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Wakatobi Endorsements

Craig Willemsen Craig Willemsen
Dive Shop Owner/Group Leader
CCR Rebreather Diver & Instructor
Silent World Diving Systems
Bellevue, WA, USA
www.silent-world.com

Diving since 1972, Craig has logged over 6000 dives worldwide. Craig is an Instructor Certifier with SSI and Instructor Trainer with TDI on 6 styles of rebreathers, and works as a consultant to diving manufacturers and insurance companies. He is the owner of Silent World Diving Systems, a leading scuba and rebreather facility in the USA. Craig has been leading dive groups all over the world for over 20 years and most weekends can be found on the beach somewhere around the world.


 

Diving since 1972, Craig has logged over 6000 dives worldwide. Craig is an Instructor Certifier with SSI and Instructor Trainer with TDI on 6 styles of rebreathers, and works as a consultant to diving manufacturers and insurance companies. He is the owner of Silent World Diving Systems, a leading scuba and rebreather facility in the USA. Craig has been leading dive groups all over the world for over 20 years and most weekends can be found on the beach somewhere around the world.

I booked our group trip almost 2 years ago, based on recommendations from other divers and the claim the resort supports rebreathers. I usually travel with a mix of open circuit and a lot of rebreather divers, so support and supplies are a big deal. We often go on liveaboards, so Wakatobi was a bit of an experiment for us. Could we get great support AND great diving??...

The office staff was awesome. We'd reserved all the cylinders, gas fills and sorb (408 & 812), along with stage bottles and regulators ahead of time, so we had no need to bring this gear along. This was a HUGE deal for the rebreather divers, since we had no need to deal with the overweight fees and TSA hassles. Most of us were able to pack (2)-50lbs bags (not counting photo gear) with room and weight to spare. (I even brought an OC BC and regulator, in case I needed to blow some bubbles with my OC divers, if the staff at the resort weren't up to the task). Arrival in Bali was seamless, a staff representative escorted us through customs without issue and we avoided all the lines. Our charter flight to the resort was very smooth and very comfortable. The plane and staff were immaculate. Weight was no issue, which was again a big plus.

Once at the resort, the personalized service and attention was truly awesome. All of my group received a private guide to their rooms, including a full personalized briefing on all the amenities - wow! We traveled with a mix of Evolution and Kiss rebreathers. The resort staff had 408 & 812 sofnolime & 3000 psi gas fills in 2L and 3L steel Inspiration/Evolution bottles. Stage bottles were19 cbf, 30 cbf and 40 cbf cylinders, fully rigged with regulators & SPGs. Everything was as expected and promised. It certainly beat dragging all this gear along with us!

The biggest treat was the diving and how well it was organized. My rebreather divers (total 8) had their own boat and we were broken down into groups of 4 with rebreather instructors as guides. The silence (no bubble blowers on our boat) was awesome. Our dive times ranged from 70 minutes to 3 hours in 86 degree water. The guides allowed us to dive full multilevel dives with some deco. Trimix is available if you are trained for and request it. Those deep walls looked awfully tempting! Next time!

Storage and handling for the rebreathers was great too. We were provided a rinse area with hoses, rinse tanks and disinfectant spray for our rebreather group. The component storage area for drying worked great. Everything was always ready and available when we needed it. The crew spoiled us and left us feeling very pampered. There was always plenty of staff to carry our rebreathers from the set up area to the boats and back after. Boy that was nice! We didn't have to lift a finger!

I run groups all over the world and am always looking for a dive facility that can provide decent gas fills, sorb and give us some elbow-room to do our dives. I cannot give any negative comments about Wakatobi at all. It far, FAR exceeded my expectations and my entire group was ecstatic. It was such a treat to go out and do 2.5hr dives and not be micro-managed - and the 3hr dive on our last day was very nice. And as for my extra Open Circuit gear that I packed - the resort staff did such an awesome job of handling my bubble blowers that I could focus solely on rebreather diving! I never took them out of my bag!

 

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