Okay, this post is a year late and I've been lazy but I thought I would do a write-up in English.
I'll start on the journey. It was terribly exhausting! We took a SilkAir flight from Singapore to Manado. We were supposed to take a connecting flight from Manado to Luwuk on Merpati Air. We waited and waited and waited, our flight kept getting delayed and nobody was telling us anything. Finally we boarded the small aircraft after a 3-hour delay (I think the plane can only seat about 9 people). It was a propeller plane and the screws on board looked rusty and the plane was leaking, I thought to myself if the plane breaks apart my poor children would be orphans. About half an hour into the flight, the plane turned back to Manado, the pilot cited they had an engine problem which I believe was total [--]. They just didn't want to make the flight as they had delayed it too long. We made a lot of noise at the Merpati office was was given a hotel voucher to stay for the night. The told us we would be picked up at 5.30am the next morning. Well...nobody came to pick us up and we had to hail a local cab. It was very unpleasant so I won't go into the drama and hassle that we had with Merpati Air over the cancelled flight.
Finally got in the air and reached Luwuk about an hour later. The van-ride took 2 hours to the pier. It was just going round bends through jungle terrain and sometimes sleepy villages. The speedboat took another 45-min or so to reach the resort.
I must say that the owners of Walea, an Italian couple were very gracious and friendly hosts. I was pleasantly surprised that the rooms were quite beautiful inside. Good furniture and beautifully decorated even though it was rather small. You get a very pleasant surprise as from the outside it looked like ordinary chalets but when you open the door to your room, whoa...tastefully furnished furniture with beautiful fittings. The bathroom was also nicely furnished. Everything was very clean.
Bk'fast was very plain, it was eggs/toast/fruits. But usually for divers we don't take a very heavy bk'fast. Lunch and dinner was another story. We usually start with salad, then they bring out the main dish followed by dessert and fruits. Lunch and dinner was FANTASTIC and desserts were TO-DIE-FOR! I don't know where they got their chef but each meal was an art in itself. The dinnerware they used to the presentation of the food was wonderful. If you want drinks you'll have to pay for them, for example soft-drinks, beer, tea, etc.
Since Walea is so far from the mainland there is no reception on the island. If you want to make a phone-call, it's something like $5 per minute as they use satellite phone. You can imagine my phone-bill at the end of the stay as we had to call our kids every night.
Now the best part, the diving. This was by far the best dives I ever made, it is comparable to diving in Papua New Guinea which is known for being pristine. I won't recommend snorkellers to come here since it's really so far away. There are no facilities on Walea, no tv, no phone, no pool and no night activities. Only great diving, great food and they have a no-frills spa which overlooked the sea with a jacuzzi. They had a couples room where you and your partner can get a massage in the same room. The view was gorgeous as the spa was elevated on a hill which you have to climb a bit. It was just heaven for me getting a massage together with my partner and looking out at the sea, twinkling like jewels in the setting sun.
Diving was really great. The divemasters were really very good and observant. They were great in finding small critters for you. I was amazed in seeing probably hundreds of sea-horses converging at a sea-fan and saw a ghost pipefish for the first time. I saw small unusual critters which I've never seen before. Visibility was very good, roughly around 30 feet or so and we were the only 3 divers at the resort, plus 2 snorkellers. So we had the whole sea to ourselves. I particularly remembered one dive, it was during a safety-stop where there were about 20 bumpheads. My husband went crazy clicking away on his u/w camera. The house-reef is just as good, it's at the end of the pier and it's marvellous for night dive. We saw lobsters, squat lobsters, slippar lobsters, crabs, dozens of shrimps with it's ruby red eyes staring at us.
I have dived in Bali, Lombok, Manado, Phuket, Boracay, various parts in Malaysia, Maldives, Papua New Guinea and now Walea. I must say that Walea and PNG are the best experiences I have had in terms of pristine reefs, great visibility and abundant fish-life.
They don't really have a very nice beach, as there are lots of trees dotting the beach but you can lounge on your balcony and listen to the waves crash. If it's high-tide you don't see the sand at all as the water comes almost right up to your chalet.
Again I would only recommend only serious divers to Walea as the journey is really a hassle, very long and tiring. We had to wake up at 4.30am to leave the resort to catch our flight back to Luwuk. Had to go through the 45-minute speedboat ride, 2 hour van-ride, 45-minute internal flight on the rickety air-plane then catch the SilkAir flight back to Singapore. So definitely NOT recommended for young children and snorkellers. Snorkellers you have plenty of other options at another resort with nice sorkelling without the tiring and arduous journey.
The resort also had a nice lobby with arm-chairs and an extensive collection of novels. You can chill out there with your beer or tea, curl up on the sofa and have a good read or leaf through the many marine-life books/magazines they have there as well. After dinner, the dive-masters will come out and chat with you. These guys are a friendly bunch and speak excellent English. As most of the clientele are Italian, these staff can also speak Italian.
Overall I thoroughly enjoyed the dives but dreaded the journey there.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.