Diving Your Way

Published July 10, 2017 in DIVING & SNORKELING

As anyone who has performed a properly-executed drift dive knows, it can be a very rewarding experience. There is no need to navigate back to the starting point, calculate air reserves or to swim against a current; you simply step overboard and follow along the reef. Our team schedules dives according to tide tables so you don’t have to deal with strong currents.

On dives at Lorenz’s Delight divers often see brilliant wire corals spiraling up to five meters above the slope of the wall. Photo by Wayne MacWilliams

On dives at Lorenz’s Delight divers often see brilliant wire corals spiraling up to five meters above the slope of the wall. Photo by Wayne MacWilliams

At Lorenz’s Delight, mild currents might carry you past yellow wire coral that can spiral five meters above a steeply sloping wall. At sites such as Waiti Ridge and Blade, divers can move above underwater seamounts that rise from the depths and come within a short distance of the surface. For small critters, there are drifts around the staghorn coral gardens in the shallows of Dunia Baru. When you perform a leisurely drift at Wakatobi, you’re in the company of an attentive and knowledgeable guide, and at the end of the dive, the boat will be right there waiting when you surface.

Unique discoveries await those who wade into the seagrass beds right from the beach or ladder at the end of the jetty. Photo by Walt Stearns

Explore from shore

With morning, mid-morning and afternoon boat departures, divers at Wakatobi are never far from their next excursion. But you don’t have to catch the boat to enjoy an exceptional dive. Our House Reef is known as one of the world’s best shore dives, and you can discover this legendary strip of underwater real estate by simply wading in from the beach or entering at the end of the resort jetty. Some of the region’s rarest wildlife finds have been made just around the jetty, including ghost and ornate ghost pipefish, leaf scorpionfish, and juvenile cuttlefish.

Some of the region’s rarest wildlife finds have been made just around the jetty, including ghost and ornate ghost pipefish, leaf scorpionfish, and juvenile cuttlefish.

Wakatobi’s House Reef will please a wide range of divers. Extended range enthusiasts can follow the walls and slopes to discover forests of black corals in the depths; photographers range from the critter-rich slopes to the inshore grass flats, filling memory cards with macro portraits, or taking advantage of the ambient light to create stunning wide-angle panoramas. Novice and casual divers can remain close to the reef crest, where colors are at their peak, and sightings such as anemone fish and cleaning stations are common. For an experience half way between a shore and boat dive, guests can also engage the services of Wakatobi’s taxi boats, which ferry you to more distant areas of the House Reef for a picturesque drift along the wall back to the jetty.

A majority of sites visited by the resort’s dive boats are well-suited for snorkeling, while the House Reef offers a wealth of brilliant corals and unique critters–a snorkeler’s haven. Photo by Walt Stearns

Ditch the tanks

With many of the reefs rising to within a meter or two of the surface, Wakatobi is a prime snorkeling destination. A majority of sites visited by the resort’s dive boats are equally well-suited for snorkelers, who are always welcome aboard and have a snorkel guide who provides a comprehensive briefing before getting in. This is an especially attractive option for couples that include one diver and one snorkeler, as they can share many of the same in-water experiences. And for those divers who simply can’t get enough time in the water, an afternoon snorkel can provide an additional opportunity to keep their head below water without soaking up any additional nitrogen. In addition to the obvious allure of the House Reef, there are several can’t-miss sites that should be on every snorkeler’s list. One of the best is Table Coral City. This large seamount rises from depths of 30 meters to within a few meters of the surface. The top of this structure is blanketed in huge groves of table and staghorn coral, while a nearby basin holds a field cabbage corals. Hidden within these groves is an amazing cast of small characters, all within visual range of observant snorkelers.

Night moves

After dark, the reefs of Wakatobi become even more active as animals that lay dormant or hidden through the daylight hours emerge to feed or hunt. Octopus, squid and eels exit hidden crevices, scorpionfish become more active, and flatworms come out of hidden borrows.Those new to night diving can begin their evening immersions just after sunset, and on familiar areas of the House Reef. This allows time to grow accustomed to the dwindling ambient light, and to get comfortable with the surroundings before full darkness sets in. Guides are always available to help light the way, but divers are also welcome to explore the House Reef on their own. On many an evening, guests enjoying an libation at the Jetty Bar can watch the beams of dive lights moving about the reef below.

In addition to taking a dusk and night dive on the House Reef, Wakatobi's boats head out regularly for night dives and snorkel excursions. Photo by Walt Stearns

In addition to the House Reef for dusk and night dives, Wakatobi’s boats head out regularly on scheduled night dives to sites such as Zoo and Teluk Maya, among other popular sites. Photo by Walt Stearns

Several times a week, the resort also offers night boat dives to some of the area’s most popular sites. A perennial favorite is Zoo, which is home to a menagerie of sea life that includes frogfish, ghost pipefish, mantis shrimp, leaf fish, funky hairy squat lobster, and even pygmy seahorses. Though present during daylight hours, many of these animals are actually easier to spot when illuminated by the beam of a dive light. For an even more revealing look at what lies below, guests can sign up for a Fluo-dive experience. This involves the use of special UV dive lights that reveal certain corals and animals in glowing fluorescent tones the underwater equivalent of a black light poster.

However you choose to explore Wakatobi’s reefs–shallow or deep, day or night, staying put or drifting along the wall–the one thing that is certain is that you won’t run out of things to see or do. And perhaps that’s one of the many reasons why so many of our guests keep coming back for more.

Is it time to explore your options and plan your trip to Wakatobi?  Your guest experience consultant can help you make it happen. Complete a trip inquiry at wakatobi.com or contact us at office@wakatobi.com.

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