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Dive Review of Wakatobi in
Indonesia/Sulawesi

Wakatobi, Sep, 2001,

by Paul Johnson, CA, USA . Report 37.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 101-250 dives
Where else diving Fiji, PNG, nothern California, Hawaii, Cayman, Bonaire
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, cloudy, dry Seas calm, currents, noCurrents
Water Temp 78 to 82 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 60 to 100 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions Divers were requested to limit dives to 75 minutes and when I just couldn't leave the reef and surfaced after 90 minutes, the dive master informed me that such behavior made him anxious for my safety.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

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

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

Subject Matter 5 stars Boat Facilities 5 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 5 stars Shore Facilities 4 stars
UW Photo Comments [None]

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

Accommodations 4 stars Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving 5 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments We left for Wakatobi Dive Resort in the Tugongbesi archipeligo of southeast Sulawesi, Indonesia, 2 weeks after 9/11. Since our group had been planning this for several years, we struggled with the political and safety implications, but in the end all divers elected to proceed. Our travel was without incident, although we did get to see a few sub-machine guns up close. We spent nights in Denpasaar, Bali, coming and going and felt no animosity. I walked down a street in a commercial district at midnight with a friend and felt safe the entire time.
Once in Bali, we were welcomed by Henrik, Renee, and Lorenz, the guiding lights of Wakatobi. They oversaw our time in Bali and went out of their way to make our time interesting, safe, comfortable and informative. The 19 hour open ocean transit on the Ciska is a thing of the past and we were flown from Bali to Wakatobi by air, a much more pleasant journey than in the past, or so I am told.
Some bottom lines. The diving is spectacular, the healthiest reefs I have ever seen. No pelagics but incredible tropicals, innumerable small critters (pygmy seahorses!) The array of ocean life was dizzying and at times it was hard to know what to look at, so many wonderful things, not enough bottom time. On a single dive (Roma) we saw ribbon eels in their blue, black, and yellow phases, a pair of robust ghostpipefish and a crocodile fish.
Each day began with a wonderful buffet breakfast, then 2 boat dives using either the Ciska or the Wakatobi Tika. After a return to the resort and lunch the afternoon could be spent reading sleeping or shore diving the house reef which was all of 20 feet from the end of the dock. No night life, this was not Grand Cayman. We dove hard and slept early.
The genius cook, Nickolas, kept us well fed with a combination of local and European delights. Three meals per day with snacks. The accomodations were comfortable and pleasant and given the location we probably lived like royalty. The divemasters Sue, Paul and Fred were knowledgable, safety conscious without being intrusive, and all around delights not withstanding my breaking of the 75 minute rule.
This is world class diving, in a remote location where the operators are working with the local economy, respecting the local culture, treading lightly on the earth and below the seas, and serving up the best that there is to offer. Can't wait to go back.
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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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