Stumble Into Indonesia's Unseen Places
Submitted by mumunmumun on 28 September 2015 • Destination
Alor is slowly emerging on the travelers map. Personally, I think it’s becoming known the same way as Wakatobi, because it’s a recommended diving destination with the growing diving market. A lot of prominent divers and friends have been to Alor and most of them come back with good things to say. Many have also chosen it as their favorite dive spot, even compared to Raja Ampat and Komodo Island. Well, there’s really one way to prove it. The time came for me to go diving in Alor! Yay!
Diving in Alor is usually signed by the ‘bubu’.
Although I had visited Alor as written here, I had yet descended far in the water, as I wasn’t a certified diver back then. Different to now. In the event of Alor’s festival this year, I was invited specifically for diving in Alor, see its underwater wonders and to promote more of its abundance.
I can’t really say that this is a review for diving in Alor in general. I had only been diving in Alor specifically in three dive sites and snorkeled a few locations. Overall I can say, I lost my jaw ‘cause it dropped somewhere during diving in Alor. I might have been brought to some easy spots such as Pura Island and Sembaja, but that alone was gorgeous. The corals were really healthy and dense. It left little space for rocks and rubble.
The Bama Wall specifically was the best wall to date for me. I’ve seen some pretty full-on walls covered with corals but Bama Wall was like a rainbow had puked it. It was dense like a tropical forest and my eyes couldn’t stop looking at all directions. I’m pretty much satisfied if I can find my own creatures without the help of a dive guide and, miraculously, I found a nudibranch with a cow-like pattern, a fish that suck on leafy corals, and a fish that snuck in a soft coral that I had never seen before.
I’m guessing the visibility wasn’t the best but it didn’t bother me much as there was plenty to see right under my nose. The water was crisp cool, at times a little cold. However, it explains mola-mola (sunfish) sightings around the area.
Foto in the middle by Eaz from Backpackerinfo.com
Each spot I dropped down to was crazy abundant with fish. I was really impressed with the sites in Komodo Islands, but I think I like Alor Islands more. I saw a shark and eagle rays, napoleons, schoolings of giant sweetlips, countless schoolings of fish and a turtle from the boat. I was a happy diver!
Did I mention that I love seeing ‘bubu’s? Dive spots in Alor are usually decorated with ‘bubu’s. They’re the local traditional fish traps, placed on the water floor deeper than three meters, manually by the local fisherman. Not only is it environmentally friendly, aesthetically it’s the icon of Alor water and for some reason it looks adorable. Or that’s just me. And I love its name. Bubu (pronounced Boo-boo)!
Fishermen placing Bubu’s. The real divers.
There’s a necessity to emphasize that diving in Alor is preferably for advance divers or those with a lot of logs. I snorkeled at a few spots and found the currents were relatively strong, leaving me panting after swimming without fins. Sure, there are spots for open water divers with fewer logs, but they’re not the best spots. In general, there’s a big risk of a sudden current, which brings safety hazards to those inexperienced. Remember, when diving Alor, or anywhere for that matter, safety first!
Fellow divers that I met in Alor, though admit its pristine quality, not all were impressed; some have seen clearer water, some had missed pelagics entirely. Nevertheless, this norm of seeing the best of a dive destination applies to all sites.
As I dove by invitation, I can only refer you to the dive centers that operate within the area. There are plus, minus, and rumors of each dive center but I don’t know exactly which would be preferred.
This dive center is part of the dive resort of La Petit Kepa, located on Kepa island, across from Alor Kecil port. They have their own boat that looks pretty luxurious. On this opportunity, I only enjoyed their awesome resort.
Mobile (sms only): +62 81 339 102 403
The most prominent dive guide and master of the area is Donovan Whitford. He’s one the most active dive trip organizers for the island. Understandably, bookings must be made months prior of diving as his schedule is pretty tight. His jokes are too!
Mobile: +62 0812 396 0107
Email: email@example.com or alordivers.com
Something I learned about Alor is that it’s a mini archipelago. There are a lot of small of islands surrounding the main island, and offer much to see and do. Snorkeling, visiting traditional villages, hunt for traditional ‘ikat’ cloth, trek or bird watching, are some of the things you can do in the in between dives and spending time getting the bubbles out of your system before flying out. Something for future posts.
My final note on this is, because I didn’t fully enjoy my visit due to coordination mishap, I lack satisfaction and assure myself that I’d be back to dive Alor for the culture and more diving. Amin!
Although my visit to Alor was based on invitation from the Indonesian Ministry of Tourism, all opinions are mine.
And! I’m giving away this ‘ikat’ or cloth I brought from a local Alor artisan. I specifically chose this with its unique color, one that I hadn’t seen on ‘ikats’ before and, coincidently, it had a fish pattern weaved in. The universe has spoken! The artisan had also experimented on sea urchins and seaweed for organic coloring, although I don’t know for sure if it was used on this particular cloth.
How to win this ikat cloth?
It’s not something cheap and I take my cloth seriously. You can read it on my link here. So, I’m gonna make you work for it just a little.
Mention in the comment section which sea creature is the most interesting and why.
My favorite answer with unique reasoning will win this baby along with the weaved bag. Comments eligible for giveaway will be limited until the 5th of October 2015. And go!