WaKaToBi is the name of a group of islands on the Tukang Besi archipelago on Sulawesi (Celebes). The word WaKaToBi stands for WangiWangi, Kaledupa, Tomea, Binongko, the four main islands in this region that offer magnificent diving experiences.
In the past this region has been less visited than Manado or Lembeh because of its poor accessibility : transportation is limited to chartered aircraft from Bali and local fishing boats from Bau-Bau. This condition has made the region exclusive and isolated until now.
However in early 2004 the Regent of the recently formed WaKaToBi Regency decided to develop dive tourism. He wants to encourage eco tourism in his region. With this new policy Live-aboard dive vessels can now come to WaKaToBi, as an alternative to the exclusive charter flights organized by the land base dive resort there.
A detailed regulation is being composed and will be published shortly by the new government. For now, live-aboard dive operators only need to write the government confirming the legal status of the company and the vessel, trip date, number of passengers, nationalities and passport number. The Regent staff will then prepare all the permits including the responsibilities of live-aboard operators to maintain the healthy eco system of WaKaToBi’s reef.
If you read or heard anything about the controversy recently which stated that diving in the region was only permitted at the land base resort, please note that effective 2004 that is no longer true. The new government welcomes visitors arriving on live-aboards or staying at the dive resort. We are providing this information to clear up any misconceptions and to promote diving tourism in the WaKaToBi area.