Ten online influencers with thousands of followers around the world were recently invited by the Ministry of Tourism from 23 August – 6 September 2017 on the "Trip of Wonders" to witness and experience the unbelievably stunning underwater wonders of Indonesia. They are master divers, advanced divers, and regular contributors to major Dive Magazines. They came from the USA, UK, Australia, Canada, Brazil, Spain, and Malaysia. One of the destinations visited was the Alor islands, one of Indonesia's furthest islands in East Nusatenggara, right on the border with Timor Leste (ed.)
Here is what they think about the diving spot:
The Alor archipelago is an island group holding abundant of richness. It consists of 20 islands, bordering itself with Timor Leste and Ombay Strait on the south.
With at least 50 known dive spots, Alor's famous visibility and underwater splendors keep luring divers across the globe to come. The underwater topography consists of slopes, shallow caves, and ledges, vertical walls, overhangs, swim-throughs, canyons and drop-offs. The average water temperature is 25-29 degrees Celsius.
Every so often, we can see the awesome sunfish (mola-mola), thresher, silver tip, tawny nurse, hammerhead, Wobbegong sharks, devil rays and a school of bumphead wrasse freely passing through the dive sites.
You might also meet giant dog tooth tuna, Napoleon wrasse, giant reef rays, eagle rays, white tip, black tip reef sharks, giant grouper, schooling barracuda and giant trevally. But on your lucky day, you'll even see the graceful mantas, whale sharks, marlin, dolphins and dugongs.
The best time to dive in Alor is from April to December. Here are 5 superb dive spots that mesmerized world's divers from the Trip of Wonders who embarked on this underwater journey, starting this August 2017:
1 | The Babylon
As the first dive of the whole Alor trip, this place offers a great wall dive with dozens of sandy ledges. Known to have plenty of small fishes, colorful corals and clear visibility in favor for both the wide angle and macro photographers.
When we got here, two Alorese fishermen were preparing to set a traditional fish trap, called Bubu. It is made of bamboo and rattan weave, in a form of a double-layered cylinder. Bubu can either be placed on the seabed between corals with some weigh, floating just below the surface or drifting through the water pulled by vessels. Not all of the fishes trapped inside are consumed; the locals only took what they needed and release the rest back to the sea. It's a way to respect their ocean's sustainability and its abundance, incredible!
2 | Mike's Delight
Image by: www.instagram.com/malaysiaasia
It is a rugged slope with large boulders with a possibility of extreme currents, hence offers a better chance for pelagic sightings. Barracudas, turtles, lionfish, sea snakes, lobster, boxfish and sometimes reef shark are expected on this dive spot. There are a lot of kids playing around the boats with their curious eyes and big smiles. Even when you snorkel, you can see some bubu traps installed just close to the surface, and sometimes you can feel some cold currents passing right by your fins. Always be careful and stay alert for sudden current drifts as you could easily get carried away while exploring so many beauties down under.
3 | The Aquarium
Image by: www.instagram.com/pinneng
Known to have diverse species and incredible visibility, this site also is a gentle slope with amazing shallow soft coral growth and a mild drift for a relaxing dive. Beside numerous fishes, some stingrays were also seen wandering through this beautiful dive site.
4 | Clown's Valley
Image by: www.instagram.com/kotravellers
One of the most spectacular dive spots favored by participants. Here you can see abundant varieties of anemones and incredible schools of clownfish. It is said to be the world's epicenter for anemone abundance by marine biologists, a truly unique dive to enjoy thousands of anemones covering sections of the reef like a living tapestry. Everyone is entertained by the busy underwater fish festivals and also by the cheerful local children with their wooden boats. These children literally have the best playground, no wonder they all grow to be natural swimmers and free divers. The water is superbly clear and refreshing, perfect for fun in the sun!
5 | School's Out
Image by: https://www.instagram.com/pernikgaya/
According to our superb dive master, Donovan Whitford, who has done over 4000 dives in Alor alone, this particular site gets its name for three reasons. First, because on the starting point of the dive, you can see a school standing just overlooking the water. Second, sometimes, when kids see the divers just in time for school's out, they would gather and sing cheerfully. Third, because down underwater, divers will see so many schools of fishes, in addition to a chance to see some sharks and octopus!
You can see the white sandy shallow bottoms from your boat. The water is mesmerizing in turquoise hues, but you always have to carefully maintain your distance with your dive buddies to be safe from strong currents.
Alor is far from the hustle of other more popular dive sites in Indonesia, which is why it is a must-visit for divers who really want to experience the magic. Bring your best gear to document strange and alluring underwater creatures, and some drone cameras too, because you might see a lovely a school of dolphins swimming around your boat.
For comfort and safety, make sure you are really in the hand of a professional dive master who knows each nook and crannies of the underwater world.
*Trip of Wonders 2017 collaborated with www.divealordive.com, who had more than 20 years of diving experience that could escort you to the most amazing dive spots in all Alor!