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Wakatobi, Indonesia: Best Micro SCUBA Diving in the World

Nudibranch Wakatobi Indonesia

Nudibranch: Photo credit Serrhel Adams

If you want to have the most amazing SCUBA diving experience possible, then you should logically head to an area of the world touted as “the world’s best diving.” Many locales stake the best diving claim. If you were to map all of these claims, you would see spatterings in the Caribbean, The Red Sea, The Indian Ocean – to name a few. However, you would notice that the highest concentration of “best dive sites” lies in the Pacific. In fact, The Coral Triangle is one of the most ecologically rich and biologically diverse regions on Earth, so much so that six countries and seven NGOs (including my former employer, TNC) and government agencies have formed The Coral Triangle Initiative in an effort to protect this important region.

Coral Triangle Map

Coral Triangle Map

Sulawesi, Indonesia lies in the heart of The Coral Triangle, and the marine life there consistently makes the top-dive lists across the board.

Clownfish Wakatobi Indonesia

Photo credit: Serrhel Adams

Wakatobi Dive Resort is one of the best dive claimants (and one of the top-ranked on Google “world’s best diving” searches), and I would personally have to agree with their claim.

Diver at Wakatobi Indonesia

Photo credit: Serrhel Adams

Clam at Wakatobi Indonesia

Photo credit: Serrhel Adams

Like anything in life, it’s hard to claim to be “the best” of anything. I think it’s more realistic to say something is “one of the best” in it’s respective category. It’s just like traveling to many different countries and being faced with the question upon your return, “Which was your favorite place?” My answer is invariably “They were all so different. It’s hard to pick a favorite, but I like x country for the food, y country for the architecture, z country for the striking landscape.” You get my drift.

Diving is very similar. If you want experience the best wreck diving in the world, you should head to Yap in Micronesia. If you wanted to see the most brilliantly colorful soft corals in existence, jump over to Fiji’s Somosomo Strait. Shark diving? Again, Fiji (Beqa Lagoon) or Australia’s Coral Sea (especially the Scuba Zoo site).

Micro Crab Wakatobi Indonesia

Photo credit: Serrhel Adams

Tiger Shark Fiji

Me and Alan diving at Bega Lagoon, Fiji

Wakatobi emphasizes the fascinating variety of micro marine life. Does this seem anti-climatic to you? Many divers may feel the need to see big marine life, but if you think about viewing micro marine life as a scavenger hunt, it becomes very fun and interesting!

White Nudibranch Wakatobi Indonesia

Photo credit: Serrhel Adams

It definitely helps to have a dive master with a keen eye. Muji was probably one of the best dive masters I’ve ever met. He was not only a great guide and navigator, but he wasn’t an overbearing, micro-managing dive master (i.e. he didn’t constantly monitor your depth and tell you to ascend, etc.) Most importantly, it seemed that every time we hit the water, Muji would take us straight to a hidden treasure. I can’t tell you how many (rare) pygmy sea horses he found (the largest one being no bigger than a pinky finger nail).

Dive Boat Wakatobi Indinesia

Me and Muji- the best dive master ever!

Pygmy Seahorse Wakatobi Indonesia

This pygmy seahorse is so tiny. It is wrapped around a microscopic piece of a sea fan. Photo credit: Serrhel Adams

The best underwater photographer I’ve ever known, Serrhel Adams’ photography is heavily featured in this post. Although a hobby and not a profession, I consider Serrhel’s photos to be of the highest caliber, both in their artistry and composition. Serrhel and his wife Patty were part of our Louisiana Underwater Adventures dive group.

Diving at Wakatobi Indonesia

Serrhel’s on the left with the glasses and colorful shirt, his lovely wife Patty beside him. What a great group we had!!

Here’s a map of Wakatobi Resort’s dive sites. 

Dive Sites of Wakatobi Indonesia

Dive Sites of Wakatobi

Of the 17 dive sites that we explored, my favorites were Sawa Utara, Roma and Starship. Our night dive was on Sunia Baru, which was a very colorful wall.

White Nudibranch Wakatobi Indonesia

Nudibranch- the prettiest snails. Photo credit: Williem Gingnagel

Eels Wakatobi Indonesia

Photo credit: Williem Gingnagel

For my next Wakatobi post, I’m going to dig up (and attempt to edit) some of the underwater video I shot using my brother’s GoPro camera. There’s a pretty cool segment of me swimming with a (extremely venomous) sea snake, much like the one below in Serrhel’s shot (maybe it’s the same guy I swam with!).

Sea Snale Wakatobi Indonesia

Sea Snake! Photo credit: Serrhel Adams

I’m curious, what is your favorite SCUBA diving location? Please let me know in the comments section!

♥ Lindsay

Related posts:

World Class Wakatobi Dive Resort in Indonesia

Why I Went to Indonesia to SCUBA Dive and My Life Under the Sea

Bali Indonesia: En Route to Sulawesi’s Dream Dive Destination – Wakatobi

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11 Responses to Wakatobi, Indonesia: Best Micro SCUBA Diving in the World

  1. Bubba March 3, 2013 at 6:11 PM #

    My favorite dive site believe it or not is right here in the good old USA. More specifically about 80 to 100 miles off the coast of Southwest Louisiana,namely Cameron Parish.

    This far off shore the Gulf of Mexico waters are as clear as any of those in the magnificent areas that you posted in your blog. My friends and I would go out on long summer weekends spending two nights and two days coaming this region of the gulf for uncharted wrecks,rocks,and reefs. We had hundreds of locations given to us and GPS coordinates from old shrimpers that we got to know over the years.

    When we got to a location we would spend some time going back and forth with the fathometer getting the best reading on what lay below. When we found the perfect spot we would throw the buoy overboard with a 150 feet of line and watch it spin as we got dive equipment and gear ready. Even though we were this far out the waters off this part of the Louisiana coast would only average 120 feet or more.

    The part that I love the most was the excitement and adrenaline rush you got knowing you were going down onto a unknown site. You never knew what to expect to be looming off of the ocean floor. Usually you would be engulfed in so many fish before you got to the floor it was hard to see what you were looking for.

    Sometimes we would find large rocks encrusted in lobster. Once we came across a 250 foot seismic ship headed that was stillin good condition. One of my favorite places we nicknamed the Penacle. This was a steep rock formation that came to 95 feet of the surface and fell away to a depth of over 200 feet. It reminded me of one of the exotic rock formations that you would find out in Utah.

    Like I said this type of diving cannot compete with the beauty of the coral reefs however the excitement of being the first one there makes up the difference.

    • The Traveluster March 3, 2013 at 7:41 PM #

      Great comment, Dad! You were definitely a part of the pioneering days in the Gulf! I fondly remember going on my first rig dive with you and how huge the fish were! I guess it’s not the same these days, as most of the territory has been charted. You’re lucky to have had that experience! And being so close, you got to go more often, which is always a plus. I remember eating the fresh fish and lobster you would bring back for us by the ice-chest loads, and Mom would cook it up to perfection!

  2. cacinda maloney July 16, 2013 at 5:19 AM #

    I love this post! I have always wanted to go here! you are one lucky gal!

  3. Scubanomad October 6, 2015 at 6:23 AM #

    Beautiful photos, indeed. I love the one with pygmy seahorse. It is very hard to spot them, not to mention taking a photo with that quality. Kudos to Serrhel.

    • Lindsay February 5, 2016 at 10:19 PM #

      Yea, Serrhel is the BEST! I love his shots! And it’s cool to immortalize the dive with his images!

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