Bali, Depensar, Wakatobi, Sulawesi, Ubud Indonesia & The Pelagian Dive Yacht

We left our home and traveled to Vancouver B.C.  We took EVA air from Vancouver to Taipei, business class, a 12.5 hour flight.  We got a hotel room in Canada so that we could store our stuff, get a nice dinner, then shower and change into our travel clothes.  We left our car at the hotel for a small parking fee.  It was a secure parking lot so we were not worried about theft or anything.  Our flight from Vancouver was $2400.00 cheaper than flying out of Sea-Tac and security is SO much easier than at Sea-Tac.   And the drive for us was only a little over 2 hours and it was a nice day, so it all started out very well.

We had a 5 hour layover in Taipei at the airport.  Since we fly business class we get to go to the business class lounge and shower and change and get something to eat and drink.  Then we can rest, read, etc.  We then took a 5 hour flight into Bali, business class.  When we arrived it was HOT!  We had someone from Wakatobi Dive Lodge waiting for us, she helped us get our visa and helped us move quickly through customs.  We then had a car waiting for us to take us to the resort in Depensar.  That was a three-hour drive and not necessarily because of miles but because the traffic in Bali is SO bad now.  Sometimes you can walk to your destination quicker than you can drive.

We met our friends from Whales, Graham and Margaret Roy at the resort.  They had been there a couple of days before us.  We stayed at the Anda Amed Resort.  The resort is decent with very nice size rooms, large beds, large bathrooms, with a shower and a tub,  french doors, mosquito netting on the beds.  There is A/C, a T.V., DVD Player but there is no telephone in the room so if you need something you will have to walk from your room to the front desk.   The water pressure is not very good, the towels are a bit rough, but other than that it was a good place to stay.  We had a room way at the top so we had a great view of the Banda Sea , where we could see the sunset and rise each day if we chose.

There is an infinity pool that looks over the Sea.  You can order food and drinks by the pool if you want.   Margaret and I sat by the pool and read most days while Brad and Graham went diving.

The food menu is decent, lots of selections for each meal.  Fresh fruits, meats, sandwiches, noodles.  They even make fresh fruit juices in the morning with the whole fruit in the blender, they are SO good.  The restaurant is ok substituting or changing things for your dietary needs or wants.  They also have a full bar and they can mix whatever you want, whenever you want.  And the Indonesian local wines are very very good.

Two evenings we decided to eat somewhere else instead of the resort.  There was a little place called Beer & Grill that was not too far from our resort, we took scooters to get there, man that was scary and fun all at the same time!  We met the owner, he had amazing english, and his restaurant was wonderful!  Graham and Brad shared Duck one evening and we all had prawn and avocado Sate both evenings.  It was so fresh and SO Good.  We even shared a bottle of the local Red Indonesian wine that was made right there, grapes grown on the soil from the Volcano.  It was cheap and delicious.  Both nites we had that with dinner.

After a few days in Ahmed we all got a taxi together and went into Bali for one nite in a  Harris Hotel .  This hotel is only a few minutes from the airport instead of the three-hour drive from Ahmed so we thought it best to drive there the nite before, get a good nites rest and then take that three minute drive to catch our flight.

We are now on our way to Wakatobi to stay at the resort and to stay on the Pelagian Dive Yacht.  When we arrived at the airport the porters took our bags, no need to tip them because they work for the resort.  We were escorted to the VIP lounge where we had free snacks, water, coffee, etc. while waiting for our 10:00 am charter fight to the island.  It is a 2.5 hour flight to the Island.  This day it was raining heavily so when we arrived we were greeted by the resort dive masters, helpers, etc. and with umbrellas.  We got on a boat with our luggage and carry-ons that took us another 45 minutes to the resort itself.   Once we arrived at the resort Brad could not believe how much it had changed in all these years.  It was HUGE and beautiful with new Villas, a large restaurant, a huge staff etc.   Ourselves, our friends and a few other guests were now going to be taken to the Yacht where we will stay for 5 nites and then back to the resort for another 5.   We met another couple, Rodger and Becky Stewart from Colorado who joined us on the Yacht.  The Yacht only holds 10 guests, and man was it luxury!

The rooms on the Yacht are HUGE and they have all and more of the comforts of home.  The bathrooms were FULL bathrooms with HUGE showers, they supply soap, shampoo, conditioner and if you have forgotten something you can get that too.  We had a queen size bed and another large bed in the room for a guest or two.   There were two closets, plenty of drawers, lighting, everything you could need.  The only thing negative, was that the bed was very hard so sometimes we had trouble sleeping.   This is the room we had:

The cuisine is to die for!  They have a master chef and everyday you can choose whatever you want for breakfast including fresh fruits, anything!  For lunch and dinner there is a planned menu but you get to choose from three or 4 choices and all the meals are delicious.  The meals are not too fatty or heavy or large either.  So you can enjoy a nice meal and not be overly full.   They have plenty of snacks on the yacht, tea, coffee, sodas, booze, wine etc.  You have to pay for the sodas, 2.00 a piece and you have to pay for your booze and wine.  The wine is about 12.00 a glass and the booze about 14.00 a glass, there are more expensive ones too but we stuck with the stock stuff.  Booze in Indonesia is expensive and at the resort and on the Yacht it was SUPER expensive, so just be prepared for that.  You do get tea, water, iced tea, lemonade, juices, milk and coffee for free.

The snorkeling and diving are phenominal!  Brad says the best in the world.  The reefs are protected and thanks to places like Wakatobi resort, dynamite fishing is becoming less and less so the fish and reefs are growing instead of being depleted.  The visibilty is amazing everyday and there is so much to see, I even saw an Octopus and eels, small fish, big fish, any kind of fish!!  It was fantastic!

As on many dive boats there are always people that you dont get along with. It was not so bad on this trip, but there were times when Brad would leave the room because of bigoted or ridiculous discussions that no one really wanted to have.

The Yacht will provide you with towels for showers and for each and every time that you get out of the water.  There is plenty of fresh water on board so you can use as much as you want for showers.  Fresh water showers on the dive deck too for your returns from the dives.  You can do nitrox if you choose on the yacht, you just have to let them know in advance.  Its costs about 150.00 extra.

**Weather/Clothing:  Its hot and it also has thunderstorms.  So on the boat, shorts, bathing suits, sarong, cover ups are usually sufficient.  It’s a nice yacht and dressing for dinner is not unusual.  So perhaps a couple nice shirts, skirts, linen slacks would be appropriate.

*NOTE: I had heard a rumor that they were going to start allowing Cruise ships into this area. We are very much against that. Many people who choose to do cruises are not fully aware of how their presence to places in such large groups adversely affects the eco delicate eco systems that we are trying so hard to preserve.

Now after 5 days of diving, food and fun on the Yacht its time for our adventures at the Wakatobi Dive Resort.  A boat comes to get all of us to take us there, for those who were staying at the Resort, they took your bags to your room for you and had everything set up.  Some stayed on the small dive boat to do some morning dives, while Margaret and I went to our rooms and got settled and then we all met at the restaurant for lunch.

Our Villa was amazing!  It had a separate room for others to join us if they chose too with its own bathroom etc.  It had an infiniti swimming pool and private access to the beach.  It was pure enjoyment!  There are many different options for staying there, large villas, roomy bungalows, it’s all lovely and you will enjoy every moment you get diving and at the resort.

The resort has changed a lot, there is now a huge restaurant where all meals are served buffet style.  But this is not your ordinary buffet!  All meals are gourmet.  Fresh everything!  There are fruits and fresh fish, meats, breads baked fresh everyday, fresh home-made jams, fresh squeezed juices, tea, coffee etc.  In the evenings there is a full bar, you must pay extra for sodas, and wine, beer and hard liquor.  All other foods and drinks are included in the prices of the resort.

There is now a bar at the end of the jetty that you can sit at and have drinks and watch the sunset.  It was great fun!  We enjoyed our happy hours with our new friends Becky and Rodger and Margaret and Graham.  And it gave us a chance to meet new people and hear lots of stories of where people are from, their dive experiences, travel experiences etc.

There will be one evening when you are asked to come to the restaurant for drinks with the owners and the managers and staff.  This is like a cocktail hour so perhaps wear something nicer, linen slacks, a flowing dress, button up shirt for a man etc.   The cocktails they serve will be free and you can have as many as you would like for this particular evening.

The restaurant is a “no shoe” restaurant and though it’s a casual dive resort bathing suits are not allowed at any time (in the restaurant).  They would prefer you wear a cover up, a dress, shorts, shirts etc.

The diving is prepared each evening and you are assigned to a certain boat, there are 5 dive boats.  You can also snorkel on one of the boats or off the shore there.  Snorkeling will be assigned a dive guide just like a diver.  There is so much to see that it is worth going out on each dive whether you snorkel or dive.

You will have a place to hang your wet suits when the dives are done, there are dunk tanks for your cameras, and dive and snorkeling gear.  You are assigned a bin and you can keep all your things in those overnite, every night.  In the mornings depending on the boat you are assigned the dive masters and crew will take all your things to the boat for you, including your camera gear.  So you will be all prepared for your dive with no hassles.

The staff at this resort is TOP NOTCH!  If you needed something they were on it with no problems, no hassles, no complaints.  They were the best I have ever dealt with.   They were friendly and kind and funny!  The owner of the resort employs about 150 local talent.  Its great to see so many locals have a great place to work, get good meals and be able to proide a good healthy life for their own families.