First Time Charms

Published August 27, 2017 in DIVING & SNORKELING

Why Wakatobi Resort is an ideal destination for new and advancing divers

Wakatobi Resort has earned a reputation as one of the world’s premier destinations for snorkeling, diving and underwater photography. The combination of pristine, protected reefs, marine bio-diversity and a highly-professional support infrastructure make Wakatobi a favorite of experienced divers, underwater naturalists and professional image makers. But you don’t need a thousand dives under your weight belt to enjoy this destination. In fact, many of the same qualities that wow the experts are equally as inviting and accommodating to casual divers, underwater novices and snorkelers.

Easy access to the shallows on the House Reef are inviting and fun whether you’re new to the underwater world or are an accomplished diver. Photo by Wakatobi Resort

A family first

When the Bennett family made plans to visit Wakatobi Resort, Mitchell Bennett knew it was time to take the plunge. “My dad has been scuba diving for years, and my sister Haylie is an instructor,” he says. “When we booked this trip, I was the only one in the family not certified for open water. So it would have been a crying shame to come all this way to such a beautiful place and not be able to make the most of it.”

“I chose Wakatobi for our family vacation because I wanted somewhere that could cater to different skill sets in terms of diving,” says Joe Bennett.

Mitchell finished his training with his sister a month before arriving at the resort, and made his first open water dives on Wakatobi’s reefs. “It couldn’t get any better for a first-ever open water dive,” he says. “I also found that having such skilled guides and thorough pre-dive briefings was really valuable. It was an excellent show of teamwork here, and the time at Wakatobi helped me become a better diver.”

Wakatobi’s fleet of custom-built dive boats are very accommodating to those new to the sport. Photo by Walt Stearns

Easing in

There are a number of factors that make Wakatobi an ideal destination for new divers. It begins with our staff, who take pride in providing each diver with the highest level of personalized service and attention, both in and out of the water. Novices are never rushed or pressured when they need a bit of extra time adjusting their gear or getting in and out of the water. Once in the water, they are never far from the watchful eye of a guide, but are always given the appropriate level of autonomy and diving freedom. Wakatobi’s custom-built dive launches are equally accommodating for those new to dive boats. Each offers generous personal and gear spaces on shaded benches, provides above-deck bathrooms, and allows for easy water entry and exit from mid-boat entry doors set close to water level, and fitted with sturdy ladders.

Many of Wakatobi’s dive sites seem tailor-made for new divers, as they are located just a short boat ride from the resort, and sea conditions are usually quite calm along the way, and when entering and exiting the water.

Mid-boat companion ways on either side of the boats are set close to water level and fitted with sturdy ladders; they offer easy entry and exit for divers and snorkelers. Photo by Walt Stearns

Once divers submerge, the excellent water clarity helps to prevent the stresses sometimes associated with diving in low visibility conditions. A majority of sites also start quite shallow, with reef tops rising to within a few meters of the surface. As a result, new divers need not begin their dive with an open-water drop in a featureless blue void, and can instead use the reef slope as a point of reference to descend at their own pace.

With many of the reef tops rising to within a few meters of the surface, new divers can use the reef slope as a point of reference to descend at their own pace.

With many of the reef tops rising to within a few meters of the surface, new divers can use the reef slope as a point of reference to descend at their own pace. Photo by Mathis Weatherall

Those who need to pause and take a bit longer to adjust buoyancy or equalize can do so without feeling pressured to keep up. And then there’s the environment. With so much to see, divers soon forget any anxiety that might be associated with submersion. And with the assistance of our keen-eyed guides, even first-timers will discover a wealth of unique marine life.

Novices enjoy the exceptional visibility and wealth of marine life on Wakatobi’s shallow sites. Photo by Walt Stearns

Finishing up or stepping up

Every so often, we welcome guests who have not quite finished their dive certification. This isn’t a problem, as our dive center is affiliated with the major training agencies, and our staff can sign off on those final open-water dives needed to earn a C-card. In such cases, we suggest divers complete the academic portion of their training, and master the basic skills during initial pool sessions back home. If need be, we can provide a full training program, but as we often tell prospective guests, why waste time at Wakatobi on the basics when you can get those out of the way ahead of time and have more time to enjoy the reefs.

Discover Scuba Diving (DSD) at Wakatobi, with an exploratory course that includes theory, confined water instruction and one open water dive (shore or taxi). Photo by Didi Lotze

Our dive center staff includes a number of instructors qualified to offer a full range of skills upgrades. The Advanced Open Water Course builds upon the skills learned with Open Water certification. This program can be completed over the course of two days and includes five specialty dives, and all required coursework material. One of the center’s most popular courses is nitrox certification. There are many benefits of diving nitrox, which is an enriched-air mixture that offers a higher percentage of oxygen in the breathing medium. Among these advantages are longer bottom times, shorter surface intervals and a reduced risk of DCS. There are three convenient ways to get nitrox certified at Wakatobi. SDI offers an online course that is coupled with short knowledge review and a practical application session with an instructor. From the beginning of your stay in Wakatobi Resort you will dive Nitrox. We also offer an online program with PADI, and a more traditional course, which would include classroom time at the resort. Divers looking to go a little deeper or stay a little longer can also opt for Advanced Nitrox and Closed Circuit Rebreather programs through TDI.  At the other end of the spectrum, the dive center offers Discover Scuba experiences that give non-divers their first taste of Wakatobi’s spectacular underwater world, all under the attentive supervision of our staff. These programs are suitable for persons of all ages, and we can even accommodate children as young as eight through programs such as PADI’s Bubblemaker experience.

If you are looking to take any of these courses at Wakatobi–for yourself or a family member–please inquire with your guest experience representative or our office at office@wakatobi.com. They can answer your questions and assure all appropriate arrangements will be made well in advance of your arrival.

Contact us at office@wakatobi.com or complete a quick trip inquiry at wakatobi.com.

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