NOTE: We don’t have any of the underwater pics yet, thanks to slow WiFi, but this will be the placeholder for where you can find them.
I decided to combine all of the Wakatobi posts into one, as there’s not a lot of different things that happen here from day to day. Basically, you get up early, eat breakfast, go on your two snorkel/dives, come back for lunch and have a small break, then go out again for another snorkel/dive. Rinse and repeat daily. Some various stories, which I will separate by color.
As I said in the last post, being on the boat alone was awkward for me. Keep in mind that most of these people are couples or more. There were only four snorkelers listed on the board; everyone else was a diver. I needed to find a snorkel buddy. The first day I found one, when I saw him signing up on the snorkel board. I decided he would be my new bestie. No nonsense German Gunther (with the heavy-ish accent) was here with his sweetheart, and this was the 11th time they’d been here. I love old people, always have, and Gunther was the oldest one at the resort. I figured I could keep up with him and he’d be a good ally to have, but he’s a better swimmer than I am! I used my life jacket on many of the snorkels and I’m glad I did..there are quick currents that pop up out of nowhere and sometimes the waves are such that you feel like a bobber at the end of a fishing pole and almost seasick. The life jacket was like a pacifier in those incidents. After a few boat trips it didn’t feel so uncomfortable to be without Sal, since I had Gunther. I seriously almost got teary saying goodbye to him after a week. He truly was the best.
The second day Sal got sick. He had a fever and the aches, with some stomach issues. He unfortunately had to skip the afternoon dive that day and the following morning’s dives. Luckily it seemed to be a 24 hour thing, because he made it to the evening dive and felt almost completely healthy. Unfortunately that night I started feeling sick in the middle of the night and got my own stomach thing and missed all of that day’s snorkeling. Oh well, I got to catch up on the blog and chat with some friends via WhatsApp. We both were totally fine the rest of the trip, except I managed to burn my feet to the point of blistering, and Sal had ear issues so had to be careful descending for his dives.
The people watching can be very interesting at a place like Wakatobi. What was even more interesting was we were some of the youngest people there. That was nice! I’m impressed by these older divers. Maybe some day I’ll get my mojo back, but until that day I will happily bob along on the top of the water and see what I can see. There was this couple on our boat that we still, to this day, don’t know if they were married/brother-sister/parent-child. Whenever we’d mention her we’d say ‘the sister/mother/wife’. Sometimes because of the tide you take a smaller boat from the pier to the dive boat. The sister/mother/wife would always put so much sunscreen on, without rubbing it in, that she had white face. I had seen it before, but a man who was in the tender boat with us said, “Hey you might want to think about putting some sunscreen on…”. She did not think that was funny. “For your information, I have sun cancer!”. Poor man apologized at least 5 times within the two minutes it took to get to his dive boat. Awkward.
Speaking of seeing what you can see: I have never in my life seen so much coral and so many fish. Ever ever. I will post videos I tried to take with the GoPro just to show how much coral there was and the overwhelming number of fish. I think the first time I jumped in I couldn’t get too nervous because soon I was seeing so much. I took pictures of coral, of fish, and of anything else I thought was pretty. I took over 1,000 pics over the week. I’m not sure how many videos, but it was a lot.
We had two different snorkel guides while I was there – both good in their own ways. One day Gunther had taken a ‘dry day’ and I was the only snorkeler so I ended up having a private guide, without the added expense, and it was fantastic; Rizal pointed out and found so much! He definitely took great care of me. Yusuf was also a very good guide and wanted to make sure everyone was happy. Both men have young children back home. Their work schedule is such that they work three months straight, then get one month off. Yusuf was only our guide 1/2 way through the trip because his wife was due to have their second child. He was very excited to go home and welcome his new daughter to the world.
I was shocked by the number of Americans at the resort, and a bit disappointed. I prefer to meet people from other countries. There was a group of 16 of them all from a dive group and most were repeat guests, so they took up most places they went. In particular the bar. We did become friends with an Australian couple and their daughter. They left 3 days before us, so our record of making friends with people who are getting ready to leave is still intact. Boo!
The sunsets could be quite special, though…