Dear English-speaking readers, this page is an automatic translation made from a post originally written in French. My apologies for any strange sentences and funny mistakes that may have been generated during the process. If you are reading French, click on the French flag below to access the original and correct text:
That was last summer, July 2018. I went back to dive in the waters of the Alor archipelago in Indonesia to explore its splendid coral reefs... often swept by furious currents!
COVID-19. Can we travel to Indonesia from France? As of this writing (June 7, 2022), foreign travelers are again allowed to enter Indonesia without quarantine. There is no need to present a PCR test upon arrival if one is vaccinated. The 30-day tourist Visa on Arrival (VoA) is reinstated at all airports (500,000 IDR, about 35 €, renewable once), the B211A-tourism visa is also valid again. The following are still required: a certificate of vaccination with two or three doses for at least 14 days (one dose for the Johnson & Johnson), an insurance covering Covid-19 (for an amount of at least 13 400 €), as well as the registration on the application PeduliLindungi for smartphone (iOS or Android). For regularly updated information on the health situation and tourism in Indonesia, I invite you to visit this page of BaliAutrement agency.
Far from the crowds in the Alor Archipelago
This is my second time staying in Alor. Six years have passed already since my previous trip there, in 2012, that I had combined with Raja Ampat. The archipelago of Alor is located in the east of the Little Sunda Islands (Nusa Tenggara Oriental), just "above" Timor.
Go. In six years, air links have improved and Alor is easier to reach than before. But you always have to go through Kupang, capital of the Indonesian part of Timor. The company Garuda Kupang dessert from Jakarta or Bali. Then Lion Air / Wings now makes the Kupang-Alor link.
Alor is still away from mass tourism. It has a very pleasant sensation of the end of the world. Here, the 3G network to connect to the Internet is random and not big-speak English. An atmosphere that will appeal to lovers of tranquility, nature, authenticity .... ???? Another corner of Indonesia perfect to disconnect, far from the crowds.
I returned to the same place as in 2012, on the island of Pantar, at Alor Divers, a small diving resort created by a Franco-Slovenian couple, Gilles and Neya. I would have liked to see them again, but they weren't there while I was there. The place remained beautiful and peaceful, as I remember it, designed by and for divers, with tasty food and a lovely welcome. A "detail" that is very much appreciated by those who travel solojust like me: there's no extra charge. single about the rates ... ????
We stay in simple but comfortable bungalows, with terrace, hot water and all the necessary electrical outlets for recharging batteries. Hidden in the vegetation, they preserve privacy, well apart from each other, facing a deserted beach. On the horizon, the conical profiles of the volcanic islands of the archipelago. It's beautiful!
And it is also thanks to him that I was able to bring back underwater photos from this Indonesian trip. Because I almost flooded my camera during my very first dive in Alor! If Steven hadn't spotted the leak, my Canon would have drowned in the salt water...
# ReconnaissanceÉternelle 🤗 # StevenMonHéros
The drama unfolds in 15 meters depth, after 30 minutes of a quiet dive, on a site protected from the current. I am in front of an imposing pink sponge-barrel on which is perched a white fish, very photogenic, that just showed me Dena, the Dutch instructor of Alor Divers who accompanies our palanquée ...
I'm about to start, when Steven comes into my field of vision, eyes wide behind his mask, pointing at my box. A transparent Ikelite box, supposed to keep dry my Canon Eos 7D locked inside. I put a few (too) long seconds to understand (and react) ...
Horror! Water's pouring in! 😱
I quickly tilt the dome downwards, forming like a jar collecting water, whose level I see rising, a little too quickly for my taste. I signal to Dena, thumbs up: I interrupt the dive and go back up. She accompanies me to the surface and then goes back to the dive site.
The boat is there and picks me up right away. On board, the captain and boatman are surprised to see me go out before everyone else. I give them the drowning at arm's length by explaining to me especially to hold it horizontally, the dome full of water down, the time I go back on board ...
I came to the surface just in time! As I took the SLR out of the housing, I was relieved to see that the water inside had only just grazed the lens glass in the dome. Neither the camera nor its support containing the electrical circuits connected to the flashes got wet. Phew!!!
Back at the resort, the adorable Steven took care of cleaning and repairing the faulty seal of the box.
What caused the leak? At the beginning of the dive, I had forced on the side knob of the housing to activate the zoom. I distinctly remember hearing a small "bell". But at the time, it didn't alert me more than that... In fact, the knob was seized, so instead of rotating it on its axis, my gesture simply loosened the nut that was holding the whole thing together!
He is over eight, this box ... I take care of my travels and I had no major problem before that day. I cross my fingers to make it last.
Another little photographic setback: one of my flashes dropped me during this trip... (When it does not, it does not.) That, it had happened to me in the past (to Raja Ampat ????). A concern with the internal electronics. Impossible to repair on the spot.
It's frustrating, but you can still take pictures, you just have to relearn how to tinker with one light source... A little extra challenge to have fun underwater! 😉
The underwater treasures of Alor
The repair has held, the box has returned to the water with me and I am happy to have been able to bring new images of the underwater treasures of Alor ... Six years after my first visit to these places, I find with happiness coral reefs in good shape !
I also find these unpredictable currents characteristics of the archipelago (and of Indonesia in general), which sometimes force us, when they are too strong, to give up certain sites. But no matter, there is always a more sheltered one to fall back on, to embark on a new underwater treasure hunt!
Despite my only flash, I had fun with the pictures under water ... I give you a small selection below, in memory of this wonderful week spent in Alor.