Life on PelagianPelagian is the ultimate boutique liveaboard. With just ten guests, living on this floating lap of luxury for seven nights, it allows a select few to explore beyond the immediate vicinity of the resort. The dive sites differ quite markedly between the resort and the Pelagian’s itinerary, so a combination of the two offers the best of both worlds.

There are two flights a week to the resort and one of these co-ordinates with the Pelagian’s schedule. After she has set sail, she heads off to explore some of the other islands in the Wakatobi chain and she doesn’t return until seven days later, to co-ordinate with a departing flight. Obviously, it’s then up to you whether you stay on or head back to Bali.

Day to day life on Pelagian is both busy and relaxed in equal measure. Four dives are offered per day, which keep you plenty busy enough. Fitting in delicious meals and snacks, plus the odd nap, takes a good deal of planning. Luckily the attentive crew are there to keep you on track. With the large and well-appointed cabins, it would be tempting to luxuriate in these but then you’d be missing out on the dives. With the family-style dining, you’d soon hear all about the creatures you’d missed and regret your lethargy.

Reefs encircle almost all of the islands in the Tukangbesi Islands, the other name for the Wakatobi chain. Pelagian has a varied route, but usually dives are conducted around three of the four main islands. One of the other diving highlights is off Buton Island, a large satellite of the Sulawesi mainland. Here there is some of the best muck-diving in all of Indonesia. It really is a hidden gem. Here, I have seen blue-ringed octopuses, rare poison ocellate (mototi) octopuses, frogfish, seahorses, ghost pipefishes and even a rare Rhinopias scorpion-fish. It’s also well known for the abundant and huge mandarinfish that live around Asphalt Pier. At dusk they gather and conduct their ostentatious courtship rituals. There are so many of these gaudy fish, that I once even witnessed a cheeky ménage à trois.

Its close ties with Wakatobi Dive Resort make Pelagian an excellent add-on to a land-based holiday. The different sites visited perfectly complement each other. The diving aboard the Pelagian is perfect for new and experienced divers alike, with the outstanding biodiversity that the area has to offer providing new creatures around every coral head.