East Nusa Tenggara. The easternmost reaches of the Indonesian archipelago includes the world renowned dive destinations of Komodo and neighboring Alor. These islands lie along the border of the Pacific and Indian Oceans which mix in between the islands in impressive displays of nature’s power. The currents created by this mixing lend this regions some of the most diverse diving locations on the planet.
Trip One | Alor
For our latest trips we chartered the Arenui which we have previously used for Raja Ampat charters. Our back-to-back trips took us across both Alor and Komodo respectively.
Alor is a series of volcanic island that routinely erupt, smoke, or otherwise appear menacingly on the horizon. Underwater the northern sites, which sit in the Pacific Ocean are warm blue water dives while their southern counterparts in the Indian Ocean are cooler and greener with a rich macro life population.
Rhinopias are a fairly common sight here in Alor but we blew the curve by finding a record (for the Arenui) 13 individuals on our trip! From yellow to Pink to Red we had a great mix of both weedy and paddle flap varieties.
In the south of Alor off the coast of Pantar we had some spectacular dives reminiscent of Batu Bolong in Komod. Current rich reefs covered in anthias and damsels and orange soft corals.
On the south eastern coast of Pantar is a village whose name is synonymous with crazy macro – Beangabang. Over the years when we think back to where we saw the craziest stuff it almost always happened at Beangabang. This year was no exception. It was frogfish central. We had several pairs of (unfortunately for the photographs) extremely well camouflaged hairy frogfish along with several painted ones.
Also making an appearance, the super rare Gurnard lion fish which moves about along the bottom in similar fashion to a gurnard and also possesses wing-like pectoral fins that are brilliantly colored.
Porcelain crab on a psychedelic anemone and some cool slugs.
The island of Pura sits like a lone rock in a stream in the middle of the Pantar strait literally straddling the Pacific and Indian Oceans. On the north side of the island at Yan’s Village (named after our old captain on Kararu Pak Yan whose home village is there) is warm and blue while on the south side the famous Anemone City dive site is frigid!
Anemone City is literally over a kilometer of continuous anemones from 2 meters down to 20+. Incredible.
We also made a few “topside” stops at the Abui traditional village and also to the erupting Komba volcano. The volcano sits out in the sea about 15 miles from shore and erupts every twenty to thirty minutes. We stayed until after dark and were rewarded with a spectacular hot rocks show!
Special thanks to the crew of the Arenui and our Alor Trip Guests!
Trip Two | Komodo
The second leg of the back-to-back trips was a Maumere to Labuan Bajo itinerary. This trip took us through Komodo National Park. As usual Komodo was packed with awesome macro.
Some baitfish were hanging around the shallows at Manta Alley where the manta action was first rate!
More amazing macro!