Berkley White comments on his time in Wakatobi
This is the first time we've ever gone to a place with a group, without having been there personally.
We booked it 2 years in advance, having known maybe 1500 people that had been here and the whole booking
process was completely seamless. The Bali staff was great - any question we had got answered immediately
and the whole transfer here was probably the smoothest, most professional transfer that I have experienced.
The routing through customs was fantastic and to my knowledge you are the only ones doing that - what a great
treatment that was. In every place we go, our camera gear is an issue, always, and here it was super smooth.
I was really impressed about that.
A big hats off to the whole ground staff at the airport, they made people feel really comfortable and were great.
The entire transfer experience was great and seamless. Crispin was the icing on the cake - in all the dealings
we had, in all the booking process, we never had to say anything twice.
We come with kilos of photo and camera gear and were a little concerned with getting everyting on the small plane
so that everything showed up the same day - in every place we go its always an issue with all our gear, but that
was handled super smoothly and easily. We., were really impressed that you don't nickel and dime folks about
weight on that plane - most people would have.
Having being on 20-30 of those small planes, i have to say this was the cleanest, most comfortable one I have
ever been on - and probably the safest.
At the resort, I really liked how you gave private orientations for each couple - I haven't ever seen that done
before. It was so good to be just whisked off the boat by someone who knew where they were going and who
explained everything, lots of personal service. Normally as a group leader, you are running around trying
to get things all organized, get all the answers and this took all troubles away, really great.
The dive boats are fantastic. It would have been totally reasonable for you to put twice the amount of divers
on those boats - they're so big. To put only 12 on such huge boats is Incredibly comfortable - there's plenty
of camera space and plenty of personal space. The boat crews were great and those were probably the best
ladders I've ever seen in the tropics... Id been warned about tidal changes and logistics of getting to
the boat in Wakatobi, but everything was completely painless, The whole process was easy.
We were a little concerned because we'd heard that Wakatobi are so over-protective of their reefs and animals
that you just cannot shoot good photos - but I have a new story to share with folks.
The staff were all amazing, great spotters, great at correcting issues - certainly taking care that nothing
was going wrong but not in an unpleasant way, they did it really professionally and well.
People always need scolding and help so that they don't damage the reefs, but the dive guides were really
professional and amazing at coming in and being a support and helping people. I had a ton of people who said,
"it was great, we were wobbling and the dive guides were immediately there to give us some support" -so from
a photographers stand point, I'm really happy. All the dive guides were really great. I didn't lift a tank,
I didn't even see people carrying their own cameras, the care that is taken with them - everybody was really
happy with how everything worked out".
The 4:1 ration is beyond generous, awesome, fantastic. Everybody gets to see everything, i know its expensive
to do and its well appreciated - also how the groups were so well spread out down the reef, so that very
rarely did it feel like there were a dozen divers in the same area - that whole system was fantastic. I
don't think you could do anything to make things more personal.
I would also like to applaud the 70 minute dives, its something that is taxing on the crew and most places
just want to do 50 minutes or something. The 70 minute plan is just really nice to have - people just loved
this and I applaud the crew for being willing to do that, its great for us.
The F&B team was the best i have seen at any resort and the food was the best i have ever had in any dive
resort. Everyone was thrilled and raving about the food. I'm amazed you guys can pull this off - we are
in the middle of nowhere and you made us feel like we were not in the middle of nowhere! It's very impressive..."
Overall, I was really impressed with the whole experience, our whole group was very happy. Asking us what we
thought on day 2 and how sincere it was, that you wanted to make sure people knew you had solutions for any
issue, was really very nice"
I was very impressed with the resort management team, who were so smooth and stress free. I applaud their
interest in improving communications with dive guides and guest photographers. As professional image
makers and environmental protectors, they know the difference between a poor diver and an environmentally
conscious photographer and I feel like they successfully share their concepts with their large staff. I'm
excited to see what Wakatobi creates in the coming years...
Backscatter Underwater Video & Photo