Wakatobi Dive Resort's House Reef
I can only concur with one of my UW photography idols, JAMES WATT, who after his first visit said: "There is no question in my mind that the house reef is the best house reef available at any dive resort in the world." I mean the place is absolutely unbelievable! There's not a square inch that doesn't have coral growth on it, all the way from the surface down to as deep as you can go (the resort only offers pure air so far). But what really blows your mind is the ease of access. Check out their website and you will see from the aerial what I mean. Just step out of your cabin, on with a tank and enjoy. I am going back! -- PygmyDiver
This one's easy to get to. Simply hop on a plane and fly to Bali. Then enjoy the resort's own charter flight to the island. You leave Bali at 8am and you can be diving by noon. From then on, every day at the resort you have this awesome reef available for top-notch diving at any time of day - and only 50' from your room!
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07/16/2014 Bill Stohler (Avg: 4.57 Review) - The Wakatobi House Reef is amazing, especially if you're a macro photographer. From the moment one drops, you can find an amazing variety of fish, soft corals, and a great wall! We found pipefish at the beginning of the checkout dive, and I didn't want to leave the 6-foot deep area. Under the dock, there are lots of critters, including some scorpionfish, possibly a sea krait (one of the world's most poisonous snakes), and...the list goes on and on. The vertical wall begins pretty much at the end of the dock, and you have a 'bottomless' drop-off here. But once you're to the wall, the current picks up, taking you for a bit of a ride. Getting back to shore was the tricky part, but once you make it, a porter comes and picks up your tank, leaving you only to carry your BCD and weights (and camera) back to the Long House. Superb diving here. I only made two dives here, and I regret not doing a few more!
05/30/2013 H. Huntzinger (Avg: 3.59 Review) - Spent 11 days at Wakatobi in Fall 2012. The House Reef is what's used for their mandatory 'check-out' dive (buoyancy check, mask clear, buddy breathing) and as others have said, it can be a challenge to figure out how to squeeze in a shore dive between the boat dive schedule. Because the check-out dives are done per arrival schedule, there's a good chance that you won't have much negotiation versus the local tide schedule ... mine was in a healthy ~1.5 knot current, so we went from boat entry to the sandy exit chute in around 7 minutes...this was tough on the novice & intermediate divers in our group. What I did see on my quick drift was very positive in terms of reef life. However, not all is positive: there's a lot of local boat traffic, not only Wakatobi's own boats, but also the local fishing boats. What's not evident from Wakatobi's marketing is that they're not really that isolated: there's reportedly 27 local villages within ~10km, so there's very frequent small local boat traffic... and because Wakatobi is located on the inside corner of one of the main channels, they're not a half mile out to sea, but cutting the inside of the corner and motoring by immediately off that very-close drop-off. And when I say 'immediately off', the resort has installed floating lines out at their property edges tied off to the drop-off so as to prevent them from cutting across the shallows inside the dropoff. Finally, particularly for snorkelers/nondivers (such as my wife), not only are the boats close, but they're also very loud, as most have no muffler…can hear them coming for 5 minutes before they pass by. So unfortunately, I simply cannot give this destination good marks for 'Solitude', as I got a royal earful about it and once it was pointed out to me, yes, it isn't at all subtle.
05/31/2010 Ellys (Avg: 3.98 Review) -
01/12/2009 Ray Clark (Avg: 4.51 Review) - Wakatobi is a PIA to get to but worth the trip. Secure your carry-on because there probably won't be room in the cabin and it will need to be checked and out of your sight until you arrive at Wakatobi. I had cash stolen from mine. The plane will probably stop in Timor to refuel, pack toilet paper because there isn't any in the terminal but you probably discovered that in Bali too. The house reef is gorgeous as are all of the others which presents a problem, what to give up or how to squeeze in another beach dive.
07/23/2007 Ed Kenney (Avg: 4.92 Review) - The three best house reefs I've experienced are Murex's Bangka Island reef, Pulisan Jungle Resort's reef and now Wakatobi's 3 1/2 mile house reef. I think they're roughly equal in quality but the expanse of the Wakatobi reef and the house reef taxi available from morning till nightfall put it in a special class. The submission description above references James Watt who, I believe, died just this week. He definitely wasn't alone in finding Wakatobi the world's best! The Wakatobi dock goes out to the reef edge where turtle grass and lightly coral-dotted shallows drop off vertically into deep blue. It's amazing what can be seen off this dock alone throughout the course of a week. The varieties of morays we didn't see, hunt it at dawn and dusk, sometimes jumping a foot in the area to dislodge crabs from the dock. The last day we were there, baby batfish that eluded our photographic attempts all week were swimming casually right near our boat. The house reef is mainly a wall, but it has a couple great critter-hunting bays within it such as Dunia Baru that are a full dive in themselves, as well as good size caverns with overhanging soft coral, glassy sweepers, scorpionfish and a good assortment of nudibranchs. A great one could be reached by a short back swim from our bungalow. Currents here can be swift and only instructor-status divers with pony bottles are allowed to solo. One night six of us hit the water and the current ripped off several masks, one never reappearing. We had to kick hard to get on the wall and ended up a long ways away in the easily found exit point called the second gully where the dive boats are moored at low tide. This scoured out sandy canyon held octopi, frogfish, scorpionfish, lots of hermit crab, hunting filefish, several big lionfish and all sorts of other little gems. Though I would not want to miss the terrific boat dives to seamounts, ridges and walls like Roma, Blade and Lorenz's Delight, I can definitely see how some divers are simply content to dive the Wakatobi house reef time after time. We found dozens of fish, invertebrates, crinoids, hard and soft coral, ascidians, and fans that were new to us every time we dove there . In conclusion, I highly recommend this reef in particular and Wakatobi itself as a destination. Add on a stop-off at Bali with its own terrific shore and boat diving and you've found a bit of paradise.
04/30/2006 Peter Peerboom (Avg: 4.56 Review) - We dived Wakatoby in Nov 2003 and its house reef is a very easy shore dive, with lots of beautiful sea life. The house reef is good for all levels of divers. Wakatpby can only be reached by a special charter flight, 3 hours from Bali.
12/15/2004 Mark Blum (Avg: 4.74 Review) - Awesome. Wonderfully isolated. Unbelievable diversity of marine life. Exceptionally healthy reefs (walls mostly). Great staff and food. A roadless paradise accessible only by boat!
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Submitted by Raymond Clark
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