End of dive, the boat comes to recover us! (Alor, Indonesia, July 2018)
End of dive, the boat comes to recover us! (Alor, Indonesia, July 2018)

Everybody Gets into The Water in Alor !

#Indonesia

Dear English-speaking readers, this page is an automatic Google translation from a post originally written in French. My apologies for the weird sentences and the funny mistakes that could have been generated during the process. If you can read French, the original and correct version can be found here:

  Indonesia : Alor + Halmahera + Sumbawa – July 2018

It was last summer, in July 2018. I was back diving in the waters of the Alor archipelago in Indonesia, to explore its gorgeous coral reefs... often swept by crazy currents !

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 Alor Archipelago is located in the eastern Lesser 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.

Read also:

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 were not there during my stay. The place remained beautiful and peaceful, as in my memory, designed by and for divers, with tasty food and lovely home. "Detail" very appreciable for those who travel solo, like me: there is no extra charge single about the rates ... 👌

We stay in simple but comfortable bungalows, with terrace, hot water and all the electrical outlets necessary for charging the batteries. Hidden in the vegetation, they preserve privacy, well away from each other, facing a deserted beach. On the horizon, the conical profiles of the volcanic islands of the archipelago. It's beautiful !

Panoramic view of Alor Divers beach, on the island of Pantar. (Alor, Indonesia, July 2018)
Panoramic view of Alor Divers beach, on the island of Pantar. (Alor, Indonesia, July 2018)
My house for a week at Alor Divers. (Alor, Indonesia, July 2018)
My house for a week at Alor Divers. (Alor, Indonesia, July 2018)
At the landing stage of Alor Kecil, the boats follow one another, disembarking and loading people and goods. (Indonesia, July 2018)
At the landing stage of Alor Kecil, the boats follow one another, disembarking and loading people and goods. (Indonesia, July 2018)
When we go diving, we often meet fishermen, who immerse or raise their traditional bamboo traps. (Alor, Indonesia, July 2018)
When we go diving, we often meet fishermen, who immerse or raise their traditional bamboo traps. (Alor, Indonesia, July 2018)
One of these bamboo traps under the water. (Alor, Indonesia, July 2018)
One of these bamboo traps under the water. (Alor, Indonesia, July 2018)
The beautiful beach of Alor Divers, on the island of Pantar, at high tide. (Alor, Indonesia, July 2018)
The beautiful beach of Alor Divers, on the island of Pantar, at high tide. (Alor, Indonesia, July 2018)
The guys from Alor Divers take their serious look (or almost) for the photo. (Pantar, Alor, Indonesia, July 2018)
The guys from Alor Divers take their serious look (or almost) for the photo. (Pantar, Alor, Indonesia, July 2018)
On the beach of Pantar, we are not disturbed by the crowd. (Alor, Indonesia, July 2018)
On the beach of Pantar, we are not disturbed by the crowd. (Alor, Indonesia, July 2018)
The blocks (bottles) are transported to the dive boat on a boat. (Pantar, Alor, Indonesia, July 2018)
The blocks (bottles) are transported to the dive boat on a boat. (Pantar, Alor, Indonesia, July 2018)
Let's go for the dives of the day! (Alor, Indonesia, July 2018)
Let's go for the dives of the day! (Alor, Indonesia, July 2018)
Nice, the mini-boat with rockers. ! (Alor, Indonesia, July 2018)
Nice, the mini-boat with rockers. ! (Alor, Indonesia, July 2018)
End of dive, the boat comes to recover us! (Alor, Indonesia, July 2018)
End of dive, the boat comes to recover us! (Alor, Indonesia, July 2018)

How (almost) drown his camera

On site, I find my diving partner since our cruise in May 2018, in Tubbataha in the Philippines: the marine biologist Steven Weinberg.

I take this opportunity to warmly recommend his books of identification, which are THE reference in this field. Volume 2 of Discover the underwater life & #160 ;: Red Sea, Indian Ocean, Pacific Ocean has just been released by Éditions Gap, a must for divers who love bio (and the curious nature) & #160;

Thanks to Steven, I was able to observe a dugong in Alor, as I told in the previous post ... 😍 And it was also thanks to him that I was able to bring back underwater photos of this Indonesian trip. Because I nearly flooded my camera during my very first dive in Alor! If Steven had not spotted the leak, my gun would be dead drowned in salt water ...

# ReconnaissanceÉternelle 🤗
# StevenMonHéros

Hello Steven! (Tubbataha, Philippines, May 2018)
My camera (a SLR) is enclosed in this transparent box, a submarine box in principle waterproof ... In the front, my mini-dome for the fisheye lens. (Photo taken in Tubbataha, Philippines, May 2018, by Steven Weinberg)

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 is pouring in! 😱

I quickly tilt the dome down, it forming like a jar collecting water, which I see the level up, a little too fast for my taste. I motioned to Dena, thumbs up: I interrupt the dive, I go back. She accompanies me to the surface and returns to join the palanquée.

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 back to the surface just in time! When I took the SLR out of the box, I noticed with relief that the water inside only scratched the glass of the lens in the dome. Neither the camera nor its holder containing the electrical circuits connected to the flashes have been wet. Phew! ! !

Back at the resort, the adorable Steven took care of cleaning and repairing the faulty seal of the box.

The cause of the leak? At the beginning of the dive, I had forced on the lateral wheel of the box allowing to operate the zoom. I remember very clearly hearing a little "cloche". But at the moment, it did not alert me more than that ... In fact, the wheel was seized, so instead of rotating it on its axis, my gesture has squarely loosened the nut that held everything !

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 disappointment: 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 annoying, it's frustrating, but we can still take pictures, just relearn to hack with a single source of light ... A little extra challenge to have fun under the water! 😉

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 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 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.

There is so much to see and observe, impossible to get tired of Indonesian coral reefs ... (Alor, Indonesia, July 2018)
There is so much to see and observe, impossible to get tired of Indonesian coral reefs ... (Alor, Indonesia, July 2018)
Another trap, resting on the reef. (Alor, Indonesia, July 2018)
Another trap, resting on the reef. (Alor, Indonesia, July 2018)
A big pink sponge-barrel, surrounded by other species of sponges. (Alor, Indonesia, July 2018)
A big pink sponge-barrel, surrounded by other species of sponges. (Alor, Indonesia, July 2018)
Atmosphere without flash, just with natural light. In the foreground, a beautiful coral-brain. (Alor, Indonesia, July 2018)
Atmosphere without flash, just with natural light. In the foreground, a beautiful coral-brain. (Alor, Indonesia, July 2018)
Coral landscape in natural light, a few meters below the surface. (Alor, Indonesia, July 2018)
Coral landscape in natural light, a few meters below the surface. (Alor, Indonesia, July 2018)
The anthias wriggle cheerfully in the current above the reef colonized by soft corals. (Alor, Indonesia, July 2018)
The anthias wriggle cheerfully in the current above the reef colonized by soft corals. (Alor, Indonesia, July 2018)
This big toad fish (antennae) found a comfortable perch on tubular sponges. (Alor, Indonesia, July 2018)
This big toad fish (antennae) found a comfortable perch on tubular sponges. (Alor, Indonesia, July 2018)
Play of light above an imposing sponge hanging on the slope of the reef. (Alor, Indonesia, July 2018)
Play of light above an imposing sponge hanging on the slope of the reef. (Alor, Indonesia, July 2018)
Sponges can take surprising shapes and colors. Two crinoids (comatulas) decided to hang on there. (Alor, Indonesia, July 2018)
Sponges can take surprising shapes and colors. Two crinoids (comatulas) decided to hang on there. (Alor, Indonesia, July 2018)

After Alor, I headed for another small island, Sali Kecil, near Halmahera, in the northern Maluku Islands. I invite you to discover this in the article that I put online here → Sali Kecil, another part of the world in Indonesia 👌

  Indonesia : Alor + Halmahera + Sumbawa – July 2018

    1. Damn it! So that's the dugong we missed this summer in Alor. We managed to get an appointment with a taxi who organized everything. We waited for him all morning. .. what a desappointment…
      It must be said that the telephone communications were not working well and that complicated everything. It makes us dream to realize yet, so much the better!

    1. @Johnmaldives: this flash model, however, has long seemed reliable. The first has indeed lasted about 6-7 years, without any failure. I only had to replace the battery pack after a while. He dropped me once after many years of good and loyal service (worry with the internal electronics, everything worked except the flash of the flash that did not trigger) and since the return to the manufacturer and its repair it works well again. The second one, acquired later and much more recent than the first one, which I'm talking about in the article, made me the same breakdown during this stay in Alor ... There, it made me moan all the same, because he was much newer. I had it fixed too, it worked well during a recent trip to Raja Ampat in December ... I cross my fingers never to encounter this problem.

  1. Hello,

    Beautiful photos and what a fright with the camera. I still have not taken the step to put my SLR under the water it scares me too much

    1. @ Régis: it's a great pleasure to shoot underwater ... But I understand that it's scary ... 😉 Until now, almost drowning in Alor, I was rather confident, having no problem in eight years…

  2. The episode of rescue of the camera held me in suspense, as in a polar, hi! Hi! and besides, with a happy end !! oh! oh !!
    Very beautiful photos of the site, beautiful colors.

  3. So? We love …. we went there 4, 5 times, we do not know anymore. And we will return, that's for sure! In addition we can say because the size of the resort does not have to fear the crowd. Small, big, medium ... we see everything. The drop offs are beautiful, the sites are varied. In short, that happiness. And as a friend said, Alor is 80% of Raja-Ampat, 80% of Komodo, 80% of Lembeh. That inspired us an article: Alor, 3 weeks to 240ù: http://www.ontheploufagain.com/?p=9240

  4. You have just won your patent for rescue of gear, congratulations from a multi-graded pouring variety.
    it would have been a shame considering the pictures, superb. I do not get tired of Alor.

    1. @Ludovic : I admit that I would have gone well with this little fright ... No desire to become a multigrade in the field. I loved meeting Alor. I will have to go back, with two flashes in working order ... 😉

  5. Thank you.I have been with my sister to Alor, 10 years ago, in another small resort run by French, but more summary than Alor Divers. Alor is great for corals, but the fish are much smaller than in Raja Ampat. I can not dive, but I love your pages, I was afraid that you disappeared !!

    1. @Christine: Yes, there is also the resort La Petite Kepa run by French (I do not know, I have never been there), which is very popular with many visitors and divers.

      For fish, it depends on the sites. You have to go where there is "juice" to see big (sharks). But "the juice" in Alor, it's more than dishevel and often these sites are not passable ... Overall, it is probably not comparable to Raja Ampat for the size of some specimens and overall biomass, but the reefs are beautiful, and for the macro there is something to feast on. Note that some divers still manage to see hammerhead sharks in Alor (which is far from being "small" fish) and dolphins and whales are regularly observed from the surface boats ...

      Very touched by your message anyway (and sorry to hear that you can not dive any more). I have not disappeared, no, I just have to pick up the thread of my publications, I'm very late on a lot of stories ... I was busy with the job and then I had various technical problems to settle with the blog because I recently changed host ... But it is in principle back in order now, this new article allowed me to verify that everything works well for publications and comments. Thank you !

    1. @Steven: a huge thank you too !!! It was high time that I finally pay tribute to the marvelous marine biologist and underwater caisson saver without which there would have been no pictures of these wonderful memories & #8230; (I'm currently spending hours diving in your guides, re-identifying and checking the pedigree of various critters stored in my hard drive & exciting!)

  6. Hello Corinne,
    Thank you very much for your photos and comments; each time they take us away.

    Regarding the little Kepa, we have been there twice and Anne and Cédric are lovely hosts and they allow you to live as a family.
    The staff (the bibis) is very caring hosts with delicious food and fresh ...
    Cedric is a very attentive guide for divers and takes you on magic spots. It is him who for the most part discovered them and give their current names.
    Important too, this is a great ecolodge and everything is done to take care of the environment.

  7. Your photos are beautiful and the area and reefs look absolutely fabulous. Unfortunately, with these fishing baskets thrown on the reef, I'm afraid it will not last long. The corner will become more popular, so more tourists to feed and more baskets on the corals. In Gili, it's nothing. Not 20 years ago it was still a paradise for reefs. Today they lie on the bottom of the water, killed by the anchors of local boats that take tourists on a ride or snorkel.

    Pierre

    1. @Pierre : it is probably not the traditional bamboo traps of small local fishermen that pose the greatest problem, but rather industrial overfishing and excessive tourism development. In contrast, local fishermen fishing with dynamite or cyanide have tremendous damage in many parts of South-East Asia, and this has sometimes destroyed whole reefs, including those of the Gili north-west of Lombok. This type of destructive fishing is in principle prohibited, but in reality it continues in some parts of Indonesia and the Philippines ...

  8. Hello Corinne, what happiness to read your blog! Alor interests me a lot, I take notes and it will be this autumn or spring 2020. Tell me how you did to join Halmahera, you went after Alor?
    Thank you !
    PS glad that your camera is safe!

    1. @Louise: beautiful project for next year !!! Yes, I went to Halmahera after Alor, I'll tell it in another post. Trip: Alor-Kupang-Bali, chained with Bali-Makassar and overnight in Makassar, then the next day Makassar-Ternate chained with a Ternate-Labuha (my final destination) & #8230;

  9. Always a lot of fun to read to you, Corinne, and to see your photos, superb. Bravo for the games of light, even more if you had only one flash. And, Alor, it was our last destination after Pula Weh in December, the Bandas, Ambon, we are in Kupang.
    Just have to decide between the Kepa p'tite and Alor Divers or do both, we have a little month before the return to Brittany, spring and the work that goes with it.
    I saw that there are rhinopias, our favorites of the moment. Thank you again for your tips. Alain and Yolande

  10. Hello, beautiful as always, and I'll ask my eternal question, do you think that Alor funds are conducive to snorkeling or just diving? I have Little Kepa in sight for a lease but I can not get an idea.

    1. @Catherine: hard for me to answer you, since I do not practice snorkelling. Why do not you send an email to La P'tite Kepa? He can tell you, better than me, what is possible or not, question snorkelling ... Good preparations!

  11. Hello Catherine,
    To have gone twice to the small Kepa and to maintain a regular contact with Anne and Cedric, to want to return there this summer, you can safely go there.
    Apart from diving and ... snorkelling, so I specify, you enter a family atmosphere, with almost no constraints, a food of exellence and, in a typical ecolodge structure.
    Anne and her team take care of everything, to ensure your pleasure on the spot but also on arrival and departure, from and to the airport, on the water, under water and on the island. Yes, in addition to small Kepa, the island of Alor, with its villages and population, is worth the trip.
    Clearly, you have, in my opinion always, no hesitation to have.
    As for the seabed, they have a wealth that has nothing to envy to komodos and other Sipadan or Bali but without overpopulation tourism.

    Attention demand is strong.
    Feel free to contact them…

    And if I can.
    Philippe

  12. SO….!!!!
    First details: "Little Kepa" as "Alor Divers" are closed in winter ... !!!
    Fortunately we were able to dive with "Lazy Turtle", just in front of the island of Kepa. Andy & Maree know the funds very well and we loved diving with them.
    We saw our first Paddle Flap Rhinopias one red and the other brown, a Weedy yellow the same as on your picture, frogs fish, and the beautiful Sea Apples, these sea cucumbers red, blue with golden stripes, they are beautiful when they open their arms, unlike those we usually see, brown or black.
    Let's not forget the multitude of fish, from butterfly to shark, evolving in the middle of multicolored corals and sponges.
    As you say, Corinne, the same level as Komodo, Raja Ampat or Wakatobi with perhaps a little more for the beauty of the walls on Alor, richer than Bunaken.
    By cons it takes time to go.
    For accommodation, the only solution we found:
    Sebanjar, seaside resort for Indonesians, 9 bungalows with flat screen but basic sanitary (without shower, large tray and bowl, ....).
    We deal with it…!!!!
    More difficult the weekend where the karaoke is thoroughly and the techno music on the beach especially after a dive where the world of silence reigns .... !!!
    Otherwise the beach is beautiful and the snorkeling great especially at night.
    One of the most beautiful destinations in Indonesia for divers.
    We will return.
    Alain & Yolande

    1. @Alain and Yolande: A thousand thanks for the report, it's really nice to have taken the time to come back to comment here to tell all that, and these are interesting news in alternative to known resorts ... I sympathize for karaoke ...

  13. Thank you for the testimonial who appreciated alor in 2008 with Gilles an organized enthusiast who, with the accent of Marseilles, talks about the "Lifiche" (leaf fish). Does anyone have news of him?

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