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NWDiver

Wakatobi Trip Report w/pics

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We have been a fair number of places but few have sparked as many questions as our trip to Wakatobi Dive resort located in Southeast Sulawesi, Indonesia. In the end everyone’s question boils down to “is Wakatobi worth the money????” The simple answer is a resounding YES!

 

 

(This is the “short version” trip report. If you want the more detailed go to http://www.aquabluedreams.com/staticpages/pid/64)

 

The Resort

At Wakatobi function meets quality. From booking to departure everything went seamlessly. At the resort the staff was friendly and always on the spot to help. Our villa, villa #1, was the most luxurious accommodations we have had at any dive resort. In addition the dive area, dinning hall, spa, camera room, dive boats have been all well thought out and executed. Go to their web site and what you see is what you get. The food at Wakatobi is some of the best we have had anywhere. Always buffet with an excellent mix of local and western dishes.

 

Villa #!

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The Dive Routine

There are three boat dives per day typically departing at 8am, 10am and 2:20pm. Two boat night dives where offered during our trip. We added a dusk dive everyday so averaged 4 dives per day. Like most resorts, once you set up your gear you never touch it again. Wakatobi has a four divers to one dive guide ratio, which is as close as you can get to having a private guide.

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The House Reef

This is by far the best house reef we have seen anywhere and in large part sets Wakatobi apart. Dive the house reef when you want between 6am and 10pm. Current does play a role so you dive it on the slack or as a drift. On the slack, it took us over 80 minutes to putt along 70% of the house reef. When we dove it on a “large” exchange, we covered the whole reef in just about 20 minutes. This is known as the Wakatobi Express.

Top of House Reef

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The Reef and Creatures

Again it is the reefs that make this a must do destination. Orange cup corals cover a large percentage of every site. The best part is these are open and feeding during the day, not just at night as you see in most areas. Along with a wide range of corals sites are covered in sponges and fans of all colors, shapes and sizes.

 

While not a big creature destination, we did see more schools of bumphead parrot fish than we have seen in all our trips combined to date. We spotted a few sharks and the occasional eagle ray. If you like turtles, you will love Wakatobi.

 

Just about every type of tropical fish you love can be found. The reefs are dense with schools of anthias, pyramid butterfly fish and many other species. This is not a muck diving location, and you have to look more diligently for the small and bizarre critters. But there are leafy scorpion fish, blue ringed octopus, pygmy seahorses, frog fish, stone fish, sea snakes and pipe fish to be found, just stick close to your guide.

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Even the most plain are nicely framed

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The Inevitable Comparisons.

 

Wakatobi vs. Raja Ampat. In our humble opinion Raja is simply the premier spot for overall tropical diving. Raja has a wider range of fish and invertebrate life; plus you will have more opportunities to see bigger creatures. Wakatobi’s reefs are healthier and more vibrant in color. If you are a 5-dives-a-day person and love live-aboards, then go to Raja, you will have a great time! If you are looking for a more relaxed atmosphere at a more luxuriant, land based resort, then Wakatobi is an excellent choice.

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Wakatobi vs. Fiji/Thailand. Both have more soft corals than Wakatobi. Both have spots like Richelieu Rock that compete with Wakatobi’s reefs but think of Richeliu stretched out to a mile long reef and that is Wakatobi. Fiji and Thailand do have more sharks and rays. A big advantage for Wakatobi is radically fewer divers.

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Wakatobi vs. Palau. Palau has way more big animals. Currents can be similar between the two destinations. But again Wakatobi has more spectacular reefs and is more “fishy”.

 

Wakatobi vs. The Caribbean. Honestly, there is no comparison get your backside on a plane to the South Pacific….

Nice spot for a drink

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In the End

Yes Wakatobi is worth the time and expense. When you get to operations and destinations of this caliber it is like picking between Mercedes, Audi and BMW. You can’t go wrong it is just a matter of taste. Wakatobi does have something for everyone and it all comes impeccably wrapped and delivered.

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Hy,

 

I have read the whole trip report and I must say I envy you:)

 

I have couple of questions for you!

I can see that you are from Seattle so Wakatobi is a long way trip for you! I am planing in near future to visit few exotic dive locations around the world. Can you tell me how do you plan your trip? Do you book everything over the internet? I don`t care for plane tickets, my mind is on contacting the resorts and planing how to spend my days there! These resorts are exotic and I cant compare it with the resorts in my country Croatia. We have great devided coast with many beautiful dive locations, numerous wrecks that are mentioned all over the world, bu our main problem is that we don`t know to apreciate that!

 

But lets get back to the subject!

I am going to Red Sea in december, but that was easy to plan cause I have found small company in Slovenia who is arranging 7day liveboards in Egypt/Sudan all inclusive. All I ahve to do is come to Ljubljana and then I am in their hands!

What about the resort prices? Are they highy converted to US dollars?

 

I have seen many reports from Wakatobi, so maybe I will plan to go there next!

 

If you can and help me out little bit with planning, accomodation, prices I would be much grateful!

 

Thank you

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Excellent report. Wakarobi is a place i have always wanted to dive and have read and heard so many mixed reviews on the resort that i have refrained from going there. You have a great website and a really nice slide show of your stay there If I were you i would add a few more images to this thread to entice a greater audience. All of your other galleries are very good also.

 

Stew

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NWDiver,

Very nice report. I applaud you're W/A shots as well. We were there for 10 days in February and reading your report mirrors our experience. Best overall diver operation I've ever been to. One thing I found a bit different was your saying every night was a buffet? We ordered from menus several times over our stay. Maybe half so, not sure what the deal is on that. Perhaps the low number of divers when we were there.

Wakatobi rocks, if it weren't such a PITA to get to, it would be a regular destination I'm sure.

 

Stew, all the things that were issues in the past have been worked out. They are going out of their way now to make sure everything is good. They will ask you several times during your stay if everything is Ok. And fix it if it's not. Other than the currents which are present at times and can be annoying when shooting super macro they are over the top with customer service.

 

Rand

Edited by randapex

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What about the resort prices? Are they highy converted to US dollars?

 

I have seen many reports from Wakatobi, so maybe I will plan to go there next!

 

If you can and help me out little bit with planning, accomodation, prices I would be much grateful!

 

Thank you

 

They are at the website: Here is the page for the prices.

 

Happy surfing.

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Alexx, most good dive resorts or live-aboards will help you with everything, some even with air line tickets. If you give them your flights they often can take care of everything after that. One travel agent we have used is Bettina with http://diversionoz.com. For South Pacific trips she has been very helpful.

 

Someone wanted more photos, don't have to ask twice...

 

(Sorry if some of these are duplicates from previous posts, to lazy to check)

 

The resort and the house reef. These are "roughly" the in and out points

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Villa Entrance

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Dive from the shore to the end of the dock. End of the dock is about the 1/3 point of the house reef

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Typical Reefscapes

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There you go

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