Wakatobi the Resort
September 7th, Friday
Dive #31 Site - Wakatobi House Reef - Taxi boat dive
After getting settled into the resort we decided to take advantage of the taxi boats and do an unguided dive of the house reef this afternoon. Since this was a transfer day for the resort and people would be coming in at different times there was no planned diving until Saturday morning. We did a nice 1 hour and 7 minute dive to a max depth of 50 feet. We saw the apparently regular school of 15 huge Bumphead Parrotfish that frequent the reef. There were some Crocodile Longtom Needlefish at the surface, a big fat greenish brown Moray Eel and another Blue Spotted Ray. Saw three large light blue Pufferfish, lots of Triggerfish and schools of Fusiliers. There were some big Snappers, Groupers and Jacks or Trivallys hanging about as well as a couple large Turtles. One Turtle was tearing into some sponge for quite some time, just ripping it out in chunks, having lunch.
The dive staff met us on shore at the second gully and took our tanks making an easy stroll back to the gear locker.
September 8th, Saturday
Dive #32 Site - Table Coral City (Pinnacle)
This was the check out dive for people just arriving. Since we'd already been diving we went on ahead of the group and did a 1 hour and 10 minute dive with a max depth of 79 feet. Saw a big Scorpionfish, lots of Butterflyfish and Angelfish. A BlueSpotted Ray, some Bumphead Parrotfish and schools of Fusiliers were about. Roel pointed out some Fire Dartfish. The Pinnacle was covered in some nice big Cabbage Coral and a lot of Staghorn Coral full of juveniles.
Dive #33 Site - Tanjung Patok (Wakatobi House Reef)
Did an hour and 10 minute dive with a max depth of 69 feet. Saw a big FAT BlueSpotted Pufferfish, several Nudibranchs, a Turtle, some other Pufferfish and schools of Anthias and Fusiliers. Also Crocodile fish, Scorpionfish and some Blackfin Dartfish. Saw a group of Lined Rabbitfish and a small hairy Orangutan Crab. Most unique thing was a little white Pigmy Seahorse free-swimming around in a little opening.
Mouse over to highlight the Nudibranch in the picture below.
Dive #34 Teluk Maya
This was a unique site with a reef and a flat sandy muck diving area allowing for a variety of life on one dive. We dove for 1 hour and 4 minutes with a max depth of 76 feet. Saw a HUGE orange Frogfish, several Sea Moths, tiny black Frogfish, a Smashing Mantis Shrimp, Pipefish, Scorpionfish, Pigmy Cuttlefish and Anton pointed out tiny wormy things living on the back of a Stonefish.
September 9th, Sunday
Dive #35 - Blade
This would be our second dive at this site and on this hour long dive with a max depth of 89 feet we saw the same characters as before. The Painted Frogfish was still there next to his friends the Anemonefish. Bill found two of the Pigmy Seahorses that Anton couldn't find. Also present were schools of Fusiliers, Nudibranchs, a big Bumphead Parrotfish, Butterflyfish, Jellyfish, Tunicates, pretty Coral and a tiny baby striped Angelfish.
And here is the friendly Painted Frogfish again. (Mouse over to find him)
Dive #36 Site - Magnifica
This dive was 1 hour and 13 minutes with a max depth of 65 feet. Both dive groups from the boat ended up all bunched up (normally one group goes in and the other group waits a bit so the groups stay separated=fewer divers trying to look at the same stuff). Having 14 divers and two dive masters all together made this dive less enjoyable. Still managed to see a big Lobster, a Black Spotted Puffer, some Nudibranchs, a Coral Hind hiding in a barrel sponge, pretty Coral, Tunicates and a really nice Scorpionfish in the shallows.
Dive #37 Site - Teluk Maya Night Dive
Went back to Teluk Maya for our boat group night dive. Dove for 1 hour and 3 minutes with a max depth of 67 feet. Saw some of the same critters like the Sea Moths, big Scorpionfish, some Lionfish. This dive site is very sandy and unfortunately not everyone in the group stayed off the bottom so a lot of stirred up sand disturbing the sea life made the dive a bit disappointing.
September 10th, Monday
Dive #38 Site - Pastel
For this morning dive we had a bottom time of 1 hour and 7 minutes with a max depth of 75 feet. Saw a very large purple Cuttlefish right away. Some Randalls Prawn Gobi's with their Shrimp, Angelfish, Scorpionfish, Bicolor Parrotfish, Bannerfish, Anthias, a Bird Wrasse and some Trivally. The best part by far was the school of large Circular Spadefish that swam along with us for quite some time. So close you could see the Isopods on their faces. Nice wall dive.
Dive #39 Site - Turkey Beach
Nice dive for 1 hour and 10 minutes with a 71 foot max depth. This is off the South side of Wakatobi and is a very nice sloping wall with lots of pretty coral. Saw several Crocodilefish, some Fire Dartfish, a Hermit Crab, some big Nudibranchs, Puffers, Snappers, Flatworms, a Clown Triggerfish and schools of Triggers and Pyramid Butterflyfish.
Mouse over to find the pair of Crocodilefish below
Dive #40 - Cornucopia
This hour and 12 minute dive had a max depth of 71 feet. Cornucopia is billed as a Nudibranch site and we saw several different kinds as well as an Orangutan Crab in an Anemone, some Anemonefish, Squirrelfish, Blennies and Gobis. Also saw a Giant Map Pufferfish and a small Scorpionfish.
Dive #41 Site - Wakatobi House Reef Taxi Boat Dusk dive
Bill and I decided to do a dusk dive on the house reef, no camera for this dive. Taking the taxi boat out to beyond the Villas and diving for 1 hour and 5 minutes with a 41 foot max depth made for a nice relaxing dive. The current was variable, one minute brisk to nearly nothing the next. Saw lots of fish life including Bumphead Parrotfish, couple of Crocodilefish, a Blue Spotted Ray, big Scrawled Filefish, couple of Turtles and a Scorpionfish. Exited at the second gully and had to walk back with all our gear, didn't see a staff person anywhere on the beach.
September 11th, Tuesday
Dive #42 Site - Lorenzo's Delight
Dove for 1 hour and 13 minutes with a max depth of 68 feet. There was strong current at depth that lightened up as we came shallower. The visibility wasn't very good until we got to the shallows. Saw a Turtle out in the blue, a Blue Spotted Ray hiding under a ledge, tiny Nudibranchs, a big Painted Crayfish and schools of Anthias and Triggerfish. Saw Fire Dartfish, Damsels and Butterflyfish as well.
Dive #43 Site - Trailblazer
Great 1 hour and 13 minute dive with a max depth of 72 feet. Clear visibility with no current. Saw a large Cuttlefish, Moray Eel, Nudibranchs, free swimming Crinoid and lots of big Triggerfish. A Damselfish was laying eggs under a table coral. spotted a Robust Pipefish, lots of Starfish and the giant Orange Frogfish had moved to this site from Teluk Maya. There were schools of Fusilers, Damsels, Sergeant Majors and Wrasse.
Dive #44 Site - Kollo Soha Beach
Had a 1 hour and 11 minute dive here with a max depth of 76 feet. Anton pointed out a Yellowish/Green Tiny Pigmy Seahorse. While Bill was taking pictures of a big Crocodilefish I was looking into the blue and an Eagle Ray came by. The one and only Eagle Ray we (I) saw on this trip. Saw a baby Boxfish, Fire Dartfish, a Scorpionfish and lots of Nudibranchs. Of course there were Anthias, Damsels, Anemonefish and Dascyllus on the reef. We even saw a big Sea Cucumber upright as if reaching for the surface.
September 12, Wednesday
Dive #45 Site - Spiral Corner
I managed an hour and 13 minute dive here, though Bill had to abort in the first few minutes due to his ears and rode out the time on the boat. The excitement at this dive site came from David dropping his camera in the first five minutes of the dive. Both groups from the boat got all mixed up and Anton took a big group on for a dive while David, Michelle, Roel and I kept searching for the camera. After a while Roel and I went on ahead along the reef in the opposite direction of Antons group while David and Michelle continued to search, eventually giving up and surfacing for the boat. There were schools of Pufferfish, small clingfish on the bottom of Sea Stars, a Moray Eel, Shrimp Gobi's, tiny yellow Sea Cucumbers and some real Clown Anemonefish in the shallows. When Roel and I surfaced, the boat was quite a ways away and heading off in the other direction. Turns out one of the guys on the boat spotted David's camera floating on the surface. They have some amazing distance sight! After recovering the camera the boat came back for us.
Dive #46 Site - The Zoo
Bill was able to do this dive but had to stay shallow at the end and went up early because of his ears. I stayed down for 1 hour and 11 minutes and had a max depth of 66 feet. Saw a big Aeolid Nudibranch that was white with gold flecks and looked more like a soft coral or an anemone. We would not have known it was a Nudibranch without the dive masters pointing it out. There were other Nudibranchs as well as a Black Spotted Pufferfish, some Anemonefish, Flatworms, Jawfish, Spadefish, Parrotfish, Angelfish, Butterflyfish and Sweetlips. At the end of the dive in the shallows, amongst the Staghorn Coral we found a lot of Pajama Cardinalfish, another first sighting.
Dive #47 Site - Treasure Chest
Bill decided his ears dictated he was through diving so I took the camera and took a few pictures. Dove for 1 hour and 10 minutes with a max depth of 76 feet. This site was a sloping wall with a flat sandy area with lots of coral rubble. Saw some Pigmy Seahorses, several Nudibranchs, some Bumphead Parrotfish and Green Parrotfish. There was a lot of fish life, schools of Fusiliers, Longnose Butterflyfish, Damselfish, Pink Tailed Triggerfish and others.
September 13th, Thursday
Dive #48 Site - Dunia Baru
Got another chance to dive Dunia Baru, the site that we tried to do as a night dive with Sam and missed most of the site. This time we dropped in at the giant Cabbage Coral that marks the location and did a 1 hour 13 minute dive with a 73 feet max depth. Bill didn't dive today so I hung out with the group and took the camera for a few shots. At the beginning of the dive Anton had some issues with his first stage and after messing with it underwater for awhile he headed up, changed it out and came back down. The current was rather brisk along the wall but leveled off to a light surge when we turned the corner. Saw some Snappers, some Bigeyes, and a juvenile Pinnate Spadefish on the wall. A nice fat free swimming Moray, some Nudibranchs, juvenile Yellowtail Coris, Anemonefish and both a white and green Leaf Scorpionfish in the surgey more shallow area.
Dive #49 Site - Teluk Maya
For the last dive of the trip the group voted to go back to Teluk Maya. I did a 1 hour and 18 minute dive here with a max depth of 72 feet. Since Bill didn't dive I mostly hung around either Anton or Michelle. At the end of the dive Anton left Michelle and I as the only two divers that still had plenty of air. Its the last dive, you never want it to end. There was a lot of surge at the site so it was a bit different than before. Saw a big Cuttlefish and the little Pigmy one was there too. The Sea Moths were present as well as some Scorpionfish, some Flatworms and a nice Flounder took time to pose for me. There were quite a few Spadefish, some Anemonefish and Garden Eels that I didn't see before.
My dives for the trip came to 47 and Bills came to 46 counting the one he aborted in the first five minutes. Not bad for a very relaxing trip crossing lots of water. The afternoon was spent drying equipment, gathering everything back up and packing. With bags ready to go and set out to be picked up we spent the last evening at the Jetty bar visiting, saying preliminary good-byes and enjoying the evening. The Pelagian crew were back so it was nice to see Sam and Brigitte again before we left.
September 14th, Friday
The next day, after settling up with the Wakatobi folks and saying our final good-byes we headed by boat and van to the Wakatobi Airstrip on Tomia Island for our flight back to Bali. Once in Bali we were heading off directly to Jakarta, Seoul and then on to DFW and home. It was a wonderful trip, a wonderful place and we made a lot of new friends. If you have to have birthdays this is a great way to celebrate them.