The New Diving Destination of Asia: Alor Strait and Flores in Banda Sea
Remote and untouched the 18 islands of Alor and Solor group are considered as one of Asia's top ten dive destinations. Tourism does not exist and only few divers have explored these waters. One of the very last traditional whale hunter communities on the planet still lives in this magical archipelago. The islands are from volcanic origin, which make for stunning diving scenery. Big marine fauna, big pelagic and critters is the common encounters when diving the waters of the Straits of Alor and Flores. Politically this area belongs to Nusa Tenggara region, physically instead to Banda Sea plate. Not to be missed the inland excursion to Kelimutu volcano, with its crater filled with three lakes each one of different colors.
DIVING ALOR AND FLORES SEA
Why is so amazing the diving in Alor and Solor Islands Group?
The waters around the islands of Alor and Flores are known for their strong currents, particularly in the relatively narrow strait between Pantar and Alor and also between Lembata and Pantar, with each tide large water masses are pushed through the straits causing strong upwelling. The straits between Alor and Solor play an important role in the exchange of marine life between the Indian and Pacific Ocean, a natural migratory path for the big marine fauna: marine mammals and pelagics.
Diving in Alor: a plunge between Indian and Pacific Oceans
Through the deep but narrow Nusa Tenggara island chain every year whales and dolphins travel from the Pacific and Indian Ocean. A very best cetacean abundance and diversity is all around through this area, which forms a migrating and feeding paths for several great whales -sperm whale and blue whale-, as well as a preferred habitat for many species of dolphins and pods of blackfish -grouping of dolphins, pilote whales, false killer whales, sometime orcas-, in amazing numbers.
Flores underwater sceneries
Dive trips to Alor depart from the port of Maumere, in Flores Island, well connected by air with Bali. Maumere Bay is a great diving destination in its own, plenty hard and soft corals cover the reefs, big pelagics and beautiful critters could be seen in every dive. Maumere has recovered very well from September 1992 tsunami which hit and destroyed almost all reefs of the bay. On the way to Alor the islands of Adonara and Kavula also offer good diving in a great variety of sceneries walls, drop offs, caves, pinnacles, beautiful corals, big fishes and critters.
Lifetime dive: Whales, Dolphins, Orcas and Sunfish
The four island passages between Flores and Alor seem to be some of the richest in large marine life of all of Nusa Tenggara, and are especially abundant in whales and dolphins. The area is renowned for its large marine mammal migration and the whale watching in particular is breathtaking. During the season, while cruising through the area, you can spot whales surfacing by their water spout. Because of this, coastal communities living along eastern Indonesia's marine migratory routes, especially in the villages of Lamalera and Lamakera have been hunting whales for centuries. Equipped with simple spears, they take only what their village needs to eat and barter just a bit in return for vegetables and rice. In every cruise is also possible to visit the traditional whale-hunters villages. The area is famous for Orcas. Some diver had the once on a lifetime opportunity to dive with them. Also sunfishes or Mola Mola are present in good numbers in these waters.
Alor is teeming with numerous dive sites that offer even the most seasoned of muck divers an experience they will never forget. So dust off those cameras and prepare to meet some weird creatures that in any other context could come from another planet: pegasus seamoths to mimic octopus; devil fish to ornate sea horses. Coral reefs are mostly found along the northern coast of the Solor and Alor island group with some coral reefs lining the channels in between major islands. The southern coastline of the islands, particularly on the island of Lembata, is lined with rocks and just little coral. The reefs also include rocky bottoms along the northwest tip of Alor starting in the strait between Alor and Pantar.
Diving Trip: Liveaboard or Resort
Here you can find a review about our Liveaboards to dive Alor Archipelago and Flores Sea: SAMAMBAIA LIVEABOARD, DIVE DAMAI, OCEANIC LIVEABOARD, ONDINA LIVEABOARD, AMBAI LIVEABOARD, AURORA LIVEABOARD, TIARE LIVEABOARD, ILIKE LIVEABOARD, DEWI NUSANTARA. And here our review for ALOR DIVERS ECO RESORT
Useful Information To Alor and Flores Sea
- Diving season: May to December. But is possible to dive Alor and Flores all year round.
- Rainy season: Light rainy season from November to April.
- Water temperature: 25-29°C. A 3mm shorty should be sufficient. If you feel the cold easily a 5mm shorty is advisable.
- Visibility: 8m-10m.
- Depths: 12- 40m.
- Currents: Can be strong.
- Surface conditions: Can be rough.
- Experience level: Intermediate – advanced.
- Dive sites: >40.
- Length of stay: Recommended 7-10 days on liveaboard cruise.
Airport in Alor: Kalabahi. International flights reach Bali or Jakarta, then domestic flight to Kalabahi.
Airport in Flores: Maumere. International flights reach Bali or Jakarta, then domestic flight to Maumere.
Weather: 27-32°C. Indonesia has two seasons: wet and dry. In most of Indonesia the wet season is from October to April and the dry from May to September. Nusa Tenggara’s climate is relatively dry with a light rainy season from November to April.
Time zone: Lesser Sunda Islands GMT +8.
Alor and Flores Islands Factfile
Population and Ethnics: The total population on the islands was estimated at 144.629 people or 29.000 households in 1990.
There are 14 languages used in the island group, a majority of the people speak Solor and Ende Malay.
At present, however, all people are also literate in Bahasa Indonesia.
Alor inhabitants still live in a very traditional way and are an exceptional study case for sociologists and anthropologists.
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