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
David Emery

David Emery

David Emery, a Swiss national, is the Founder and Chairman of Reciprocus Pte Ltd, a Global M&A Advisory Boutique based in Singapore. Prior to setting up his own firm in October 2011, he was with Dun & Bradstreet, Inc. (D&B) for over 16 years, lastly as a Member of D&B Corp’s Executive Board, President of Asia Pacific and Head of International Business Development and M&A.

David serves as an Advisor to a variety of organizations and government agencies and sits on several boards, for instance as an Independent Director of Spice Private Equity, an investment company listed on the SIX Swiss Exchange. He is also an Entrepreneur in his own right, mainly as an early stage investor and as such was one of Wakatobi’s “Angels” in the late 90s.

Since then he has been actively involved with Wakatobi’s board in different capacities, as an advisor, project manager and director. In June 2020 he accepted the position of Executive Chairman.

David is a passionate believer in sustainable initiatives for the greater good and as such he considers Wakatobi one of his most impactful entrepreneurial undertakings.


Hwee Keng Teng Maeder

Hwee Keng grew up in Singapore and graduated from National University of Singapore. After finishing her studies, she worked in Private Banking looking after Asian clients out of Zurich and Geneva, Switzerland. For Hwee Keng, the connection with clients and understanding how they developed their lives and successes was a source of inspiration and satisfaction. Through family and friends surrounding her she was always immersed in an entrepreneurial environment. After her second child was born, her priorities took another path, and she became more involved in the family business with her Swiss husband.

Hwee Keng is a member of the Singapore Institute of Directors and has served on the board of Wakatobi since 2019. She has witnessed Wakatobi’s growth from the beginnings and over the years gained a deep understanding of the business, its mission, and the people that drive and support it. She is also a passionate and highly experienced scuba diver. As much as she enjoys sharing her passion with ocean lovers from all over the world coming to Wakatobi, what drives her is the purpose and the opportunities it brings to peoples’ lives.

“ESG [Environmental, Social, Governance] may be on everybody’s lips today but for me it spells out what has been my connection to Wakatobi for the last 25 years–the Reef Conservation at the core of its business model, the responsibility towards our staff and the local communities who are hosting the resort in their midst, and the understanding that good and fair processes and good governance will bring about respect and trust over time. And maybe an L should be added to ESG to signify the love for what we are doing and the love for the people sharing our mission and enjoying our product,” Hwee Keng says.


Advisory Board
Christoph Syz

Christoph Syz

Christoph Syz, of Swiss nationality, is the Founder and CEO of Patrimonium, an independent Swiss manager of alternative investment classes with investment focus on capital market financing for medium-sized companies, Real Estate, Infrastructure and Private Equity, since 2007.

Before setting up Patrimonium, Christoph had already started other ventures – from 1991 to 1999, a sales and marketing company for the outdoor sports industry with a turnover of more than EUR 25 million, and then from 1999 to 2002, a cash and commodity management software solution provider for the Austrian, German and Swiss Fashion and Sports retailers, which later underwent a merger, with Christoph then taking on the role of Chairman of the Board and CEO of the merged entity thereafter from 2002 to 2009.

Christoph has also served on the boards of several organizations, including taking on the role of Executive Vice Chairman of an international manufacturer of windsurfing, snowboarding and kiteboarding hardware from 2003 to 2005, and being appointed as an Executive Member of the Management Board of Hermes Precisa International, an investment holding company listed on the SIX Swiss Exchange (now known as Airesis) from 2002 to 2004.

By serving as a member of Wakatobi’s Advisory Board, Christoph will indeed bring valuable insights to the business, particularly with his experience in real estate and infrastructure.




Management

Lorenz Mäder – Founder

Lorenz learned to skin dive from his father at the age of four, and developed an early interest in marine biology, with Jacques Cousteau as his inspiration. He received his scuba certification at age 15, and after exploring several different professions he embraced his passion for the ocean to become a Dive Instructor in the Maldives and Dive Exploration Cruise Director in the Red Sea.

Lorenz’s language skills — he is fluent in Swiss, German, English, French and conversational Indonesian — served him well in the dive tourism industry. After building up several professional dive operations, he set out to find the ideal location to create a resort that would provide both protection for the marine environment and sustainable economic benefits for the local community.

In addition to founding the resort and establishing Wakatobi’s acclaimed Collaborative Reef Conservation Program, he discovered, explored and named all of the resort’s dive sites. With more than 15,000 dives and extensive CMAS, TDI, PADI credentials, he remains active in all phases of resort operation, and continues to seek out new underwater opportunities.

“I believe that alignment of interests with local communities, including long term financial interests, 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,” Lorenz says. “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.”


Christian Gloor

Christian Gloor – Resort Manager

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 ten 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, some German and basic Indonesian.


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.”


Guest Experience Consultants

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.”


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”.


Randal Sanders – Louisiana, USA

Randal began his diving career in 1975, and spent the next ten years enjoying Caribbean, Bahamas, and Gulf of Mexico waters. His first tropical Pacific trip forever changed his diving priorities, and he became an Indo-Pacific trip promoter. After learning of Wakatobi Dive Resort from friends who returned with rave reviews, he began investigating, and it was immediately clear that WDR was a unique destination. With a background in engineering, he marveled at the utopia Wakatobi’s founders established on a tiny, remote island on the Indonesian frontier. He explains, “After cruises on a number of premier live-aboards, I never thought I’d find a land-based dive operation that could compare. However, my diving experience at Wakatobi was equal or superior to my various live-aboard cruises, but with the convenience of being resort-based. Considering the beautiful accommodations, restaurant, spa, etc., not to mention the amazing House Reef shore diving plus over 50 other dive sites visited by WDR’s fleet of roomy day boats, WDR is a dive and snorkeling destination like no other I have experienced. Whether it’s Wakatobi Dive Resort or Pelagian Liveaboard (or both!), our guests can truly experience the best of both worlds”.


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.


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.”


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.”


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.”


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.”


Stefanie Wagner, EU

Before finding her passion for the underwater world, Steffi began her career in high-end restaurant management. After becoming involved in the diving industry, she spent more than a decade working as a PADI Master Scuba Diver Trainer and Dive Center Manager before joining the Wakatobi Team as a Dive Experience Manager in 2019.

Steffi loves underwater photography, and she could be seen snorkeling or diving for hours on the Wakatobi House Reef after work or on her days off. She has now swapped scuba tanks for an office chair and is based in Germany as part of the Wakatobi Guest Experience Consultant team for Europe.

“It is a pleasure to be part of such an amazing team,” she says, “and representing an environmental program that is second to none in protecting the rich underwater world around the waters of Wakatobi. It is fulfilling me to offer our guests such a unique experience because Wakatobi is unique and simply cannot be compared.”


Marek Machinia, EU

Marek gained an intimate knowledge of Wakatobi Dive Resort while living and working at the resort for two years. Before joining Wakatobi he spent more than a decade working at high-end dive resorts across Asia and became involved with numerous conservation agencies as a dive center manager in the Maldives. Marek is an accomplished underwater photographer, a certified chamber operator and an experienced service technician.

Marek is originally from Poland and now lives in Germany. He has a background in sales and marketing and is a trained wholesale and foreign trade merchant. Marek will draw on his backgrounds both above and below the water as a Guest Experience Consultant and representative for Europe.

“I am happy to be working for Wakatobi. Whether above or underwater, with Wakatobi you always make a contribution to protecting the unique reefs. It is a place that is particularly close to my heart due to the many lovely people and pristine nature.”

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

Sales & Operations

Ketut Satria Wibawa

Satria

Bali Concierge, Sales

Dive Team
Claire Greathead

Claire Greathead – British

Dive Center Manager
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 Indonesian.



Andrea Balin – Italian

Dive Experience Manager
PADI Master Scuba Diver Trainer

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 Master Scuba Diver Trainer

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.


Silvia Fossaluzza

Silvia Fossaluzza – Italian

Dive Experience Manager
PADI 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.



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 Indonesian and English.


Christian Victor Masihor

Christian 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 Indonesian and English.


Demma Muji

Demma Muji – Indonesian

Dive Experience Manager
PADI Instructor

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 Indonesian and English.



Judith Terol Oto – Spanish

Cruise Director
PADI Master Scuba Diver Trainer

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.



Rusdi

Rusdi Anto- Indonesian

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 Indonesian 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 Indonesian and English.


Sutiyono

Yono – 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 Indonesian and English.



Yusuf Mohamad – 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 Indonesian and English.


Novie Bahri – Indonesian

Dive Experience Manager
PADI Instructor, avid sidemount diver

After attending university in her home city of Medan, Novie began a career in marketing before hearing the call of the ocean. She turned her passion for diving into a profession by earning divemaster and instructor credentials and taking on the role of project event manager for Bali’s Sanctum Dive Centre in 2017. For the next five years, she worked in various locations in Bali and Nusa Penida, and spent time involved in the Indocean coral protection Project in Sulawesi. Novie joined Wakatobi in August of 2022.

“The dive team is amazing, says Novie. “The atmosphere is energetic and positive, everyone is so professional and knowledgable, and I have never worked anywhere that is so well organized. I feel very inspired to learn more whilst working here.”

Novie says she particularly enjoys connecting with Wakatobi guests. “I love building relationships, listening to their stories of life, adventures and travels, and being able to share my knowledge of marine life.”

Novie speaks Indonesian and English.


Ismail Nopo – Indonesian

Dive Experience Manager
PADI Instructor

Ismail learned to dive in 2008 while studying underwater ecotourism in Manado. He spent time diving and working in the waters of Bunaken National Park, then moved to Bali to earn his Divemaster certification in 2012.

Ismail first joined the Wakatobi dive team in 2013 and stayed for what he calls “an amazing 4 years” before returning to Bali to complete his instructor credentials and start a family. In the years since, he has worked at dive centers in Bali, Komodo and Alor, as well as aboard private liveaboards. He rejoined the Wakatobi team in the summer of 2022.

“I love Wakatobi,” he says. “It has the greatest variety of corals, the healthiest reefs, great weather and a beautiful ocean.” He considers creating guest satisfaction to be his greatest achievement.

Ismail speaks Indonesian and English.


Brooks Smith – American

Dive Experience Manager
PADI Master Scuba Diver Trainer, TDI Advanced Nitrox + Deco Procedures Instructor

After completing a dual major in history and secondary education at State University of New York, Brooks set out on a more adventurous path, training as a Wilderness first responder and an Emergency Technical Technician. He became a dive instructor in 1997 in Honduras and worked for several years in the Gili Islands before trading diving for a decade of skiing and mountain biking. Brooks returned to Indonesia in 2014, then later worked in Fiji and the Cayman Islands before arriving at Wakatobi.

“Working in Wakatobi is more than a job,” he says. “One feels part of something that is not only unique in this industry but special. As an educator, I enjoy seeing people learn and improve in all aspects of life. I also enjoy supporting our guests and showing them a good time below or above the water.”

Brooks speaks English.


Adi Suhardi – Indonesian

Dive Experience Manager
PADI Instructor

Adi decided to exchange a budding career as an elementary school teacher for a chance to become an underwater educator and guide. From 2012 to 2020 he guided and taught in the Gili Islands. “A friend recommended Wakatobi to me as a great place to work,” he says, “and I was lucky enough to get a job here in January of 2020.

“The dive sites are wonderful and the marine life in the Wakatobi preserve is something I have rarely seen in my diving career so far,” he says. “All of the systems are set up quite well, which allows us to spend more time with the guests and share experiences. This is very special for me, and I enjoy how guests feel like friends after just a couple of days.”

Adi speaks Indonesian and English


Andhy Gede – Indonesian

Dive Experience Manager
PADI Divemaster

Andhy joined the Wakatobi team in August of 2022 at the recommendation of a friend who had previously worked at the resort. Prior to that, he worked in Bali as a tour driver and spent a number of years working as a dive guide in Bali and on liveaboards.

The Wakatobi dive team feels like family”, he says. “I’m proud to be part of a great working team, and I really appreciate how guest happiness is so important for the dive guides. I love meeting new people and get excited to know who I will get to dive with next. Each day I have the opportunity to show guests the underwater world and find critters to make them smile.”

Andhy speaks Indonesian and English


Adrienne Gittus – New Zealander

Photo Pro
Padi IDC Staff Instructor

Adrienne has been a dive instructor since 2003, working around the world from the Cayman Island to Fiji, Palau, Mexico, Australia and the Maldives, as well as spending eight years working in Indonesia. She has been involved in underwater photography since 2010, and started Soulwater Productions in 2015. She produced the award-winning documentary “A fish full of dollars” in 2016 and has filmed for CNN, ARD, Discovery Channel and National Geographic.

Adrienne found her way to Wakatobi in August 2022, together with her husband Brooks. She is excited for a long future at the resort developing the photo department. “Wakatobi instantly made an impression as one of the most well-run and professional operations in the world. Having dived and worked in the industry for more than 20 years, I can honestly say the customer service here is unsurpassable. The staff are truly about making every guest’s experience exceptional, and they are about supporting each other, which makes this an incredible team to be a part of.”

Adrienne speaks English


Gusde Wedana – Indonesian

Dive Experience Manager
Padi Master Instructor

After completing his education in 2009, Gusde took a housekeeping job at a Bali dive resort. He soon became enamored with scuba diving, but at the time he couldn’t swim and didn’t speak English. Undeterred, he set out to learn his second language and at the same time started sneaking scuba gear into the hotel pool to enjoy the sensation of breathing underwater. When the resort owner learned of Gusde’s “pool sessions,” he was offered an opportunity to go through formal training. “Two months later I got my Open Water Diver qualification,” Gusde recalls, “and one year later in 2013 I turned professional and have never looked back since!” Working his way up from divemaster to instructor, Gusde continued to earn advanced credentials, and in late 2017 earned his Master Instructor certificate.

“I heard about Wakatobi many times from friends and guests,” he says, “and it was always a dream goal to work here. That opportunity came true in 2023, and it is a privilege to join this great team.”

Gusde speaks Indonesian and English



Roby Damopolii – Indonesian

Dive Experience Manager
Padi Open Water Scuba Instructor

After a decade working as a divemaster and instructor in Bali, Roby came to Wakatobi in late 2022. “My first year with Wakatobi Dive Resort was incredible,” he says. “I’d known about Wakatobi for a long time, and it has always been my dream to work here, as it’s one of the best dive resorts in the world. At Wakatobi Dive Resort you are not only guiding but also educating your guests about the marine life and the unique environment.

My goal is to make every day special for my guests. “Working at Wakatobi also creates wonderful opportunities to meet people from different cultures and from different parts of the world, he says. “I really enjoy talking to my guest about topics different then diving only and learning about their culture and life. It creates a family-like connection.”

Roby speaks Indonesian and English


Denny Firmansyah – Indonesian

Dive Experience Manager
Padi Open Water Scuba Instructor

Denny’s career path to Wakatobi began with a stint as an event organizer in Jakarta. “Since I love traveling, I decided to change my career to tourism,” he says. “I discovered a love for the ocean and all its wonders, found my passion, and have since devoted myself to freediving and scuba. After working as a divemaster in the Nusa Islands, he became an instructor in 2017, taught diving in Bali and Komodo, and then expanded his resume with a stint at a five-star resort in the Maldives.

“I had heard of Wakatobi for years from colleagues and divers,” he says. “When an opportunity presented itself, I gladly accepted. I am honored and proud to be part of such an experienced team. Wakatobi is committed to preserving and protecting the oceans, and being part of a resort that places conservation above profit is what inspires me the most. Showing our guests the incredibly healthy coral reef makes me proud to be both Indonesian and part of Wakatobi.”

Denny speaks Indonesian and English


Eby Rotty – Indonesian

Dive Experience Manager
Padi IDC Staff Instructor

In 2010 Eby decided to make diving her chosen profession. After starting with a dive resort in northern Sulawesi she spent several years working on live-aboards across many areas of Indonesia, spent six years working in Bali and did another brief stint on a live-aboard in 2022. “Wakatobi Dive Resort is well-known in the diving industry, and I heard more about it from two friends who work at the resort,” she says. Their feedback was incredible, so I decided to apply… and here I am! It’s been more than a year and I’m very happy.”

“Eby came to Wakatobi with her husband Frengki, who is now also a Dive Experience Manager at the resort. She says she is grateful for the opportunity to work as a couple and to be a part of a very professional team. “The standards in every aspect of this job are very high,” she says, and this motivates me to learn and always do my best.”

A highlight of her job is being able to work with a wide variety of guests. “I’m glad to meet people with different experience levels from non-divers to skilled underwater photographers,” she says. “I can share my knowledge, but I’m also learning from them, and this makes my job not only interesting but also very rewarding.”

Eby speaks Indonesian and English


Frengki Endey – Indonesian

Dive Experience Manager
PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor

Frengki has been a dive professional for more than 20 years, beginning his career at Murex Diving Center in 2000 and spending 10 years working in the Manado region. He continued to expand his experience as dive instructor in the following decade while working with a number of live aboards across Indonesia. “In 2022, me and my wife Eby, who is also a dive instructor, decided to look for a job where we could work together and widen our knowledge and understanding of the underwater world,” he says. “Wakatobi Dive Resort seemed the perfect place, and we were honored to be selected to be part of the dive team.”

“Working with a professional team in a high-standard resort is very gratifying,” he says. “I have learned a lot from my colleagues, not only in the dive team but in all different departments, and I have a better awareness about the ocean. Knowing so much more about marine life allows me to impart knowledge to our guests, and I’m very pleased with that. Learning and being able to share what I have learned is a central part of my job.”

Frengki speaks Indonesian and English


Roberto Hernandez Alvarez – Spanish

Dive Experience Manager
PADI IDC Staff Instructor

Roberto studied mechanics, paramedics and catering before deciding to turn his passion for the water into a career. “The ocean has always been my way of life since I was a child,” he says. “I am in harmony with water when swimming, surfing, or free diving, and worked as a lifeguard for ten years in north Spain,” he says. Roberto studied Tourism Management and Business Administration in Spain and Denmark, and after finishing university, he travelled and discovered the world’s oceans. “I built my diving career while working in Australia, Thailand, the Caribbean, the Mediterranean Sea and now Indonesia. I never stop studying and learning, so a couple of years ago I studied for my commercial captain license and for the last three years I have been developing and mastering skills working as a boat captain.”

Roberto says he was captivated by Wakatobi’s marine conservation program. He contacted the resort and when a position became available, he took the next step in his life and moved to Wakatobi. “Since I arrived, I have been overwhelmed with the warm welcome received from the entire team and from the owner of this incredible dreamy place for divers. It’s a pleasure for me to share it with them and see the smiles after an incredible dive.”

Roberto speaks Spanish and English.


Gusti – Indonesian

Dive Experience Manager
PADI Dive Master

“After working for almost ten years in Komodo, I decided it was time to change,” Gusti says. “I moved to Bali where I was lucky enough to find work in a good dive center owned by a very nice and kind person who saw potential in me and recommended Wakatobi Dive Resort.”

“The work environment at Wakatobi here is exceptional,“ he says. “My colleagues are very friendly and knowledgeable, and the atmosphere on the island is great. It’s a pleasure to come to work every day and I’m very happy to be part of this big family! Chatting with the guests about our common passion, diving, is special to me. We share experiences, adventures and discoveries! Making people aware of our ‘reef lease agreement’ and explaining how Wakatobi Dive Resort works with the local communities to protect the reefs is also very important to me. I am proud to be on the Wakatobi team and to be working for this company.”

Gusti speaks Indonesian and English


Aswan Anthonio Manabung – Indonesian

Dive Experience Manager
Padi Instructor

Aswan was first exposed to diving in 2018 while working in a Bali dive center, and soon began his journey from open water certification to dive master. He devoted a year to dive guiding, then went on to complete an instructor program and became a Master Scuba Diving Trainer in early 2021. He joined the Wakatobi team in 2023.

“I learned a lot from my first year at Wakatobi,” he says. Things like teamwork, marine life facts and the proper way to communicate with guests. For me it’s more than just a guiding job. I really enjoy working with the guests, learning about other cultures and being able to make new friends from all over the world. Wakatobi’s underwater world is so perfect that it’s always inspiring and everyone at the resort is like a family.”

Aswan speaks Indonesian and English


Kristian Gaeckle – German

Dive Experience Manager
PADI Master Scuba Diver Trainer

Kristian previously worked as a project manager for research projects in the social sciences at various universities in Germany. He took a diving course while on vacation in Indonesia, and that changed his life. Inspired by the marine diversity of Indonesian waters, he became a PADI Master Scuba Diver Trainer and relocated to Indonesia. While working as a dive center manager and instructor at a resort in North Sumatra, Indonesia Kristian heard fascinating stories from the Wakatobi Marine Protected Area. “It was therefore a special pleasure to become part of the Wakatobi Dive Resort team,” he says, “helping to protect marine biodiversity while sharing my passion.”

“We have a unique opportunity to sustainably protect the reefs,” he says. “We see the effects every day on the intact reefs and the diversity of marine life here in the marine reserve. I am always delighted to see the smiles on our guests’ faces when they return to the surface after the dive and enthusiastically talk about their fascinating impressions.“

Kristian speaks English, German and is learning Indonesian


Mareike Lauter – German

Dive Experience Manager
PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor

After earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work, Mareike did volunteer work in Belgium and Morocco, returned to Germany to work in various fields of social work, then moved to Indonesia with her partner Kristian. “Kris and I lived in Indonesia for several years and really fell in love with the country, both its charming people and the underwater world,” she says. “It was always clear to us that we wanted to dive and work in Indonesia, especially in the heart of the Coral Triangle.”

“What I particularly appreciate in Wakatobi, apart from the incredibly diverse coral reefs,” she says, “is the professional team and their passion for diving. It is a wonderful privilege to work with a great team and in such a well-organized dive resort and therefore be able to create an excellent experience for our guests.”

Mareike speaks German, English, French and basic Indonesian.


“I didn’t know a remote island could be 5 star! Service, food accommodation, super friendly staff and of course, the diving was superb! Our divemaster made the experience 6 star! He is a swimming encyclopedia and also charming, accommodating, always smiling and always happy and funny! He would ask at the start of the dive what we would like to see, plus he was observant and soon realized our interests… “I didn’t know a remote island could be 5-star! Our divemaster made the experience 6 star!”

Robin & Michael Fleming
,November 2018