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Dive Review of Waktobi/Wakatobi in
Indonesia/Sulawesi

Waktobi/Wakatobi, Oct, 2009,

by Rick Bates, Ontario, Canada (Reviewer Reviewer 6 reports). Report 5196.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience Over 1000 dives
Where else diving PNG, Northern Australia, Southern Australia, Fiji, British Columbia, Great Lakes, Altlantic, Florida, Bonaire, Bahamas, T&C, Cozumel
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, windy Seas calm
Water Temp 82 to 84 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 50 to 75 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions 60 mins
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

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

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

Subject Matter 3 stars Boat Facilities 3 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 3 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments Great indoor camera area at dock with tables and shelves.

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

Accommodations 3 stars Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 3 stars Environmental Sensitivity 1 stars
Dive Operation 3 stars Shore Diving 4 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 1 stars
Beginners 4 stars
Advanced 4 stars
Comments Travelling to Wakatobi can be complicated and lengthy. Overnight in Bali is necessary, and we should have planned more than 2 days there, so much more to see. Charter flight to Wakatobi was long, hot and miserable. Once at resort, bags etc are looked after for you. Dive gear set up at docks a little crowded, but well organized in numbered bins for staff to carry to and from boats.
Everything here is run with typical Swiss precision, but I found it far to regimented. I felt as if I was in the army, with everything scheduled down to the exact minute. Only thing seemed flexible was the 60 min bottom times. I was averaging 70 mins per dive, and no one said anything to me, they seemed glad I was enjoying my dives. Great shore dives.
DM's left a lot to be desired. They seem only to go through the motions and didn't really enjoy themselves. Our DM refused to show us around on dives or point out critters for us. After speaking to his supervisor, he improved for one day, but soon returned to his previous behaviour. Dives were nice, but I have done many better dives without travelling so far! This was a very expensive trip, but I never felt I got my money's worth. Fish life was varied but got very boring after first few dives. Nothing much different from each site.
The senior staff at Wakatobi was very aloof, and unfriendly, too business like. Other staff helpful and hardworking, but did not seem very happy to me. Island staff clearly treated poorly compared to European and N American staff.
Food was great, but buffet style. A glass of wine at dinner was $8, which is outrageous. Happy hour (20% off) was 4:30-5:30 pm, but return time from 3rd dive was about 4:30 every day, so no one got cleaned up in time to go to bar and take advantage of it!
The other "scam" at Wakatobi, and they seem to treat it like their dirty little secret, was no fresh water for rinsing gear!! Even on the last day we were repeatedly reminded that "rinsing gear upon returning home is strongly recommended". Then we figured out why, they were filling the "rinse tanks" with salt water! When confronted with this, a staff member denied it, but was later observed emptying the tanks, and refilling them with REAL fresh water to clean off the resort owned gear used by DM's. I then tried to rinse my gear in an outdoor shower, and was ordered to stop by a DM, because it was "not allowed". Everyone in my group then took their gear to our cabins and rinsed in our showers. Most of us had a 4 day journey to get home, and were not going to see a hotel room with water for over 24 hours, so it was critical to get the salt off our gear before packing to leave. Be warned. Staff reminded us excessively about tipping before we left. Check out was a wasted evening lined up awaiting our turn to meet with account person to settle our bill. We waited in line for over an hour on our last evening, when we should have been enjoying ourselves.
Cabins were nice, but A/C didn't work very well. Breeze from the ocean helped though.
Yes, Wakatobi is nice, dives are nice, food was nice. However, none of it lived up to the hype, and its a long way to travel for the mediocre. Many in our group left feeling like we'd travelled a long way for nothing. Same or better diving is available closer to home (and lest costly). If I want to do similar diving in the future, I will go back to Fiji.
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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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