What is WA-KAH-TOE-BE? There are three things to consider: 1) Wakatobi Dive Resort is a world class, luxury, eco dive operation and resort located in Southeastern Sulawesi, Indonesia. 2) Wakatobi is the name of a regency and archipelago in Sulawesi Tenggara, the name “Wa-Ka-To-Bi” derived from the four main islands: Wangiwangi, Kaledupa, Tomia, Binongko. 3) Wakatobi is also a marine national park, which harks back to my mention of the important, biodiverse coral triangle.
You can imagine my confusion when Uncle Mark continually referenced this mysterious land: “Wakatobi, Indonesia” – as no such island exists. I searched and searched on all of the maps the Inter-webs had to offer, even Google Earth. I was confounded. After further Internet searching, I discovered that the name refers to (in this case) both the renowned dive resort we would visit and the archipelago and regency made up of many small islands. The resort is physically located on the island of Tomia. Ah, now we’re getting somewhere on the map scene!
The “house reef,” emerging directly from the resort’s private beach, teems with vibrantly colorful marine life. Guests can snorkel on it at any time or arrange for a tank dive.
Even if you were a doggy-paddling, shark-dreading person who hated sticking your head underwater, you would likely appreciate the amenities of this award-winning resort.
The restaurant offers a gourmet culinary experience in an elegant yet laid-back “no-shoes” atmosphere. The views of the serene Banda Sea against the stark white beach are so serene, you’ll want to stay for seconds, thirds, dessert, and more coffee or wine just to continue to be in that moment, soaking it all in.
Your view every morning at breakfast. Oh, and for lunch and dinner….
There are three levels of accommodations: Villas, Ocean Bungalows and Palm Bungalows. For the week we were there, my roommate and I bunked in the most “basic” of the three, the Palm Bungalows.
Seriously nice. What a great first impression!
There was always a surprise towel on the bed, whether it was a swan, a monkey, a baby…
The resort offers two distinct diving experiences.
1) Stay at the resort: Opt to stay in one of the three aforementioned types of accommodations, and enjoy all of the amenities on offer (the food, the beach, the spa, cooking classes, movie nights, happy hours). The diving from the resort operates via day dive boats. There are six of them (I think!).
The boats go out three times a day, twice in the morning and once in the afternoon. Occasionally, if a dive site is father away, the boat will stay out between the two morning dives. (The crew bring plenty of snacks and drinks. You will welcome the hot chocolate and coffee when you emerge, chilly and wet, from your dive! Despite being near the equator, being underwater for an hour brings your body temperature down significantly.)
All of these dives are completely optional. You may go as often or as little as you’d like. Each dive boat gets one night dive during the week (again, optional, but HIGHLY recommended! The florescent marine colors really POP under spot-light torches, pulling them out of complete pitch-black immersion.)
Also, keep in mind that you have unlimited access to the house reef (surface interval time permitting) for diving and snorkeling.
2) The Pelagian Dive Yacht: Spend your vacation diving on the liveaboard The Pelagian, which covers a larger area than diving directly from the resort each day. You also have the opportunity to muck dive from the Pelagian.
I’ve heard nothing but wonderful things about the liveaboard experience aboard The Pelagian. Many divers come to Wakatobi and spend one week at the resort and one week aboard the Pelagian, rewarding themselves with both types of exciting and dynamic diving atmospheres.
Lest we forget the favorite of most divers, the quintessential happy hour. There were few who missed the opportunity to partake in expensive, fruity drinks-for-half-price at the end-of-the-pier Jetty Bar against a sultry sunset backdrop.
Stories of shared and individual experiences unfolded as people from all over the world gathered to laugh, drink and be merry together. It was funny to find some other American Southerners there, in addition to a group of rowdy and entertaining Brazilians.
Next Post Teaser
Check back on Saturday for photos and videos of the magically magnificent Wakatobi marine life.
Thanks for reading!!