PART ONE: Wakatobi dive resort – 2014
You want to be catered to? You want more than a five star experience? You want food that only a five star restaurant will provide? Did you say you want to be waited on hand and foot? You want to have a private dive guide giving you exceptional service as you dive the great sloping walls of Wakatobi? Did you say, you wanted a great spa? You don’t have to go anywhere else for the five star plus experience when you spend your diving vacation in Wakatobi.
I had an amazing experience here. Seriously! I was pretty blown away by the service I received here.
The 5 star treatment begins:
I might as well start at the beginning of my Wakatobi experience. I was picked up by the great Aquamarine dive team and whisked away to the Bali airport at the domestic terminal. I saw the Wakatobi sign someone was holding when I “landed” at the terminal and from there on I didn’t have a care in the world . Everything was taken care of. My diving and camera bag were taken by one of the porters and I was ushered into the terminal with Wakatobi employees every few hundred feet making sure I was doing well. The Wakatobi staff took my big bags and I was ushered to the lounge where I was able to connect with other Wakatobi guest. I met a wonderful Canadian couple. Since i am an outgoing person I love learning about others and am blessed to have met so many new friends over the course of my 12 day stay at Wakatobi.
The chartered jet took us an hour and fifteen minutes to get to the Island of Tomia. From there small vans took us to the small harbour where a Wakatobi boat was waiting for us. It took about ten minutes to get to the Wakatobi resort.
Barefoot! Yes, from the time we stepped on the resort to the time we left our shoes were hidden from us. Well, we hid them but no more shoes! Yeah!! It was awesome to live with no shoes for almost two weeks. Someone took me to my ocean front bungalow number 5 and I fell in love with it. Great big bed, roomy room, AC that I loved, super bathroom and an outside Balinese style shower. “I actually could live here, “ I said!
I had hired a private dive guide for my 12 days here and was able to connect with him. Katut is from Bali and a super dive master and dive guide. We did our first “check out” dive making sure I knew how to do some basic emergency manuevers underwater, made sure my dive equipment was working, and to get the correct weights in my integrated BCD.
About the restaurant:
Dinner was at the great restaurant and let me tell you The food was beyond exceptional. Western style food, fruit, desert, and a variety of vegetables. I liked how the restaurant provided the food. It was a buffet but the plates were small where they served the food. Thus, you could try a lot of different types of food and not be full. Each plate had something like 2-4 bite sides amount of food on them and this allowed for us to try all that was presented. the presentation was amazing.
Plus, you could also order special request. Since I adore Indonesian food I was asked if I wanted to have Indonesian lunch and dinner meals. I totally was happy to agree and told them to surprise me. I had all kinds of great dishes from Nasi Goreng (fried rice) with egg on it, Mi Goreng (fried noodles) with egg, Gado-Gado (mixed vegetable with peanut sauce, Indonesian style), and so much more. I even had Ox tail soup! Yeah! Sate ayam, chicken on a stick, was another favorite of mine they made for me.
Oh, and I have to tell you about the fruit and deserts. So many varieties of fruit each day. From pineapple, bananas, a variety of Indonesian fruits throughout the whole stay. Then the deserts. Yikes, I know I had to gain weight! One of the great things I ate was coconut sherbet with a good sprinkling of lime juice. I could live on this stuff morning, noon, and night!
People I connected with:
I am so thankful to be part of the scuba diving community. It is trully an instant friendship the second each state they are divers. I was so blessed to connect with three couples who invited me to have meals with them. Thank you! We had two wonderful U.S. couples and a Canadian couple (the Canadian couple I met at the Bali airport lounge earlier that day) who were so hospitable to me. I truly am thankful to you all!
Of course, I will talk to anyone and I was able to meet great folks along the way at Wakatobi.
The Indonesian staff throughout the resort were amazing. I am most appreciated o the Indonesian staff at the restaurant. Each one of them made me feel at home, my second home in this world – Indonesia. I was so happy to chat in Indonesian and thus gained so many new Indonesian friends. I sure appreciate each one of the restaurant staff making my meals perfect and the service better than a five star restaurant.
A quick history of Wakatobi dive resort:
So is Wakatobi the name of an Island? Was Wakatobi actually around for many years, even from the start of the Indonesian country in 1945? Or is it a made up name?
Well, I sure learned a lot on this trip. In fact, as an adult I have learned more about Indonesian than as I child. I was born and raised in Indonesia and spent most of my 19 years on the islands of Madura, Java, and Bali with a few nights in South Sulawesi. It wasn’t till I was around 38 and visiting Indonesian on an annual basis did I have the opportunity and privilege of going to many more islands. That is one of the reasons I love scuba diving. It gives me a wonderful excuse to visit places I would never have gone.
Ok, back to how Wakatobi found her name on the “peta” (map in the Indonesian language). I accidentally, and am very glad, I met one of the owners and the founder of Wakatobi dive resort. I heard him speaking indonesian at the restaurant and when he when he sat down a couple tables away I asked how he learned Indonesian. He came over and that is how I found out he was the founder of this great dive resort. Shorty story long, he is from Europe and started Wakatobi dive resort in 1994. He told me Wakatobi was a name he came up with for the four islands that are in the area.
Wa – Wangi Wangi island
Ka – Kaledupa island
To – Tomia island (where we flew into)
Bi – Binongko island
That was so cool. Here is some more info we chatted on:
- He is from Switzerland
- He loves Indonesia
- He puts a lot of time, effort, and money in making sure the local villages are doing well. He pays them, the closer to the dive resort more money, not to fish in the area. This allows for great diving plus it keeps the area of these islands pristine and vibrant with fish and coral life.
- He provides jobs for the local community. I think there are a total of 300 employees working at the dive resort. This includes all dive masters, management, staff, and including the office in Bali.
- He (I didn’t ask to use his name so hence “he”) said that the name of Wakatobi wasn’t in the Indonesian geo-political “dictionary.” In fact the local head of the bigger area that Wakatobi is in was upset that everyone new of Wakatobi resort and not the name of the area it was located in. Since then the four islands that make up Wakatobi has been made its own governing area. Pretty cool that a man with a vision for keeping a part of Indonesian waters pristine for all played a part in the local government of the area, without even trying.
- I thanked him for doing a superb job in training his Team of 300. He told me they have weekly meetings and I see it works fabulously. He is a big sticker on serving others and his work ethic is one I admire, since I too am a business owner. I will remember this fine gentleman for his love for Indonesia, and her people, as well as for his determination to make Wakatobi a 5 star dive resort. Which in my opinion, Wakatobi dive resort is 5 stars ++.
Chow – Diving Doug / Doug Gulleson
MORE ON THE NEXT PAGE: Click here for PART TWO of the Wakatobi Dive Resort : Click here for information on Wakatobi – above water