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Published December 18, 2018 in Dive Sites, DIVING & SNORKELING

It’s hard not to pause at the pilings supporting the end of the jetty, especially if you know what awaits. You are actually diving underneath the resort’s waterfront bar, with large concrete beams creating cover and shade. The entire area is simply packed with fish, large fish, so many that they will block the sun. There are also almost always a couple of sea snakes under the jetty, and for some reason, it can seem creepy to run into them in these dark, close quarters. Water clarity around the pier varies with the tide, and the usual 60 to 80 feet of visibility can seem cloudy compared to the nearby wall, where 100-foot plus vis is the norm.

A few yards of finning from the Wakatobi jetty and you arrive at the drop off whe you'll get in close to a plethora of marine life without errant fin contact.

A few yards of finning from the jetty and you arrive at the drop off whe you’ll get in close to a plethora of marine life without errant fin contact. Photo by Steve Miller

Drop off like none other

A quick peek under the jetty, and a few more yards of finning and you arrive at the drop-off. It is one of the most beautiful walls I have ever seen, rising from unseen depths to culminate in a reef top within five feet of the surface. Every square inch of this precipice is covered in life, and many sections are fully vertical, allowing you to get in close without worrying about errant fin contact.

Further along the House Reef at Turkey Beach schools of bronze snappers can be spotted along the precipice.

Further along the House Reef at Turkey Beach schools of bronze snappers can be spotted along the precipice. Photo by Walt Stearns

Now, it’s decision time. You could go left, right, or neither. It’s possible to enjoy an entire dive without moving more than ten yards from this spot. Hang near the reef top to discover several species of large anemones that perch on the edge, or you can dive deeper to discover a rich array of subjects hiding among the many crevices and overhangs below. The variety of nudibranchs, crabs, shrimp, and fish that are all within any given area of this reef are too numerous to list.

Night dives on the House Reef reveal yet another aspect of the diverse and rich environment found within steps of your bungalow. Photo by Wakatobi Dive Resort

Night dives on the House Reef reveal yet another aspect of the diverse and rich environment found within steps of your bungalow. Photo by Wakatobi Dive Resort

The freedom of the house

As a photographer, I especially like the freedom that diving the House Reef allows. Even in small groups of four divers that is the standard ratio on the Wakatobi dive boats, it would be rude to linger too long at any given photo opportunity, so we often take a few shots, and move on. On the House Reef, there are no such limitations to your schedule. Choose one of the dive center’s large tanks, and with nearly 100 cubic feet of air at your disposal, you can stretch dive times to upwards of two hours without going into decompression.

Recently, guests Rhonda Neben and Mike DePuydt reported seeing eleven turtles as they drifted along the House Reef from the north back to the jetty.

Rather than the usual “swim-and-shoot” dive plan, this freedom provides photographers with ample time to experiment and create that perfect image, the one worthy of the pages of a magazine. Conditions are perfect: bright sun and lots of it, 100 feet of visibility, and a pristine coral community to document. It’s like having your own underwater photo studio… which also happens to be one of the finest dive sites in the world.

Wakatobi house reef_Didi Loze

The House Reef is a diver’s nirvana. Take a taxi boat up current for easy access to more distant portions of the reef, or just step off the beach or jetty; it doesn’t get easier than that. Photo by Didi Lotze

The Wakatobi House Reef offers many opportunities for discovery. With a  drop up current divers can gain easy access to more distant portions of the reef for an easy dive along the wall back to the jetty. Recently, guests Rhonda Neben and Mike DePuydt reported seeing eleven turtles as they drifted along the House Reef from the north back to the jetty. Night dives reveal yet another aspect of the undersea environment and provide a perfect ending to a day of diving. However you choose to explore this site, one thing is certain, you will keep coming back, just as I do each time I visit the amazing destination that is Wakatobi.

It’s time to immerse yourself in nature at its finest and most pristine. Experience all that Wakatobi has to offer–contact us at office@wakatobi.com or complete a quick trip inquiry at wakatobi.com.

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