The most well known islands are Kadidiri and Melange. Kadidiri is reached by private speedboats from Waikai, provided free by the three resorts on the island. Melange can be reached by public ferry from mainland Sulawesi. Some of the islands that have been visited in the past now have abandoned hotels. Note that all the hotels charge per person (not per room!!), and there are no ATM's, so bring enough cash.
Flora and fauna
The public ferries that run between Ampana and Waki leave every second day, although sometimes all on the same day. The schedules often change due to breakdowns and weather. (4hrs to Waki, where resorts will offer free connecting speedboats to Kadidiri, Ferries fare is 40,000Rp). Some of the boats stop in Melange which is another 1.5hrs from Waikai. The boat from Gorontalo was leaving on Wednesday and Fridays Evenings and takes 12-14hrs to Waikai.
Private boats of varying types can be chartered at anytime to and from the islands and usually cost 1-2 million rupiah upwards.
Resorts offer boats for charter
Kadadiri is home to an indigenous population known as the Bajo colloquially called "Sea Gypsys". The Bajo are semi nomadic and rely on fishing for their income. Tours from Kadidiri Paradise will take you to visit them. Selling fresh lobsters to tourists at a fraction of what you would pay in the US, Australia or Europe is an important part of their income, so if you visit them make sure you bring cash to buy some fresh lobsters. The young people love foreign visitors and will show off their humble village and school rooms.
There is a long jetty outside of the Paradise Resort that has good snorkelling right off of it. It is possible to swim to the island directly across from Kadidiri, but it takes a few hours. There are sea kayaks for rent from Black Marlin and it takes about 30 minutes to row to a nearby island that has good snorkelling. There are many trails around the island, but some are easy to get lost on. The walks are through dense growths and are not particularly picturesque. Fishing is not allowed in the no take zone so fishing trips must be outside this area. naturally there is diving at Black Marlin (more boats and equipment) and Paradise, check equipment etc carefully.
There are no shops on Kadidiri. The resorts all include three meals per day in their prices. Paradise and Black Marlin have a small shops selling snacks and cigarettes.
Beer runs about 30,000 Rp to Rp 35.000 for a large Bintang at the resorts. A large bottle of water costs 8,000-10,000 Rp In Paradise. Boiled water and tea are Coffee are provided Free by all the Resorts
Kadidiri has only three resorts located right next to each other on the very small beach. They all charge per person, per night and include all meals.
Note: I arrived on Kadidiri in July 2010 and found every room on the island taken except a few left in Paradise. After a 5 day stay in ‘Paradise’ I recommend you avoid this place. The general consensus from guests was that Paradise owners seem to be happy to just rake in the cash from travelers that have no choice but to stay at Paradise or go back to Wakai. Paradise staff was unfriendly (excluding dive staff, who were all very friendly), the rooms all were in disrepair and promises to fix things like showers went unfulfilled day after day. This place leaves a sour taste in your mouth… Moral of the story - make a reservation elsewhere, or get stuck paying more for less.