The people behind the Wakatobi experience

To establish a resort in an unpredictable and remote location such as Wakatobi, and to then consistently deliver a top notch guest experience, takes a huge and ongoing team effort. See below just some of the people in the enthusiastic team who bring you the Wakatobi experience.

Board
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Valentin Mäder - Executive Director

Valentin is Swiss and an entrepreneur, founder and shareholder of companies successful in the fields of international real estate investment advisory, software applications, mobile phone applications and resort development. He was first exposed to Indonesia when he built a business advising MNC's in direct investments in Asia. Valentin holds an MBA.

Valentin is actively contributing to lead Wakatobi from his position as an Executive Director.

Valentin says: "While my original motivation in investing effort and money into Wakatobi was to help my brother, Lorenz, to succeed with this venture, my views have evolved over the years. I now think that Wakatobi is a sound 21st century venture that provides a rare opportunity to align value creation with the protection of endangered marine resources. Probably that is the reason why Wakatobi seems to attract a great breed of people among its investors and supporters."


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Management
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Lorenz Mäder - Founder

Lorenz studied biology before he went into the diving industry. With over 15,000 dives (CMAS, TDI, PADI) he is one of the most experienced divers around and has contributed to building up several professional dive operations before embarking on building Wakatobi in 1995.

He discovered, explored and named all dive sites around the Wakatobi Resort and still goes regularly where no one has been before, using mostly a closed circuit "Evolution" rebreather.

Soft spoken, patient, yet very determined with a genuine respect for the local culture, Lorenz has built a solid foundation for Wakatobi by establishing excellent relations with local communities. Mutual trust and alignment of interest are fundamental to him in achieving his goals on the ground in Indonesia.

Lorenz says, "I believe that alignment of interests–and that includes long term financial interests–with local communities can do much more to protect the valuable reef resources in Indonesia than a rigid system of grants and education attempts by environmental organizations ever could.

The wheel of time cannot be turned back out there no matter how much talking is done by well meaning scientists and dignitaries. Destructive fishing methods are the economic equivalent of slaughtering the goose that lays golden eggs. You have to beat that urge on the ground with something better to start with. So in a way, sustainable, high-value-added dive tourism is the only way out for both the reefs and the local communities in this environment. Diving can create a much better revenue stream out of a 'top reef estate' than fishing in a relatively short time. That is the cold economic logic that aligns local powers behind us in fending off foreign fishing vessels, dynamite and cyanide fishing that have wrecked havoc with most of the tropical reefs on the planet.

But of course there is much more to building a successful business than protecting some of the finest reefs on the planet. We have to deliver a world-class experience to the most discerning divers that starts the minute they set their minds on coming to Wakatobi and extends to the times they fondly relate it to their diving buddies back home."

Beside the technical diving Lorenz initiates and overseeing the conservation initiatives, he manages construction projects and government relations.

Background: At the early age of four Lorenz learned to skin dive (apnea) from his father. A compulsive reader, Lorenz devoured scientific books and developed an early interest in marine biology.

Jacques Cousteau became his inspiration. At the age of fifteen Lorenz learned to scuba dive. After working several years in different professions he set out to work as a Dive Instructor in the Maldives and Dive Exploration Cruise Director in the Red Sea. The more he dived the more his passion and fascination for marine life developed.

Fluent in Swiss, German, English and French and conversational Indonesian his language skills served him well in the dive tourism industry. Disappointed by the excesses of mass tourism in the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean, Lorenz set out on his own to pursue his dream to set a better example in a virgin territory unspoiled by overcrowding and pollution.


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Gede Kawit - Hotel Manager

Gede Kawit was born in April 1970 in a small village near Singaraja, Bali. He studied at a Business Administration College from 1995 to 2000 and joined the Wakatobi team in February 2007 as Hotel Manager.

Before taking the position at Wakatobi, Kawit was assistant general manager at the Aston Nardini Hotel in Ubud, Bali.

Kawit was motivated to take the position with Wakatobi by his interest in marine life and was drawn to Wakatobi's remoteness as an opportunity to see new, exotic critters. Kawit is an avid snorkeler and is looking to begin scuba diving. Another appealing factor that came with this was the opportunity to become involved with a true participant in eco-tourism. Kawit believes that diving is obviously the most important aspect of the Wakatobi experience but takes it upon himself to ensure superb land-based facilities for his guests.

"I am very happy to be a part of Wakatobi Dive Resort because we are running the resort the right way, preserving our marine environment while giving our guests the best holiday experience of their lives."


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Henrik Rosén

Having joined very early on to assist with setting up the physical plant at the resort Henrik spent over a decade bringing Wakatobi from an unknown entity into one of the world's most well-known dive resorts.

With a background in construction engineering Henrik initially worked on infrastructure projects such as the construction of transfer and dive boats to establishing the resort's powerplant and airport (he was instrumental in obtaining the operational permit with the Indonesian Ministry of Aviation). He then devoted himself to making the destination called Wakatobi a world-renowned brand. Henrik has exhibited Wakatobi at over one hundred trade shows on five continents and is a frequent speaker at trade events due to his humorous and engaging presentations. He is also a frequent speaker on destination marketing and environmental issues.

After many years in Asia and the USA he now splits his time between all the nations of the world and finds the most pleasure at home in Sweden.

Henrik is comfortable speaking Swedish and English as well as conversational Indonesian, German and French.

"What is most satisfactory about what we have accomplished with Wakatobi is the way we have shown that businesses can accomplish great things not only for their customers but also for the environment. At Wakatobi I feel that we are in a 'for-everyone's-profit' business".

Guest Experience Consultants
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Karen Stearns - Florida, USA

As Wakatobi Resort's Marketing and Media relations director, Karen handles all aspects of promotion and media relations, show participation and other aspects of maintaining a global brand footprint. She works closely with the sales team to promote the brand to a world-wide customer base.

Karen is an avid diver and dedicated conservationist with an extensive background in dive travel. She has created and managed media campaigns for the diving, boating and sport fishing industry, worked with groups such as the Ocean Conservancy, and participated in collaborative initiatives with tourism boards, scuba equipment manufacturers and travel agencies. She is a graduate of University of South Carolina and the University of Miami, with degrees in communications and marketing. For many years Karen served as Director of Marketing for Spectrum Health, worked on market research for Darden Restaurants and served as Assistant Vice President at Fidelity National Financial. She lives in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, with her husband Walt, a renowned photojournalist.

“It is both an honor and a pleasure to work with such a great team of talented professionals. From the guest experience consultants to the administrative team in Bali and the entire staff at the resort, there is a single-minded focus on service and providing our guests with a premier vacation experience. It's equally rewarding to know that our efforts provide protection for our treasured marine ecosystem as well as positive economic and social benefits for the local community.”


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Robert Parrington - United Kingdom

Robert has had a passion for diving for many years and continues to assist in training divers in the UK.

"For me the thrill is about sharing diving with all sorts of people and joining in their journey of wonder and excitement as we discover the amazing world under the sea".Having dived in many places around the world I have been lucky to have met some incredible individuals and now, with Wakatobi, I am able to continue to share that love of diving with what I consider to be the very best of dive operations.Robert has also been involved with UNESCO Associated Schools and is thrilled that Wakatobi Dive Resort is leading the way in sustainability and educational and scientific study around reef management. "Understanding how we as humans interact with our environment will be crucial to all our futures. Showing what can be achieved in collaboration with local villages is fantastic 'research in action' at Wakatobi".


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Randal Sanders - Louisiana, USA

Randal began his diving career in 1975, and spent the next ten years plunging into Caribbean, Bahamas, and Gulf of Mexico waters. His first tropical Pacific trip forever changed his interests, and he became an Indo-Pacific trip promoter. He learned of Wakatobi from friends who returned with rave reviews, he began investigating, and the more he looked, the clearer it became. With a background in engineering, he marvels at the utopia Wakatobi's founders established on a tiny, remote, island on the Indonesian frontier. "After cruises on a number of premier live-aboards, I never thought I'd enjoy a land-based Indo-Pacific trip," he says.

"My diving experience at Wakatobi was superior to anything on a live-aboard, and I've decided there's no need to dive anywhere else."


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Bob Kippola - California, USA

'Outdoor Adventurer' is the best catch phrase to describe Bob Kippola, who handles Wakatobi's sales for Northern California. Having dived all over the world, while working for a resort software company, Bob found paradise in Wakatobi's placid waters with abundant marine life. Bob has traveled extensively throughout Indonesia, from Raja Ampat to Lombok to Java, and has explored Bali extensively.When not diving Bob is active in his local mountain bike trail organization in Vail, Colorado, skiing various back country peaks in the winter and adding in a good dose of bird watching when he travels.

"Wakatobi's commitment to reef preservation is unprecedented in the industry. Sharing this resource with the local population is key to keeping the reefs pristine for many generations to come; I am honored to represent an organization with such vision and passion for protecting our natural resources, "says Bob.


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Frank Owens - USA, Canada

Frank began diving in 1993, and soon after landed a job with a major scuba equipment manufacturer. In 2006 he became an independent sales rep and developed deeper relationships with local dive shops. An avid underwater photographer, he selected his personal dive vacations based on the quality of underwater photo opportunities. "It disappointed me to see the degradation of reefs and lack of synergy within a destination," Frank says.

"I was initially attracted to Wakatobi for the world-renowned diving, amenities and service, but soon realized that Wakatobi was not just a destination, but a journey in the preservation of our underwater environment."


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Steven Miller - Ohio, USA

Steve became a Scuba Instructor in 1980, and has worked in the Diving Industry ever since. Underwater Photography has always been one of his passions, and he has led a number of trips to exotic locations over the years. "Now that I've found Wakatobi, my search is over." he says.

"Covering the Great Lakes Region allows me to do what I love: teaching underwater photography and telling groups about my all time favorite destination: Wakatobi."


Linda Cash

Linda Cash - New South Wales, Australia

As a Professional PADI open Water Scuba Instructor, nature lover, trekker and amateur photographer, Linda has developed a unique insight into dive and nature based tourism in small island destinations. Her passion for diving began in Nelson Bay, Australia in the mid 90’s and grew significantly during the 10 years she spent living and working on Christmas Island in the Indian Ocean.

For 14 years, Linda was the Marketing Manager for Christmas Island Tourism, and successfully promoted the island as an Ecotourism destination for domestic and international visitors, including scuba divers, bird watchers and nature enthusiasts.

Linda’s personal pursuits have taken her to many small island dive and nature based eco-destinations worldwide, providing her with the perspective of a nature and scuba diving traveler as well as a dive and nature based tourism professional.

"As a diver, Wakatobi has always been a dream destination for me – I have admired the conservation philosophy of Wakatobi Dive Resort for many years. It’s a dream come true to not only be able to experience Wakatobi and Pelagian liveaboard, but to be able to share that experience with our guests and help them achieve their dreams of visiting Wakatobi."


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Stefanie Voigt - Germany, EU

Stefanie turned her lifelong passion for the underwater world into a career as an instructor, underwater camera operator and marine film production coordinator. An avid diver since 1982, she has produced documentaries, commercials and other productions with mainly marine-related themes. As a sales and marketing representative for Wakatobi, she now enjoys the opportunity to utilize her creative and communications skills to enhancing the resort's presence within the German-speaking markets and beyond. "I am looking forward to be a valuable asset and working with such a professional team." she says.

"Even though we may be located thousands of miles apart, we join forces for one precious spot that is Wakatobi."


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Michelle Winkel - Texas, USA

Michelle's first love is the ocean, and she enjoys sharing her passion with others as a PADI, MSDT and DAN instructor. She combines a 15-plus year career in sales and marketing for Continental and United Airlines with her interests in the industry, where she has been involved in a variety of online marketing and video production projects. In addition to diving, she enjoys photography and cycling. "My love for the ocean and scuba diving brought me to Wakatobi, and as luck would have it I was given the opportunity to represent my favorite dive destination as a guest experience representative," she says.

"I love working with such a great team of professionals - from the staff in Bali to those throughout the UK and Europe, Australia, Asia and the USA, it is truly a pleasure."

Bali Office
Crispin Jones

Crispin

Director of Operations

Kadek Ari Saputra

Kadek Ari

Office Assistant

Retno Sri Wayansari

Yosie

Purchasing Coordinator

Theresia Lina Rahayu

Lina

Purchasing


Made Yetawati

Yeta

Accounting

Ida Bagus Rai Cahyadi

Gus Rai

Accounting

Githa Ayu Saraswati

Githa

Accounting

Sri Rahayu

Ayu

Accounting

Stijn Loones

Stijn

Bali Concierge Chief

Ketut Dharma Kusuma Putra

Dharma

Bali Concierge, Sales & Operations

Ketut Satria Wibawa

Satria

Bali Concierge, Sales

Debora Lilipaly

Debby

Bali Concierge


Made Ferry Irawan

Made

Airport Representative

Dive Team
Marieke Appelhof

Marieke Appelhof - Dutch

Dive Center Manager
Dive Experience Manager
PADI IDC Staff Instructor

Marieke began her career working in the Netherlands as a Research Assistant in a Medical Biology and Genetics Lab. She completed her Open Water Diver (OWD) course in Turkey, then her Advanced OWD course in Egypt. Marieke fell in love with Egypt and with the diving in the Red Sea and soon after obtained her instructor rating. For eight years she continued to work in Egypt as a guide with various dive operations and liveaboard boats, as well as in a management role with a dive centre. Marieke also worked and managed dive centers in Curacao, Dominica, the Maldives, Bonaire and now for Wakatobi.

Marieke says she is most impressed with the way Wakatobi values their staff, guests and the environment. "The condition of the reefs really shows how much Wakatobi cares for conservation and the marine environment," she says.

Marieke speaks English and Dutch.


Christian Gloor

Christian Gloor - Swiss

Dive Center Manager
Dive Experience Manager
The IT Guy
PADI Master Scuba Diver Trainer and SDI Open Water Scuba Diver Instructor

Chris began his career in Switzerland as a mechanical engineer, then transitioned to work as an IT service consultant. Although raised far from the sea, he was always attracted to water and took up diving in 1997. He became an instructor in 2008 in the Swiss lakes. In 2009, he permanently traded his suit and tie for a wetsuit and left for Greece, then Thailand before arriving in Indonesia where he has now been living for more than seven years. He can't really envision himself working anywhere else in the world anymore.

"Coming from a small country, it is amazing to live in Indonesia where the diversity of people, cultures, landscapes and marine environments seems endless," he says. Chris can be found on his days off on the House Reef or on the dive boats to photograph the amazing life and underwater scenery found at Wakatobi. In the evening, if the sky is clear, you will most likely see him stargazing with his telescope.

"After so many years in the diving industry, it is refreshing to have finally found a place where an economic sustainability and outstanding service can be achieved while offering great working conditions and actively protecting the marine ecosystem," Chris says. "I am very inspired and amazed by what has been put in place at Wakatobi. Contributing to such an organization gives me pride and the drive to do better every day."

Chris speaks French, English, Italian and some German.


Gareth Winter

Gareth Winter - British

Dive Center Manager
Dive Experience Manager
PADI IDC Staff Instructor, SSI DCSI Instructor

Gareth's broad diving career includes stints as a dive manager in Egypt, North Sulawesi, Honduras, Dominica, Bonaire, the Maldives, and Curacao and he has also worked as a Cruise Director on various dive Liveaboards.

"Being in the coral triangle is a dream for any diver," Gareth says. "One of the benefits of coming to Wakatobi is the chance to work with our founder, Lorenz, and a company that respects and truly cares for its guests, employees, staff and the environment at every level. Wakatobi is really a family and we have always felt welcomed and supported by everybody. The diving is fantastic, the coral is mind-blowing - the amount of fish is staggering, and I have yet to meet or hear of anywhere else in the world that compares with Wakatobi. I am proud and honored to be a part of the team."

Gareth speaks English.


Andrea Balin - Italian

Dive Experience Manager
PADI Master Scuba Diver Trainer & SSI Advanced Instructor

Andrea has a degree in Economics from Italy, and worked as an accountant in his previous life. Prior to joining the team at Wakatobi, he worked in various resorts in the Maldives for more than nine years, both as a dive guide and a dive center manager.

“I had been wanting to join Wakatobi for a couple of years, and was so happy when my chance finally came, he says. “Diving the beautiful reef of Wakatobi is a privilege in itself, but the bigger joy is being able to share this reef with others.”

Andrea speaks English and Italian.


Ramon Crivilles - Spanish

Cruise Director
PADI MSDT – SSI Platinum Advanced Instructor
RAID Master Instructor

Ramon was born in Barcelona but not by the sea. He completed studies in business and economics, and worked as a CFO for more than 15 years. Ramon fell in love with diving in 1995 during a vacation in the Dominican Republic. It was “a magical and fascinating underwater world,” he says. Diving became Ramon's passion and in 2011, he decided to leave his work and pursue a professional life in diving. Ramon has dived in many locations across the world, including the Mediterranean, Caribbean, Red Sea, Canary Islands, Cape Verde, Golf of Thailand, Andaman Sea, Celebes Sea and Banda Sea.

After accumulating more than 5000 dives and 700 diving certifications (from OW to Divemaster) Ramon began searching for a new challenge, and found himself at Wakatobi.

“Working in Wakatobi is incredible,” he says. “You are able to dive in beautiful reefs and find amazing creatures—but our work does not end after the dive. Our joy also comes from meeting and interacting with our guests, learning their cultures and gaining life lessons.”

Ramon speaks Spanish, English, French, Portuguese and Catalan.


Sam Crouch

Sam Crouch - British

Dive Experience Manager
PADI IDC Staff Instructor

After a family holiday to Belize, Sam returned to England a newly certified open water diver. But it took a career switch in his early twenties to get him back in the water in Cyprus. From that moment on Sam was hooked on the sport, and completed his professional dive courses in Egypt and Thailand over a period of several years. He has since been in the industry for more than a decade and has managed liveaboard boats and diving centers across Southeast Asia, Australia and Fiji.

From his years working in the industry Sam has found Wakatobi to be the first dive resort where the company's core values are in line with his own. He felt that it was a place where sustainability is taken seriously, local communities are actually benefiting, and the staff are valued for all their hard work. Sam believes that this will continue to keep Wakatobi a destination for excellent diving for future generations to come.

"I've long dreamt of working at Wakatobi, the world class diving is definitely a draw,” Sam says, “though I’m mostly humbled to be part of such an excellent diving resort. I have certainly found my home away from home, and would love to introduce you to Wakatobi."

Sam speaks English and is learning Dutch.


Marco Fierli - Italian

Underwater Photography Coach

Dive Experience Manager
PADI Master Instructor

Marco started diving in Thailand in 2002, continued his training in Holland and soon moved on to warmer climates in Egypt to work full time in the diving industry. After Egypt, he worked professionally in the Maldives, Mexico and Thailand before finally, Wakatobi became his new home.

"I have loved the reefs and underwater life everywhere I’ve been, but Wakatobi just offers more. The pristine reefs, the countless species and the variety of underwater features, all this while ‘breathing’ an atmosphere of professional enthusiasm. I’m home."

Marco speaks Italian, English, some Dutch and Spanish. If not underwater, you will find him around the island practicing his other true passion; landscape photography.


Silvia Fossaluzza

Silvia Fossaluzza - Italian

Dive Experience Manager
PADI Instructor
SSI Advanced Instructor

Silvia began pursuing interests in art and design in Italy, then decided to leave it behind to explore the natural art of the underwater world. She became an instructor in the Maldives, where she accumulated years of diving and teaching experience before joining the dive team with Wakatobi. According to Silvia, “the Maldives was my first love, but Wakatobi is my biggest love.”

Silvia believes that Wakatobi’s remote location and the twice-a-week flight schedule encourages guests to stay longer, which allows the dive staff to build a meaningful relationship with guests, beyond just diving together. “Sharing the passion for the underwater world is always a special opportunity,” she says.

Silvia speaks English and Italian.


Claire Greathead

Claire Greathead - British

Dive Experience Manager
Cruise Director
PADI Master Instructor

Claire discovered her passion for diving in 2005 while working on a marine research conservation program in Madagascar. This experience led her to pursue diving as a professional career on her return to England.

After managing a dive center for several years and teaching in the icy cold British waters, the lure of travel and warmer waters brought Claire to Asia, where she spent time diving the region and also expanding her skills in technical diving while she was in Bali. She then moved to Egypt to work as a dive instructor in the Red Sea. But having fallen in love with Indonesia, Claire always knew she would return when the right opportunity arose. This opportunity turned out to be Wakatobi.

"It is a privilege to work at Wakatobi," Claire says. "The reefs are the richest and most beautiful I have ever seen. The conservation program is world-class and an inspiration for other dive centers all over the world to protect our precious oceans."

Claire speaks English and is learning Indonesian.


Sari Widya Hapsari

Sari Widya Hapsari - Indonesian

Dive Experience Manager
PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor

Sari completed her "Zero to Hero" professional dive certification in Bali in 2016. She then moved to Pemuteran in northwest Bali where she was involved in environmental and social projects for Reef Scene, which focused on coral conservation, sustainable fishing, human development and education. Sari’s role included public relations in the Nature Resource Department with responsibility for environmental projects and submitting proposals for environmental awards for which they received international recognition. Sari also worked alongside local NGO’s in programs such as “Conservation Week” and worked on conservation education programs with schools and the local northwest Bali community.

Sari is very proud of the conservation programs in place at Wakatobi and the special environment in which she works. "Wakatobi diving is so very wonderful because of the conservation practices," she says. "My favorite dive site is Allegra’s Wall, I love the overhang and of course, also Roma." Her favorite marine life critter is the ornate ghost pipefish and she likes to point out this special species to her guests whenever possible.

Sari really enjoyed the training she received at Wakatobi, and is impressed with the very systematic “work smarter not harder” philosophy of the Wakatobi organization.

Sari speaks Bahasa and English.


Kaz Kazzuaeni

Kaz Kazzuaeni - Indonesian

Dive Experience Manager
PADI Dive Instructor

Born in East Lombok, Kaz started a diving career in 2000. Working as a PADI Instructor at some of Indonesia's most luxurious resorts, Kaz developed his skills to provide the maximum quality of personalized service possible, both in and out of the water. He shared his experience while working on various liveaboard dive boats in Komodo, Tak Bonerate and Bauda.

Kaz is dedicated to continually increasing his knowledge and the service he can provide to his guests. Keen for new experiences and an avid traveler to countries such as Switzerland, France, Italy and Dubai, he has visited many guests, who have become some of his closest friends.

"I joined Wakatobi because of the remoteness and beauty both on land, and underwater. I am always interested in working somewhere that is consistently pushing to improve their level of service. I'm proud to be on the Wakatobi team and part of such a unique operation."

Quietly spoken, Kaz is committed to applying himself fully, to provide his guests with the best experience possible.

Kaz speaks Bahasa and English.


Made Martawan (Mali)

Made Martawan (Mali) - Indonesian

Dive Experience Manager
PADI Divemaster

Mali was born in Bali, and still calls Bali home when he is not diving the magnificent reefs of Wakatobi. Mali obtained his Divemaster credentials in 2009. Prior to joining the Wakatobi dive team, he worked as a freelance guide on Komodo Liveaboards for three years, then spent two years on a liveaboard in Raja Ampat. Mali especially loves meeting guests from around the world, and enthusiastically shares his knowledge of the reefs and marine life.

"Wakatobi is the best place I have ever worked,” says Mali. “Here, the reefs are very special because we are devoted to our conservation programs and continued protection of our ecosystems."

Mali speaks Bahasa and English.


Christian Victor Masihor

Christian Victor Masihor - Indonesian

Dive Experience Manager
PADI Divemaster

Christian is from Manado in North Sulawesi, Indonesia, where he learned to dive. He started guiding divers in 2007 in Bunaken National Park and Lembeh Straits and then worked as a freelance dive guide in North Sulawesi before moving to Bali. He called Bali home for 8 years, working as a dive guide throughout the area as well as Nusa Penida.

"The coral reefs at Wakatobi are super beautiful," Christian says. "I love the coral, I love the colors and the marine life behaviors and the topography is amazing here. My favorite creatures are the small things, especially the pygmy seahorses."

Christian is very proud of the conservation philosophy at Wakatobi and the protective measures in place here. "It makes me very proud to be a part of this organization," he says.

When not diving, Christian's passion is Gospel Music. "I played drums in the church for our Sunday service ever since I was a kid." Christian's laugh is infectious and it brings a smile to most everyone.

Christian speaks Bahasa and English.


Shoko Miike

Shoko Miike - Japanese

Dive Experience Manager
PADI Master Scuba Diver Trainer

Shoko started diving in Japan in 1995, moving to Australia to complete her instructor course and work for a while, following which she moved to a tiny island in the Maldives, where she remained, working in diving for 8 years. Now diving every day in Wakatobi, she never ceases to find joy in even the smallest and rarest creatures which are so abundant in this area.

"I find the reefs in Wakatobi to be the healthiest I’ve ever dived. The colors are so bright and vivid and the search for all the rare creatures which are not found elsewhere is always an adventure. The entire dive team is great and I just can’t wait to get up in the mornings and go diving!"

Shoko speaks Japanese and English. In her spare times she can be found underwater on the house reef taking macro shots, her hobby and her passion.


Demma Muji

Demma Muji - Indonesian

Dive Experience Manager
PADI Divemaster

Growing up in South Sulawesi, Muji was drawn to the sea at an early age. It's hard for him to remember whether he learned to swim first, or to walk first!

Muji worked for many years in Java and Bali in the hospitality and tourism industry, during which time he would take every opportunity he could to snorkel and dive. He found a home in Wakatobi and has been a long-standing member of the team for over 8 years, working in various positions and managing a team as Head Butler. Hearing constantly about the macro critters that live on the Wakatobi reefs, he could wait no longer and, instead of spending all his free time diving, decided to instead make diving his career.

"Since my first dive in Wakatobi, I could not help but dream about being part of the dive team – finally I changed career path and I could never look back. Even after diving in other areas of my country, I was very impressed with the impact of Wakatobi’s conservation program on the quality of the reefs here. This is somewhere that we can actually make a difference."

His experience in hospitality and his love of the ocean make Muji very attentive to his guest’s needs. He may look shy when you first meet him, but he is always harmonious, with a ready smile and happy to spend time with people.

Muji speaks Bahasa and English.


Liza Novarina

Liza Novarina - Indonesian

Dive Experience Manager
PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor

Liza is from South Sumatra. In 2014, she became the first Indonesian female to participate in the “Zero to Hero” Divemaster internship program held in Bali. For three years she gained experience as a dive give and instructor for an operation in Bali, and then joined the Wakatobi team.

"Working at Wakatobi has been my dream ever since I was an open water diver,” she says. “I worked very hard to get the necessary experience and now I am grateful to finally be here; just thinking about how lucky I am brings me to tears. It is such a great experience to meet people from all over the world, and I continue to learn so much about different cultures. The diving here is spectacular. Every dive site has something wonderful to see and experience. I fell in love with Blade on my very first dive at this site, and now it is one of my favorites."

Liza speaks Bahasa and English.


Judith Terol Oto - Spanish

Cruise Director
PADI MSDT
SSI Platinum Advanced Instructor
RAID Master Instructor

Judith is from Barcelona where she received her MA in Business Management and worked in a marine equipment industry for 15 years. After she was introduced to diving in 2001 by Ramon, a desire to travel and dive continued to grow and it wasn’t long before Judith and Ramon decided to leave their corporate jobs and pursue a new life together. Judith became an instructor in Asia and continued to gain diving experience from Asia to Europe, and all over in between.

“During every step along this journey in diving, I fall in love with it more and more. Working in Wakatobi is a dream, to be able to discover a new part of the world, where we find new life every day. We love the adventure that Pelagian brings us, and you can find us there most of the time.”

Judith speaks Spanish, English, French, Portuguese and Catalan.


Gilang Dwi Pamunmgkas

Gilang Dwi Pamunmgkas - Indonesian

Dive Experience Manager
PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor

Gilang is from Java, Indonesia. Before beginning a dive career he was an electrical engineer. But once he discovered scuba diving, he realized his passion was diving and being near the water. Gilang started diving in March 2016 and gained experience in Nusa Lembongan, where he became a professional Divemaster and an Open Water Scuba Instructor in November 2016. In 2017, Gilang relocated to Raja Ampat as a dive guide, marine life spotter and instructor for an eco resort.

"I am very excited be a member of the Wakatobi dive team. And the diving here is beyond my expectations. The colors here are much more vibrant than in Bali or Raja Ampat. And the combination of sea fans, sponges, and hard coral surpasses anywhere else in Indonesia. The currents here also very friendly when compared to Nusa Lembongen and Raja Ampat, which is better for our guests."

Gilang speaks Bahasa and English.


Rusdi

Rusdi - Indonesien

Dive Experience Manager
PADI Divemaster

Rusdi learned to dive in Lombok and moved to Bali in 2003 where he obtained his divemaster credentials and worked in Padang Bai. He returned to Lombok and worked on a pearl farm for just over two years before transitioning to a dive guide position at an eco resort on Moyo Island, East Java. Later, he learned about Wakatobi through some of the guests he met while working at dive centers in Raja Ampat and Komodo. "They told me that Wakatobi was one of the best, even better than Raja Amat," he says. After hearing this, he was determined to find out for himself.

Rusdi is very impressed by the pristine environment of Wakatobi. "Everywhere you dive here there are stunning corals," he says. "It is such an advantage being so remote and it helps to keep the marine environment pristine." His favorite critter is the mantis shrimp and he also loves the orangutan crab.

Rusdi's family is in Lombok and he spends three months at Wakatobi and one month at home. He is very pleased with his work-life balance. When home in Lombok, Rusdi loves to run and "to be at one with nature." One of his favorite things to do is hiking the Rinjani volcano crater in Lombok.

Rusdi speaks Bahasa and English.


Christina Schueller

Christina Schueller - German

Dive Experience Manager
PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor

Prior to joining Wakatobi, Christina was a Dive Guide and Divemaster/Instructor at Nusa Lembongan in Bali for 4 years.

"I appreciate Wakatobi for its remoteness and exclusivity. Because there are no other dive boats or operators competing for the reefs, divers feel special - and they are really special. One of the reasons why we have so many repeat guests is because of the service they receive. I love the walls, the drift dives and the colorful reefs teeming with marine life - especially the macro subjects. It’s great to be working with a team from so many different nationalities. I am always learning and gaining experience that I can pass on to our guests."

Christina speaks German and English.


Chiara Sola

Chiara Sola - Italian

Dive Experience Manager
PADI Instructor

Chiara's love for animals and nature motivated her to earn a degree in biology, and she became a dive instructor soon after. Like her parents, she felt a strong attraction to the ocean, and learned to dive as a teenager. After graduation, she started her professional dive career in the Red Sea, and went on to work in the Maldives, Central America, Mediterranean Sea and now Indonesia.

"Wakatobi's pristine reefs give me the opportunity to fully relax underwater while observing interesting animals' behavior I have never seen anywhere else," she says. "I am glad to be here and to be able to share my knowledge and passion for the oceans with other divers."

Chiara speaks English and Italian.


Ketut Suardika - Indonesian

Dive Experience Manager
PADI IDC Staff Instructor

Ketut has been diving since 1995. With over 4,000 dives, he now enjoys passing on his knowledge and experience of Indonesia's underwater world to others. Also a PADI Instructor, Ketut enjoys teaching many different courses, including Nitrox specialties.

Ketut is friendly and enthusiastic. With a passion for photography both underwater and above, he enjoys identifying and photographing the challenging, hard to find creatures, and helping others do the same.

"The thing I love most about diving around Wakatobi is getting away from the crowds. I can enjoy these pristine reefs everyday, sharing only with a few others."

Ketut speaks Bahasa and English.


Sutiyono

Sutiyono - Indonesian

Dive Experience Manager
PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor

Sutiyono, known as Yono, was born in Central Java where he spent his early years developing a love for the underwater world swimming in Java’s beautiful rivers. After finishing his studies, he moved to Bali, where he worked in travel and tourism with a Bali-based travel agency.

He did his first dive in Bali. “It changed my world,” Yono says. Soon after he committed to becoming a full-fledged PADI professional and for years worked in Bali introducing divers to this special realm he had grown to love.

Yono joined the Wakatobi team after his friends mentioned the healthy, beautiful reefs and enjoyable working conditions. "The reefs in Wakatobi are the most pristine I have ever seen, but more important, I am proud to be part of a great team working in a unique place that educates, contributes and protects our country's environment for future generations."

"I love the rich walls at Wakatobi and the many fans like those at Cornucopia and Fan38. I also enjoy the challenge of finding the name of a fish or critter that I didn't know before and learning about fish behavior from observation. The most rewarding part of my job is being able to share my knowledge with our guests."

Yono is a gentle family man, who is a team player with an easy-going nature. His passions in life are his family, diving and sharing the marine world with others.

Yono speaks Bahasa and English.


Terry Takarendehang

Terry Takarendehang - Indonesian

Dive Experience Manager
PADI Divemaster

Terry is from Siau Island, North Sulawesi. He completed his Open Water Dive course in Bunaken, where he also worked in the compressor room and spent time perfecting his English. Prior to joining Wakatobi, Terry completed his professional qualifications on the island of Nusa Lembongan and then worked there gaining experience as a guide and Divemaster. In his spare time, Terry enjoys playing his guitar and enjoys games of soccer with his Wakatobi teammates and the local villagers.

"I feel very comfortable at Wakatobi, the dive organization here is the best in my experience. Wakatobi’s guests are great and it is a pleasure to work for them. The reefs here are the most beautiful I have ever seen, so it is very easy and gratifying to share them with our guests."

Terry speaks Bahasa and English.


Ilse van Tilborg

Ilse van Tilburg - Dutch

Dive Experience Manager
PADI OWSI Instructor

Ilse fell in love with the underwater world at the age of 16 when her family moved to Indonesia. The family became open water divers together and began to discover the stunning diving the country has to offer. This led to their obtaining advanced diver certifications in Komodo and other adventures. Ilse became the most avid diver in the family, and would always insist that family holidays were based at a scuba diving location.

After completing a degree in international business and management, Ilse decided to pursue a career as a dive professional and see the world for a year or so. Nearly six years later, having worked in Australia, Thailand, Malaysia and Fiji, she found her calling with Wakatobi Resort. "The attention to detail, personalized guest experience and the environment are second to none here at Wakatobi," she says. “I am proud to call it my home."

Ilse is fluent in English and Dutch and speaks German and basic Bahasa.


Mohamad Yusuf - Indonesian

Dive Experience Manager
PADI Divemaster

Yusuf was born in East Java, in the southern city of Banyuwangi. His interest in diving started when he saw a TV program about the beauty of the underwater world. Soon after, he moved to Bali and learned to dive. “Immediately after my first moments underwater I felt that diving was already a part of my life, and I could not let it go."

"I’m very proud to have these healthy reefs and diversity in my country. Working for a company that has the vision to protect and preserve the underwater world became a dream for me. I am so happy that I have found a home here at Wakatobi."

Yusuf speaks Bahasa and English.