Revised feature Pelagian dive yacht cruising_courtesy Wakatobi Dive Resort

Only on Pelagian

Published April 23, 2014 in Diving, PELAGIAN, Snorkeling

The Pelagian brings divers to some of the most fertile underwater landscape on the planet. From its base at Wakatobi Dive Resort, our 36-meter luxury dive yacht embarks on cruises along the outer reefs and atolls of the Wakatobi Archipelago, and to the southern coast of Buton Island. This itinerary encompasses sites ranging from exciting drifts over towering pinnacles and steep walls to leisurely critter hunts on shallow coral gardens and sandy slopes rich in invertebrate life. Guests often offer praise for the high levels of service the crew provides, and the comforts the accommodations allow. From the spacious cabins and fine cuisines to the personal attention of the dive guides, there’s certainly a lot to like. But even the best can sometimes be made even better, and there are a few small things guests can do to ensure their time aboard the Pelagian is as good as it can get. Following are some of the tidbits of advice the crew and some former guests have to offer to make a Pelagian cruise the best ever.

“As a business man I can recognize commitment to quality, and service with passion when I see and experience it. You have that here, Pelagian and Wakatobi is world class! The whole crew on Pelagian is first class, all the way. Thank you for the wonderful experience. We will return as soon as possible.” Robert Davis, Feb 2014

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Divers board Pelagian from Wakatobi Dive Resort after a short charter flight over from Bali. Many guests opt to complement their resort stay with a cruise on Pelagian.  Photo courtesy Wakatobi Dive Resort

The crew is for you

Pelagian’s crew can be a great source for advice and assistance. “We are there to serve the divers and snorkelers in every way,” says Kaori Robinson, who worked on Pelagian as cruise director and dive experience manager for years. “As a dive guide my role has included being an underwater model, a camera caddy, and of course critter expert and guide. I’ve found mating pygmy seahorses and blue-ringed octopus, among other creatures for guests. While you might call this ‘all just part of the job,’ the greatest reward is knowing that our guests are having the time of their life.” Other team members agree, saying: “it’s the little things that you do not find elsewhere that set us apart. Wetsuits are hung and folded, warm towels and hot drinks are provided after each dive, and there’s always assistance for managing cameras. Guests say they love the small group atmosphere, and especially enjoy the 70-plus minute dives.”

“My role as a dive guide has included being an underwater model, a camera caddy, and of course critter expert and guide. I’ve found mating pygmy seahorses and blue-ringed octopus, among other creatures for guests. While you might call this ‘all just part of the job,’ the greatest reward is knowing that our guests are having the time of their life,” says Kaori Robinson.

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Pelagian’s Chefs welcome special requests. “If you have a dietary request, your wish is their command,” says guest Scott Kramer. Photo by Didi Lotze

It’s OK to ask

The Pelagian crew’s dedication to providing the ultimate in guest service extends to all aspects of the cruise. Special requests are welcomed, whether it’s help in hunting for a particularly elusive reef creature, or meeting a special dietary requirement or culinary request. “Many guests request fresh tuna for sashimi and our crew makes a special trip to Pasar Wajo market at Buton to get the tuna,” says cruise director Ben Robinson. “The stewards also often make the guest’s favorite desserts or afternoon snacks. Our chefs are always happy to oblige in creating meals and snacks around any particular dietary need or requests. Some of our guests have requested cooking classes onboard, so our chef makes it happen,” he says. 

“They had to drag me kicking and screaming from the luxuries of the Pelagian. I had my own spicy sambal prepared daily by the chef! What a nice touch!” Julie Lightbourn

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Pelagian is one of the world’s most comfortable and roomy liveaboard boats with ample personal space to relax and reflect. There are plenty of places inside and outside where you can take in the amazing views and enjoy a delicious snack or cool après-dive beverage.  Photo by Didi Lotze

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The master suite occupies the entire bow on Pelagian’s main deck providing all the comforts of home and more. “Our cabin on Pelagian was equal if not better than a five-star hotel room,” says guest Ann Donahue. Photo by Didi Lotze

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All cabins, such as the Superlux, have spacious floors plans designed for comfort and tranquility. Photo by Didi Lotze

Second Sight

When it comes to locating small creatures among the intricacies of a coral reef or a rubble garden, the more eyes, the better. This is where Pelagian’s dive guides can become an invaluable resource, as they are highly experienced at locating small and hidden things. “The dive guides on Pelagian are the best we have ever had at finding fish and other creatures,” says guest Richard Gamble. But don’t just rely on the guides, and learn from them. Take note of the places they focus their attention when searching for a particular animal, and may enhance your own critter sleuthing skills.

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The tiny bobtail squid is a favorite subject of photographers and found on sites visited by Pelagian, such as Asphalt Pier.  Photo by David Gray

“Our dive guide on Pelagian was the best ever in pointing out and identifying creatures we have never encountered.”  Dianne Langmade and James Allison, March 2014

Stick It 

Muck diving is all about moving slowly and looking closely to discover hidden sea life. Pelagian visits a number of top-notch sites such as Asphalt Pier and Cheeky Beach, where divers can hover over seagrass and rubble terrain in search of unique finds. This type of close-quarter maneuvering can be challenging for even experienced divers, but it becomes easier when you borrow a little trick that underwater macro photographers have used for years. Rather than attempting to use fins and body language to hold position above a tiny and fragile subject, they will deploy what is known as a muck stick into an appropriate piece of bottom, and use it as an anchor point to control their distance from the sea floor. Pelagian’s dive guides might have an extra stick to lend, but just in case they don’t, they recommend you considering adding one to your dive kit.

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Here a private dive guide points out a tiny creature using a muck stick. Photo by Walt Stearns

Add a Layer

With water temperatures in the 26-27 C range (78-82F), most divers can get away with moderate thermal protection. But long bottom times—often 70 minutes or more—can cause a drop in body temperature by the third dive of the day. That’s when divers might want to add an extra bit of insulation, in the form of a vest or hood. Talk to your guest relations representative about water temperatures and wetsuits when you reserve your space on Pelagian.

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Pelagian’s dive experience managers suggest divers “look around” for the larger residents of the reef, such as this school of bumphead parrotfish, often seen at Escape at Buton island. Photo courtesy Wakatobi Dive Resort

Look Around

It’s easy to get engrossed in the intricate life of a coral garden or wall, but divers should also remember to look up and around every so often to watch for the larger residents of the reef. “Escape at Buton island is my favorite Pelagian dive site,” says Kaori Robinson. “A large area of the site is a vertical wall cut by a huge overhang that provides a beautiful coral ceiling, leaving you the impression of swimming under the reef instead of over it. It’s a great place to find all sorts of unique tiny critters, but you will see schools of big bumphead parrotfish swimming about, and also eagle rays, big groupers and barracudas and jacks.”

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Night dives can offer some of the most memorable and unique sightings of the cruise.  Photo courtesy Wakatobi Dive Resort

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“Incredible diving, including swimming and hopping frogfish, hundreds of mandarinfish, a giant manta ray and more – all on one night dive!” said guest Kathryn Willmore. Photo by Walt Stearns

Go Dark

Guests have the option of making dusk or night dives throughout each cruise. These fourth dives of the day are well worth delaying that evening libation and donning the gear one more time, as they can often provide some of the most memorable and unusual sightings of the trip. “It was an amazing week. Incredible diving, including swimming and hopping frogfish, hundreds of mandarinfish, a giant manta ray and more – all on one night dive!” said guest Kathryn Willmore of her late 2013 trip on Pelagian.

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The Flamboyant cuttlefish is a rare find, typically seen on night dives; they emerge at dusk to hunt, and can be seen lighting up in a wild series of pink, purple, red and yellow hues.  Photo by Walt Stearns

Guests may also enjoy a Fluo dive experience, which can bring a whole new dimension to your night dive.

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“We did a fluo dive from the Pelagian at Beku Reef on Karang Kaledupa; it was a mesmerizing experience, I felt like I was gliding through the forests of Pandora in the movie Avatar,” said guest David George. “My buddy John’s first words upon surfacing were ‘how will I ever do a normal night dive again?’ and I think I agree!”  Photo by Wayne MacWilliams

Get Social

With just ten guests on board, there’s not only ample opportunities for private time, but also plenty of chances to get to know fellow guests and crew members. “We take guests to the beautiful beach at Hoga island, says guide Ben Robinson. “For entertainment, some crew members will even sing songs for the guests in the local Indonesian dialect while playing guitar and using large water bottles like drums.” “The crew on Pelagian go to extreme lengths to ensure their guests have just the best time,” says guest Sharon Van den Brink

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Many guests opt to combine a Pelagian cruise with a stay at the resort, for the best of both worlds.  Photo courtesy Wakatobi Dive Resort

Plan for It 

A Pelagian cruise is an ideal complement to a stay at Wakatobi Dive Resort. Wakatobi’s guest relations staff can help arrange a joint land-and-sea dive vacation, handling all details of the cruise, the resort stay, charter flights from Bali and even stop-over days in Bali before or after the trip. Contact our office at office@wakatobi.com or complete a quick trip inquiry on www.wakatobi.com.  A guest experience representative will be in touch with you to answer any questions and discuss your next dream dive vacation.

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