Fin de plongée, le bateau vient nous récupérer ! (Alor, Indonésie, juillet 2018)
End of dive, the boat comes to recover us! (Alor, Indonesia, July 2018)

Everybody Gets into The Water in Alor !


  Indonesia : Alor + Halmahera + Sumbawa – July 2018

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:

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.

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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 !

Vue panoramique de la plage d'Alor Divers, sur l'île de Pantar. (Alor, Indonésie, juillet 2018)
Panoramic view of Alor Divers beach, on the island of Pantar. (Alor, Indonesia, July 2018)
Ma maison pour une semaine chez Alor Divers. (Alor, Indonésie, juillet 2018)
My house for a week at Alor Divers. (Alor, Indonesia, July 2018)
Au débarcadère d'Alor Kecil, les bateaux se succèdent, débarquant et embarquant des gens et des marchandises. (Indonésie, juillet 2018)
At the landing stage of Alor Kecil, the boats follow one another, disembarking and loading people and goods. (Indonesia, July 2018)
Lorsqu'on part plonger, on croise souvent des pêcheurs, qui immergent ou relèvent leurs nasses traditionnelles en bambou. (Alor, Indonésie, juillet 2018)
When we go diving, we often meet fishermen, who immerse or raise their traditional bamboo traps. (Alor, Indonesia, July 2018)
L'une de ces nasses en bambou sous l'eau. (Alor, Indonésie, juillet 2018)
One of these bamboo traps under the water. (Alor, Indonesia, July 2018)
La magnifique plage d'Alor Divers, sur l'île de Pantar, à marée haute. (Alor, Indonésie, juillet 2018)
The beautiful beach of Alor Divers, on the island of Pantar, at high tide. (Alor, Indonesia, July 2018)
Les gars d'Alor Divers prennent leur mine sérieuse (ou presque) pour la photo. (Pantar, Alor, Indonésie, juillet 2018)
The guys from Alor Divers take their serious look (or almost) for the photo. (Pantar, Alor, Indonesia, July 2018)
Sur la plage de Pantar, on n'est pas dérangé par la foule. (Alor, Indonésie, juillet 2018)
On the beach of Pantar, we are not disturbed by the crowd. (Alor, Indonesia, July 2018)
Les blocs (bouteilles) sont transportés jusqu'au bateau de plongée sur une barque. (Pantar, Alor, Indonésie, juillet 2018)
The blocks (bottles) are transported to the dive boat on a boat. (Pantar, Alor, Indonesia, July 2018)
C'est parti pour les plongées du jour ! (Alor, Indonésie, juillet 2018)
Let's go for the dives of the day! (Alor, Indonesia, July 2018)
Sympa, la mini-barque à balanciers. ! (Alor, Indonésie, juillet 2018)
Nice, the mini-boat with rockers. ! (Alor, Indonesia, July 2018)
Fin de plongée, le bateau vient nous récupérer ! (Alor, Indonésie, juillet 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 Discovering underwater life: Red Sea, Indian Ocean, Pacific Ocean has just been released by Éditions Gap, a must for divers who love bio (and nature lovers)!

Thanks to Steven, I was able to observe a dugong in Alor, as I said in the previous post… 😍

And it was also thanks to him that I was able to bring back underwater photos from this Indonesian trip. Because I almost flooded my device during my very first dive in Alor! If Steven hadn't spotted the leak, my Canon would have been drowned in 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 ...

Coucou Steven ! (Tubbataha, Philippines, mai 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)

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.

Il y a tant à voir et à observer, impossible de se lasser des récifs coralliens indonésiens... (Alor, Indonésie, juillet 2018)
There is so much to see and observe, impossible to get tired of Indonesian coral reefs ... (Alor, Indonesia, July 2018)
Encore une nasse, posée sur le récif. (Alor, Indonésie, juillet 2018)
Another trap, resting on the reef. (Alor, Indonesia, July 2018)
Une grosse éponge-barrique rose, entourée d'autres espèces d'éponges. (Alor, Indonésie, juillet 2018)
A big pink sponge-barrel, surrounded by other species of sponges. (Alor, Indonesia, July 2018)
Ambiance sans flash, juste avec la lumière naturelle. Au premier plan, un beau corail-cerveau. (Alor, Indonésie, juillet 2018)
Atmosphere without flash, just with natural light. In the foreground, a beautiful coral-brain. (Alor, Indonesia, July 2018)
Paysage corallien en lumière naturelle, à quelques mètres sous la surface. (Alor, Indonésie, juillet 2018)
Coral landscape in natural light, a few meters below the surface. (Alor, Indonesia, July 2018)
Les anthias frétillent gaiement dans le courant au-dessus du récif colonisé par les coraux mous. (Alor, Indonésie, juillet 2018)
The anthias wriggle cheerfully in the current above the reef colonized by soft corals. (Alor, Indonesia, July 2018)
Ce gros poisson-crapaud (antennaire) s'est trouvé un perchoir confortable sur des éponges tubulaires. (Alor, Indonésie, juillet 2018)
This big toad fish (antennae) found a comfortable perch on tubular sponges. (Alor, Indonesia, July 2018)
Jeu de lumière au-dessus d'une imposante éponge accrochée à la pente du récif. (Alor, Indonésie, juillet 2018)
Play of light above an imposing sponge hanging on the slope of the reef. (Alor, Indonesia, July 2018)
Les éponges peuvent prendre des formes et des couleurs surprenantes. Deux crinoïdes (comatules) ont décidé de s'accrocher là. (Alor, Indonésie, juillet 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