If you're looking for amazing scuba diving with world-class hospitality, then look no further than Wakatobi. This absolute gem of a resort is located in Indonesia's South Sulawesi, a rugged region which lies almost smack bang in the heart of the Coral Triangle.
The Coral Triangle is renowned for mind-boggling marine biodiversity, harbouring hundreds of different kinds of reef-building coral species, thousands of fish species and six of the seven known marine turtle species. This is evident from the moment you enter the water - it's a riot of colour.
Graceful angel, trigger and parrotfish in rainbow hues flit amongst delicate Gorgonian fans, iridescent sea squirts and barrel corals so large you could curl up inside. Every so often, a black-and-white banded krait would wriggle past. Less showy were the scorpionfish but if you got too close, some turned a threatening shade of pink.
On almost every dive, we saw green or hawksbill turtles - there was one occasion where I stopped counting after twelve! They were complately unafraid of humans - happy to keep munching on seagrass while delighted divers watched on. And on one very lucky day, we witnessed a graceful school of over a dozen spotted eagle rays gliding over a sandy plain some 40 metres below the surface.
Spotted eagle rays in the deep
Our wooden bungalow had a comfortable verandah out front with two generously proportioned cushioned seats - perfect to while away warm afternoons. A string hammock stretched out between two coconut palms invited lazy appreciation of the house reef beyond, which buzzed with life. Given we were diving three times a day, we didn't spend a lot of time in or around our room, but it was clean, spacious and contained everything you needed for a comfortable stay. Someone - or something - that did spend a lot of time in our bungalow: an elusive tokay gecko who woke us just before dawn every day with its loud, distinctive "to-kay" call.
If I had to choose one word to describe Wakatobi's brand of hospitality, it would be thoughtful. Some examples: all the staff greet you by your first name and know your drink preferences by day 2 of your stay. There are toothpaste tablets in a tiny glass vial your bathroom (extra points for being eco-friendly!) as well as a pair of scissors on the desk because so few international travellers remember to pack this handy little tool!
A different towel animal greeted us each day
Our very own hammock
Sunsets were best appreciated from the bar at the end of the jetty. In the waters below, you could watch parrotfish snack on hard coral and moray eels hunt their prey. On one breezy evening, we even had a small banded sea krait sidle up to the bar to join us for sundowner drinks, causing a minor commotion before it was literally swept off the pier with a broom.
The Dive Experience