Dive Sites at Alor Island

Alor Island Dive Sites
There are a total of 43 commercial dive sites at Alor Island, which is quite amazing for a dive destination that is not over commercialized. But in actual fact, there are 62 recorded dive sites to date which are named. And surprisingly more which are being discovered or without a name. 

Alor is known for their crystal clear waters with incredible visibility and rich marine life as the dive sites of Alor are mostly located in the Pantar Straits, between Pantar island and Alor Island. The sea here is shared between the Banda Sea and the Savu Sea. 

If you are a beginner diver, I would recommend you be extra cautious here, or buddy with someone who has a lot of experience. The reason for this is that the currents in Alor can get a little tricky, so there are a lot of negative descends wile diving here. 

Alor is also well known to be the new places for muck diving as there is quite a lot of interesting macro life to be discovered. Lucky divers can find Wunderpus, Mimic Octopus, Bobtail Squid, Halimeda Ghost Pipefish, Demon Stingerfish, Mandarinfish, Blue-ringed octopus, Stargazers and many other interesting choices around here. 

Alor Island Dive Sites

Below is a review of each of the dive sites at Alor Island that I visited, and supported by photographs I took with my GoPro Hero 3, so the best underwater photos were selected from my diving here.

Alor Island Babylon dive set
Babylon dive site in Alor Island - A traditional Bubu fish trap set about 15 meters deep
Babylon Dive Site 

Honestly, the first dive is always the dive master's check out dive, to see how the divers behave underwater, and Babylon dive site was quite decent, no currents, easy dive and great visibility with rich marine life. 

Babylon dive site is also the place where our group was introduced to the traditional Bubu Fishermen of Alor. This is where the local Alornese people free dive with their home made wooden goggles to place massive bamboo fish traps underwater. 

This shallow reef with a nice wall goes all the way to around 28 meters deep. In the five to ten meters depth you can find where the local fishermen lay their Bubu traps, but at deeper parts of the dive, I saw a couple of traps at around 15 meters too. Some even had fish in them, but as this is part of the local culture, it is what it is.

Alor Wunderpus
If you're lucky, you can spot the Wunderpus while diving at Alor Island (Photo by Joost van Uffelen)
As for the marine life, there was a good balance of small, medium and macro available, so if you are on a overall lens, this would be a great spot to get some nice underwater photos. 

Water temperature was around 27 degrees Celsius which was a tad cold hence I was on a 3mm full suit, and could still feel the chills as I passed the ten meter mark. 

Visibility was incredibly clear as I estimated at least 25-30 meters of clarity before the blue. Your immediate surroundings are so clear that you can see the vibrancy of the coral colors.

Fish of all sizes are spotted at every turn of your head and if you look closely into the corals, you will encounter another world of macro life. 

Mikes Delight Alor Island
A sea snake spotted at Mike's Delight dive site on Alor Island
Mike's Delight Dive Site

My second dive at Alor was at Mike's Delight. I asked Donovan about the name, and it relates to a diver named Mike, but to be very honest, I totally forgot the story after diving here. This is one of the dive sites where you can encounter lots of sea snakes (The white and black ones), which are harmless, provided you do not disturb them. 

And for corals, there are so many types in so many colors, you easily get distracted by them, often missing out the marine life. Currents here can also be from mild to strong, so this is one of the dive sites that you really need to listen to your dive master or dive guide. 

Overall, the balance was pretty good with a healthy reef, no signs of coral bleaching, great macro life, abundance of small to medium coral fish and some mild drifting currents. A number of Sea Apple corals were also spotted during my dive here.

Dive boat Alor Island
The dive boat I used while diving at Alor Island. Pinneng on the right while Shelley is on the left gearing up.
Aquarium Dive Site

The name says it all and you can be sure that you will be getting a full HD experience underwater at the Aquarium dive site in Alor. The visibility here is noted to be one of the best dive sites in Alor and marine life is supreme, compared to the first two dive sites. 

With crystal clear clarity, scuba diving is at its best here, being easily distracted by anything and everything. The maximum depth goes down to about 30 meters, but we stayed in the twenty meter depth as I tried to conserve more air so I could dive longer here. 

As for the temperature, it was quite cold as I got deeper, pass the 10 meter depth, so get your wet suits on for this spot because as you descend deeper, the water gets colder down here. Visibility on a good dive can reach up to 40 meters too, but during my dive, it stretched to around 30 meters.

Alor Island Clown Valley
The sea anemone clusters at Clown Valley dive site at Alor Island
Clown Valley Dive Site

Known as the largest concentration of sea anemones in the world, Clown Valley dive site in Alor is indeed a spectacular experience. For fans of 'Nemo', there are many different species of clown fish (Amphiprioninae) found here which include Clarks anemonefish and Tomato anemonefish. However, as for the sea anemones, there are literally thousands of them well concentrated, and as far as your eye can see. 

When Donovan, our dive guide briefed us on this before descending, I literally expected to see about 10 or 20 of these anemones, but when I went down, I was in pure awe. Every where I looked, there was a different type of sea anemone housing the respective clown fishes.

Best dive site at Alor Island
The healthy coral and marine life during my dive at Alor Island
Here's the fun part - Usually when you see an anemone with clown fish, they would protect their home from prying eyes or if you get too close. At Clown Valley dive site, the clown fish here were the opposite, most of the time not bothering about the diver, and on occasion, hiding in the anemone. 

Clown Valley is located in the southeast side of Pura Island, which sits in the middle of the Straits of Alor. It is also home to a local Alornese village with a local primary school. 

Sightings here was quite interesting as we spotted a beautiful Sea Apple (Pseudocolochirus) which is indeed an amazing sight when they are feeding. Apart from that, nudibranches, some eels, loads of reef fish and a healthy concentration of hard and soft corals. 

Warning - If you are not into Clown Fish and anemones, then just look around for other macro stuff, as there is much of it available. Some divers can only take so much of Nemo, you know what I mean.

Alor Island School's Out Dive Site
The incredible visibility while diving Alor Island
School's Out Dive Site

A rather peculiar name for a dive site, but School's Out in Alor Island is actually named after the experience of surfacing in front of a school and when the kids finish school. And this is also depending on the time you dive here, so ask your dive guide to give you the full experience for School's Out dive site. 

Really, I asked Donovan about this and this is what he explained, divers go in a few hundred meters before the school and drift all the way to the end point where you surface to see kids running about outside the local Alor school, which is just next to the coast.

Scuba Sites Alor Island
Some of the beautiful and colorful corals seen while diving in Alor
The Schools Out dive site starts with a sandy slope and you descend deeper into a drift along the wall-reef which is dotted with a myriad of colors from the corals and fishes. The deepest point is 30 meters, but again, being safe as always, I tend to stay around 25 meters or less and at that depth, I managed to spot black tip sharks at the lower end. 

Sightings include your general coral fishes, some nudi's, the occasional scorpion leaf fish, lots of soft and hard corals. Generally, the drift along the wall with a mild current is one of the best experiences for me.

Alornese kids with their home made wooden goggles at School's Out dive site
Bonus for Photographers - If you love to photograph something different, at the end point of School's Out dive site which is near the local village and school jetty, you will have the opportunity to photograph the local Alor kids. 

These kids love to jump into the waters with their home made goggles. Yes, home made with wood and window glass panes cut into shape. The kids are great divers hence you can get some amazing shots of them underwater, and above water too. Best done on a weekend as these kids are pretty free.

Diving in Alor will allow you with some incredible visibility. Photo taken with my GoPro Hero 3. 
Complete List of Dive Sites in Alor Island

To date, there are 62 dive sites in Alor with given names. These have been names by locals and also foreigners over the years, therefore some of them have Indonesian names, while others may sound international.
  1. Aldi Cave
  2. Alor Besar
  3. Amin's Coffer
  4. Arch
  5. Babi Wall
  6. Babylon
  7. Bat Cave
  8. Batu Mandi
  9. Batu Putih
  10. Blind Cave
  11. Bondi Wreck
  12. Bubu
  13. Bullet
  14. Bus Station
  15. Cathedral
  16. Cave Point
  17. Clown Valley
  18. Coconut Groove
  19. Color Wall 
  20. Comet Bay
  21. Coral Cliffs
  22. Coral Garden
  23. Crocodile Rock
  24. D155A-1
  25. Edge
  26. Fault Line
  27. Ferry Harbor
  28. Fish Bowl
  29. Froggy Wall
  30. Gua Kecil
  31. Gua Sangat Kecil
  32. Gulias
  33. Half Moon Bay
  34. Hall
  35. Highway
  36. Hot Spring
  37. Japanese Wreck 1
  38. Japanese Wreck 3
  39. Japanese Wreck 4
  40. Kal's Dream
  41. Kendi Bay
  42. Mike's Delight
  43. Mini Wall
  44. Mutiara
  45. No Man's Land
  46. Patch
  47. Pearl Harbor
  48. Peter's Prize
  49. Pink Forest
  50. Pier Moru
  51. Pier Pertamina
  52. Pilz Grotto
  53. Reta
  54. Sea Apple Slopes
  55. Shark Channel
  56. Sharks Galore
  57. Secret Garden
  58. Slab City
  59. Smart's Lamert
  60. South Treweng
  61. Tri Top
  62. Wreck Pertamina
Alor Island Muck Diving
A Thorny Seahorse photographed at Alor Island (Photo by Joost van Uffelen)
My Favorite Dive Site in Alor Island? 

Well, being a first timer here and only having dived at five dive sites in just two days, I would have to say it would be Clown Valley, due to the fact that I have never seen such an intense concentration of anemones in one dive.

And if you are the sort that loves to photograph clown fish, this is your mecca. Trust me, you would have an amazing time here. But if you are those who only seek macro and other large subject, then Clown Valley is not the place for you.

Underwater Photo Alor Island
A beautiful Red Sea Apple photographed during my dive at Babylon dive site
Dive Operators in Alor Island
  • Dive Alor Dive (www.divealor.com) based in Kupang (West Timor)
  • La P’tite Kepa Divers (www.alor-diving.com) based on Kepa Island close to Alor
  • Alor Dive (www.alor-dive.com) based in Kalabahi Town
  • Alami Alor Dive Resort (www.alamialor.com) based in the bay of Kalabahi
  • Eco Dive Resort Alor (www.alor-divers.com) based on northern Pantar Island
For those planning to dive here, you can also read my Alor scuba diving review or trip report. It provides overall details about my dive here in August 2017. Just to remind you, Alor Island is one of the up and coming dive destinations in Indonesia and is literally untouched.

Infrastructure is at its minimum hence you need to engage a dive operator service before coming here. There is only one general three star hotel in Alor called Pulo Alor Hotel. Alternatively, you can also book the Alor Beach Front Bungalows which is a resort which is nearer to Ternate Island and on the Pantar Strait. 

Scuba Sites Alor Island
At one of the dive sites in Alor, fantastic visibility seen here
How much does it cost to dive in Alor Island? 

The golden question on the price. Well, for a 5D/4N dive package with Dive Alor Dive, it will round up to around US$700.00 per person. This will include a 3 Star Hotel accommodation, 6 dives spread over 3 days and full board meals throughout.

And if this is your first time here, I have also written an article about things to do in Alor Island. This list provides the best information needed for just about any traveler. 

And for the first timer here, I would seriously consider this the minimum package. I mean, if you are coming all the way here, you might as well make it a 7D/6N trip and make the best out of it. And since you are already heading here, I would also recommend you do some scuba diving at Komodo Island and also head to Raja Ampat. 

Sorry I could not provide more reviews for the many other dive sites at Alor as I only had two full days of diving here. Perhaps in the near future, I will pay another visit here to dive at Kal's Dream, Cathedral and some other dive sites in Alor Island. 

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