The guests on board were an interesting mix from Malaysia, Australia, Saudi Arabia, India, Holland and Spain and included, Michael Aw, the celebrated photographer and founder of Ocean Geographic. www.OGSociety.org
We were also joined by Benjamin Kahn, the director of APEX Environmental, who educated us all on cetaceans in the area. We were lucky enough to experience several encounters. There were pods of Spinner, Fraser and Bottle Nosed dolphins mixed in with Melonhead whales in the Pantar Straits. There were Blue Whales feeding in the late afternoon off the south coast of Pantar and again along the north east coast of Flores on our way back into Maumere Bay. Many thanks to Benjamin for sharing his videos and pictures of the encounters.
Dive Damai has now become an official monitor for APEX and we are hoping to see many cetaceans as we cruise around this amazing archipelago. For more information on the great work that APEX does in Indonesia please take a look at their website:
This itinerary has some world class macro dive sites throughout the trip to be found in Waiwewong, Beangabang, Kalabahai Bay and Adonara.
In Waiwewong the highlight was the pair of Rhinopias frondosa in colourful yellow and purple but we also spotted Zebra crabs in the fire urchins, Halameda ghost pipefish and Starry night octopus…
In Beangabang we enjoyed Matote octopus, a pair of Ambon scorpionfish, frogfish, a beautiful red robust ghostpipefish and two thorny seahorses…
In Kalabahi Bay there were more Rhinopias, Strawberry Gymnodoris, a Harlequin shrimp, a pair of Ornate ghostpipefish and a juvenile warty frogfish nestled amongst the tunicates…
In Andonara we dived at Tanjung Wotang, a great muck slope with some excellent coral in the shallows. One of the mushroom corals was home to not a pair of but three mushroom coral pipefish living harmoniously. A favourite are the juvenile yellow boxfish hiding amongst the sea urchins.
The reefs along the south of the archipelago are rich in both hard and soft corals and reef fish. There are clouds of purple and orange anthias, yellow damselfish and barberfish hovering over the reef. When the current is running the colourful soft corals become plump and encompass every colour of the rainbow; yellows and oranges to pinks and mauves. There are plenty of nudibranchs for the nudinerds and moray eels hiding in holes on the reef. If you move away from the reef and out to the blue then the sightings of the big fish increase; rainbow runners, trevally, tuna and a number of sharks.
Our favourite reef dive of the trip was Watu Balu located in the middle of the channel by Pulau Rusa. We enjoyed this dive 3 times and there was always plenty to see; sea kraits, moray eels, nurse shark and a giant frogfish to name some of the highlights.
After the morning dive along Ternate Wall we decided to visit the village on Pulau Buaya to witness the ladies weaving ikat amongst the baby goats. We also watched a fisherman mending his nets and then following the music, unexpectedly can across the circumcision celebrations for handful of the village boys which was not for the fainthearted.
No trip to Alor would be without the photo opportunity of the freedivers from Pulau Pura but it doesn’t have to be the kids. The fisherman are experts too!
Please visit our Alor gallery.