anthias in alor by laura leersnyder

Destination Highlight: Alor Archipelago – Part One

Where in the world is the Alor Archipelago? What is so great about Alor? Here is everything you need to know about the Alor underwater wonders on the Adelaar’s new route starting from October 2018.

The Alor Archipelago stretches from Maumere, Flores across the Pantar Strait to the island of Alor. There are many small islands located in this Strait between the islands of Flores and Alor. If you were to type “Alor dive map” into Google Images, the result is typically an image of Pura Island because that is usually as far as land-based operators can go. Traveling the area on Adelaar gives you the advantage of having a much wider range to explore the numerous islands along the way. While this article focuses on the diving in the Alor archipelago, we have also included some cultural stops in our itinerary, which are absolutely stunning. See here in our full itinerary.

The Alor Underwater Wonders

Stunning dive sites

Alor underwater wonders

Similar to Komodo, the dive sites of Alor are located in a Strait situated between the Pacific and Indian Oceans. This means more water movement bringing more nutrients from deep water, resulting in more diversity of coral and marine life. This translates to stunning sites full of colors and sea life, ideal for snorkelers as well as scuba divers. One of the most famous sites of the area is absolutely covered with anemones, inhabited by territorial clown fish of all sorts. Alor is also home to rocky and sandy slopes, ridges, walls and drop offs, as well as muck sites.

Currents & Pelagic Life

A location in a narrow Strait between two oceans, which create a big tidal movement, also means strong currents, especially around full or new moon. These factors make Alor an advanced destination for the more experienced diver. Along with current, comes the “big stuff”: Napoleon wrasses, thresher sharks and mola mola. If you are not a fan of current dives, there are also more protected dive sites which are sheltered from the tide.

Macro

If sharks aren’t for you, and you happen to be a macro enthusiast, you will be happy to know that the Alor underwater wonders also include abundant and thriving macro life. Sheltered sites inside some of the bays are a haven for weird critters, for those who like to hunt with their camera. You can expect to find nudibranchs, seahorses, frogfish and the holy grail… the Rhinopia.

Alor Fish traps

Alor fish trap by Foued Kaddachi

While we may not enjoy seeing fish trapped and knowing the fate that awaits them, the fish traps in Alor have become famous, especially with photographers. Local fishermen weave bamboo traps, which the fish can easily enter but, once in, they usually are unable to find their way out. Then, they deposit the traps over the reef at different depths and wait. This fishing method has proven to have little impact on the reef compared to lines or dynamite fishing. Although you will encounter eventual breakage, the reefs are still in pristine condition. When diving in Alor, it is recommended not to touch the traps or ropes. However, you may take as many photos as you want. This shot has become the iconic underwater photographic opportunity of the region.

Photograpic Opportunities

Alor children freediving by Foued Kaddachi

As you’ve probably already gathered, Alor is an absolute paradise for photographers, whether you are experienced or just a beginner. The extensive variety of sites means that it is a haven for macro and wide-angle alike, whether you are after a rare rhinopia, big pelagics, or just amazingly beautiful reefs…it is all there for the (photograph-)taking.

The local children will give you another great “photo op” as they often dive down to meet scuba divers on their safely stop, wearing their unique looking home-made goggles. The children love posing for the shot, but they enjoy even more to see the result in your camera.

I hope I have managed to convince you that the Alor Archipelago is indeed an incredible destination, as it is one region I personally love. However, not all highlights of Alor lie beneath the surface of the water. Even though we all love spending time in or under the water, we still have to come up. Thankfully, Alor has plenty of “above water wonders” waiting for us. Read about these in Part Two of this blog.

Book your cabin with us now for this amazing itinerary, as we currently have few spaces left. We are happy to answer any questions you may have about the Alor underwater wonders route: info@adelaar-cruises.com.

As you’ve probably already gathered, Alor is a paradise for photographers, whether you prefer wide-angle or macro, or even if you’re just beginning. The broad variety of sites means that it doesn’t matter if you’re after a rare rhinopia, big stuff or pretty reefs because it is all there for the (photograph-)taking. The local children will give you another great “photo op” as they often dive down with interesting-looking home-made goggles to meet scuba divers on their safety stop. These kids love posing but they enjoy even more to see the result in your camera.

Written by Laura, lover of all things water, passionate diver and ocean advocate.