Located in the heart of the Coral Triangle, approximately 1,000km east of Bali, Alor and the Pantar Strait provide world-class diving on one of the most well-preserved coral reef systems in Indonesia. With its currents, critters and hammerhead sharks, volcanoes and villages lost in time, Alor is one of Indonesia’s last frontiers.
Diving around Alor is characterized by clear waters and currents, a near-pristine reef system and endless fields of beautiful corals, sponges and anemones. Unusually for such a small area, visitors can explore an entire spectrum of different dive sites - from colourful reefs packed with marine life, to current swept pinnacles with big pelagic species and sheltered bays with amazing muck diving - all in a single day. As well as its spectacular reefs, Alor is building a reputation as a world-class muck diving destination - particularly amongst divers that would like to get away from the crowds at more popular destinations. Most of the reef sites have a fantastic diversity of life, but it is the proper ‘muck’ sites in Kalabahi Bay, Alor, and Beang, or Beangabang, Bay on Pantar in the southwest, that attract those divers in search of unusual ‘critters’. The currents that run through the strait push nutrient-rich, cold water into these bays, creating perfect conditions for exciting macro diving. Rhinopias are the star of the show here, but seahorses, frogfish, ghost pipefish, Ambon scorpionfish, unusual crustaceans, Mandarinfish, weird and wonderful nudibranchs and plenty of unusual cephalopods are all on the cards as well.
Image courtesy of Alor Divers.
- Great for: Rhinopias and a huge selection of other critters, crowd-free sites, amazing reefs and the chance of some pelagic action.
- Best time to visit: Probably the best time of year is September to November, when the currents are strong and the water is cold - increasing the chances of seeing bigger animals as well as providing amazing muck diving. The visibility is normally it its best during the dry southeast monsoon between June and October.
- Best places to stay: Once the domain of liveaboards only, Alor now has a selection of resorts on both sides of the Pantar Strait. Those in Kalabahi Bay have direct access to the much diving there, whilst those on Pantar have easier access to Beang Bay to the south. ZuBlu recommends Alor Divers at the northern tip of Pantar Island.