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Wakatobi Endorsements

Thomas Fretz
Thomas Fretz
Thomas Fretz
Columbia, MD
Dean Emeritus, University of Maryland
Diving since 2000 with 550+ dives
www.tomfretzphotos.com

Tom became passionate about underwater photography soon after learning to dive. Although interested in all things marine, I had little chance to experience diving until later in my academic career. Having enjoyed photography for many years but having set it aside periodically during my career, underwater photography has allowed me to truly experience and appreciate our amazing underwater world.


 

Diving at Wakatobi is a truly unique experience, one that is hard to describe in ways not already expressed by others. One can only endorse what has been said before. This was my second trip in 15 months, and I have yet to find any place as gratifying to dive. Having been fortunate enough to have traveled worldwide, Wakatobi is truly the paradise we dream about but rarely experience.

The resort takes detail to the ultimate level, nothing is overlooked, from the food, the lodging, and the dive center to the long house. For the photographer, the well-prepared, air-conditioned camera room is a delight. The grounds are maintained like a botanic garden. The entire resort is a testament to management and staff alike, and their commitment to excellence.

Wakatobi is about the reefs in the Watakobi Marine Reserve and the effort to maintain their pristine condition. This includes the commitment to helping the indigenous cultures understand the value of this resource, both for the present and the future. For divers it is no gloves, no reef hooks, or tripods to damage the reefs. If needed your dive master will serve as your tripod to take that once in a lifetime shot. Witnessing the care taken by the dive masters to clean occasional debris from the reefs is a sign of the commitment that Wakatobi makes to maintain the highest standards.

The reefs are a mix of some of the best soft and hard corals in the most verdant of colors, numerous tunicates, sea fans and gorgonians, sponges and an amazing array of fish, and some larger pelagics, all in crystal clear water with visibility in excess of 100+ feet. Nudibranches and several species of pygmy seahorses are almost commonplace. So numerous and unique are the many small "critters", that for me it is difficult to make the switch to a wide angle lens to capture the large and beautiful coral expanses that appear on nearly every dive.

Wakatobi is truly special, and for any serious diver a must make trip. Upon departing you feel the sense of leaving a family member behind. Naturally the next step is to begin the planning process for a return as soon as possible.

Best Regards,

Thomas Fretz

 

 

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