The small island of Alor in Indonesia is situated east of Flores and is part of the volcanic belt which stretches from Sumatra, Java and Bali to the east of the Indonesian archipelago. Visitors arrive from Denpasar (Bali) or Jakarta via Kupang, the capital of West Timor.

From here Graeme and Donovan Whitford organize since 1992 dive trips to the world class dive sites of Alor. We have visited Alor many times since we had read several enthusiastic articles about the big fish of Alor in different diving magazines. However nowadays we much more concentrate on the critter side of Alor which is at least as fascinating as the big fish side.

There is no more need to stay in hotels in Kalabahi, Alor's noisy capital. Divers can stay with Alor Divers on the island of Pantar. Last year (2015) a new resort has opened on Alor close to the best muck diving sites: Alami Alor.

 

Dive spot names like "The Bullet" and "Sharks Gallore" give some hints what diving in Alor is like: Big fish and currents, which are sometimes so strong that you have to pay attention not to loose your mask and regulator. But do not worry: The divemasters know the dive spots well and know how to adjust the diving to the abilities of his group.
Karte: Alor und Pantar
As the direction and intensity of the currents is changing quite often, you may have had a relaxing dive in the morning and find the same spot in the afternoon resembling a washing machine.

Video: Anemone City in Alor

The strait between Pantar and Alor is acting like a gigantic jet propelling waters from the Flores Sea in the north to the Savu Sea in the south. You will only find similar conditions around Komodo, the famous island of the Komodo dragons.

These extraordinary currents are also the cause of special water temperatures here. In the south water temperature can drop down to +/- 21° C, while in the north you can dive in comfortable 27° C.

There are many black volcanic beach areas in Alor. Especially the black sand areas in Kalabahi Bay are a muck diver's heaven.

Video: Auf der Suche nach dem Schluckspecht

During our many visits in Alor we dove most of the 30 or more divesites in the area and were impressed by the outstanding biodiversity under water. There is a great number of different coral species and no evidence of damage caused by dynamite fishing. The strong currents attract the big fish of course. We regulary saw big Whitetips and huge Grey Reef Sharks, tunas, groupers and there are also Sunfish, Manta rays and Whalesharks to be seen if you are lucky. Also snorkeling with pilot whales that often hunt in the waters between Pantar and Alor is possible. Visibility was also excellent (sometimes 30m +).

Diving in Alor



Land based

In the meantime there are three resorts on Alor. On Alor Kecil, a small island near the entrance of Kalabahi Bay, there is a new, simple resort. La p´tite Kepa attracts many backpackers and is quite cheap.

A new, very comfortable resort, Alor Divers, has been opened on Pantar island in summer 2006. We visited our old friends Neya & Gilles there in August 2006 and decided instantly that the new resort is the best on Alor. You can stay comfortably in one of the six new and spacious bungalows on the beach. All bungalows have hot & cold showers, western style toilets and big verandas. The dive shop is well organized and professionally maintained. A big restaurant with lounge and small library invites guests to relax in the shade.

In 2015 another resort opened close to the entrance of Kalabahi Bay. Alami Alor cooperates closely with Alor Divers on the other side of the strait. From Alami Alor the critter dive sites in the bay can be reached in very short time.

The 140 HP-powered dive boats reach all dive sites in Pantar Strait in 5 to 30 minutes. The other dive shops, bases in Kalabahi have to pass the 15 km long Kalabahi Bay before they reach the dive spots.

Another dive base, Alor Dive, is situated in Kalabahi. However you will have to stay in a hotel in Kalabahi. This is nice for a night, however we found the bungalows on the beach of Alor Divers much more attractive.

As Alor's airport has been upgraded in the last years it is now much easier to reach Alor from Kupang.

Diving Alor on liveaboards


Video: Von Flores nach Alor. Walfänger in Lamalera
Alor has become a popular destination for live aboards. There are a lot of offers on the internet for Komodo - Alor or Maumere - Alor trips.
You should however make sure the skipper and diveguides know the dive spots. There are tales from divers who made the trip on board of ships whose captains only had some GPS-data. The correct dive spots were not found and the divers returned dissatisfied. There is for example a description of the famous dive spot "Kal´s Dream" on the internet, however after reading this report I came to the conclusion that the dive might have taken place in the Alor region but definitely not at the right dive spot!

On the right ship and with a good dive guide diving in Alor is something not to be missed. We did the tripin 2005 on board of Temukira together with Graham Abbott from Diving4Images. Here are some highlights from our logbook:

Temukira-Logbook August 2005

Dive Spot
Highlights
Pulau Lapan
Orang utan crabs galore, great reef, small school of baracuda
Pulau Buaya, Alor
Great wall dive with some nice nudi's
Kalabahi Bay, Alor
Zebra crabs, many nudi's, tiger shrimps, bobtail squids, strange frogfish species
Kalabahi Bay, Alor (Night) Spotfin frogfish, tiger shrimps, boxer crabs, thorny sea horse, many nudi's
Ternate, Alor
Great wall and scenery, hairy squat lobster and nudi's
Pura, Alor
Anemone fish galore, fisherman up above watching, nudi's porcelain crabs
Pantar
4 ghost pipefish, tiny frogfish, snake eels, yellow spotted snake eel
Pantar
More ghost pipefish, blue eyed stingfish, white faced waspfish
Pantar
Great scenery, pigmy sea horses, school of sweetlips and nudi's
Pulau Pura, Alor
Great scenery, 2 leaf fish, 2 inimicus, soft coral crab, snake eel
Kalabahi Bay, Alor
Hardings black coral crab, Coleman shrimps, many nudi's, sea horse
Kalabahi Bay, Alor
Zebra crabs, 3 sea horses, juvenile Spanish dancer, robust ghost pipefish
Further Highlights Mimic Octopus, Gurnard Lionfish (Blue fin Lionfish)

Alor: the island

Unfortunately most divers do not see anything from the fascinating interior of the island. There was still headhunting at the beginning of the 20th century and today the Alorese still live traditionally in high, airy thatched huts on the hill slopes. I really recommend saving some days to discover this fascinating island.

Video: Traditional Alor

I recommend a visit of the traditional village of Takpala. The people there are glad to show you around and they also can arrange a great dancing ceremony which is worth the money you have to pay for it.

In Kalabahi do not forget to visit the orphanage of Gisela Borowka in Jalan Banteng No. 17. She allways likes to welcome guests and show them around. At the moment there are around 50 children living in the orphanage and Gisela finances it with the pension she gets from Germany and donations from Europe.


Underwater-Videos: Diving Alor


My collection of underwater videos from Indonesia can be found on vimeo. The collection is sorted into albums containing only videos of a specific diving area. This is a very good opportunity to have a look at videos from other divers who have been in the area before.

You can see here what other divers have seen in Alor before.
Vimeo Gruppe Diving Indonesia

Prices & Adress in Alor

Return-Flight Europe/Kupang ca. 1000 Euro
Return-Flight Kupang/Kalabahi (Alor) ca. 100 Euro
Dive package including accomodation, meals and 2 dives per day: 176€ /Day/Person

Visiting Alor on a liveaboard
Depending on the live aboard you choose you will have to pay between 250 - 400 US$ per Person/Day.

Contact in Alor

Alor Divers

Alor Divers
Jalan Tengiri No. 1
Kalabahi; NTT, Indonesia
Tel. +62 81317804133
Internet: www.alor-divers.com
Email: info@alor-divers.com

 

Dive Alor

Graeme & Donovan Whitford
Jl. Eltari 19
Kupang, NTT, Indonesia 85111
Tel. 0062/380/821154
Fax: 0062/380/824833
Internet: www.divealor.com
Email: info@divealor.com