Saturday, April 24, 2010

Wakatobi: A paradise for divers

“Wow... it’s beautiful,” said a passenger sitting beside me as he was watching a vast expanse of blue sea and green terrain from the plane window upon its landing at Matahora Airport, Wakatobi, Southeast Sulawesi.

Its gorgeous beach covered with white sand was clearly in sight, enhancing the magnificence of Wakatobi archipelago.
Passengers seated in the middle also tried to peek from nearby windows for a better view of the panorama outside. Nearly all those boarding the plane with a capacity of 30 people were amazed as it touched down at the airport located in Wanci, Wangi-wangi Island.
Wakatobi is an acronym of the names of major islands composing this island group: Wangi-wangi, Kaledupa, Tomia and Binongko. The other name is Tukang Besi as the islands’ population is famous for its blacksmiths, who used to supply the domestic and war equipment for the Buton kingdom.
As part of the Heart of the World Coral Triangle Center, Wakatobi is believed to have become a magnet for divers from all over the globe. Marine expert Jacques Cousteau even described Wakatobi as the finest diving site in the world.
Wakatobi has at least 100 diamond-class dive sites. Situated between Banda and Flores seas, the island group has the most beautiful coral ridges in the world’s coral triangle. The coral ridges found in Kaledupa are even the longest in the world, extending along 48 kilometers.
“Top dive sites are mostly located in Tomia,” said Jupri from the Fisheries and Maritime Affairs Ministry. “There we can see various species of fish and coral reefs,” he added. Jupri has worked in the Wakatobi National Park for three years now.

Full article by Arief Suhardiman, The Jakarta Post

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