Take a Taxi

Published June 8, 2016 in DIVING & SNORKELING

Wakatobi Resort’s taxi boat service provides total access to the House Reef

Hop aboard a dive boat to enjoy more than 40 spectacular dive sites, or wade in right from the beach to explore the world-renowned House Reef. Divers and snorkelers certainly have plenty of options at Wakatobi Resort. And if all that isn’t enough, they can hail a taxi. In addition to the fleet of custom 70-foot dive boats that run scheduled trips each day, the resort operates a number of smaller launches known as taxi boats. Aboard these launches, divers and snorkelers can expand their horizons to include the far reaches of the House Reef. And when conditions are right, they can enjoy some amazing and drift dives.

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Taxi boats conveniently transport divers / snorkelers to the further reaches of the House Reef, which stretches 3 miles to the north and south of the resort. Photo by Didi Lotze

Meet the fleet

The resort’s House Reef stretches for nearly three miles to either side of the resort, providing vast tracts of reef and shallows to explore. There are more distant sections of the reef beyond the swimming range of the average diver or snorkeler that are not visited by a large dive boat. That’s where the taxi boats come in. The taxi boat fleet currently ranges from 4 meters to 7.4 meters in size, and each can comfortably carry five passengers. In keeping with the resort’s eco-conscious operating principles, the smaller, short-range boats in the fleet are powered by electric motors.

Taxi boats are available to all diving and snorkeling guests, and the service operates from dawn till dusk. Guests can reserve a ride at a specified time, or simply show up at the dive center and request the next available boat. As with the resort’s larger boats, dive center staff will handle all logistics of gear transfer, and all guests need do is climb aboard. Buddy teams can explore the reef on their own schedule, while the taxi boats can also accommodate private dive experience managers for those seeking a more personalized guided experience.

As with the resort's large dive boats, staff will handle all logistics of gear transfer, and all you need do is climb aboard. Photo by Marco Fierli

As with the resort’s large dive boats, staff will handle all logistics of gear transfer; all you need do is climb aboard and take a short ride to your drop off. Photo by Marco Fierli

Because currents and conditions on the House Reef can change throughout the day, it’s best to make plans for a taxi boat drop-off with the help of the dive center team. Based on tides and other factors, they will help choose a start point that takes advantage of the currents, bringing divers or snorkelers back to one of the standard exit points close to the resort. The taxi boats are equipped with radios and the resort’s shore-based security staff monitors all taxi boat activity. Should the need arise, divers or snorkelers can summon a pick up at any point along the reef with the driver, by surfacing and deploying a surface marker float or with a simple wave of the hand. Taxi drivers and dive center staff maintain a close watch on the House Reef and track each guest’s entry and exit times.

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As you drift north from Turkey Beach the reef transitions to a near-vertical slope and you will encounter colorful sea fans and bright patches of cherry blossom coral. Photo by Walt Stearns

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There is always an opportunity to see turtles at Turkey Beach. Photo by Glen Cowans

A favorite drift

One of the most popular and memorable diving experiences made possible by taxi boat service is a drift back to the resort from Turkey Beach, which is located at the southern end of the House Reef. When conditions are favorable, this is a delightful route that takes in a wide range of underwater landscapes and animals. The site’s unusual name was provided by a German-speaking guest who confused the english words “turkey” and “turtle” when describing the large number of marine reptiles encountered on this reef.

Drifting north from Turkey Beach along the House Reef wall is a delightful route that takes in a wide range of underwater landscapes and animals.

Turkey Beach lies about a half mile south of the resort, and taxi-boat dives are conducted at times when there is a north-flowing current. The journey begins along a shallow slope that drops from 5 to 10 meters, and is covered in an assortment of finger and antler corals.

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As you drift northward along the wall swarms of colorful tropicals flit amongst the coral formations. Photo by Marco Fierli

When the sun is out, this reef comes alive in a vibrant array of colors, and sometimes seems to pulsate as swarms of small tropical fish flit among the formations. There’s always good chance of seeing turtles at Turkey Beach, along with eagle rays and schools of bumphead parrotfish. As the current carries you northward, you’ll pass a pair of canyons that hold schools of batfish and bronze snappers.

As you approach the resort, the reef transitions to a near-vertical slope, gorgonians and sea fans begin to outnumber the hard corals and you’ll encounter bright patches of cherry blossom coral. Drop a bit deeper and you find a colorful assortment of barrel sponges clinging to the vertical faces of the drop off. With reasonable air consumption, you will be able to finish your dive at the jetty, logging more than an hour of bottom time in the process.

New horizons

The taxi boat service is a great way to expand your diving horizons, gain access to less-visited areas of the House Reef, and conduct diving and snorkeling activities on your own schedule. If you haven’t taken advantage of Wakatobi’s taxi boat service in the past, we invite you to plan on hitching a few rides during your next visit to the resort. You’ll certainly appreciate the convenience, and you’ll also discover new areas of the House Reef without having to make a long swim.

Don’t wait to plan your next dream dive vacation! Wakatobi Resort is easy to reach with private charter flights from Bali to the island every Monday and Friday. Learn more about our flights here.

To book your visit, contact us at office@wakatobi.com or complete a quick trip inquiry at wakatobi.com.

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