A little more Wakatobi snorkeling and giant clams near Kendari

After such a brilliant time on Pulau Tomia, we knew to have lower expectations for Wanci (aka Wangiwangi, the “Wa” of Wakatobi).  The best snorkeling was supposed to be north of the city at Sombu so we headed there the first day.  Our first impression of the island, however, was lots of traffic and a sprawling city.  We arrived at a jetty a ways south of the center.  Along the way north looking for a place to stay, we passed a Baju Village and a Baju Resort, a resort built over the water like a Baju village.  Unfortunately it was closed for maintenance — like almost everything we’ve seen in Sulawesi, it did indeed look like it was in need of some maintenance.

20180606_090536 by bryandkeith on flickr
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Boat excursions from Palau Tomia: Pulau Sawa and Kolla Soha

I was planning on only writing one blog about Pulau Tomia, but really that island was one of the most amazing places I’ve ever visited.  As I said in another post, my main goal of coming to Southeast Sulawesi was to find good snorkeling.  The nine days on Pulau Tomia made the entire two-month trip to Sulawesi worthwhile (I’m writing this while we still have three weeks left in Sulawesi!).

On our second-to-last full day on the island, we rode our bicycles back to the Waitii Jetty for the third time.  The condition of the boats at Waitii Jetty doesn’t inspire confidence:

20180531_150136 by bryandkeith on flickr
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Pulau Tomia — a snorkeler’s paradise in the Banda Sea

There’s a lot of hype about Wakatobi.  I suppose it started when Jacques Cousteau said that Wakatobi is “probably the finest diving site in the world”.  However, with hype comes high expectations.  My high expectations were slightly tempered by knowing that most of the hard coral at snorkeling depths in Wakatobi is dead.  However, it didn’t seem like that to me because I had done enough research to know where to snorkel.  As far as I know, we snorkeled at only the best spots on Pulau Tomia and chartered a boat one day to take us out to a “world-class reef”.

Palau Tomia is the “to” in Wakatobi.  The other eponymous islands are Wangiwangi, Kaledupa, and Binongko.  Our first island in Wakatobi was Tomia, on a direct boat from Baubau, a 15-hour trip that some people would call an “adventure”.  I was very happy to have Dramamine.

The boat from Baubau to Pulau Tomia, a 15-hour journey by bryandkeith on flickr

Our boat came into Waitii, not Waha, where most of the accommodation is.
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A week of fun excursions from Baubau, Pulau Buton

We settled into a comfortable hotel in Baubau and made a few day trips.  Our first excursion was to Pulau (Island) Makassar, a short (15 minute) boat ride from Baubau.  We walked through a residential area and made our way to the beach, Pantai Lakorapu.

20180520_102255 by bryandkeith on flickr
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From southwest Turkey to Southeast Sulawesi; did we find Nirvana?

Antalya-İstanbul-Jakarta-Makassar ended up being a 26-hour airplane journey (home to hotel).  Ferda and I spent less than 48 hours in Makassar and boarded the Pelni ship KM. Sinabung for what ended up being a 19-hour journey (hotel to hotel) from Makassar to Baubau.  We were still tired and disoriented from the long days of travel, jet lag, tropical climate, new country, new food, new language, but we correctly assumed that Baubau would be a better place than Makassar to rest a few days and get our bearings.

20180514_195511 by bryandkeith on flickr
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