Scuba Diving WAKATOBI
Legendary underwater explorer and conservationist, Jacques Cousteau is said to have called the WaKaToBi islands – then known as the Tukangbesi islands: an “Underwater Nirvana”.
Wakatobi National Park is a marine national park, the third largest marine park in Indonesia located south of Sulawesi island of Indonesia. The name of Wakatobi is an acronym of the four main Tukangbesi Islands: Wangi-wangi, Kaledupa, Tomia, and Binongko. Since 2005 the park is listed as a tentative World Heritage Site.
Every main island has its own characteristic:
Wangi-Wangi Island or Wanci Island is center of economic activity for Wakatobi. She is also the gateway to the beauty of the underwater paradise in Wakatobi. All transportations access to Wakatobi National Park must go through Wang-wangi Island. The beauty and purity of water in Wangi-wangi islands has been recognized. Pure water, calm waves, and a variety of colorful fish embellish the Wangi-wangi water. Thirty five percent of species of marine fish has been found in and around this island.
Kaledupa Island is known as a place for cultural tourism. Because there are a lot of historical buildings in this island. But the beauty of marine tourism in Kaledupa cannot be underestimated. You can find a sacred lake, called Sombano Lake which has salt water in this lake. The Sombano Lake is called a sacred lake because people say that there’s a black crocodile in it. Therefore, local people rarely dare to swim in the Sombano Lake.
Tomia Island is located south of Kaledupa and north of Binongko Island. The mileage from Wang-wangi Island to Tomia Island is around four hours by boat. Tomia Island is rich with calcium but a bit barren. However it doesn’t make divers and snorkelers stop enjoying the ocean. Hundreds of barracuda fish are in the area as well as rows of colorful coral formed as flower undersea. There is a well – known luxury dive resort located on this island. The resort provide private flight between their resort and Bali (DPS).
Binongko Island is the most remote and least developed island, but is actually the home of the only iron workers still found in the island chain. The people of Binongko have many mystical stories about the origin of the island and sacred places that can be found there.
SCUBA DIVING WAKATOBI
Located right in the heart of the Asia-Pacific Coral Triangle, in the province of South East Sulawesi, the Wakatobi Islands offer crystal clear pristine waters and a rich bio-diverse underwater life, a true paradise for Divers, as this is one of 3 hearts in the World Coral Triangle that stretches from the Solomon Islands in the Pacific to Wakatobi, and North to the Philippines. Wakatobi alone is said to have 942 fish species and 750 coral reef species from a total of 850 of world’s collection, which, comparing with the two world’s famous diving centers.
Wakatobi is widely recognized as having the highest number of reef and fish species in the world. The islands are also famous as the largest barrier reef in Indonesia, second only to the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. Here can be found fringing, atolls and barrier reefs and offer more than 50 spectacular dive sites easily accessible from the major islands. This is the habitat of large and small fish species, the playground of dolphins, turtles and even whales.
Due to its magnificent underwater life, Wakatobi is fast gaining worldwide attention for its quality dives that can be made by beginners to professionals. Small wonder, therefore, that many liveaboards make this one of their main ports of sojourn. Aside from its dive sites, Wakatobi has many superb beaches.
DIVE SEASON: It is possible to dive all year in Wakatobi. The climate is tropical with the sun shining year round and air temperature ranges from 26 °C to 30 °C. This area is much drier than other parts of Indonesia and in particular Sulawesi. Rainy season is in January and February but nothing too bad to avoid diving. Peak Season runs in April and May and in September and November. The best diving season runs between March and December
VISIBILITY: There are no rivers in the area and so the visibility is not affected by rains. It is generally excellent and ranges from a good 20 meters to an outstanding 60 meters!
WATER TEMPERATURE: The water temperature ranges all year between 26°C to 30°C.
SKILL LEVEL: Beginner to Advance
MARINE LIFE: Beautiful healthy reef life. The list is so long that it’s difficult to know where to begin, but it’s important to note that this is a destination famous amongst photographers for incredible macro photography – which if course translates to a wealth of coral and small creatures.
You’ll see larger creatures, too, such as turtles, sting rays, eagle rays and mantas. Small critters, you’ll see frogfish, anemone fish, gobies, mandarin fish, scorpion fish, cuttlefish, ghost pipefish, pygmy seahorses, crabs, shrimps – and nudibranchs galore.
If you want to spot pilot Whales, the best period is from November to April!
HOW TO GET THERE: The District capital of Wakatobi is Wanci on Wangi-Wangi. Since the opening of the Matohara Airport on Wangi-Wangi, these remote islands are now more accessible and can be reached by flights from Jakarta or Makassar. There is also another private landing strip on Tomia island, which receives charters from Bali. WAKATOBI Dive Resort runs private charter flights, that pick up passengers from Bali to fly direct to remote Tomia.
GENERAL INFORMATION FOR INDONESIA
CLIMATE: Indonesia has a tropical climate with just two seasons. The dry season starts in April and lasts until October, which is the best time to travel, though monsoon season, from November and March is fine to travel as well. It’s quieter than in the high season and the rain is generally limited to a couple of hours at the end of the day. On most of the islands there’s little difference between the winter and summer, with temperatures averaging 25C-30C all year round.
TIME ZONE: Indonesia has three time zones—Western Indonesia Time which is GMT +7 (covering Sumatra, Java, Madura, West Kalimantan, Central Kalimantan), Central Indonesia Time which is GMT +8 (covering East and South Kalimantan, Sulawesi, Bali, Nusa Tenggara) and the last is Eastern Indonesia Time which is GMT +9 (covering Maluku and Irian Jaya). The capital Jakarta is GMT + 7 or 16 hours ahead of US Pacific Standard Time.
LANGUAGE: Bahasa Indonesia is the national and official language in the entire country.
ELECTRICITY: Electric power supply is 220 volts in all regions. So be careful with your 110-volt electronic equipment. The sockets will only fit with with two pins rounded-tip plugs (technically known as Type C, E, and F) or use adaptors.
CURRENCY & CREDIT CARDS: The Indonesia Rupiah (Rp) is also called IDR. IDR and US$ are the most acceptable currencies. Most tourism resorts have money changer facilities. When you are traveling to remote areas it is advisable to exchange your money and clear your check. Credit cards are only acceptable in big hotels, restaurants, shops and traveling agencies.
GRATUITIES: Most hotels add a 10% service charge to the bill on top of the 10% tax. In restaurants where service charge is not added, a tip of 5 to 10% on the bill will be appropriate depending on the service and type of establishment.
PHONE & INTERNET SERVICE: Country code +62. Most hotels and many restaurants in large cities provide internet connections or free WiFi.
VISA & PASSPORT REQUIREMENTS: All travelers to Indonesia must be in possession of a passport that is valid for at least six months from the date of arrival, and have proof (tickets) of onward or return passage. Visa upon arrival is $35 Payable by USD cash only. Please check with your country if you are eligible for visa upon arrival. Visa-on-Arrival are valid for 30 days and are extendable with another 30 days to be applied at Immigration offices in Indonesia.
CUSTOMS: Maximum items allowed by customs when you visit Indonesia, 1 liter of alcoholic beverages, 200 cigarettes OR 50 cigars OR 100 grams of tobacco, Reasonable amount of perfume per adult, meaning if you arrive drenched in perfume the customs probably will not mind you carrying loads of bottles, Cameras, video cameras, portable radios, cassette recorders, binoculars and sport equipments are admitted provided they are taken out on departure. They must be declared to Customs.
DEPARTURE TAX: An airport tax of IDR150,000 – IDR200,000 is levied by airports on departing passengers on international flights and IDR30,000-IDR75,000 for those on domestic routes. Airport tax must be paid in Rupiah cash.
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