The Alor Archipelago is situated in the eastern part of Indonesia, spread across the Alor Strait. This collection of islands rising from the deep depths, are home to various natural and cultural wonders; a popular destination for enthusiastic divers and those interested in exploring the unique culture of the highland people. The government-protected area consists of 20 islands and is renowned for its exceptional dive sites, showcasing captivating marine life and pristine waters, with underwater visibility of up to 40 meters. The Alor Strait is deep and powerful, with the Indonesian Throughflow providing ample nutrients for large marine species such as whales and schooling hammerhead sharks. While this area is considered one of the world’s best diving locations, it is only recommended for experienced divers due to the strong currents and deep anchorages.
Alor is renowned for both its stunning reefs and world-class muck diving. Divers seeking unique critters are drawn to the ‘muck’ sites in Kalabahi Bay on Alor and Beangabang Bay on Pantar. Cold, nutrient-rich water from the strait’s currents provides ideal conditions for unusual marine life such as rhinopias, seahorses, frogfish, and nudibranchs. Top dive sites in Alor include Clown Valley, Cal’s Dream, the cathedral, and Max’s point, where blue whales and Mola Mola can be spotted.
Pura Island, the largest and most populated island in the Alor Strait, dominates the area with its mountainous interior rising to almost 1050 meters. The water temperature at Pura Alor can vary significantly due to its depth and currents, but the diving experience is unparalleled. Pulau Ternate, a limestone island at the northern tip of the Alor Pantar Strait, is surrounded by a reef that drops into depths just a few meters offshore. Sloping reefs, walls, overhangs, and caverns offer various diving opportunities here, while the shallow reefs and sandy bays in the northern part of the island are ideal for snorkeling.
Due to the area’s depth and strong currents, anchorages are limited, with Kepa Island serving as the primary anchorage and base of operations for most yachts conducting diving activities through long-range tenders.
Apart from diving, the Alor Archipelago is known for its unique culture, with the indigenous people of Alor preserving their traditional way of life. The sub-ethnic groups living in the area each have their own distinct culture, and the village of Lembur Barat is a prime example of this. The pyramid-shaped houses with coconut leaf roofs, bamboo walls, and four wooden pillars are a hallmark of this unique culture. Their handcrafted Ikat fabrics are world reknown and make for great souvenirs.
A dugong sanctuary can be found at Kabola Lagoon, near the Takapala tribes, where locals call the dugongs using conch shells from their dugout canoes and visitors can swim or snorkel with these gentle giants. Kalabahi, the main port of the area, serves as a logistics hub for visiting yachts, with regular flights facilitating access to flown-in provisions and other supplies.