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Wakatobi Endorsements

Randy Judd
Randy Judd, Dive group leader
Randy Judd

Randy Judd is a child of the Sea Hunt years and regrets waiting until 1990 to be certified. He is an Advanced Open Water Instructor with Rec Diving of Royal Oak, Michigan. He holds multiple Specialty Certifications and celebrated his 1100th dive at Wakatobi. He has dived and led groups through the Great Lakes, Caribbean, Gulf of California, Fiji, PNG, Palau, GBR and now Indonesia. He started UW photography when he fell asleep diving in Belize (true story) and turned to photography and videography to keep things fresh.


 

Over a century ago, Somerset Maugham compiled a series of short stories on the colonial archipelagos of what was then known as the South Seas. These were tales of Europeans from the perspective of a British writer, but the allure of these exotic and wonderful islands resonate even when read today. Where the curious traveler then would invest months of travel to find paradise, it can now be had with the purchase of a plane ticket and the resolve to endure thirty-six hours flight time to Bali. At Wakatobi, no guest need be concerned about any vestige of the colonial era. It is an eco friendly resort whose creators' mission statement must be dedicated to diversity is inclusion of the Indonesian people in all levels and aspects of the staff and operation. It's a barefoot and first name existence for all the guests as they walk the sandy paths in the neat and unpretentious campus. It is a very unique summer camp and a great place to forget just about everything

The most immediate question is whether Wakatobi is worth the trip to experience its wonders. Simply put ... it really is. Any dive resort needs to provide the basics: healthy reefs and fish stocks; a top notch dive operation with excellent personnel; accommodations and meals that reward the adventurous types who travel there. Wakatobi delivers on all counts. If there is such a thing as too much service, then Wakatobi sets the bar high for all competitors in the high end dive market. If a regulator was balky, into the Dive Center it went for analysis. When my external monitor had a gremlin, it was diagnosed and new wiring soldered in place. Each group of four divers has a dive guide assigned for each dive. Some of us were resistant to such close contact, but the young and experienced eyes of the very enthusiastic and helpful guides that we were assigned provided us with the chance to see far more than we could have ever found on our own and with identification on slates and photo I.D. cards. The reefs are healthy and alive with everything that a diver wants to see. To find two Cuttlefish was worth the price of admission. The number of Nudibranchs strains Neville Coleman's photo identification books.

Wakatobi also offer one of the three Fluo night dive experiences in the world. It's too complicated to adequately address here, but with the aid of special lights and lens over each diver's mask, it allowed us to see the florescent qualities of the reef flora and fauna. To see a butterscotch colored moray eel slide out of a dark hole is not something that I'll forget. It is an amazing opportunity to experience a developing field of research.

The food at Wakatobi deserves its own review and is simply the best that I've experienced a dive dedicated resort. The Pastry Chef is a treasure. The food is varied, beautifully prepared and pleasingly presented.

There is also a well stock wine list which went down well with the memories of the day's experience. No one complained about the food or the service.

I've led trips for seventeen years to resorts and a lot of liveaboard dive boats and Wakatobi sits solidly at the top of the heap when it comes to a great experience above and below the surface. I try not to repeat myself, but this is a destination that deserves a return visit or two.

Best Regards,

Randy Judd

 

 

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