Southeast Sulawesi Diving
Wakatobi takes its name from the four main islands of the Tukang Besi group: Wangi Wangi, Kaledupa, Tomia and Binongko. Fifteen smaller islands complete the group.
Wakatobi National Marine Park
Wakatobi National Marine Park is just south of the equator in an area known as Wallacea (see overview of Indonesia). Wakatobi takes its name from the four main islands of the Tukang Besi group: Wangi Wangi, Kaledupa, Tomia and Binongko. Fifteen smaller islands complete the group. The 1.4 million hectare Wakatobi National Marine Park was established in the late 1990s. The park is swept with currents from the Banda and Flores Seas. To date this area has the highest reef diversity indices in the world with over 3000 fish species recorded.
The diving is characterized by a series of fringing reefs and large atolls with steep drop-offs. Visibility is generally 30-80m (100-265ft), often exceeding 50m (160ft). Water temperatures run 25-29ºC (80-88ºF). July-September is the windy season and water temperatures can drop to 25ºC (80ºF). The rainy season is December to March. Best times are April to June and late September to November, but diving throughout the northern hemisphere's summer is excellent. Wakatobi reefs are some of the most beautiful and prolific in the world with excellent coral cover, healthy invertebrate life and scores of fishes. Whales and whale sharks are sometimes spotted in the area and turtles are common.
Lorenz's Delight is a shallow coral garden that leads to a steep drop-off with ledges, sea fans and colorful soft corals. Schooling fishes, rays and reef fishes abound. Blade is a submarine ridge between two reefs. It rises up from the depths to form a narrow coral ridge with several saddles. Roma is a stunning reef with impressive coral formations and lots of colorful invertebrates. Schooling fusiliers, damselfish, and pyramid butterflyfish make this an exciting dive. Table Coral City's patch reef has many hard corals, nudibranches, leaf fish, twin-spot lionfish and other oddities. Batfish Wall is another steep drop-off with lots of growth. Deep crevices mark the wall and all sorts of things live in the nooks and crannies of the reef. Schooling fishes and turtles provide blue water interest.
About the Authors
Larry and Denise Tackett are the authors of all of our Indonesian dive site and regional descriptions. They are professional photographers specializing in underwater and terrestrial natural history and travel subjects. They are represented by stock photo agencies in the US and United Kingdom and their photographs have been widely published in books and magazines worldwide. Their work has appeared in magazines such as National Wildlife, Islands, BBC Wildlife, Ocean Realm, Asian Diver, Unterwasser, Tauchen, Canadian Wildlife, Popular Science, Sport Diver, National Geographic Kids, Geo, and many others.