What an awesome trip this was! We all met in Bali at the airport hotel for dinner and a couple of beers and then had an early night to try and get ahead of jetlag. The following morning we met for a delicious breakfast buffet and then were off to domestic departures to catch our flights to Alor via Kupang.
On arrival in Alor we were greeted by the resort drivers and set off on an hour long drive on a mostly unpaved road through the gorgeous countryside to reach Alami Alor. Tucked away on a remote corner of Alor, the resort is absolutely fabulous. We were greeted by friendly staff, welcome drinks and a delicious Indonesian inspired family style lunch. The rest of the afternoon was spent unpacking and relaxing on the sun-loungers and hammocks on each of the six chalet’s private verandas.
After a delicious Indonesian dinner and freshly baked cake we were off to bed in preparation for a full day of diving the following day. After a hearty breakfast we set off on the two fiberglass speedboats to the first dive site which was only 30 mins away, which is typical in this area. From the get-go the diving had us all enthralled, with exceptionally healthy reefs and an abundance of fish and critters, the clear water and absence of current was ideal. Day one, we saw seven individual rhinopias, frogfish and sea snakes on spectacularly colourful reefs!
The diving was exciting and varied, with sites ranging from deep walls, to sloping fringing reefs, to sandy muck sites. The currents can be strong and unpredictable but the staff are very experienced and able to judge conditions well before each dive, changing dive sites when necessary. The house reef at Alami Alor is a treat and is available to be dived at any time. Here there are resident mandarin fish which come out around sunset, as well as frogfish, pipefish, octopus and more.
Between many of the dives we came across pods of melon-head dolphins and lots of mola-mola sunning themselves on the surface. Some guests chose to snorkel with these strange ocean giants.
On the days following new moon we ventured to a particular sea mound about 45 minutes from the resort in search of hammerhead sharks. We were lucky enough to see a school of over 40 individuals which swam in circles around us for some time, at about 25m. Then we drifted along spotting dozens of black tip reef sharks, schooling barracuda and also a squadron of eight eagle rays. What a dive!
After a very happy and exciting week of diving, in which we were lucky enough to see not only the schooling hammerheads, but harlequin shrimp, mimic octopus, too many frogfish, sea horses, pipefish and nudis to count, to name a few, it was time for an early morning departure and a day’s travelling to reach Komodo Resort. Lauren from Alami baked almond muffins for the road, even though we had eaten her freshly baked cakes twice daily since arrival!
Upon arrival we were greeted with cold face clothes and welcome drinks and after a quick shower we met for a delicious Italian a la carte dinner and drinks at the bar.
The following morning we started diving. The diving in the area is characterised by good visibility, healthy reefs, sometimes-strong currents and lots of fish. And boy did it deliver. On the first day we went to a dive site where we were lucky enough to spend most of the dive surrounded by inquisitive manta rays circling us. And the diving didn’t disappoint going forward either. The sites are motly fringing reefs, pinnacles, sandy slopes and small walls. Some of the highlights of the week included the manta rays, pygmy sea horses, ghost pipefish and frogfish.
With two morning dives about 1-1.5 hours from the resort, back for Indonesian a la carte lunch, and an afternoon dive at a nearby site, with some night dives too, we were able to enjoy a variety of marine life sightings. On our last day, after two morning dives, we travelled to Rinca island to see the Komodo dragons in the wild. We had many sightings and a beautiful walk around the island, a spectacular way to off-gas.
Unfortunately, as happens, all good things come to an end and after 13 days together we returned to Bali and parted ways with smiles and promises to keep in touch and go diving together again soon.
Bernita is a Tour Leader for UK-based tour operator Dive Safari Asia. To find out more, visit www.divesafariasia.com.