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Travelnsj
10-03-2007, 17:47
Bali/Wakatobi Trip 9-27 thru 10-14…Part one..

Bali
Arrived in Bali from LA at about 2pm with severe jet lag. Upon arrival at the Bayou Cottages in Amed my over weighted 65 lbs dive bag was hoisted by two men and put atop a young ladies head, which she proceeded to walk up a couple flights a stairs. I said to the two guys that was tooooo heavy for them to carry…I got with a smile “our women are used to it.” I will not get used to that custom! The Amed region is remote nothing fancy here in this part of Bali. The Bayou Cottages was nice but not luxurious. Great staff, great food and nice rooms. The one thing that bothered me a bit was this hotel is built on a hillside with a major road in front of it. Therefore, you heard every car, motorbike etc…..but great view of the bay.

The first day we did a couple of dives on the Liberty Wreck. Sleeping shortly after arrival in the afternoon until Midnight, I thought I was rested up. Thus ambitious to do three dives. During the second dive at about 50’ I felt severe narcoses a couple of times thus I decided major hydration was needed along with a little more sleep. Our first dive was around the wreck. Saw a very large school of Jacks…a giant big fat Barracuda (at least 6’ long), big Napoleon Wrasse, frogfish, scores of small marine life. Very good dive…the second dive was more of diving inside the wreck and looking for smaller stuff. Rest of the diving was great saw a couple of Sharks, Rays, Cuttlefish, Sea Pens, Weird sea urchins, Flounders, Ornate ghost pipefish etc.

The Weather was wonderful and the water temperatures were around 81-82. If you are going thru Bali, Stop and Dive! My suggestion is dive in Tulamben. I also dove the Amed wall, which OK, I found more stuff in Tulamben and if you stay in Amed, it is a ½-hour drive daily. If you want to dive with the Mola Molas or Mantas in Nusa Penida (much cooler water) perhaps stay in a more central area as the daily drives to the sites are long. You will not regret a couple days or more of the diving and the wonderful hospitality.


Wakatobi

Wow what an operation. Our dive boat can hold up to around 30+ people….only 12 on board with two Instructors. My group has only 4 people and the other 3 are semi-professional photographers. Thus, I have my own dive guide! You analyze you own Nitrox tanks (they have 100’s for air hogs…Big smile) everything is put on the boats in the AM. They will set up for you if you like but I prefer to do my own. Excellent dive operation! The rooms are nice but basic and can get warm in the afternoon. The AC will get thing cooled down by about bedtime. The food…again Excellent great Breakfast, Lunch and Dinners. Did our check out dive plus a couple of other dives yesterday. Nothing to rave about yet. Vis was an issue yesterday about 30’ water temps around 81!…..have 9 days to go….time for breakfast and briefing….more to follow.

deepdiver47
10-04-2007, 11:43
You flew from LA to Bali direct? Ouch, that lag must be nasty. It will be worse on the way home brother

Bali (heavy sigh) this brings back memories of July where I was in the Tulamben staying at Scuba Seraya. I too did 2 wall dives in Amed that had some huge fans on them (must have been 9-12 feet across) and at 80-90 ft an awesome sight, But that was it, overall the diving in Amed was okay.

I hear you about those heads. I routinely saw 14 year kids with 100's on their heads while riding scooters! They smiled, smiled all the way. That is the thing about Bali, your jaw will hurt because you smile so much.

Liberty wreck = huge Jack fish bowl......really cool.


30' at Wakatobi? what is up with that? Did you have heavy surf conditions?

thanks for the report, keep up the good work!



Bali/Wakatobi Trip 9-27 thru 10-14…Part one..

Bali
Arrived in Bali from LA at about 2pm with severe jet lag. Upon arrival at the Bayou Cottages in Amed my over weighted 65 lbs dive bag was hoisted by two men and put atop a young ladies head, which she proceeded to walk up a couple flights a stairs. I said to the two guys that was tooooo heavy for them to carry…I got with a smile “our women are used to it.” I will not get used to that custom! The Amed region is remote nothing fancy here in this part of Bali. The Bayou Cottages was nice but not luxurious. Great staff, great food and nice rooms. The one thing that bothered me a bit was this hotel is built on a hillside with a major road in front of it. Therefore, you heard every car, motorbike etc…..but great view of the bay.

The first day we did a couple of dives on the Liberty Wreck. Sleeping shortly after arrival in the afternoon until Midnight, I thought I was rested up. Thus ambitious to do three dives. During the second dive at about 50’ I felt severe narcoses a couple of times thus I decided major hydration was needed along with a little more sleep. Our first dive was around the wreck. Saw a very large school of Jacks…a giant big fat Barracuda (at least 6’ long), big Napoleon Wrasse, frogfish, scores of small marine life. Very good dive…the second dive was more of diving inside the wreck and looking for smaller stuff. Rest of the diving was great saw a couple of Sharks, Rays, Cuttlefish, Sea Pens, Weird sea urchins, Flounders, Ornate ghost pipefish etc.

The Weather was wonderful and the water temperatures were around 81-82. If you are going thru Bali, Stop and Dive! My suggestion is dive in Tulamben. I also dove the Amed wall, which OK, I found more stuff in Tulamben and if you stay in Amed, it is a ½-hour drive daily. If you want to dive with the Mola Molas or Mantas in Nusa Penida (much cooler water) perhaps stay in a more central area as the daily drives to the sites are long. You will not regret a couple days or more of the diving and the wonderful hospitality.


Wakatobi

Wow what an operation. Our dive boat can hold up to around 30+ people….only 12 on board with two Instructors. My group has only 4 people and the other 3 are semi-professional photographers. Thus, I have my own dive guide! You analyze you own Nitrox tanks (they have 100’s for air hogs…Big smile) everything is put on the boats in the AM. They will set up for you if you like but I prefer to do my own. Excellent dive operation! The rooms are nice but basic and can get warm in the afternoon. The AC will get thing cooled down by about bedtime. The food…again Excellent great Breakfast, Lunch and Dinners. Did our check out dive plus a couple of other dives yesterday. Nothing to rave about yet. Vis was an issue yesterday about 30’ water temps around 81!…..have 9 days to go….time for breakfast and briefing….more to follow.

Travelnsj
10-04-2007, 23:32
I have done this route about 5 times...and the jet lag seems to get worse every year....LOL....I have found the one with the least Jet lag is going to Palau you get in at nite.

The vis sucks....no heavy surf conditions....the vis in Bali was great....hopefully it will clear up in a day or two.....back to lunch and another dive!

ParrotheadDiver
10-05-2007, 09:40
nice report....sounds like a good trip except for the jet lag part:smiley5:

frrdiver
10-07-2007, 20:15
Great Report!! Keep us informed. Want to go there next year!! I haven't decide if Wakatobi or Raja Ampat.

Travelnsj
10-10-2007, 16:50
Wakatobi,

When comparing dive locations, I judge everything against Palau for Pelagic’s plus overall best Bio-Diversity and East Timor for Corals and just plain weird stuff like Carpet anemones and Spanish Dancers etc. Wakatobi is most like Timor or overall probably better. Most of the diving is wall diving. Unfortunately, the visibility is/was only about 20’to 40’ max the entire time and the water temps were between 77 to 81 degrees…too cool for me. It looks as though there may sea life out there i.e. schools of fish but unless they come close, you cannot tell. There are pigmy seahorses to see (if you can), many types of Nudibranchs, Cuttlefish, Ornate Ghost Pipefish, flounders, Crockfish, Eggshell cowrie’s etc. Corals both soft and hard of almost every imaginable shape and color.

You can pretty much dive all you want as they have a great house reef in front of the resort. I tend not to dive to get wet and if all I am going see pretty much the same thing it becomes a bit redundant to me. Being I did travel all this way I did not miss a dive and added a 4th dive here and there. I found on a 70 minute dive there was only about 10 minutes of interesting diving to me, let me clarify I like to be entertained by the diving. In Wakatobi, you have to look and have patience to find your reward. There are people here that are in Heaven with this type of diving. In addition, I am diving a shorty with 100 tanks which I get around 70 minutes bottom time. After the 3rd dive in waters of 81 or less, it will takes me the end of the evening to start to break a sweat…I get downright chilled…LOL..My own internal AC.

Wakatobi is an excellent operation. I have visited about 20 to 25 different dive or dive resort operations around the world, Nothing compares to Wakatobi. The Indonesians take care of these boats like their own. One day after coming up for a dive I went to make a cup of Hot Chocolate, the boat captain waved me off. Not knowing what he meant, I soon learned. After every dive, I had Hot Chocolate waiting for me. The dive guides are mostly European coming from Germany, Austria, England, France and Switzerland. Alex my dive guide was as good as the best I have dove with anywhere. I cannot say enough about how excellent every facet of this dive operation is.

If you are into small stuff and have patience to find it, this is the place for you. I prefer more action and warmer waters and if that is what you are looking for….go to Palau, Tuamotus in Tahiti, Kiribati etc….well off for my final day of diving.

deepdiver47
10-11-2007, 07:38
Keep up the good work. so it si cool and cloudy in the water. 77 to 81 in a shortie? That would be a 3 mm full suit for me. :)

I am still perplexed by your viz, or lack of it. From all of the pics I have seen it should be gin clear. Is the house reef a muck dive? Muck diving isn't for this boy.

There is always Palau!

Indonesian service is second to none. And I'll bet your HC was given to you with a big smile.

Travelnsj
10-11-2007, 16:22
Keep up the good work. so it si cool and cloudy in the water. 77 to 81 in a shortie? That would be a 3 mm full suit for me. :)

I am still perplexed by your viz, or lack of it. From all of the pics I have seen it should be gin clear. Is the house reef a muck dive? Muck diving isn't for this boy.

There is always Palau!

Indonesian service is second to none. And I'll bet your HC was given to you with a big smile.

Nobody is more perplexed than me about the vis:smiley5:....it is unsual...but they say it has been this way for over a month!.....and the water is cooler than what they said it was.

If you like big stuff or ever med....do not come to Wakatobi....go to Palau...if you are into pigmy seahorses and nudis....you will love Wakatobi...plus it is the finest dive resort I have ever forund.

bperrybap
10-11-2007, 20:52
My wife and I were the second week of September 2007 just about
a month ago.
Vis was good at 60-100 ft sometimes more.
There were a few sites/dives where it dropped down to 30 ft
or so, but that wasn't the norm.

While there is quite a bit of muck diving for small stuff
there is more than just small stuff around.
If you move slowly and look around it is amazing
what will show up.

We saw 4-5 ft turtles every time we dove the house
reef. One time we swam with a school of 14 giant (3-4 ft)
bump head parrot fish on the house reef as well.

I saw a school of hundreds of puffer fish on one dive.
I never even knew they schooled.

Some sites we saw large (4ft+) alligator fish.
I got to see a cuttle fish for the first time. He was
about 18" long. Those things are very weird!

I got some great shots of a large frog fish (10-12 inches).

Just to mention a few.

The clarity and colors up in the shallows were amazing.
Lots of colorful fish and corals.

I attached a few un-touched up photos taken
with a DC-500 with no strobe using only natural light.
You can see how clear the water was.
One of my favorites is the shot looking up at the end of the
pier on the house reef while down at 40 ft just before
sunset.

Enjoy,

--- bill

Travelnsj
10-13-2007, 17:55
Bill unfortunitly I did not have the same vis....I am sure I would of enjoyed it more....I love that dive op!....when we dove Turkey Beach...many turtles....My trip report is posted.

Travelnsj
10-13-2007, 18:03
Bali/Wakatobi Trip 9-27 thru 10-14-07

Bali
Arrived in Bali from LA at about 2pm with severe jet lag. Upon arrival at the Bayou Cottages in Amed my over weighted 65 lbs dive bag was hoisted by two men and put atop a young ladies head, which she proceeded to walk up a couple flights a stairs. I told the two guys that was tooooo heavy for them to carry…The response I got with a smile “our women are used to it.” I will not get used to that custom! The Amed region is remote nothing fancy here in this part of Bali. The Bayou Cottages was nice but not luxurious. Great staff, great food and nice rooms. The one thing that bothered me a bit was this hotel is built on a hillside with a road in front of it. Therefore, you heard cars, motorbike’s etc…..but great view of the bay.

The first day we did a couple of dives on the Liberty Wreck. Sleeping shortly after arrival in the afternoon until Midnight, I thought I was rested up. Thus ambitious to do three dives. During the second dive at about 50’ I felt severe narcoses a couple of times thus I decided major hydration was needed along with a little more sleep and called off the final dive of the day. Our first dive was around the wreck. Saw a very large school of Jacks…a giant big fat Barracuda (at least 5- 6’ long), big Napoleon Wrasse, frogfish, scores of small marine life. Very good dive…the second dive was more of diving inside the wreck and looking for smaller stuff. Rest of the diving was great saw a couple of Sharks, Rays, Cuttlefish, Sea Pens, Fire sea urchins, Flounders, Ornate ghost pipefish etc.

The Weather was wonderful and the water temperatures were around 81-82. If you are going thru Bali, Stop and Dive! My suggestion is dive in Tulamben. I also dove the Amed wall, which was OK, I found more stuff in Tulamben and if you stay in Amed, it is a ½-hour drive daily. If you want to dive with the Mola Molas or Mantas in Nusa Penida (much cooler water) perhaps stay in a more central area as the daily drives to the sites are long. You will not regret a couple days or more of the diving and the wonderful hospitality.


Wakatobi

Wow what an operation. The dive boat can hold up to around 30+ divers. Only 10 on board my boat, two Instructors and 4 crewmembers. My group has only 4 people and the other 3 are semi-professional photographers and they linger on subjects. Thus, I have my own dive guide! You analyze you own Nitrox tanks (they have 100’s for air hogs…Big smile) everything is put on the boats in the AM. They will set up for you if you like but I prefer to do my own. Excellent dive operation! The rooms are nice but basic and can get warm in the afternoon.. The AC will get things cooled down by about bedtime. My roommate was a retired Surgeon and a great guy. The food…again Excellent great Breakfast, Lunch and Dinners.

Did our check out dive the first dive in the AM, which you have to do the basic flood your mask and the air share buddy skill.

When comparing dive locations, I judge everything against Palau for Pelagic’s plus overall best Bio-Diversity and East Timor for Corals and just plain weird stuff like Carpet anemones and Spanish Dancers etc. Wakatobi is most like Timor and overall probably better. Most of the diving is wall diving. Unfortunately, the visibility was only about 20’to 40’ max the entire time and the water temperatures were between 77 to 81 degrees…too cool for me. It looks as though there may sea life out there i.e. schools of fish but unless they come close, you cannot tell. There are plenty of Pigmy seahorses to see (if you can), many types of Nudibranchs, Cuttlefish, Ornate Ghost Pipefish, Flounders, Crockfish, Eggshell cowrie’s etc. Corals both soft and hard of almost every imaginable shape and color. Some of my favorite dive sites are the Zoo, Turkey Beach for the fish life and Magnifica for the corals

You can pretty much dive all you want as they have a great house reef in front of the resort. I tend not to dive to get wet and if all I am going see pretty much the same thing it becomes a bit redundant to me. Being I did travel all this way I did not miss a dive and added a 4th dive here and there. I found on a 70 minute dive there was only about 10 minutes of interesting diving to me, let me clarify I like to be entertained by the diving. In Wakatobi, you have to look and have patience to find your reward. There are people that are in Heaven with this type of diving. In addition, I am diving a shorty with 100 tanks which I get around 70 minutes bottom time. After the 3rd dive in waters of 81 or less up to 70 minutes, it will takes me the end of the evening to start to break a sweat…I get downright chilled…LOL..My own internal AC.

Wakatobi is an excellent operation. I have visited about 20 to 25 different dive or dive resort operations around the world, Nothing compares to Wakatobi. The Indonesians take care of these boats like their own. One day after coming up for a dive I went to make a cup of Hot Chocolate, the boat captain waved me off. Not knowing what he meant, I soon learned that was his job! After every dive, I had Hot Chocolate waiting for me. The dive guides are mostly European coming from Germany, Austria, England, France and Switzerland. Alex my dive guide was as good as the best I have dove with anywhere. I cannot say enough about how excellent every facet of this dive operation is.

If you are into small stuff and have patience to find it, this is the place for you. You will not be disappointed! I prefer a more action and warmer waters and if that is what you are looking for….go to Palau, Tuamotus in Tahiti, Kiribati etc.

Finished off my trip by spending a couple of nights in Singapore and had that great $70 Crab at the Boat Quay….Yumm!

deepdiver47
10-14-2007, 16:55
good report Travelnsj,

You said "Did our check out dive the first dive in the AM, which you have to do the basic flood your mask and the air share buddy skill"
A skill test? I have yet to have been tasked with this. So if you fail you don’t get to dive with them?

You experienced a great point, hydration and long flights. I am a firm believer that flight dehydration can and will get you narc’ed. I never refuse water as it is about hydrating your tissues, not thirst.

Did you have an insta-buddy or did you dive as a group?

Where did you stay in Singpore on your overnight? I am thinking about going to Bunaken Island in May of 08 and I am looking for a descent stay. I had heard that some people had used the day rooms for a few hours.

Travelnsj
10-14-2007, 17:41
good report Travelnsj,

You said "Did our check out dive the first dive in the AM, which you have to do the basic flood your mask and the air share buddy skill"
A skill test? I have yet to have been tasked with this. So if you fail you don’t get to dive with them?

You experienced a great point, hydration and long flights. I am a firm believer that flight dehydration can and will get you narc’ed. I never refuse water as it is about hydrating your tissues, not thirst.

Did you have an insta-buddy or did you dive as a group?

Where did you stay in Singpore on your overnight? I am thinking about going to Bunaken Island in May of 08 and I am looking for a descent stay. I had heard that some people had used the day rooms for a few hours.

The Mask flooding is a basic to get your certification....if you cannot do it they probably would tell you to take private instruction to pass....which they offer no idea the cost.....if you are a new diver this is not a spot for you. I saw a new diver there. They were crashing into the reefs and other divers....They made them get a private instructor.

You have a buddy but you really dive as a group.

I stayed at the Conrad Hilton in Singapore...very nice hotel...any other question let me know.

Desert_Diver
10-14-2007, 20:56
Every time I read your latest dive trip report, my teeth involuntarily clench, my blood pressure spikes, and I choke out the words, "Dive Bum". :pissed:

Good report. Sounds like it was a fun trip.

Art

allison finch
11-20-2007, 14:44
:smiley36:
Unfortunately, bio diversity comes at a price. All those critters, sponges and corals need to be fed. Strong currents force feed reefs and therefore those reefs tend to have higher diversity.

Sad but true. You can go to the caribbean for gin clear water, and pay for that narrower biodiversity.

Travelnsj
11-20-2007, 15:11
:smiley36:
Unfortunately, bio diversity comes at a price. All those critters, sponges and corals need to be fed. Strong currents force feed reefs and therefore those reefs tend to have higher diversity.

Sad but true. You can go to the caribbean for gin clear water, and pay for that narrower biodiversity.

Allison....there were no strong currents in Wakatobi....actually it was like easy swimming.....once in a while maybe a 1 knot current unless you were doing the house reef...then a good current. Simply no vis....but people who were photographers loved it....me I was yawning. I have been in Micronesia and South Pacific with currents up to 10 knots and over 100' vis....regarding the Carribbean I am going to give it one last try at Little Cayman in June....I have been to a half dozen spots throughout the Carribbean and not very impressed.

Scubakraut
12-12-2007, 15:36
nice report! Not sure if I would hit up Wakatobi since it is rather expensive vs the rest of anywhere in Indonesia.

Bill22
01-14-2008, 09:14
Sorry man I know it's been three months! Just wanted to say nice report :-). Wakatobi is on my list, just not sure when I'll be able to afford it. I've been getting in some great dives down in the Philippines and it's cheap too.

Did go to Guam for a week last month. That was driven more by the fact that there were two members of my dive club that were going there already and they invited me. That and the ease of getting leave approved to go there. It's kind of a pain to visit other countries because I have an extra approval process I have to go through, and it takes longer to get approved because my request has to go further up the chain. Guam is easy. Only needs my department heads okay since it's technically part of the US.

Travelnsj
01-14-2008, 10:01
Bill put Wakatobi at the bottom of your list. Read my Raja Ampat report posted in this forum and Part one of the report about Lembeh Straits which is posted in the Trips and Travel forum. That diving blew away Wakatobi.....too bad you have a problem getting into Indonesia it is the finest diving I have found.....you should still try Palau that should not be any problem for you to get to.