Villa_photo Didi Lotze

Vicariously Yours

Published October 26, 2013 in Accommodations, Amenities, Diving, RESORT, Underwater Photography

“Wakatobi is the perfect backdrop of casual elegance and refined service. It is an idyllic place where creatures great and small co-mingle in harmony.”
 Adrienne DeAngelis, Dec 2013

No description or photo can fully capture the adventure and magic that is Wakatobi. But you can enjoy a tantalizing taste of what awaits by being our guest for a “virtual slice of life” at the resort. So relax, follow along and let your mind wander while you visualize one perfect day at Wakatobi.

A restful night’s sleep finds you eager to rise and greet the day. It’s just a few barefoot steps from your Villa down to the shore, where you can dip you toes into clear water as the sun rises over your shoulder. Breakfast arrives at your Villa. Your better half joins you on the patio to enjoy fresh fruit and temptations from the bakery. You’ve decided to be a bit more adventurous, and dig into some local fare: an Indonesia rice noodle and egg stir-fry accompanied by shrimp krupuk.

Pelagian passes by the Villas on the way to Buton island photo Wakatobi Dive Resort

Pelagian passes by the Villas on the way to Buton island
photo Wakatobi Dive Resort

 

While you’re finishing breakfast the Pelagian Dive Yacht passes by on its journey out to Wangi Wangi and Buton island.

The beach at Wakatobi photo by Didi Lotze

Walking the beach at Wakatobi
photo by Didi Lotze

 

You take a stroll down the beach before picking up the Cannon 5D Mark III / Seacam housing package, which is yours for the day complimentary with your Villa booking. With this high-end system, accompanied by your private dive guide (also included with the Villa package), the plan is to take imaging to a new level.

Cornucopia is a site fitting to its name. photo by Richard Smith

Cornucopia is a site fitting to its name. photo by Richard Smith

 

At the jetty, the staff has already loaded your gear aboard the Wakatobi V. The dive briefing begins right on time, and you are on your way to the site known as Cornucopia. You grab your camera, stride overboard and begin a drop down a sheer wall that looks as if it keeps going and going and going – well beyond accepted recreational depths. Your guide is pointing to a brilliant scene about 3 feet away.

Since it’s the first dive of the day, you go to about 35 meters for a look at some of the big black coral groves that adorn this site, then, begin a measured ascent up the wall, finding numerous overhangs and crevices to poke into along the way. You bang off a few nice wide-angle shots.

Huge sea fans sprout from the wall at Cornucopia, providing a beautiful backdrop for wide-angle photos. photo by Warren Baverstock

Huge sea fans on the wall at Cornucopia provide a stunning backdrop for wide-angle photos.
photo by Warren Baverstock

 

Heading up, the huge sea fans sprouting from the wall provide a great backdrop for more colorful wide-angles. As you reach the top of the wall, and transition onto a coral-covered slope, your dive computer shows a 65-minute bottom time while your dive profile never once entered deco.

Back on board you refresh with some snacks, then, take in some morning sun from the bow as Wakatobi V makes the 15-minute run back to the resort. While you relax and chat with fellow divers, the staff will ready your equipment for the next dive. Your guide tells you that the next site has plenty of small stuff, so you make a quick trip to the camera room to set up for macro shooting.

Wakatobi V departs for for a site known as Spiral Corner; twelve minutes later, the boat is tied to a mooring set at a protruding corner of the reef. As you submerge, you understand how the site got it’s name, as the underwater promontory is covered in thick growths of spiral corals. You follow a steep slope discovering a rich array of nudibranchs, and Zanzibar shrimps, along the way, then move into the shallows, where sunbeams dance in the prolific coral garden.

"Such a variety of living corals is not so common anymore elsewhere and also the small creatures you find is amazing. It is a must see for all divers."  Ines Cogliati, Sept 2013 photo by Karin van de Wouw

“Such a variety of living corals is not so common anymore elsewhere and also the small creatures you find is amazing.
It is a must see for all divers.” – Ines Cogliati, Sept 2013
photo by Karin van de Wouw

 

Comet fish   photo by Mark Strickland

Comet fish photo by Mark Strickland

 

The dive ends in a sandy bay, where a large coral block holds a collection of stonefish, eggshell cowries, crocodile fish, rockmover wrasse – and a rare Comet fish, which your private guide spotted. The comet is a real find, resembling a spotted version of a Beta like you see in the pet stores. Having the opportunity to make a lens change to macro really sealed the deal. And once again, your bottom time passes the one-hour mark!

Back at the resort, you enjoy a rinse in the Villa’s pool, then change for a visit to the restaurant. Opting to have lunch on the patio, a soft sea breeze carries savory scents, some familiar, some exotic. The chefs are putting out a tempting array of fresh entrees on the serving table; you choose some locally-caught yellowfin tuna smothered in a tasty tomato relish. You ask, and the server tells you the relish is known as Sambal Olek.

013-patio dining-WDR

“If you want to be spoiled come to Wakatobi. It does not get much better; service, food
and dive operations are all five star.” Nina Harris, May 2013
photo Wakatobi Dive Resort

 

After lingering over lunch and enjoying some quiet time in a shaded hammock, you head back to the dive center to get ready for an afternoon of critter hunting. You’ve decided to skip the afternoon boat dive and take a taxi boat; it will be you and your guide exploring the House Reef, on your schedule. Your hardest decision is which way to go, left or right from the end of the pier.

"This is a five star diving, dining and relaxing resort in its own little island paradise!” - Pamela Morris and Gary Finka, Sept 2013

“This is a five star diving, dining and relaxing resort in its own little island paradise!”
Pamela Morris and Gary Finka, Sept 2013
photo by Shawn Levin

 

Meanwhile, your wife has opted for a cooking class to learn the secrets of making the Sambal Olek you so enjoyed at lunch, along with some other staples of Indonesian cuisine. She’s also planned to have a Balinese massage at the Villa later in the day.

Wakatobi's dive guides are quick to find pygmy seahorses and other critters often on the photographer's wish list.  photo by Richard Smith

photo by Richard Smith

 

Drifting down the wall a few minutes into the dive, your guide locates a ghost pipefish and you get off several great portrait shots. Next on your list is a pygmy seahorse, and once again your guide knows just where to find them. A little over an hour later, you’ve filled half the camera’s memory card with keepers, and it’s time to head for shore. With such short distance you both swim to shore instead of hopping back on the taxi.

To make the most of the images you shot with the Canon/Seacam system, you get together for a one-hour photo clinic with one of the dive center photo pros. You spend the time sorting through your best shots, picking up some great tips for next time, and learning a few new tricks to further enhance today’s keepers. Looks like you’ll go home with some great macro shots and plenty of wide-angle scenics. Since it’s only day four of ten, and you’re warmed up, there’s no knowing which image is going to become your favorite shot of the trip.

Sunset dining on the beach is romantic and peaceful. photo Wakatobi Dive Resort

Sunset dining on the beach is romantic and peaceful.
photo Wakatobi Dive Resort

 

Tonight will be special, as you’ve arranged for a romantic beachside dinner. The sun is just beginning to set as your wife joins you, fresh and relaxed from her spa treatment. The food comes, and it’s every bit as delicious as the surroundings.

 

Sparring Anthias       photo by Wade Hughes

Anthias performing a territorial sparring behavior
photo by Wade Hughes

 

After dinner, you make your way to the longhouse, where the staff will be giving one of their marine life presentations. Tonight, you’ll learn more interesting facts than you ever imagined about the mantis shrimp and the territorial sparring behaviors of anthias.  Afterwards, you linger at the media center to review images with some of your fellow photo enthusiasts.

photo by Allan Saben

photo by Allan Saben

 

Winding down you take a final stroll out to the far end of the jetty for a nightcap at the Jetty Bar. Lights under the pier attract darting schools of baitfish, setting the tone for what will undoubtedly be another memorable day of discovery, adventure and relaxation, both under and above the sea.

We hope you have enjoyed this break from the everyday. For some, it’s been a pleasant recap of visits past; for others, a tantalizing hint of what awaits. For all of us, it’s a reminder of what a special place Wakatobi is, and we hope you will join us there soon to turn your dream days into reality.

“Wakatobi is a wonderful unspoiled ecosystem that is truly paradise, with what must arguably be the best diving in the world. Wakatobi – one man’s vision, every divers heaven.”
Ian and Jo Smith, June 2013

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