Alor Island is an island in the Alor Archipelago of Indonesia. The island covers an area of about 2,800 square km (1,000 square miles), but there is only one town on the island and the infrastructure is underdeveloped. However, Alor has a small airport serviced by a few airlines that fly here via Kupang, Timor, where they change planes. Accommodation and facilities are available for travelers in the main city of Kalabahi.
While not as popular as Raja Ampat or Komodo, Alor Island is slowly gaining recognition as one of the best diving destinations in Indonesia. More than 50 dive sites offering fascinating underwater spectacles await divers. Plus, divers have all the chances in the world of finding empty dive sites which is something that cannot be said for many of the diving locations nearby Alor. But what should really get you excited is the healthy reefs and abundance of marine life, including pelagic species.
Wobbegong shark. Photo by prilfish
Diving around Alor Island is possible year-round, but the ideal period is March through December when diving conditions are best.
The water temperature around Alor Island varies from 25°C/77°F in March, April, October, and November to 30°C/86°F from May to September. However, it’s important to note that it is warmer in the northern areas than in the southern areas where the water temperature can get as low as 20°C/ 68°F.
The currents at Alor Island can make diving difficult, with October and November being the months where the current is most strong. On most of the dive sites, the current is mild or medium, but that can change mid-dive. This is the reason why Alor is recommended for experienced divers.
The average water visibility around Alor Island is 25-35 meters (82-115 feet), but it can reach up to 50 meters (160 feet) on a good day. However, visibility is not constant throughout the dive and can change because of the currents.
Paddle-flap Scorpionfish. Photo by prilfish
Cathedral is located in south Alor and features vibrantly colored soft and hard corals and a small swim-through. The reef is home to blue ring octopuses, sea snakes, leaf fish, pygmy seahorses, scorpionfish, marbled rays, and even bamboo sharks and Mola molas. September is the best time to see Mola molas. But what makes this dive unique is the kelp that covers the reef. The site receives some big thermoclines, with water temperatures dropping to about 14° C/57° F at depths of over 30 meters (100 feet).
The Arch is a very interesting spot at Ternate Island. It’s a wall dive with a topography that includes numerous small caves and overhangs adorned with beautiful soft coral. This dive site is a favorite among many divers, despite the lack of pelagic species.
This dive site is truly deserving of its name. Aquarium is teeming with marine life and the colors of the corals are breathtaking, making it one of the most visually stunning spots around Alor Island. The clarity of the water is also hard to come by.
Mike’s Delight is also one of the most popular sites. It’s a slow drift dive that offers the chance of spotting creatures like lobsters, sea snakes, boxfish, lionfish, and a variety of small reef fish. As for the corals, there are multiple species of vibrant colors - such as the sea apple coral - that make wonderful underwater photography subjects.