Diving the Underwater Nirvana of Wakatobi National Marine Park
Posted on : 10 November 2011
Categories : Diving and Snorkeling
Legendary underwater explorer and conservationist, Jacques Cousteau is said to have called the Wakatobi islands – then known as the Tukangbesi islands: an “Underwater Nirwana”, for Wakatobi is widely recognized as having the highest number of reef and fish species in the world. The islands are also famous as the largest barrier reef in Indonesia, second only to the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. Here divers can found fringing, atolls, barrier reefs and more than 50 spectacular dive sites easily accessible from the major islands.
Located right in the heart of the Asia-Pacific Coral Triangle, in the province of South East Sulawesi, the Wakatobi Islands offer crystal clear pristine waters and a rich bio-diverse underwater life. A true paradise for Divers, the National Marine Park is one of 3 hearts in the World Coral Triangle that stretches from the Solomon Islands in the Pacific to Wakatobi, and North to the Philippines. Wakatobi alone is said to have 942 fish species and 750 coral reef species from a total of 850 of world's collection.
Due to its magnificent underwater life, Wakatobi is fast gaining worldwide attention for its quality dives that can be made by beginners to professionals. Small wonder, therefore, that many liveaboards make this one of their main ports of sojourn. Aside from its dive sites, Wakatobi has many superb beaches.
Photos by Toar Pantouw.
Legendary underwater explorer and conservationist, Jacques Cousteau, surely got it right: the waters of the Wakatobi Islands are truly an underwater nirvana.
The adventure to explore the underwater nirvana starts here at Wanci, a serene small town on the island of Wangi-Wangi, about 12 hours from Kendari, capital of South Sulawesi Province.
It is a whole different universe underneath the Wanci harbor, a Lionfish swims majestically above a beautiful coral reef welcoming a diver into the splendor that is Wakatobi.
A dramatic view of the Sombu divespot, a favorite diving area within Wakatobi National marine Park.
Its vibrant colors and unique appearance have always captivated divers: the nudibranch is truly a marvel of the deep sea.
Among the magnificent coral reefs and a school of swimming fish, the clear blue water seems almost magical, seen within.
The underwater garden of Sombu is truly exceptional, it is home to many of ocean-floor dwellers and a gallery of various types of coral reefs.
Among the thick sea anemones, a sea eel disguises itself to blend with the environment
With its transparent appearance, this unique shrimp curiously lurks among sea anemones.
The Crinoid Crab, Another enchanting creatureinhabiting the floor of the Wakatobi Marine Park.
An adorable Bleny fish sticking its head out of a hole in a coral reef.
Above and below the surface of Wakatobi waters are two different worlds, yet equally amazing.
With their incredible ability to mimic their surroundings and their tiny size, it is not surprising that these spectacular Robust Ghostpipefishes are seldom spotted by divers.