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Indonesia :: Alor

The remote islands of Alor and Pura lie east of Flores and north of Timor. They are not renowned dive destinations and consequently get few visiting liveaboards. However the diving here can be pretty spectacular at the right time of year. A lot of cold water passes through narrow straits between the islands causing strong currents and eddies. They also attract big fish that come in to feed such as barracuda, schooling big-eye jacks, dog-toothed tuna, monster groupers, and lots of sharks. There are no resorts here due to its remoteness but that, for many divers, is the attraction of diving Alor.

Alor Dive Sites
There are a number of dive sites between the west coast of Alor, around Payar island and up to the smaller islands of Ternate and Buaya. Coral reef profiles are extremely varied with walls, sloping reefs, pinnacles, caves and seamounts. There are both rocky sites with coral cover and true coral reef sites. Highlights are not only the big visitors but great viz, critters and very few other divers.

Kal's Dream
This is probably the most well known dive site in the area. The submerged pinnacle which can only be dived on slack tide are teeming with schools of small fish including anthias and fusiliers. You need to fin down to it since the current is usually quite strong, once there keep a lookout for barracuda and blacktips however they arent guarunteed to show. "The Dream" can be hit or miss, on a good day the viz can be gin-clear, large grey reef sharks and even hammerheads have been known to visit this spot.

Sharks Galore and Clown Valley
These two sites are located on the eastern site of Pura island. Dives are usually started in Sharks Galore where blacktips and grey reef sharks are often spotted, the dive moves south and finishes at Clown Valley which is named after the abundance of anemones and clownfish found here. There are so many of them in fact that they occupy more surface area than any other form of live at this spot.

Mandarin House and the Boardroom
The north side of Pura island offers this healthy reef slope where mandarinfish can be seen dancing in the daylight. Dusk often yields the opportunity to witness them mating. A 50 meter deep wall at the Boardroom just east of Mandarin House offers caves filled with glassfish and schooling jacks and snappers at depth.

Pertamina Pier
This relatively new site is a black sand slope in the harbour that forms a haven for critters. Keep a look out for ghost pipefish, seahorses, hairy crabs and even wonderpuss - a bizarre species of octopuss. Night diving here can be even more interesting!

There are a number of other dive sites in the area including The Arch off Ternate island. This spot has a large underwater arch at 20 to 30 meters covered in whip corals and gorgonians. Small caves can be found while diving arounf Buaya island and sea apples are the highlight diving off neighbouring Pantar island. Many of the other Alor dive sites are great for small critters and macro delights.


Alor at a glance

Accommodation : Liveaboard

Highlights : Big fish, frontier dive sites, good viz.

Average cost of a dive : $35

Dive Sites : 10+

Dive Operators : 2+

Getting there : Liveaboard

Best Time : March to December