700 rupia (about $0.50) on Bali for the same. All the prices at the resort are in USD not rupia, the currency of Indonesia.
Food on Pelagian was rated better by those who had both. Probably because it was fly free and cooked to order rather than buffet. No charge for iced tea, coffee, etc. Beer and wine same as resort.
The diving overall – LOUSY! Actually a very big let down. Save your money and go to Raja Ampat, Benaken Nat Park, Lembeh or any other dive destination on Sulawesi or in Indonesia or the world. The reefs at the resort are dirty. I mean with real human trash. We saw bags and plastic wrappers on most of the dives at the resort, used disposable baby diapers on two dives and a commercial paper egg crate on one dive. How turtles survive with all the plastic trash is a miracle. Perhaps they have learned to read the labels saying Do Not Eat.
Diving at the resort is from 40 ft+ Indonesian boats with ample cover and low freeboard. Some snacks and coffee/tea/hot chocolate are offered. There are no showers so between your dives the only rinse off you can get is by putting hot and cold water into their supplied 12 oz thermal drink cups and pouring it over yourself for a warm “shower”. Wet suits are given a salt water rinse, so after 7 days they get pretty scummy. The head empties directly into the ocean, no holding tank, not very ECO. Aside from the trash there isn’t much to see that you haven’t seen better and more numerous elsewhere. When your divemaster is pointing out anthias you know you are in trouble. Yes there are pygmy seahorses of several varieties so if you must see pygmys by all means waste your money here and bring your magnifying glass. There are also many banded sea kraits but you do not need to dive to see them. Several will crawl up on the pier bar at night much to the delight and/or dismay of the guests. They are benign and kind of cute in a perverse way when they slither through the shoes sitting beside the bar. Yes the diving is HO HUM and expensive and repetitive at the resort. BTW, there are three dives a day. Two in the morning after a hurried breakfast. (Breakfast starts 6:30; boats leave 7:15) and one in the afternoon after lunch at 2:15 pm or at dusk (ie. Night dive - 1 per week).

Pelagian diving is much better. You dive from two RIBS each with two 55 hp outboards. One stays starboard, the other port. They have room for the driver, four divers and a divemaster. There are three warm showers on each side of the deck for rinse off after the dive. Your wet suit is taken upstairs and turned inside out to dry by the crew. It is also laid right side out and FOLDED next to your socks/booties/hood etc. on the aft deck before each dive by the crew. Now that is service above and beyond. Diving is much the same as the resort except the walls are walls instead of steep slopes and the reefs are cleaner (no trash). Diversity is similar except the one day in five that they “muck” dive. Unfortunately it is only one day in five but it is fantastic. The dusk dive that day is the mandarin fish dive and if you have ever struggled to pull focus in dim light on a mandarin fish as I have, struggle no more. There are literally hundreds of mandarin fish which are not the least light shy. Indeed it appeared as if some of them enjoyed doing the mating thing in my video lights as if to show off. Best Mandarin fish dive in the world. Schedule is liveaboard style: continental breakfast, dive sit down breakfast, dive, lunch, dive, snack, dusk/nite dive.
If you have not seen pygmy seahorses or banded sea kraits do go to Wakatobi. For the best mandarin fish dive on earth go on the Pelagian otherwise go somewhere else – anywhere else. We could have done two ten day trips on good boats/resorts and saved a LOT of money. Of course we would not have seen pygmy seahorses on every dive but who cares.
Wakatobi has many repeat guests. About 1/3 on our excursion. I have no idea why. Perhaps they have never been to a good resort? Or on good liveaboards? Or perhaps they think they are getting premium just because they are paying a lot? If you asked my wife or I how soon we would return the answer would be “Never would be too soon”.
Websites Wakatobi -- Pelagian   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience Over 1000 dives
Where else diving Fiji, Solomon Is, PNG, Red Sea, Caribbean, Lembeh, Nusa Tengarra, Benaken, Maluku, Raja Ampat ...
Closest Airport Theirs Getting There Charter flight from Denpasar, Bali

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas calm
Water Temp 82-84°F / 28-29°C Wetsuit Thickness 2
Water Visibility 40-80 Ft/ 12-24 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile no
Enforced diving restrictions Dive with divemaster
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks 1 or 2 Mantas None
Dolphins 1 or 2 Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 4 stars Tropical Fish 3 stars
Small Critters 2 stars Large Fish N/A
Large Pelagics N/A

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

Subject Matter 2 stars Boat Facilities 3 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 4 stars Shore Facilities 4 stars
UW Photo Comments Camera room at the long house is the coolest room at the resort
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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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