Over the past 30years I've had the opportunity to travel to and dive some amazing places, and
Wakatobi is one of them. As the world grows smaller, we must travel to more and more remote
areas to find these unique pieces of paradise. Wakatobi's location is worth every minute of
travel time. From our initial contact to our return home the staff of Wakatobi was there to
ensure things proceeded seamlessly.
That attention to detail carried through to the physical resort itself and was evident the moment
you stepped off the water taxi. You see it in the thoughtful layout of the dive center, dive boats,
camera room, dining hall and grounds. Our villa, the spa, the longhouse are all gorgeous,
beautifully built and impeccably maintained. Our villa was truly an oasis within paradise itself.
When we go on dive trips the quality of the food is not typically something I am concerned with;
it's just fuel to keep me diving. So I must admit I was quite happy to see Wakatobi's commitment
to excellence carried through to the kitchen. The buffet made available was a wonderful mix of
local and western cuisine, truly something for everyone. My "photo of the week" victory cake was
a work of art and great to eat!
As impressive as all this was, what solidifies Wakatobi as a premier dive destination is what
matters most, the incredible diving. It is inspiring, because of their commitment to working
with the local people in preserving this living jewel. For divers, no gloves, reef hooks or
tripods were allowed. Yet, the guides are committed to helping you get the best shot. To the
degree of volunteering to be your tripod, if needed. None of this was delivered in a heavy
handed way, but was communicated in a manner that made it clear they recognize what really
makes Wakatobi special and ask you to please help them preserve it.
There are too many fabulous dive sites to recount here. To call the reef you can walk out to a
"house-reef" feels like a disservice. This stretch of reef is as verdant, colorful and
as full of life as any we have seen; even those only accessible by live-aboard. The mix of corals,
sponges, fans and fish is dazzling. For the first time we experienced that "gin clear" water we
have read of so often. As an enthusiastic photographer, I could barely bring myself to take my
wide angle lens off. But when I did there was no shortage of excellent macro subjects, from
nudibranch to pygmy seahorses. With just 4 divers per guide, finding these critters is made simple.
We have all heard quotes to the effect "the journey is more important than the destination".
While that may be true in many cases, Wakatobi could be an exception. Enjoy the journey, as
much as you can, but be assured the destination is a reward in itself. Wakatobi is a wonderful
portal to exploring the vivid vistas of inner-space divers seek out.
|Some Martin Heyn Photos @ Wakatobi