Wakatobi Dive Trip – 2012

Wed 9/12/12
Bangkok, Thailand

Arrived in Bangkok at 9:30PM and took a taxi to the hotel, The Westin Grande Sukhumvit.

Thur 9/13/12

Our first full day in Bangkok. We’re usually pretty jet lagged after long international flights to Asia so I try not to schedule too much touring the first day. We checked out Terminal 21, a large mall with lots of shops and restaurants, and a department store under the hotel looking for a bag for Joe to carry our DSLR camera and lenses since we had unloaded our extra luggage with his camera bag inside into the bungalow before we left Petoskey, We had a water leak earlier in the year and we were dropping our home off at the factory so the damage to the basement floor(storage compartments) could be repaired while we were on our dive trip.

That afternoon we went to Bumrungrad Hospital to their dental clinic since I had a toothache and needed my tooth looked at. I had wanted to check out their dental facilities, so this was my chance. It wasn’t as advanced as I had hoped.

Fri 9/14/12

Our plans for our visit to Bangkok was to visit several temples, Chinatown and the Jim Thompson house.

We took the sky train which was right in front of our hotel to the river, then took the express boat to the pier near the temples on our list. Our plan was to check out the Grand Palace and Emerald Budda temple first, but we walked in the wrong direction and ended up touring the Reclining Buddha temple (Wat Pho) first, which was a good decision, because it wasn’t as ornate as the Grand Palace. The temple grounds were really beautiful and well worth walking around in extremely hot,humid weather. After touring the temple we walked toward the Grand Palace and found it was closed for a few hours, so we headed back to the hotel area to eat a late lunch, chill a few hours then head out more walking around and then dinner.

Sat 9/15/12

Our plan for the day was to visit the Grand Palace and Emerald Budda temple, The Temple of Dawn (Wat Arun) and then head to Chinatown and check out the Temple of Golden Budda (Wat Traimit).

We took the sky train back to the river and then the express boat to the temple stop, then walked to the Grand Palace and the Temple of the Emerald Budda. Bangkok was extremely hot and humid and Joe felt faint at times from the oppressive heat, so we toured the beautiful palace grounds and saw the Emerald Budda, then headed back to the hotel to eat a late lunch and chill the rest of the day.

In the evening we took the sky train to Siam stop to Siam Paragon, an upscale shopping mall which has an aquarium in the basement, to eat dinner and check out a few shops.

We didn’t see as much as we wanted to in Bangkok, but that’s ok. Our priority was to get over the jet lag and not do anything to jeopardize our dive trip. It’s very hot and humid here and if I’m really hot, I know Joe is much worse, so it’s better that we do less than Joe have a heat stroke from the heat.

Meals were kind of a hassle because most people didn’t speak English and I’m trying to figure out what has gluten and what doesn’t. Luckily we had a fantastic breakfast each morning at the Westin. The rest of the meals I mainly ate Sushi or Pad Thai. Soy sauce can be a problem so I always carry some GF Tamari sauce with me on trips.

Sun 9/16/12
Dempasar, Bali

We flew to Dempasar, Bali, our fourth visit to the island and the gateway to Wakatobi. Wakatobi’s group got us through immigration really fast and our driver was waiting to take us to the Bali InterContinental Resort, a large, really nice resort on the beach and a great place to spend an afternoon and evening.

Monday 9/17/12
Onemobaa Island in Southeast Sulawesi, Indonesia

An early morning flight to Wakatobi Dive Resort, our third visit to this beautiful resort and our home for the next eleven nights. During the flight we pass over Mount Rinjani and the active Rinjani Volcano on the island of Lombok.

9/18/12 – 9/27/12

Why do divers spend long hours on airplanes traveling half way around the world to go diving? Three 70 min boat dives a day on protected, almost pristine reefs, unlimited shore diving on one of the best house reefs in the world, gourmet meals, a beach front hut with AC, and an outdoor shower with plenty of hot water on a small tropical island surrounded by beautiful turquoise seas is why.

Raja Ampat is the only place I have found more beautiful than Wakatobi and with more fish, from small fish to large pelagics, but Raja Ampat is very difficult to get to and the diving is very strenuous due to strong and sometimes unpredictable currents.

Picked up some crud on the international flight over or in Bangkok and knew I was coming down with something the day we arrived in Bali. Finally got over the crud and able to clear my ears to dive. Even if you don’t dive or snorkle, it’s a beautiful place to just relax. I did one short shore dive and eight 70″ min boat dives. The boat ladder was no problem for my healed broken shoulder and I even climbed it a couple of times with all my gear on, sans most of the weights, but then started taking off the integrated BC….much easier with 60 less lbs. It was great to be back to ‘blowing bubbles’ and this old lady is not ready to give up diving yet. Joe was sick three days and completed 16 dives.  Much lower than our 25 dives on our last Wakatobi trip.

Meals were great. Andi, Wakatobi’s head chef, did a wonderful job telling me for each lunch and dinner meal what I could and couldn’t eat and was willing to prepare something else if I didn’t like what was prepared. Toward the end of our stay my appetite picked up and I was craving chocolate, so Andi made me chocolate mousse for dessert. 🙂