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Bali & Wakatobi


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#1 Going Postal

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Posted 04 October 2008 - 07:30 PM

Kamala, Liz and myself met last night at LAX for our flight to Bali. I had arrived a day early to start relaxing and to make sure I did not miss the flight. After a day of hanging out and relaxing I was glad to start seeing members of the group.

Its hard to believe we are now sitting in Hong Kong. Yes we survived the 14.5 hour flight a little tired but otherwise OK. We flew Cathay Pacific, which was awesome, great crew, great seats (they allow you to recline without leaning the chair into the person behind you and they have very soft movable head rests) as well as great food. They served two great meals, snacks, free liquor, and basically anything you could want while watching movies, listening to music or sleeping. What a top rate airline.

I know this trip is going to be great when I found myself seated between two beautiful women. I can be bribed to tell you just how much fun these two gals are when the 'wine is flowing'! :dance: But trust me...even grueling airplane rides are more fun with this group!

After landing in Hong Kong and making our way from the plane inside the terminal we started noticing all the shops and how things are priced in multiple currencies, but sadly none that any of us recognized. Upon landing it was gray and overcast but now it's raining. Fortunately we have free wifi and we are happy to get on line and check a few emails as well as let you all know how we've survived so far. I hope our flight isn't delayed due to the rain but it seems to be subsiding so we should be ok. One more flight to go before we meet everyone and really get the party started. :respect:

Until then...you should have joined us for this trip. But since you missed out then don't miss next year's "Wakatobi Encore" in July. I've been watching the wench typing away getting it ready to post. And I found out that the resort will give any repeat customers a 5% discount for the first repeat, 10% for the 2nd and 15% for the 3rd and any additional repeat visits. Talk about an awesome repeat customer program. :welcome:
"Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, "Wow - What a ride!'"

#2 uwfan

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Posted 04 October 2008 - 08:25 PM

Kamala, Liz and myself met last night at LAX for our flight to Bali. I had arrived a day early to start relaxing and to make sure I did not miss the flight. After a day of hanging out and relaxing I was glad to start seeing members of the group.

Its hard to believe we are now sitting in Hong Kong. Yes we survived the 14.5 hour flight a little tired but otherwise OK. We flew Cathay Pacific, which was awesome, great crew, great seats (they allow you to recline without leaning the chair into the person behind you and they have very soft movable head rests) as well as great food. They served two great meals, snacks, free liquor, and basically anything you could want while watching movies, listening to music or sleeping. What a top rate airline.

I know this trip is going to be great when I found myself seated between two beautiful women. I can be bribed to tell you just how much fun these two gals are when the 'wine is flowing'! :dance: But trust me...even grueling airplane rides are more fun with this group!

After landing in Hong Kong and making our way from the plane inside the terminal we started noticing all the shops and how things are priced in multiple currencies, but sadly none that any of us recognized. Upon landing it was gray and overcast but now it's raining. Fortunately we have free wifi and we are happy to get on line and check a few emails as well as let you all know how we've survived so far. I hope our flight isn't delayed due to the rain but it seems to be subsiding so we should be ok. One more flight to go before we meet everyone and really get the party started. :respect:

Until then...you should have joined us for this trip. But since you missed out then don't miss next year's "Wakatobi Encore" in July. I've been watching the wench typing away getting it ready to post. And I found out that the resort will give any repeat customers a 5% discount for the first repeat, 10% for the 2nd and 15% for the 3rd and any additional repeat visits. Talk about an awesome repeat customer program. :welcome:


If you're still in Hong Kong and reading this...HKD are Hong Kong Dollars, roughly 1 US dollar to 8 HKD...safe travels!!

#3 Latitude Adjustment

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Posted 05 October 2008 - 01:55 PM

Not there yet, Cherie and I are waiting for our connection in Seoul :-D
I, Latitude Adjustment (insert log in name), do hereby swear, (politely), that I shall not hold SingleDivers, (SD), nor any SD poster, (real or imagined), liable, nor shall I seek legal restitution, (real or imagined), for any perceived, (real or imagined), offenses I may incur, (or Incurrrrrrrrrr on talk like a pirate day), that may or may not be posted on this or any SCUBA related board, (real or imagined), by anyone, (real or imagined), anywhere, (real or imagined). Further, I void any right to privacy, (real or imagined), as it may, or may not relate to any posting, (real or imagined), about me, to me, for me, because of me, all about me, my dog, my cat, my bird, my monkey, my family, (real or imagined), my friends, (real or imagined), or my world, (real or imagined).

By all that is wet, I do hereby swear, (politely), and attest, upon pain of never diving again, (real or imagined), that I understand and affirm, that I agree to the above.

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#4 WreckWench

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Posted 07 October 2008 - 10:14 AM

YEA!!! Ray and Cherie made it around 1:30 am last night which is a miracle given that Cherie's passport expires in LESS than 6 months. I'll let her tell how she managed to get into the country and then stay once she did! :)

Our first day of diving as the group was pretty cool! We did a manta dive and saw a number of big ones until several other groups chased them off. :unsure: I then started filming groups of divers walking on the reef :birthday: its true...I have the evidence.

After recovering from the Manta dive we tried to dive the Mola Mola dive but the currents were too strong for us. So we did a very pretty reef drift dive and while some of us got distracted by the wonderful massages...the rest of our group did the third dive to Lagoon Bay and were rewarded with frog fish, HUGE cuttlefish and more! The other half of the group dove the Liberty wreck which is very nice. Now our groups switch so tomorrow my group will dive the wreck in Tulamben.

Well its 13 hrs ahead of Texas time so I'm going to cut this short but I'll try to post a few pics tomorrow as I need a little sleep tonight. Oh yes...we had some wonderful Balinesian Dancers perform for us and they were very good and the costumes were gorgeous.

Its been very exciting so far...can't wait to keep you aprised. -ww

Contact me directly at Kamala@SingleDivers.com for your private or group travel needs or 864-557-6079 AND don't miss SD's 2018-2021 Trips! ....here! Most are once in a lifetime opportunities...don't miss the chance to go!!
SD Forms & Documents.... here !

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#5 Guest_TexasStarfish_*

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Posted 22 October 2008 - 08:58 AM

Wow! What a trip! All I can say is that Bali and Wakatobi truely are paradise.

I know we all had different experiences, but thank you Kamala for putting everything together. You really make these amazing opportunities possible for me.

As for a trip report, if I wrote it, it would be long. And I'm catching up at work right now, so here's a brief synopsis:

I did a little adventure tour with Jeff and we went cycling, elephant riding, and white water rafting. It was absolutely amazing and highly recommend it to anyone who goes to Bali. The diving in Bali is okay. I did really enjoy the muck dive, thanks Kuraman. And thank you for saving my diving experience in Wakatobi. There is no way I would have been able to do all that wall diving with a defective inflator. I also went touring to various temples with Ray and Cherie and did a little shopping in Ubud.

Wakatobi is paradise, though a pain to get to. Charter plane, one stop to refuel, a bus ride, and then a boat ride; but well worth it. Don't bother bring shoes, because you just have to leave them outside the buildings anyways. The diving was great! I got some great shots of pygmy seahorses, nudis, and other small stuff. And I think there was a turtle on every dive! Truely a trip I will never forget. I will post pics when I've fully recovered. I almost slept all the way through the night last night! Baby steps.


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#6 WreckWench

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Posted 23 October 2008 - 10:33 AM

Many of us are either still getting back or playing catch up. But I know everyone will pipe in when they can. And I can't wait to upload some of my pictures. I have been already working on details to make our July trip EVEN BETTER!

The resort we stayed out in Bali really wants to please American clients so has offered to make any changes we ask to make our stay more comfortable. Wakatobi has offered to do the same since the ac was challenged a bit for some and the main dining hall lacked breeze. However it is cooler in July so this will not be an issue for next year.

Stay tunded for the BEST OF BALI AND WAKATOBI for July 09...don't miss that trip if you want to go and I can't wait to see all the awesome pics everyone took on this trip! -ww

Contact me directly at Kamala@SingleDivers.com for your private or group travel needs or 864-557-6079 AND don't miss SD's 2018-2021 Trips! ....here! Most are once in a lifetime opportunities...don't miss the chance to go!!
SD Forms & Documents.... here !

Click here TO PAY for Merchandise, Membership, or Travel
"Imitation is the sincerest flattery." - Gandhi
"Imitation is proof that originality is rare." - ScubaHawk
SingleDivers.com...often imitated...never duplicated!

Kamala Shadduck c/o SingleDivers.com LLC
2234 North Federal Hwy, #1010 Boca Raton, FL 33431
formerly...
710 Dive Buddy Lane; Salem, SC 29676
864-557-6079 tel/celfone/office or tollfree fax 888-480-0906

#7 Divegirl412

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Posted 24 October 2008 - 08:51 PM

I think the silence is because most of us are still trying to get back to normal after the trip. I figured it out... It was about 40 hrs from the time I checked out of my room in Wakatobi (before breakfast as instructed) to when I walked in my door in San Diego Sat eve. Of course that included a whole lot of travel and "hurry up and wait time". The jetlag and fatigue wasn't helped by my turning around and heading for San Jose Sun morning to see Tina Turner in concert sun night (AMAZING), then flying back to San Diego Monday morning and rolling in to work straight from the airport.

Padang Bai was OK. It was nice seeing the Mantas, pity missing the Molas. And the other dives, while more ordinary (except for the challenging shore entries in Tulamben) :wub: :wub: were also fun, albeit a bit cold. Saw at least 4-5 frogfish on one artificial reef. As Kamala says, there were some logistical issues with the resort, but they are apparently trying to expand and resolve them. Hopefully that will happen. Great massages. Just be ready for when the masseuses grab your a-- for complete service LOL.

Ubud and Monkey forest was interesting. I must confess that I did not do much shopping. Call me jaded. But I know lots of people got some great deals.

But Wakatobi was exceptional. My number 2 diving location now, second only to Palau. Swiss precision with all the organization, logistics etc. Elegant accommodations, beautiful island and resort surroundings. Incredibly hard-working staff.. the boat crews, dive suport team, cooks, divemasters etc. All wonderful. After check in, we were told how to analyse tanks to be ready for transport. Then we were all assigned numbered boxes in the dive gear spaces. Your divegear went in there. Every morning, the local boat crew carried that onboard and set up your gear. Then carried it off in the evening if you wanted to wash your gear. The diveboats were amazingly comfortable. Our boat fit all 19 of us easily with 2 tanks each and extras for the divemasters etc without crowding. One divemaster per 6 divers. Great clear briefs. Fun DMs. And the diving...I will post my pitiful pics after I iphoto process them. I can promise you that ScubaShafer (Bruce)'s pictures will make you want to weep with the beauty.

We saw zillions of pygmy seahorses, (allow me to exaggerate), I actually developed the capability of SEEING them!!! Nudibranchs/ nudibranchs/ nudibranchs, flatworms, pipefish, several varieties of eels (ribbon etc), sea snake/ kraits, cuttlefish (sorry Nicolle!!! hope you have already seen some), ... hold on while I turn on my laptop to look at pictures LOL. Bumphead/ humphead and several other varieties parrot fish. some of the largest and most beautiful pufferfish I have ever seen, Boxfish of varieties I had never seen, scorpion, leaf and crocodilefish, lionfish, sweetlips, batfish, anthias, clown, titan and several other varieties of triggerfish, razor/ shrimp fish, turtles, colorful sea stars. Various types of shrimp and crabs. And much much more. And the coral!!!! Pristine and beautiful. I am much more of a "creatures" photographer, but found myself frequently stopping to try to get a pic of the lovely breathtaking coral, and then getting frustrated when the color was not shown adequately in my little point and shoot. Definitely hone your buoyancy skills before taking the trip. It would be unforgivable to damage this coral, and they are quite particular about keeping you OFF!!!

Most of the dives were slow drift dives, but we did have a couple with unexpected current that either changed or was not going in our direction :-). But there were no concerns because the water surface was FLAT (hottest time on land, but best time for diving, according to the staff). The boat crew was amazing, and they saw you as soon as you popped to the surface... even without your sausage deployed. Up to 70 minute dives at all locations. (unlimited on house reef/ shore dives). Once you got back on board, the local boat crew divested you of your gear, changed your tanks, and brought you a mug of your favorite steaming hot beverage and a towel. Then we headed for the sundeck. We only made our drinks the first dive and they watched and made records and hey presto!!! Definitely be sure to give the local crew a big tip. You will need no reminder when you see how hard they work to make the trip easy and fun. And remember at least for now, they are NOT included in the DM tip envelope, but in the envelope for "locals/ everyone else".

And relaxation. Beautiful sunsets in fun company (with booze of course) at the jetty bar. The meals. Great variety, excellent quality.. I think Carla said mmmm at every meal :lmao: . Some of us braved the heat to sign up for massages etc. And also got pedicures etc at the end. That would be my only negative. The idea of a "spa" needs a lot of work. But they tell me they are building a new spa and training spa staff. Take your own nail polish if you think you will need a pedicure at the end of the dive trip :birthday: .

The entire week, I was there, I said I would return. After the 40 hour trip, I am not so sure now. :birthday: I still may. I guess it is like childbirth. The mothers among us can attest.. you forget the pain and do the whole darn thing again. But then again, I am not a mother hmmm. There must be a reason :thankyou: But if you are even thinking about going, jump on in. You won't regret going to Wakatobi.

OK, I had to post, because I was starting to feel guilty that none of us had written much yet. But I have to go relax now. Later.

Rosa

Edited by Divegirl412, 24 October 2008 - 08:53 PM.


#8 Starfish Sandy

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Posted 25 October 2008 - 01:35 PM

WHAT????? Carla said ummmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm at the food? NO WAY!!!! :lmao: Had she already been in the booze?? :thankyou:

Love the Starfish - it's the rule!! :wub:
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#9 weescot

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Posted 25 October 2008 - 05:23 PM

Great summary Rosa! It was great, pretty much effortless diving most of the time. Other major ticks in my log were sea snakes, huge cuttle fish and multiple species of anenomone fish, to name but a few more. The night dive was also excellent - we saw soooo much, including octopus, two spotted lion fish (purely a nocturnal species) and saron shrimps. My favorite dive sites were the Blades, the Zoo (Carla credited with spotting a pregnant robust ghost pipefish) and Roma. Although all were really cool sites. Even snorkelling on the house reef our last afternoon was astonishingly good - lobsters, crocodile fish, mantis shrimp, giant moray eel ... and so it goes on.

Oh and....

WHAT????? Carla said ummmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm at the food? NO WAY!!!! :teeth: Had she already been in the booze?? :


erhm ... yes. Long island iced tea? (well, I discovered them this trip... hic)
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#10 Divegirl412

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Posted 25 October 2008 - 06:10 PM

WHAT????? Carla said ummmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm at the food? NO WAY!!!! :teeth: Had she already been in the booze?? :teeth:

Love the Starfish - it's the rule!! :)



LOL. Yes. Maybe a happy hour drink or two (long island ice teas, wakatobi passions, acapulco gold, bintang beer,.. memories anyone??) out on the jetty would account for the dinner "mmmmm's" But lunch and breakfast were boozefree. Carla, feel free to chime in.

And you are right!! the starfish were incredibly beautiful too..

Sheena, I realized I had forgotten to mention the IndoPacific Nemo and his cousins as soon as I clicked off last night. Several of them were guarding eggs which made them aggressive. Quite funny to see Nemo doing an impression of a Garibaldi!!

#11 ScubaShafer

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Posted 29 October 2008 - 06:45 PM

I'm sitting in the Atlanta airport waiting on the last leg of my 54-hour return trip marathon. (This reinforces why I try not to travel that far for just a few short weeks.)

What an awesome two-month trip I had: 148 dives, 170 hours underwater, and over 5,000 images to process. All this topped off by ending with a great bunch of singledivers in Bali and Wakatobi and an awesome underwater photo class group! Thanks for the ride!
It's a GR8 day to be alive!

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#12 Landlocked Dive Nut

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Posted 29 October 2008 - 06:50 PM

What an awesome two-month trip I had: 148 dives, 170 hours underwater, and over 5,000 images to process.


All I can say is, WOW. How did you manage to get that much time off from work, and are they hiring? :teeth: Can't wait to see some of your images. Will you be uploading a select few for us to drool over? Pretty please?
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#13 shawnabbott

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Posted 30 October 2008 - 09:07 AM

I think the silence is because most of us are still trying to get back to normal after the trip. I figured it out... It was about 40 hrs from the time I checked out of my room in Wakatobi (before breakfast as instructed) to when I walked in my door in San Diego Sat eve. Of course that included a whole lot of travel and "hurry up and wait time". The jetlag and fatigue wasn't helped by my turning around and heading for San Jose Sun morning to see Tina Turner in concert sun night (AMAZING), then flying back to San Diego Monday morning and rolling in to work straight from the airport.

Padang Bai was OK. It was nice seeing the Mantas, pity missing the Molas. And the other dives, while more ordinary (except for the challenging shore entries in Tulamben) :-D :o were also fun, albeit a bit cold. Saw at least 4-5 frogfish on one artificial reef. As Kamala says, there were some logistical issues with the resort, but they are apparently trying to expand and resolve them. Hopefully that will happen. Great massages. Just be ready for when the masseuses grab your a-- for complete service LOL.

Ubud and Monkey forest was interesting. I must confess that I did not do much shopping. Call me jaded. But I know lots of people got some great deals.

But Wakatobi was exceptional. My number 2 diving location now, second only to Palau. Swiss precision with all the organization, logistics etc. Elegant accommodations, beautiful island and resort surroundings. Incredibly hard-working staff.. the boat crews, dive suport team, cooks, divemasters etc. All wonderful. After check in, we were told how to analyse tanks to be ready for transport. Then we were all assigned numbered boxes in the dive gear spaces. Your divegear went in there. Every morning, the local boat crew carried that onboard and set up your gear. Then carried it off in the evening if you wanted to wash your gear. The diveboats were amazingly comfortable. Our boat fit all 19 of us easily with 2 tanks each and extras for the divemasters etc without crowding. One divemaster per 6 divers. Great clear briefs. Fun DMs. And the diving...I will post my pitiful pics after I iphoto process them. I can promise you that ScubaShafer (Bruce)'s pictures will make you want to weep with the beauty.

We saw zillions of pygmy seahorses, (allow me to exaggerate), I actually developed the capability of SEEING them!!! Nudibranchs/ nudibranchs/ nudibranchs, flatworms, pipefish, several varieties of eels (ribbon etc), sea snake/ kraits, cuttlefish (sorry Nicolle!!! hope you have already seen some), ... hold on while I turn on my laptop to look at pictures LOL. Bumphead/ humphead and several other varieties parrot fish. some of the largest and most beautiful pufferfish I have ever seen, Boxfish of varieties I had never seen, scorpion, leaf and crocodilefish, lionfish, sweetlips, batfish, anthias, clown, titan and several other varieties of triggerfish, razor/ shrimp fish, turtles, colorful sea stars. Various types of shrimp and crabs. And much much more. And the coral!!!! Pristine and beautiful. I am much more of a "creatures" photographer, but found myself frequently stopping to try to get a pic of the lovely breathtaking coral, and then getting frustrated when the color was not shown adequately in my little point and shoot. Definitely hone your buoyancy skills before taking the trip. It would be unforgivable to damage this coral, and they are quite particular about keeping you OFF!!!

Most of the dives were slow drift dives, but we did have a couple with unexpected current that either changed or was not going in our direction :-). But there were no concerns because the water surface was FLAT (hottest time on land, but best time for diving, according to the staff). The boat crew was amazing, and they saw you as soon as you popped to the surface... even without your sausage deployed. Up to 70 minute dives at all locations. (unlimited on house reef/ shore dives). Once you got back on board, the local boat crew divested you of your gear, changed your tanks, and brought you a mug of your favorite steaming hot beverage and a towel. Then we headed for the sundeck. We only made our drinks the first dive and they watched and made records and hey presto!!! Definitely be sure to give the local crew a big tip. You will need no reminder when you see how hard they work to make the trip easy and fun. And remember at least for now, they are NOT included in the DM tip envelope, but in the envelope for "locals/ everyone else".

And relaxation. Beautiful sunsets in fun company (with booze of course) at the jetty bar. The meals. Great variety, excellent quality.. I think Carla said mmmm at every meal :teeth: . Some of us braved the heat to sign up for massages etc. And also got pedicures etc at the end. That would be my only negative. The idea of a "spa" needs a lot of work. But they tell me they are building a new spa and training spa staff. Take your own nail polish if you think you will need a pedicure at the end of the dive trip :P .

The entire week, I was there, I said I would return. After the 40 hour trip, I am not so sure now. :D I still may. I guess it is like childbirth. The mothers among us can attest.. you forget the pain and do the whole darn thing again. But then again, I am not a mother hmmm. There must be a reason :evilgrin: But if you are even thinking about going, jump on in. You won't regret going to Wakatobi.

OK, I had to post, because I was starting to feel guilty that none of us had written much yet. But I have to go relax now. Later.

Rosa


Just wanted to add to Carla's great post, the ease with which we got thru the Denpasar airport on our way to Wakatobi courtesy of Wakatboi staff leader in Denpasar, Crispin. Although we arrived an hour late for departure due to mix up in time to leave Padang Bai, Crispin and staff whisked us through check-in, deposited us in the VIP lounge for a bit of beverage/snack and leisure before our orderly departure. We made a fueling stop on some small island, whose name escapes me, for about 15 minutes. Inside that small terminal were a few local items for sale including locally woven tapestry pieces from blanket size to small table runner size, in wonderful colors, some with shell beading. There were woven assorted bags/totes as well. And I got some unusual indonesian pendants. All quite unique. I heard they usually have to make this fueling stop for Americans because we carry so much luggage! Lucky for these islanders with all our purchases.

Shawn

#14 Divegirl412

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Posted 30 October 2008 - 06:41 PM

I think the silence is because most of us are still trying to get back to normal after the trip. I figured it out... It was about 40 hrs from the time I checked out of my room in Wakatobi (before breakfast as instructed) to when I walked in my door in San Diego Sat eve. Of course that included a whole lot of travel and "hurry up and wait time". The jetlag and fatigue wasn't helped by my turning around and heading for San Jose Sun morning to see Tina Turner in concert sun night (AMAZING), then flying back to San Diego Monday morning and rolling in to work straight from the airport.

Padang Bai was OK. It was nice seeing the Mantas, pity missing the Molas. And the other dives, while more ordinary (except for the challenging shore entries in Tulamben) :o :P were also fun, albeit a bit cold. Saw at least 4-5 frogfish on one artificial reef. As Kamala says, there were some logistical issues with the resort, but they are apparently trying to expand and resolve them. Hopefully that will happen. Great massages. Just be ready for when the masseuses grab your a-- for complete service LOL.

Ubud and Monkey forest was interesting. I must confess that I did not do much shopping. Call me jaded. But I know lots of people got some great deals.

But Wakatobi was exceptional. My number 2 diving location now, second only to Palau. Swiss precision with all the organization, logistics etc. Elegant accommodations, beautiful island and resort surroundings. Incredibly hard-working staff.. the boat crews, dive suport team, cooks, divemasters etc. All wonderful. After check in, we were told how to analyse tanks to be ready for transport. Then we were all assigned numbered boxes in the dive gear spaces. Your divegear went in there. Every morning, the local boat crew carried that onboard and set up your gear. Then carried it off in the evening if you wanted to wash your gear. The diveboats were amazingly comfortable. Our boat fit all 19 of us easily with 2 tanks each and extras for the divemasters etc without crowding. One divemaster per 6 divers. Great clear briefs. Fun DMs. And the diving...I will post my pitiful pics after I iphoto process them. I can promise you that ScubaShafer (Bruce)'s pictures will make you want to weep with the beauty.

We saw zillions of pygmy seahorses, (allow me to exaggerate), I actually developed the capability of SEEING them!!! Nudibranchs/ nudibranchs/ nudibranchs, flatworms, pipefish, several varieties of eels (ribbon etc), sea snake/ kraits, cuttlefish (sorry Nicolle!!! hope you have already seen some), ... hold on while I turn on my laptop to look at pictures LOL. Bumphead/ humphead and several other varieties parrot fish. some of the largest and most beautiful pufferfish I have ever seen, Boxfish of varieties I had never seen, scorpion, leaf and crocodilefish, lionfish, sweetlips, batfish, anthias, clown, titan and several other varieties of triggerfish, razor/ shrimp fish, turtles, colorful sea stars. Various types of shrimp and crabs. And much much more. And the coral!!!! Pristine and beautiful. I am much more of a "creatures" photographer, but found myself frequently stopping to try to get a pic of the lovely breathtaking coral, and then getting frustrated when the color was not shown adequately in my little point and shoot. Definitely hone your buoyancy skills before taking the trip. It would be unforgivable to damage this coral, and they are quite particular about keeping you OFF!!!

Most of the dives were slow drift dives, but we did have a couple with unexpected current that either changed or was not going in our direction :-). But there were no concerns because the water surface was FLAT (hottest time on land, but best time for diving, according to the staff). The boat crew was amazing, and they saw you as soon as you popped to the surface... even without your sausage deployed. Up to 70 minute dives at all locations. (unlimited on house reef/ shore dives). Once you got back on board, the local boat crew divested you of your gear, changed your tanks, and brought you a mug of your favorite steaming hot beverage and a towel. Then we headed for the sundeck. We only made our drinks the first dive and they watched and made records and hey presto!!! Definitely be sure to give the local crew a big tip. You will need no reminder when you see how hard they work to make the trip easy and fun. And remember at least for now, they are NOT included in the DM tip envelope, but in the envelope for "locals/ everyone else".

And relaxation. Beautiful sunsets in fun company (with booze of course) at the jetty bar. The meals. Great variety, excellent quality.. I think Carla said mmmm at every meal :-D . Some of us braved the heat to sign up for massages etc. And also got pedicures etc at the end. That would be my only negative. The idea of a "spa" needs a lot of work. But they tell me they are building a new spa and training spa staff. Take your own nail polish if you think you will need a pedicure at the end of the dive trip :D .

The entire week, I was there, I said I would return. After the 40 hour trip, I am not so sure now. :D I still may. I guess it is like childbirth. The mothers among us can attest.. you forget the pain and do the whole darn thing again. But then again, I am not a mother hmmm. There must be a reason :evilgrin: But if you are even thinking about going, jump on in. You won't regret going to Wakatobi.

OK, I had to post, because I was starting to feel guilty that none of us had written much yet. But I have to go relax now. Later.

Rosa


Just wanted to add to Carla's great post, the ease with which we got thru the Denpasar airport on our way to Wakatobi courtesy of Wakatboi staff leader in Denpasar, Crispin. Although we arrived an hour late for departure due to mix up in time to leave Padang Bai, Crispin and staff whisked us through check-in, deposited us in the VIP lounge for a bit of beverage/snack and leisure before our orderly departure. We made a fueling stop on some small island, whose name escapes me, for about 15 minutes. Inside that small terminal were a few local items for sale including locally woven tapestry pieces from blanket size to small table runner size, in wonderful colors, some with shell beading. There were woven assorted bags/totes as well. And I got some unusual indonesian pendants. All quite unique. I heard they usually have to make this fueling stop for Americans because we carry so much luggage! Lucky for these islanders with all our purchases.

Shawn



Hey Shawn, I could have sworn we did meet and even had some drinks together. I have pictures to prove it. And you still think I look like Carla? LOL. Now say "Rosa" or preferably write it over 100 times :teeth:

#15 shawnabbott

shawnabbott

    People are starting to get to know me

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Posted 30 October 2008 - 06:52 PM

I think the silence is because most of us are still trying to get back to normal after the trip. I figured it out... It was about 40 hrs from the time I checked out of my room in Wakatobi (before breakfast as instructed) to when I walked in my door in San Diego Sat eve. Of course that included a whole lot of travel and "hurry up and wait time". The jetlag and fatigue wasn't helped by my turning around and heading for San Jose Sun morning to see Tina Turner in concert sun night (AMAZING), then flying back to San Diego Monday morning and rolling in to work straight from the airport.

Padang Bai was OK. It was nice seeing the Mantas, pity missing the Molas. And the other dives, while more ordinary (except for the challenging shore entries in Tulamben) :o :P were also fun, albeit a bit cold. Saw at least 4-5 frogfish on one artificial reef. As Kamala says, there were some logistical issues with the resort, but they are apparently trying to expand and resolve them. Hopefully that will happen. Great massages. Just be ready for when the masseuses grab your a-- for complete service LOL.

Ubud and Monkey forest was interesting. I must confess that I did not do much shopping. Call me jaded. But I know lots of people got some great deals.

But Wakatobi was exceptional. My number 2 diving location now, second only to Palau. Swiss precision with all the organization, logistics etc. Elegant accommodations, beautiful island and resort surroundings. Incredibly hard-working staff.. the boat crews, dive suport team, cooks, divemasters etc. All wonderful. After check in, we were told how to analyse tanks to be ready for transport. Then we were all assigned numbered boxes in the dive gear spaces. Your divegear went in there. Every morning, the local boat crew carried that onboard and set up your gear. Then carried it off in the evening if you wanted to wash your gear. The diveboats were amazingly comfortable. Our boat fit all 19 of us easily with 2 tanks each and extras for the divemasters etc without crowding. One divemaster per 6 divers. Great clear briefs. Fun DMs. And the diving...I will post my pitiful pics after I iphoto process them. I can promise you that ScubaShafer (Bruce)'s pictures will make you want to weep with the beauty.

We saw zillions of pygmy seahorses, (allow me to exaggerate), I actually developed the capability of SEEING them!!! Nudibranchs/ nudibranchs/ nudibranchs, flatworms, pipefish, several varieties of eels (ribbon etc), sea snake/ kraits, cuttlefish (sorry Nicolle!!! hope you have already seen some), ... hold on while I turn on my laptop to look at pictures LOL. Bumphead/ humphead and several other varieties parrot fish. some of the largest and most beautiful pufferfish I have ever seen, Boxfish of varieties I had never seen, scorpion, leaf and crocodilefish, lionfish, sweetlips, batfish, anthias, clown, titan and several other varieties of triggerfish, razor/ shrimp fish, turtles, colorful sea stars. Various types of shrimp and crabs. And much much more. And the coral!!!! Pristine and beautiful. I am much more of a "creatures" photographer, but found myself frequently stopping to try to get a pic of the lovely breathtaking coral, and then getting frustrated when the color was not shown adequately in my little point and shoot. Definitely hone your buoyancy skills before taking the trip. It would be unforgivable to damage this coral, and they are quite particular about keeping you OFF!!!

Most of the dives were slow drift dives, but we did have a couple with unexpected current that either changed or was not going in our direction :-). But there were no concerns because the water surface was FLAT (hottest time on land, but best time for diving, according to the staff). The boat crew was amazing, and they saw you as soon as you popped to the surface... even without your sausage deployed. Up to 70 minute dives at all locations. (unlimited on house reef/ shore dives). Once you got back on board, the local boat crew divested you of your gear, changed your tanks, and brought you a mug of your favorite steaming hot beverage and a towel. Then we headed for the sundeck. We only made our drinks the first dive and they watched and made records and hey presto!!! Definitely be sure to give the local crew a big tip. You will need no reminder when you see how hard they work to make the trip easy and fun. And remember at least for now, they are NOT included in the DM tip envelope, but in the envelope for "locals/ everyone else".

And relaxation. Beautiful sunsets in fun company (with booze of course) at the jetty bar. The meals. Great variety, excellent quality.. I think Carla said mmmm at every meal :-D . Some of us braved the heat to sign up for massages etc. And also got pedicures etc at the end. That would be my only negative. The idea of a "spa" needs a lot of work. But they tell me they are building a new spa and training spa staff. Take your own nail polish if you think you will need a pedicure at the end of the dive trip :D .

The entire week, I was there, I said I would return. After the 40 hour trip, I am not so sure now. :D I still may. I guess it is like childbirth. The mothers among us can attest.. you forget the pain and do the whole darn thing again. But then again, I am not a mother hmmm. There must be a reason :evilgrin: But if you are even thinking about going, jump on in. You won't regret going to Wakatobi.

OK, I had to post, because I was starting to feel guilty that none of us had written much yet. But I have to go relax now. Later.

Rosa


Just wanted to add to Carla's great post, the ease with which we got thru the Denpasar airport on our way to Wakatobi courtesy of Wakatboi staff leader in Denpasar, Crispin. Although we arrived an hour late for departure due to mix up in time to leave Padang Bai, Crispin and staff whisked us through check-in, deposited us in the VIP lounge for a bit of beverage/snack and leisure before our orderly departure. We made a fueling stop on some small island, whose name escapes me, for about 15 minutes. Inside that small terminal were a few local items for sale including locally woven tapestry pieces from blanket size to small table runner size, in wonderful colors, some with shell beading. There were woven assorted bags/totes as well. And I got some unusual indonesian pendants. All quite unique. I heard they usually have to make this fueling stop for Americans because we carry so much luggage! Lucky for these islanders with all our purchases.

Shawn



Hey Shawn, I could have sworn we did meet and even had some drinks together. I have pictures to prove it. And you still think I look like Carla? LOL. Now say "Rosa" or preferably write it over 100 times :teeth:


Carla? Carla who? how could I forget those drinks on the pier...green flash and all! so sorry Rosa

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Edited by shawnabbott, 30 October 2008 - 06:59 PM.





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