Muck, Magic, and More

Published December 30, 2015 in DIVE YACHT, DIVING & SNORKELING
During dusk dives on the site known as Magic Pier, divers witness hundreds of brilliant Mandarinfish performing their mating ritual. Photo by Steve Rosenberg

During dusk dives on the site known as Magic Pier, divers witness hundreds of brilliant Mandarinfish performing their mating ritual. Photo by Steve Rosenberg

The magic show

If the Mandarinfish is high on your list of must sees, Magic Pier, a Pelagian signature dive, is definitely in order. The pier, a concrete jetty, is built upon a shallow coral plateau on a slope starting at 5m to 8m and gently dropping down to 25m. The pier is home to an abundance of flamboyant Mandarinfish, which are scarcely two inches long. It is at dusk that Mandarinfish become their most frisky, performing a beautiful courting dance, which ends with the release of sperm and eggs as they spawn in the water column above the bottom. “Magic Pier was a 10 out of 10,” says David Stirling. “You just are 100 percent absorbed in the opera of nightlife. Special thanks to my knowledgable dive guides, their enthusiasm is so clear.”

Magic Pier does not begin and end with Mandarinfish. There are many other notable residents hovering on the bottom at this site, in particular several varieties of ghost pipefish. A small, highly colorful relative of the seahorse, the Ornate ghost pipefish ranks among the most exotic creatures in the Indo-Pacific. Their spike-shaped fin rays give them a jagged appearance like the arms of a crinoid. Hence, you will find them there, or around soft corals like gorgonians. With a highly variable color range, which is usually dependent upon the habitat on which they are dwelling, the Ornate ghost Pipefish will frequently hang vertically, with its head directed towards the sea floor. But if you’re looking carefully, you might sometimes find them swimming horizontally, close to the bottom.

School of jack_Pelagian_Rich Carey

You’re never without surprise on a Pelagian cruise where the attention shifts from the most minute and unusual critters to larger animals such as turtles and eagle rays to schools of barracuda, snapper and trevally jack. Photo by Rich Carey

More than muck

There is more to the diving from Pelagian than hunts for cryptic critters in shallow bays. Much more. The yacht’s itinerary through the Tukangbesi archipelago takes hundreds of miles of diverse underwater landscapes ranging from shallow coral groves to precipitous walls. These include the smaller eastern and southern islands of Moromaho and Runuma, Karang Koromaha and Koka atolls and the big reefs of Karang Kaledupa. Here, steep walls are perforated by numerous caves and overhangs that harbor a wealth of wildlife, sea fans 2 meters across and sponges the size of a diver. When weather permits, Pelagian may also visit a range of offshore seamounts, where there is always the chance for big animal sightings in the adjacent open waters.

In addition to a rare opportunity to visit sites few other divers in the world will ever encounter, a highlight of any Pelagian cruise is the abundant opportunities to find pygmy seahorses. Pelagian cruises the heart of a region that is host to three of the prominent species“ from the familiar Bargibant to the Denise and Pontoh. One of the specialties of the Pelagian’s crew is locating the tiny, white Pontoh seahorse in their favorite habitat among the Halimeda algae. “Nowhere else are they so reliably encountered as here,” says marine biologist Dr. Richard Smith.

“Pelagian’s cruise directors are the replete management team. No detail is too small for them. They could easily manage any of the worlds largest hotels / resorts without a hitch. We had the largest cabin and it was better than any cabin we’ve ever had, even on a large cruise ship.” Lee and Debbie Larson

Another signature attraction of all Pelagian cruises is what takes place above the water. With a maximum of ten guests aboard, the crew of this 36-meter luxury dive yacht is able to deliver five-star onboard service that includes fine dining and the highest levels of personal attention. And because cruses begin and end at Wakatobi Dive Resort, passengers can take advantage of the direct charter flights from Bali, and the resort’s concierge travel services. Many choose to combine a Pelagian cruise with a stay at the resort for a dive vacation that combines the best of both.

Learn more about Pelagian cruises here.

Why not experience all that Wakatobi has to offer and add a Pelagian cruise to your resort visit?  Contact us at or complete a quick trip inquiry at

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