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.
Sulawesi, Indonesia lies in the heart of The Coral Triangle, and the marine life there consistently makes the top-dive lists across the board.
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.
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).
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!
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).
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.
Here’s a map of Wakatobi Resort’s dive sites.
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.
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!).
I’m curious, what is your favorite SCUBA diving location? Please let me know in the comments section!