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August 2007    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Available to the Public Vol. 33, No. 8   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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A Different Experience at Wakatobi Resort

from the August, 2007 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

Undercurrent subscribers who recently stayed at the Wakatobi Resort have no complaints about the resort diving, compared to our reviewer’s liveaboard trip.

Chrisanda Button and Rickie Sterne (Elkins, AR) went last October and say Wakatobi deserves its reputation as a premier dive resort. “Not only is the diving beautiful, the service excellent, the accommodations comfortable and the food delicious, you get to feel good about being at a resort that works hard to maintain good ecological practices.” Dive gear setup is as simple as upon a liveaboard. “Take your gear to the shed on the day of your arrival and thereafter it will be moved from shore to boat and back again by the boat crew. They set it up each day, quickly learning just how high each diver liked to carry his tank.” They also had no problem with food or the staff. “We felt we had dined in a fine restaurant all week. The Indonesian staff were so attentive that by midweek they were mimicking our Southern speech patterns, saying ‘Here’s some water, y’all.’”

“Yes, you are paying a slight premium for all of the above, but it is our opinion that it is worth every penny and more,” say Phil and Patricia Tobin (Portland, OR), who also went in October. Beach entry 35 feet in front of the resort led to a magnificent wall and drift dive. “On the checkout dive, I spotted a turtle, lionfish, bumphead parrot fish, and more nudibranchs than I can count,” says Phil. “From there, it only got better.” Their take on the food: “Not gourmet, but reasonably healthy with a good variety.” The only fault: poor lighting in the bungalows. “Bring a headlamp so you can read at night.” They’re going again this fall and plan to spend a week on the Pelagian.

Larry D. Gohl (Antioch, IL) also wasn’t disappointed with his May trip. “The dive operation was so well organized that all I was responsible for was analyzing my Nitrox tank.” He enjoyed his spotless, breezy beachfront bungalow and the sandy paths around the resort. “After I entered my bungalow for the first time, that was the last time I wore shoes until I left 10 days later.” Gohl’s group had the same dive guide for his entire stay, “which was nice, because he knew what we were looking for and tailored the dives to satisfy all four of us.” Gohl was also impressed by Wakatobi owner Lorenz Maeder. “He worked out an arrangement with the locals where he furnishes electricity and hires them to work at the resort in exchange for their help in protecting the reefs from destructive fishing habits. And when we were getting on the plane back to Bali, he was standing at the bottom of the stairway, shaking our hands and thanking us for coming to Wakatobi. When was the last time you saw that?”

Package prices range from $1,940 to $2,940 for seven days, and $2,640 to $4,040 for 10 days. A three-hour plane ride from Denpasar, Bali, is an additional $290.

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