The Walls of Wakatobi

Published February 24, 2023 in Diving, DIVING & SNORKELING
Moving up to shallower depths means more sunlight as the reef begins to take on a different look. Photo by Walt Stearns

Moving up to shallower depths means more sunlight as the reef begins to take on a different look. Photo by Walt Stearns

Topping it off

Progressing shallower to a depth most would stay at for a safety stop the dive is still far from over. A quick glance at your computer’s display shows your remaining no-stop time hasn’t even begun to reach single digits. Your pressure gage shows you still have a comfortable reserve to keep going and make the most out of Wakatobi’s trademark 70-minute profiles. So, you use the last ten to 15 minutes exploring the reef’s coral covered shallow plateau. Back up top, the reef takes on a different look in the strong sunlight. The large red and orange gorgonians and sea fans are replaced by patches of leather coral and intricate formations of plate and tabletop coral. With the tide at near dead low, the corals rise almost to the surface, and their reflections are mirrored in the calm shallows of the water, creating a surreal double exposure of the reef.

Boat at edge of wall_WS

As the boat edges away from the reef after a nice 70-minute plus dive, you still feel as if you’re just now getting started and eagerly anticipate the next amazing wall or reef on the agenda. Photo by Walt Stearns

After admiring the big picture, your attention returns to the details as you begin a hunt through the peaks and valleys of the coral crest. A school of black triggerfish, commonly referred to as black durgons, pass by, their pectoral and dorsal fins undulating with a flapping motion more akin to flight than swimming. Next comes a lone cuttlefish, either on a solo hunt or scouting for the pack. This is prime territory for nudibranch enthusiasts, and it doesn’t take long to spot several of these brightly colored sea slugs making their slow journey through the undulations of the reef. More elusive are the pipefish, which are likely hiding somewhere in plain sight, silently biding their time in anticipation of a tasty morsel coming within range. Looking over your guide motions the two of you to move up and out away from the reef so that the boat can pick you up. Your computer says 74 minutes have elapsed during the dive. Back on board, as you stare over the side in search of the cuttlefish that bid you goodbye, your guide flashes a big bright smile and asks, “ready for another dive?” You then realize there will be plenty more opportunities to discover these stealthy hunters and the many other amazing creatures that call the walls of Wakatobi home.

Visit for descriptions of more than 40 dive sites to explore – here

Ready for some wall diving? Contact our office at or complete a quick trip inquiry at A guest experience representative will be in touch with you to answer any questions and provide information about your next dream dive vacation.

Why not plan a combination resort and liveaboard trip for the best of Wakatobi? Learn about Pelagian dive yacht here.