“Wakatobi is a true paradise for divers” – Jacques Costeau (an underwater explorer and journalist).
Indonesia has the underwater paradise in Wakatobi National Park. Wakatobi Island It is a part of 50 national park in Indonesia. Located in Wakatobi, Southeast Sulawesi Indonesia, this island is consist of 4 main islands (Wangiwangi, Kalidupa, Tomia and Binongko) and Wakatobi itself is an acronym of the names of the main islands. Wakatobi located in the south part of archipelago and it has two different season rainy and dry. The Wakatobi National Park is 1.39 million hectare wide. This island is well known as Tukang Besi Island since it’s famous as traditional keris manufacturer.
The water depth of this island is diverse with the deepest part reaching 1 kilometer. Currently Wakatobi is a place for underwater research in the world. The magical underwater world with the best coral reef in the world and makes this island as a must be visited place for diver. Not only diving & snorkeling, in the beach you can also find motors diving, snorkeling tour and any other island adventure . In this area you can also find an island of 8 kilometers which known as Tolondona Island (Onemobaa Island) which surrounded by beautiful national park.
The best time to visit will be on April to June and October to December due to its good weather. Outside those months the waves is high enough.
Wakatobi National Park is famous all over the world for its beauty. Especially after Wallace expedition from England in 1995 which stated that the sea along Southeast Sulawesi is rich by coral. It’s a home of 750 out of 850 coral species in the world and also it has colorful underwater topography such as slop, flat, drop-off, atoll and underwater cave. Wakatobi National Park has 25 coral reefs with various shape which are home for many sea species such as ,Mollusca, sea worms, dolphins and whales. Its magnificent underwater life has attract worldwide attention for its quality dives that can be made by beginners to professionals. Small wonder, therefore, that many live boards make this one of their main ports of sojourn. Specifically, Wakatobi is surrounded by 600 kilometers of shores.
There are 112 coral reefs from 13 families such as Acropora formosa, A. Hyacinthus, Psammocora profundasafla, Pavona cactus, Leptoseris yabei, Fungia molucensis, Lobophyllia robusta, Merulina ampliata, Platygyra versifora, Euphyllia glabrescens, Tubastraea frondes, Stylophora pistillata, Sarcophyton throchelliophorum, and Sinularia spp which live in harmony in beneath Wakatobi. There are 39 fish species live in this national Park such as Cephalopholus argus, takhasang (Naso unicornis), pogo-pogo (Balistoides viridescens), napoleon (Cheilinus undulatus), red fish (Lutjanus biguttatus), baronang (Siganus guttatus), Amphiprion melanopus, Chaetodon specullum, Chelmon rostratus, Heniochus acuminatus, Lutjanus monostigma, Caesio caerularea, and many others.
Wakatobi National Park is home of many sea birds such as goose stone brown (Sula leucogaster plotus), Kettle Melayu (Charadrius peronii) and Erasia King Prawn(Alcedo atthis). There are also some turtles species live here such as hawksbill turtles (Eretmochelys imbricata), loggerhead sea turtles (Caretta caretta), dan Olive ridley sea turtle(Lepidochelys olivacea). Wakatobi is a home of the sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus) which usually come in November. In November where the other place around the world is freezing, the sea in Wakatobi is warm and has plenty of food which makes this place as a favorite place not only for the sperm whale but also for large eagle rays (Manta Ray). Manta Ray is one of the gigantic rays which lives in tropical sea.
Things to do
For you who loves the underwater activities there are many things that you can do in Wakatobi such as diving, snorkeling and swimming. You can explore the magnificent coral reefs, fishes and any animal which live in the underwater world.
Hoga Island is one of the favorite place for professional diver. This island offers stunning views of coral reefs teeming with an exceptionally wide variety of marine life. There is also the opportunity to dive with the sea gypsy children who still wear wooden dive goggles.
Not only offers the underwater world but this island also has unique cultural village and also historical place that must be visited. You can visit the Kampong Bajo Mola on Wangi-Wangi and see the life of the local Bajo sea nomads. There are also interesting forts on Wangi-Wangi. Five kilometers from Wanci is Fort Tindoi, standing on top of Tindoi Mountain. There is also Fort Lya which also has the Lya Kraton Mosque within its building. The fort was built in 1538 by an influential Islamic cleric called Syekh Abdul Wahid. The other forts that can’t be missed are the Mandati Tonga Fort and the Kapota Fort.
How to get there
There are some airlines from Jakarta, Bali or Surabaya to Kendari and from Kendari you can take boat to Wanci which is located in Wangi-Wangi Island. Wanci is the gate to Wakatobi National park. The regular boat to Wangi-Wangi island is available at 10am every day and you will get to Wakatobi after 10 to 12 hours. From Wangi-Wangi you can also explore to another island by using charter boat.
There are about 200 resorts and guesthouse around Wakatobi. Of the four main islands, Tomia Island was the first to be developed