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14 days roundtrip Alor, diving and culture

Alor

Alor

Alor is an archipelago with 92 small islands, of which Pulau Alor and Pulau Pantar are the largest. Alor is located east of Flores and north of Timor. Pulau Alor has a small airport, where Wings Air and Trans Nusa airlines operate daily flights with Kupang on Timor, and NAM Air on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday direct to and from Bali.

Alor is particularly known by diving enthusiasts; the archipelago has unparalleled beautiful and varied dive and snorkel sites. Diving is particularly reserved for experienced divers, the currents in the Alor archipelago can be strong and unpredictable.

Administratively, Alor belongs to the Indonesian province of East Nusa Tenggara.
For years, Alor was relatively isolated due to the limited infrastructure and transport facilities, so that the natural environment has been protected from human activity and industrial activities.
The Alor Islands are surrounded by clear blue waters and fairly strong currents and offer accessible reefs, drop-offs, caves and valleys, full of brightly coloured corals as well as sandy / sediment bays, where thousands of species of fish and invertebrates shelter. In terms of biodiversity, it is one of the richest underwater reserves in the Coral Triangle.
On land you can find steep mountains, dry savannas and also lush rainforest. There are also an active volcano (Sirung, west Pantar), several hot springs and some hidden waterfalls ... These small, rugged and remarkably beautiful islands, dominated by jagged mountains and steep valleys, are divided into many different ethnic groups with more than 8 different languages within which 50 dialects! The islands are rich in interesting local cultures, with strong traditional beliefs and the Ikat woven here is among the best in East Indonesia.

Many villages on Alor still live in a traditional way, living in houses of tied-up trees with thatched roofs or simple houses of concrete and working as farmers or fishermen, in order to provide for their living. Sometimes they grow a few crops that yield some money, such as cashew nuts, vanilla or seaweed, and always with an intense social life. Despite the fact that there is still a lot of poverty, in most remote villages you are warmly welcomed by your host and hostess. The traditional lego-lego dance is the heart and soul of the Alorese society. This dance, where old and young dance hand in hand from sunset to sunrise can be seen everywhere on Alor and people love it when you as a visitor take part in the festivities.
If you are looking for 1st class dive sites and prefer staying in an authentic environment rather than at a standard tourist location, come to these beautiful islands and enjoy the gorgeous underwater life, traditional culture and friendly and hospitable people!

Suggestions for excursions and trekkings

There are a few excursions to explore Alors which you can do in half a day or a day: you can visit the traditional villages Takpala and Mombang, a trip by car around the "bird head" or "kepala burung", with a stop at the beautiful Batu Putih bay ... Or you can drive along the north coast of Alor and end at "Tuti Agadai", a very small river with small hot springs ... We also recommend a visit of the museum "1000 Moko" in Kalabahi , and of course you should not miss the lively markets (pasar Kadelang, pasar Impres ...)! For the adventurers among you, this could be an opportunity to try the "siri-pinang", the local custom of chewing betel nuts (or areca nuts) ... You could also take a regular boat from Kalabahi or rent a fishing boat to go to the Pantar strait islands (Pura, Ternate ...).

If you want to make a 2 or 3-day trek you can go to the Alor mountains: a rural experience in a beautiful landscape! You will hardly encounter vehicles on 4 wheels, but there are "ojek" taxis (moped taxi) and alternating moped rides with hiking is a nice way to discover the area. You sleep at local people’s homes: basic but they are so friendly! Go for example to Mataru, Masape, Kelaisi Tenggah, ... walk to Atingmelang or Lakwati, and there are so many other places ... You can also discover the active volcano Sirung on Pantar. That is a trip of 3 days, including boat trips to / from Baranusa (about 4-5 hours), 1 night in Baranusa and 1 in Kakamauta, the village at the foot of the volcano. Keep in mind that in a certain period you cannot climb the volcano for certain reasons of faith and respect these.

Kupang

Kupang


Kupang is the capital of the Indonesian west Timor. The town has a few attractions, the most important of which are the traditional market and Chrystal Cave.

In Kupang, don't forget to taste the Daging Se'i, smoked beef or pork. It is also standard in the nasi rames of Hotel on the rock.

Dive sites Alor

Alor dive spots

A day-trip diving on Alor is choosing from an exceptional diversity under water. For beginners there are some relatively simple dives to do. Experienced divers decide beforehand together where they are going to dive. Alor has very beautiful and very tough dive sites. You must factor in strong currents, some much colder dive spots (22 degrees) and special encounters under water.

Alor dive spots

Diving in Alor is a breathtaking experience. Alor is not for nothing listed among the most stunning diving areas of Indonesia. Everything a diver dreams of is here. From whales to nudibranches and everything in between. Cristal-clear water with visibility up to 40m or more, spectacular colourful coral reefs, magnificent walls, an incredible amount and diversity of fish life and challenging, often unpredictable currents
Level: experienced diver
Visibility: up to 40m (or more)
Water temperature: from 26 to 29°C with thermoclines of 20°C or even 18°C.
Currents: often strong and unpredictable
Diving season: From end of March until mid December

Kal's dream

Kal’s Dream is a seamount between the islands Kepa and Pura. The top of the mountain is just at 5m. Currents can be very strong en even go wild, so diving on Kal’s Dream is not always possible. But if the diving conditions are good and you are an experienced diver, this famous dive spot is a must. The site is called after Kal Muller, a diving pioneer, who was the first to dive here in the early nineties. There are two pinnacles. If diving conditions are good you start your dive around the deeper pinnacle, follow a part of the spur that goes out to a corner where many fish gather and then to the other pinnacle where you finish your dive. The pinnacles are beautifully covered with low corals, because of the currents.
You can see a lot of sea life here. Spanish mackerel, different species of sharks, dogtooth tuna, Napoleons, sweetlips, big barracudas, giant trevallies, hunting blue fin trevally, schools of jacks, triggerfish, fusiliers, surgeonfish and of course the critter life in the crevices between the rocks, moray eels, scorpionfish, nudies, shrimps…

Mike's Delight

A fantastic dive spot on the east coast of Pura. A drift dive with the south current on a sloping reef with ledges, drop-offs, healthy colourful corals and a lot of fish life. The reef starts at about 8m and slopes to 15m, with large boulder formations. Then further down to 25-30m it’s not unusual to see dolphin pods and pelagics passing. Then slowly up again. From 30 to 12m lots of hard and soft corals and many, many fish. From 12m and upwards you see soft corals with hard coral bommies and formations. Parrotfish, sweetlips, angelfish, damselfish, Napoleon wrasse, schools of jacks, butterfly fish, red toothed triggerfish and sea snakes, lobster, lionfish, an incredible amount of boxfish and schools of anthias (especially above a beautiful staghorn field at around 7m). You’ll also see barrels, brain coral, branching coral, anemones and soft coral clusters.
When the current is strong enough it’s possible to go round the tip of the island. If you do so you must stay very close to the reef and stay above 7m. If you are too deep the currents will push you away from the island and getting back could be a very tough job.
In short, a very varied dive site with an abundance of fish, many different types of healthy coral and a good chance to see pelagics.

Clown Valley

A few hundred meters from the village Apura lies Clown Valley. You immediately understand why this dive spot was named so. Here you simply see the highest concentration of sea anemones in the world and of course, a lot of clown fish that hide between their swinging tentacles. Here and there a sea apple and you’ll also see sea-eels, sea snakes and pufferfish. With a lot of luck, sometimes even tresher sharks or a mola mola. On your way up you’ll often be greeted by local children diving without fins, wearing handcarved wooden goggles and holding their breath for an incredibly long time…

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