Why Wakatobi?

Island Dreams' Ken Knezick explains his passion
for this remote and unusual diving travel experience

"Following fourteen visits over the past twelve years, and more than 400 dives logged on these unique reefs, I am convinced that Wakatobi Resort in far S.E. Sulawesi, Indonesia easily ranks among the world's premier dive destinations. Wakatobi delivers literally miles of pristine reef diving, a bountiful array of colorful tropical fishes, and assuredly the finest house reef that the diving world has yet to encounter. In my considered opinion, Wakatobi has become one of the world's very finest dedicated diver resorts." Ken Knezick, Island Dreams.

Here are some of the reasons why I truly love Wakatobi and its diving:

1) The Location - As they say of Tukang Besi, "It's not the end of the world…but you can see it from here!" Wakatobi is in a remote, beautiful, and exceedingly romantic setting. Far off the beaten path of tourism, it offers a supremely relaxing tropical vacation, truly an Island Dream.

2) The Resort - In the past few years Wakatobi has made amazing strides forward, as the resort continues to improve in quality and service level. In light of its remote locale, Wakatobi provides a truly remarkable level of accommodation, food, and service. The physical plant, generators, water makers, and compressor facilities are now well developed and dependable. A small fleet of excellent dive boats and experienced crews have the dive operation working at peak efficiency. With the addition of a spacious new restaurant and a cadre of excellent professional chefs, plucked from 5-star hotels in Bali, the cuisine has become exceptional. Overall the atmosphere at Wakatobi is one of calm, relaxed, natural beauty, both topside and underwater.

3) The Owner - Wakatobi's Swiss owner, Lorenz Maeder, loves diving as much as anyone I have met. Highly knowledgeable of the intricacies of operating a business in Indonesia, he is an excellent waterman, a superb dive guide, and even an accomplished underwater model. A consummate diving professional, Lorenz's experience, talent and spirit provide the drive that has made Wakatobi possible.

4) The Staff - The majority of Wakatobi's local staff has been with the resort since its inception. They are now almost 80 strong, serving 32 guests. While often shy, they are very friendly, attentive and capable, and their English skills continue to improve. Well trained at handling dive gear and photography equipment, over the years they have learned how to anticipate and accommodate the needs of their diving guests. Their warm demeanor adds to the pleasure of the experience. The addition of a team of excellent Western divemasters, professionals from England, New Zealand, Germany, and Switzerland, is just icing on the cake.

5) The Reef - This is what we came for. Wakatobi is home to a huge variety of critters, from the big guys like eagle rays, mantas, stingrays, tuna, jacks, giant travalle, Napoleon wrasse, turtles, and the occasional shark, to leaf fish, frogfish, crocodile fish, pygmy sea horses, and a seemingly endless array of tropical fishes and invertebrates. The miles of expansive coral reefs are pristine, the most beautiful and prolific I have seen in 20+ years of diving.

6) The Boat Diving - What other resort do you know that respectfully asks you to limit your boat dive bottom times to 70 minutes? At Wakatobi we routinely enjoyed boat dives that went 75, 80, even 90 minutes in duration. This is the place for people who really love to dive.

7) The Night Diving - Many divers in my Wakatobi groups, myself included, have made a night dive most every night. Access is easy, and there's so much to see and photograph that it seems too good to miss. Intense bioluminescence and flashlight fish on the house reef make a good thing even better.

8) The House Reef - More icing on the cake is Wakatobi's wonderful house reef. Entries and exits are supremely easy and you may stay just as long as you like. (One of the dives on a recent trip went 114 minutes). Guests enjoy truly unlimited access to the best beach diving in the world, where residents include lionfish, clownfish, jawfish, three kinds of pygmy seahorses, pipefish, waspfish, schooling jacks, turtles, and more.

9) The Air Strip - Added in 2001 is the fabulous ability to fly directly to Wakatobi from Bai. Will I miss that 18-hour boat ride from Kendari? Well maybe just a little but ... not! This has truly been an amazing feat accomplished by Lorenz and Renee Mador - to create a private airstrip in a part of Indonesia that had never before enjoyed any sort of modern transportation. My hat is off to them...and you now have easy access to this remote diving gem, Wakatobi.

10) The Bottom Line - Put all of these elements together and Wakatobi becomes an unbeatable opportunity for adventurous dive travelers and snorkelers. But you don't have to take my word for it -- for it's my pleasure to invite you to come, see, and enjoy Wakatobi for yourself!

Yours in travel, Ken Knezick - Island Dreams

Island Dreams Travel specializes in exotic dive travel, quite literally spanning the globe. For more information, you may contact us toll free at 800-346-6116, via email at info@divetrip.com, or on the Web at www.divetrip.com. We look forward to the pleasure of serving you.


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