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Views on Wakatobi

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#1 sasdasdaf

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Posted 13 June 2013 - 07:31 PM

Dear UW photography experts,

 

I would like to ask for your views on Wakatobi.  I am considering joining an UW photography group for a trip to Wakatobi Dive Resort in Nov/Dec and I wanted to get a better understanding of what to expect.

 

I am an experienced diver (600 dives in all kinds of environments, technical and cave trained) with several years of UW photography experience (~150 UW photography dives).  99% of my photography to date has been macro photography but I would like to start learning how to shoot wide-angle.  I have been to well known macro locations such as Anilao, Puerto Galera, Cabilao, Lembeh, Bali, and Sipadan.

 

I am looking for a place with excellent macro life and reasonable wide angle opportunities.

 

My questions are:

1. How would you rate Wakatobi's diving relative to some of the places that I mentioned above and also relative to places like Komodo, Ambon, Raja Ampat?

2. Are the conditions in Wakatobi conducive for underwater photography?  Are there lots of walls and currents? (I don't particularly like walls or currents for macro photography)

3. What do you think of Wakatobi Dive Resort?

 

Thank you.

 


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#2 scorpio_fish

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Posted 14 June 2013 - 02:00 PM

I am highly ambivalent about Wakatobi.   First, you will love the rooms and food.   It doesn't get much better.

 

I've always considered it to be 4 star diving.   I would place Komodo and Raja Ampat in the 5 star category.   I don't know Sipadan, but all the other locations would be superior to Wakatobi for macro.   So, yes, it is conducive to good photography, but they have rules (flashing cirtters and god forbid you pull out a tripod).   But I'd rate other places higher. 

 

Wakatobi has a lot of wall dives, but these would be your wide angle dives, not your macor dives.   The best macro sets at Wakatobi are for the most part not wall dives.   Currents are quite varied.   It is no bigger issue at Wakatobi than other locations and probably less.

 

The marvelous house reef can be done as wide angle dive a long the wall or a macro dive on top.

 

I'm not a fan of Lorenz.   All of the staff are gone since our last visit with the departure of Iman Baldwin.   I've heard they have gotten a little strict on their diving.

 

Only rarely does someone say they had a bad trip to Wakatobi.   They might have had a better one somewhere else, maybe for less money, too.


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#3 sasdasdaf

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Posted 16 June 2013 - 07:08 AM

Dear scorpio_fish,

 

Thank you for the detailed response.  It was exactly the type of thoughtful response I was hoping to get.  Greatly appreciated.


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#4 jlyle

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Posted 16 June 2013 - 10:06 AM

I've been lots of places in the world, and to Wakatobi twice.  IMHO, you should go to Wakatobi at least once in your diving lifetime.  As stated above, the resort is off the chart - it's the tropical island paradise that we all have in our imaginations.  The diving is wonderful for WA and macro, but you will find much better macro other places.  The wall in front of the resort is fantastic; in fact, you might think about skipping half the boat dives and play with your camera on the house reef.  My two cents?  Go for it.  I don't think you will be disappointed.

 

http://diver.net/bbs...002/72866.shtml


Edited by jlyle, 16 June 2013 - 10:08 AM.

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#5 sasdasdaf

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Posted 16 June 2013 - 07:01 PM

Thank you, jlyle.  I read your trip report and saw your pictures from Wakatobi.  Looks like you had a great time. 


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#6 TomR1

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Posted 26 August 2013 - 03:14 PM

I go to Wakatobi every year so that should tell you what I think about it. Attached are two articals based on Wakatobi, one macro and one wide angle from a single dive trip.  You be the judge.

 

http://www.tomandgin...uper_macro.html

 

http://www.tomandgin... the Reefs.html


Edited by TomR1, 26 August 2013 - 03:15 PM.


#7 Drew

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Posted 27 August 2013 - 11:01 PM

I'll semi-echo what Scorpio said.  Objectively, the diving is not nearly among the top 10 Indo areas in marine diversity.  The corals in the area are probably in the top 20 but then without prodigious fish life, it's not really outstanding.  There are a few good sites but the signs of healthy reefs with mix of big and small reef fish life aren't available within the diving area of the resort.  
The walls do not have the consistency of fish life of say, the Verde island near PG, which I'm sure you've been to if you went to PG.The house reef is nice, but I would not go all the way there for that house reef, especially since you've been to the Tulamben and Anilao area, which are while different are similarly productive.
The subjective part is a bit more complex. As a photographer, you want a bit of flexibility in the ability to shoot.  The resort's diving policies are very peculiar.  They'll let a few select photographers trash a site, then enforce almost comparatively draconian dive practices on the main crowd.  I happen to know quite a few of the former and present staff so it's a pervasive problem.
Personally I put the Sangalaki area above Wakatobi resort area diving.  You get mantas, bigger schools of fish and 

KNP and it's surrounding islands and the R4 bird's head areas have some amazing sites and the contain some of the top areas of diving in Indonesia in terms of diversity and health.

For KNP, I'm very biased against coming out from Labuan Bajo on day trips because most of the time, you'll miss the slack to full tides on the marquee sites.    KNP is definitely a liveaboard  destination.

R4 is a little different.  In Misool, you find a few of the top 10 sites in biodiversity and health.  A liveaboard will give you the best of all places but being at a resort allows you repeated diving on the best sites.

Good luck in your choice. :)
 


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#8 sasdasdaf

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Posted 28 August 2013 - 07:53 AM

Thank you everyone for your views.

 

I have decided to join the Wetpixel Lembeh Macro Workshop with Dr. Alex Mustard in October instead.  So excited!


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