Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Diving Alor

I join the group one week before trip begun. One of the participant couldn't make it and I replaced his seat. Got a big deal, I only paid for the trip cost and he paid for my ticket! So, I joined Dewi & Darwin who already on the group. This trip was a live-aboard with MV Tarata with max 12 divers only for 8 days 7 nights.

On 27 Sep 08 early morning, we flew to Maumere, where we met the crew of Tarata, then we sailed for about 18 hours to Alor archipelago. Alor Archipelago is in East Nusa Tenggara. Pls see the following links on the excat location; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alor_Archipelago . Not like Raja Ampat or Komodo, most of the islands are fishermen villages. Our first dive on that day was a night dive at Maumere bay. Interesting dive, we seen very big seaslug (yup, jumbo size!), ghostpipe fish and electric clamp. We dove for about 71min, quiet long for a night dive. If we didnt feel hungry, maybe we still explored Maumere bay underwater. Diner was ready when we back to the boat, its really up to us, diner or shower first. One of the privilege of live-aboard compare to landbase.

That night our boat sailed to Alor archipelago, our main destination, while we all slept. When the boat stopped, we were already on the Lembata Island. At 10am ( a bit late for a morning dive, but well we're still on the way to Alor), we dove at site named Waihingga. Its a wall dive, ho ho so many orang utan crabs! and of course another ghost pipe fish :-). After morning dive we had lunch then we sailed again.

At 3pm we arrived at Pantar Island, part of the Alor archipelago. Yes we have arrived to our main destination. Is it 18 hours already? :-) We dove at Pulau Lapan. Its a slope, but too sad, so many rubble and not much to see. Back and forth current, tiring dive! As for the night dive we jump to Karamba @ Kalabahi bay. I called it 'baby night dive' since we saw so many babies; baby cuttlefish, baby octopus, baby croc fish.. A short dive, hungry!

I love the morning dive on the third day of our trip. The dive site called 'School out'. Dont asked me why, maybe supposedly at this site we saw school of fishes! But well, eventhough we didnt see any school, I was happy to see a nurse shark and a big family of nudibranch. School out has a beautiful landscape and nice safety stop with colorful anthias! Water temperature was 26 degree, a bit cold but we dove for about 72min.
That day, the second dive, we dove at the famous dive site 'Karl's Dream'. But again, we missed the school because our boat had trouble. Yup, we missed the current, no current no school. Not meet the expectation of Karl's Dream. But we will back to dive at Karls Dream before end of the trip.

Other famous site is Anemone City or Clown Valley. We dove there on the fourth day of the trip, first dive at 7am. Yes 7am! I was a bit sleepy when geared up for the dive, then I screamed and authomatically awake when I jumped into the water, its sooooo coooold!! downthere, my divecomp showed that water temperature was 23C degree! But the site was beautiful, as far as you can see are the anemones. Anemones cover all the dive site, it felt like we're diving on the top of the carpet! And so many pretty nudibranch here and there. But I was not lucky, my camera housing hang again :-( At this site I saw sea apple for the first time as well, and the safety stop was amazing with a bright sun ray! I love Anemone City!

After breakfast we went to the Takpala traditional village at Lembur Barat, Alor. It took 1 hour drive from the harbor. Nothing much we can see, its a village set up for the tourists. Yup we met local people and buy some souvenir from them.

After visiting the tradional village, we back to the boat, had lunch @ the boat. Too bad, we did not have chance to try local food, all resto closed due to hari raya Lebaran.

The second dive also another cold dive, temperature was 24C degree. Visibility was very poor, its a muck dive, we seen sea horse, cuttle fish and ofcourse ghostpipe fish and nudibranch. Dewi seen a wonderpush and I missed it, because my body started shivering and I almost lack of air. I consumed more air on the cold water :-( And its a long dive, 87min.

Since Alor archipelago are fisherman villages, its common to see 'bubu' (tradional net to catch the fishes, made from bamboo) or fishermen dive in shallow water. Not like us, they dive without diving gear! They only use their traditional goggles (made from wood). I call them 'natural diver'. Talking about traditional goggle, one of our friend, try to exchange that goggle with her speedo, but its failed :-) They love their wooden goggles.

Oct 1, the fifth day of the trip. We dove at Karl's Dream again. The current, wow! We saw school of barracuda at the beginning of the dive, but then the current was really strong our guide decided to abort the dive and we ascended to the surface. Its only 45min, the shortest dive and the most tiring dive. Swimming to the boat.

The next day, we dove at Pulau Batang on the third dive. We jumped from the boat. It was a sad and bored dive. All I saw were rubbles, not so many fishes there. I guess maybe because of big earthquake/tsunami which hit Alor back in Dec 2004. Well, we still seen stingray, some moray eels and porcelain crabs. After one hour we ascended at the very beautiful beach! Spent some times on the beach before the sunset! Can you imagine if below this beautiful white sandy beach, the marine life still very healthy? I will give more than 2 thumbs up!!
Oct 3 was the last day we dive. Only got one dive, its at Tanjung Gedong, we're already in Flores. We saw shark! Finally! We found 3 white tip sharks, they played around us. Visibility was very clear, about 25m, so we even when we finished the dive, we still can saw the shark from the surface. Enjoyable and longest dive, 89 minutes. After breakfast we sailed to Maumere again. At the evening we walked around the harbor.

Oct 4, the end of the trip. After breakfast we fly back to Jakarta via Denpasar with good memory of Alor underwater, but am promise myself to back to Alor. I wanna try landbase next time, to explore the 'real' Alor. I thik I should dive with Donovan, http://www.divealor.com/ . Yup, I should back to Alor!

Some pictures from the trip;


Brian said...

Hey Adri, my name is Brian Caruso. I have been thoroughly reading and going through your articles about your travel around the world. It sounds and looks amazing! Me being a travel buff as well, I found this website that allows users to document our travels through online journals, digital mapping, and guidebooks. It is so cool to see where others have gone and what they have seen – it really sends that bug to get up and go right back into me. It’s call www.sosauce.com. If you get a chance check it out, and check my profile out. I am sure you won’t be disappointed. Stay well, be happy, and keep smiling. Thanks

Adri said...

Thank you, it's an interesting site! Share about your trips! :-)