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Snorkeling Alor!

Snorkeling pristine reefs in Alor, Indonesia!

Map of Alor, Indonesia and the islands that we visit on our Coral Triangle Adventures snorkeling tourAlor is located in the virtually unexplored islands of Eastern Nusa Tenngara (Flores Island and the eastern archipelagoes of Alor and Solor). Both Eastern and Western Nusa Tenngara (Lombok and Sumbawa) and the province of Bali, make up the chain of volcanic islands called the Lesser Sundas. Located about 8º south of the Equator and oriented on a east-west axis, the Lesser Sundas are a relatively young chain of islands that formed as a result of the interaction between the Indo-Australian and Sunda plates. Politically, they define part of the southern boundary of Indonesia and are most famous for tourist destinations such as Bali and Komodo National Park.
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Seldom visited and largely unaffected by tourism, the Alor archipelago possesses rugged landscapes with several active volcanoes nearby and an unspoiled underwater wilderness that contains an astounding diversity of marine life. Located squarely in the Coral Triangle, a geographical term used to describe the region that possesses the world’s highest levels of marine biodiversity,  the reefs in the area generally showcase thousands of tropical fish that make their homes amongst fields of colorful corals. Furthermore, the area boasts a wide variety of habitats including exposed reef flats, dramatic drop-offs, coral gardens, secluded bays, protected shallow reefs, current-swept passes, and black sand where an amazing number of rare and bizarre critters can be found. Our approach to Alor from Maumere gives us the chance to snorkel several sites on the beautiful islands of Adunara, Lembata, and Pantar – each with their own active volcano – as we make our way to the Alor archipelago.

The biologically rich region also has an equally rich local culture. The hill tribes of Alor are well known for their dances as well as rare village centerpieces Moko Drums, and Alor fish traps, called Boubou, can be seen on many of our snorkels throughout the archipelago. But clearly the guest favorite is that on just about every snorkel around Alor, we will be greeted with smiling faces of children as they come out to play with us in the shallow tropical sea.
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ITINERARY

Tour begins and ends in Bali. One round trip, internal flight (Bali-Maumere-Bali).Our snorkeling adventure in Alor begins and ends in Bali, Indonesia. We have one short, internal flight (Bali-Maumere-Bali). Our journey on the boat generally follows a eastward route, stopping to visit several islands and island groups along our way to the Alor archipelago. After spending a few days in Alor, we will begin our journey back to Maumere, again stopping off to snorkel along the way. The following is a general itinerary based on a combination of our own experiences in the area and that of the crew onboard our expedition vessel. Please note that this is a general itinerary and that weather, tides, and other unforeseen or unavoidable circumstances may affect the schedule at any time.

Day 1: Sanur, Bali
Meals provided: D
Arrive in Sanur, Bali check in at the group hotel/resort. Welcome dinner and trip orientation at the resort. Overnight Hyatt Regency Bali.

Day 2: Maumere
Meals provided: B,L,D
Our morning flight takes us to Maumere, Flores and upon our arrival, we will transfer to our liveaboard boat and home on the water. After our boat orientation and lunch we depart for the Alor archipelago. If time permits, in the late afternoon we will snorkel Ribbon Eel Reef, named for the abundance of blue ribbon eels that can be found along the shallow reef margin. Overnight Gaia Love.

Day 3: Adunara
Meals provided: B,L,D
Our snorkeling sites for today are found around the islands of Adunara and Solor, in the Solor archipelago. Feather Star City is located along the southwestern edge of Adunara Island and along with the hundreds, if not thousands, of feather stars that shine like jewels against the backdrop of black sand, nudibranchs, corals, and  sponges of just about every color also reside here. We will also snorkel along an extensive reef flat that radiates from the tiny islet called Pulau Serbete. Overnight Gaia Love.

Day 4-5: Pantar Island
Meals provided: B,L,D
As we continue eastward towards Alor, we visit the island of Pantar where swift island passages on the west side and a protected, cool-water bay on the east offer us the chance to visit very different, yet very remarkable habitats. On the west side of Pantar (Alor Strait), we spend the day around Anthias Alley, a stretch of coastline where the reef, beginning in a just a few feet of water, often plummets hundreds of feet vertically just a few feet away from shore. And as remarkable as this is, the clear blue water and robust currents attract thousands of anthias that make this site easily one of the most dazzling of all that we do in Alor. A different type of habitat awaits us on the east side of Pantar. Beangabang Bay was created by ancient lava flows from the nearby, still active volcano. The cool water from the Savu Sea mixes with hot thermals to create a surreal snorkeling experience. The black sand beaches possess some of the richest assortment of unusual critters like garden eels, seahorses, pipefishes, scorpionfishes, nudibranchs, and octopuses. There are few places in the world where we have the chance to see such a diversity of marine life in such a small area. Overnight Gaia Love.

Day 6 – 9: Alor
Meals provided: B,L,D
Alor! There are dozens of fantastic reefs in the area (Pantar Strait) including black sand, incredibly colorful coral gardens, steep limestone walls built by thousands of years of persistent coral growth, and extensive fringing reefs with what seems like limitless fields soft and hard corals. Most of the abundant, healthy reefs we will snorkel upon possess thousands of species of reef fishes and due to the volume of water that flows through the area, will have currents that gently whisk us along on the surface while we watch marine life unfold below. Overnight Gaia Love.

Day 10: Lembata Island
Meals provided: B,L,D
As we turn westward and head back to Maumere, we have the chance to visit the island of Lembata, home to several active volcanoes and a wealth of marine habitats. The largest and most active volcano, Lewotolo, looms over several of our snorkeling sites that include shallow reef flats, exposed seaward drop-offs, mangroves-lined fringing reefs, and black sand. We will have the chance to explore many of these areas, giving us the opportunity to see larger seaward reef fishes like sharks, unicornfishes, snappers, and groupers, as well as some of the rare and unusual critters like nudibranchs, pipefishes, scorpionfishes, and juvenile angelfishes and sweetlips. Overnight Gaia Love.

Day 11: Pulau Besar
Meals provided: B,L,D
Many of the shallow, protected reefs in this area offer great chances to see a variety of both juvenile and adult reef fish, including rare butterflyfish species like Merten’s butterflyfish. And if we didn’t get the chance to snorkel on Ribbon Eel Reef at the beginning of the trip, we will visit it on this day. Rich reef margins provide habitat for thousands of reef fishes and in the sea grass, octopuses, scorpionfishes, and colorful sea stars attract our attention. We will spend the entire day in the area, making the most of the often calm, aquarium-like conditions. Overnight Gaia Love.

Day 12: Maumere / Bali
Meals provided: B,L,D
Disembark in Maumere and transfer to the airport for the flight back to Bali. Transfer to group hotel/resort. Afternoon on your own. Group dinner in Sanur. Overnight Hyatt Regency Bali.

Day 13: International flights or extensions
Meals provided: B

DEPARTURES

Sept 11 – 23, 2023 ←Click to request a booking
Accommodations: Gaia Love
Guides: Ethan Daniels, Brian Magnier
Length: 13 days

Prices and Payment schedule:
$8200 USD per person, double occupancy
$12,200 USD per person, single occupancy

Reservation deposit: $500 USD
March 11, 2023: $4000 USD
June 11, 2023: $3700 USD / $7700 (single)

Sept 24 – Oct 06, 2024 ←Click to request a booking
Accommodations: Gaia Love
Guides: TBD
Length: 13 days

Prices and Payment schedule:
$USD per person, double occupancy
$USD per person, single occupancy

Reservation deposit: $500 USD
March 11, 2023: $USD
June 11, 2023: $USD / $(single)

Back-to-back combination with: Komodo Sept 12 – 24, 2024

Tour cost includes:

  • Accommodations on day 1 through day 13
  • All meals on days 2 through 12 (dinner on day 1 – breakfast on day 13)
  • All internal transfers including international arrival and departure transfers
  • Non-alcoholic beverages
  • All snorkeling and park fees
  • All gratuities

Tour cost does not include:

  • Round-trip international airfare (Please contact us with recommendations for routes or referrals to any of the several travel agents we currently work with)
  • Additional hotel accommodations and meals as a result of travel outside of the program dates
  • Visa requirements including payments
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • International departure taxes
  • Extra / overweight baggage fees
  • Trip insurance (recommended; (we recommend Travel GuardWorld Nomads, or Travel Insure)
  • DAN insurance (required unless personal insurance program has worldwide emergency evacuation services)
  • Additional accommodations while on tour in the event of flight schedule changes or events of force majeure
  • Any required COVID-19 tests
  • Any required quarantine or flight changes due to a positive COVID-19 result

Cancellation policy:
91 – 150 days prior to departure: 50% of trip cost
90 days or less prior to departure: 100% of tour cost

Please see our Terms and Conditions for more information


Accommodations

We use the finest live-aboard boat in Indonesia to host us on our exploration of Alor, the Gaia Love. In Bali, we stay at the Hyatt Regency Bali in the quiet beach village of Sanur.

gaia love - coral triangle adventuresThe Gaia Love is a modern 40 meters steel hull vessel build from the ground up in Batam, Indonesia. It is purpose built to sail and explore the far reach regions of Indonesia and complies with class requirements of BKI (Biro Klasifikasi Indonesia). Designed with a modern contemporary look and with an emphasis on diving in comfort, she accommodates up to 20 guests in ten spacious ensuite rooms: six on the upper deck and four on the lower deck. Each room is approximately 20 square meters and has individual air-conditioning and ensuite bathrooms with hot water. Upper deck rooms will feature an additional private outdoor balcony. Gaia Love has a total of four decks (lower, main, upper and top/sundeck). The lounge, restaurant, and camera room are located on the main deck. The lounge has the entertainment center, pantry, snacks and drinks, a spacious couch and library. Adjacent to the lounge is the seating area for plated meals. At the rear is an over-sized dive deck that can accommodate up to 28 divers. There are eleven individual set up stations, each with its own deck bin, cubby, and rinse tank for cameras. The lower boat deck is the boarding area and where two 5.5 meters diving skiffs will always be ready to accommodate passengers. The sundeck is perfect for evening gatherings and relaxation under the stars. Sufficient shelter is available here as well as unshaded areas for those who wish to soak up some sun. Safety is top priority for us. Gaia Love has a well-equipped wheelhouse with up-to-date navigation equipment and advance communication systems and the boat is equipped with life rafts, life vests, EPRIBs, fire protection and firefighting systems. An additional back up RIB is stored on the top deck, easily and swiftly deployable by a one-ton crane, should it be needed. For more info about the Gaia Love click here.

 


 

The Hyatt Regency in Sanur, Bali, is a beachfront property built on nine hectares of lush tropical gardens. Relax in one of the 363 rooms, designed with contemporary Balinese and Japanese elements and comforts. Each room features a patio or balcony overlooking lush gardens or partial ocean. The property has three gorgeous swimming pools and three restaurants to choose from: Omang Omang, Pizzaria, and Piano Lounge. The hotel is conveniently located near Bali’s main tourist attractions, and the International Airport Ngurah Rai is just 16 km away. Hyatt Regency Bali is a CHSE certified and GBAC STARTMaccredited hotel.

Our room type is the Premium King or Twin. These rooms are 39 square meters and feature a sitting/lounging area and a spacious terrace with easy access to the pools, restaurants and gardens. For more information about the Hyatt Regency Bali, please click here.


DEPARTURES

Sept 11 – 23, 2023 ←Click to request a booking
Accommodations: Gaia Love
Guides: Ethan Daniels, Brian Magnier
Length: 13 days

Prices and Payment schedule:
$8200 USD per person, double occupancy
$12,200 USD per person, single occupancy

Reservation deposit: $500 USD
March 11, 2023: $4000 USD
June 11, 2023: $3700 USD / $7700 (single)

Sept 24 – Oct 06, 2024 ←Click to request a booking
Accommodations: Gaia Love
Guides: TBD
Length: 13 days

Prices and Payment schedule:
$USD per person, double occupancy
$USD per person, single occupancy

Reservation deposit: $500 USD
March 11, 2023: $USD
June 11, 2023: $USD / $(single)

Back-to-back combination with: Komodo Sept 12 – 24, 2024

Tour cost includes:

  • Accommodations on day 1 through day 13
  • All meals on days 2 through 12 (dinner on day 1 – breakfast on day 13)
  • All internal transfers including international arrival and departure transfers
  • Non-alcoholic beverages
  • All snorkeling and park fees
  • All gratuities

Tour cost does not include:

  • Round-trip international airfare (Please contact us with recommendations for routes or referrals to any of the several travel agents we currently work with)
  • Additional hotel accommodations and meals as a result of travel outside of the program dates
  • Visa requirements including payments
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • International departure taxes
  • Extra / overweight baggage fees
  • Trip insurance (recommended; (we recommend Travel GuardWorld Nomads, or Travel Insure)
  • DAN insurance (required unless personal insurance program has worldwide emergency evacuation services)
  • Additional accommodations while on tour in the event of flight schedule changes or events of force majeure
  • Any required COVID-19 tests
  • Any required quarantine or flight changes due to a positive COVID-19 result

Cancellation policy:
91 – 150 days prior to departure: 50% of trip cost
90 days or less prior to departure: 100% of tour cost

Please see our Terms and Conditions for more information


What to Expect and Bring

WHAT TO EXPECT

Alor is located about 8 degrees south of the Equator and enjoys a tropical climate with temperatures that hover around 82º F (28º C) during the daytime and fall slightly at night. Afternoon and early morning showers are common but the sun generally shines throughout the day creating a perfect environment for swimming in the clear, blue seas.

Water temperatures vary between 68º – 86º F (20º – 30º C). The large range in water temperature reflects the influence of oceanic upwellings that affect the south side of the archipelago. The northern parts of the islands are surrounded by warm, equatorial seas (Flores Sea), while the southern parts are exposed to the deep Savu Sea. The combination of the southern Tradewinds blowing in a northwesterly direction and the Coriolis Effect export the waters of the Savu Sea away from the islands. Consequently, cool water from the depths upwell to the surface resulting in much cooler sea surface temperatures.

Each day of snorkeling revolves around a schedule that boasts plenty of water time. Aside from the snorkel on the house reef, all of our sites will be accessed via two dinghies (small boats) that have good ladders for entry back into the boat. With the daily goal of snorkeling some of the best reefs in the world, our schedule generally includes two snorkel sessions and a presentation before dinner. Our first snorkel session begins after breakfast and can last up until lunch. We generally budget for at least three hours of water time so it is up to you! About an hour after lunch, we jump back in the water for another session. We plan to do t least one night snorkel. On those days, we may follow the regular schedule with a night snorkel in lieu of presentation.

While most of our snorkel sessions will take place in warm water, there are several sites around Alor where we may experience cooler water. Many of the reefs we will snorkel upon are subjected to currents associated with the large tide cycles that prevail in the area. While we often schedule our session during a time when the currents are minimal, there will be planned drift snorkels. These types of snorkels take advantage of the water movement and allow us to float over the reef without having to actively swim. This activity usually becomes an instant favorite among our guests as it is very exciting and yet very passive at the same time! In some cases, however, the unpredictability of the tides may expose us to strong water movement. This may require a bit of effort though we will always have our dinghies standing by to help if needed.

Please read more about our daily schedule here.

WHAT TO BRING

The following list is a suggestion of things to bring and applies to almost all of our trips (specific items on a particular departure will be noted on the departure information).

-A good fitting mask, snorkel, and set of fins. If your equipment is brand new, please try it out in the pool. Determining the fit and function of your equipment in the pool includes doing several laps with all of your equipment on. Doing several snorkel dives is also very beneficial. It is also important to clean your new equipment, especially your mask. Cleaning procedures for your mask include light scrubbing with toothpaste or dishwasher soap to remove the light layer of silicon that is used to preserve the mask during shipping and storage. All areas of the mask, both inside and out, need to be addressed. Doing this greatly reduces the chances of having your mask fog. Not doing this, even when using mask de-fogger, usually results in a fogged mask.

-A wetsuit, rash guard, diveskin, or any type of clothing that can be used for thermal and/or protection form the sun. We suggest bringing a full 3mm wetsuit and some type of core insulation like a vest or shirt made of 1 – 2 mm neoprene (e.g., Lavacore or Sharkskin shirts or vests). These items will not only provide thermal protection but protection from the sun as well. For those who feel that a 3mm suit may be too warm, please consider a full body skin or rash guard to ensure protection from the strong sun. With regards to thermal protection, remember the saying: it is better to have and not need, than to need and not have. One that note…

-Head protection in the form of a wetsuit hood, a cap, or even a bandana. Anything that can keep the sun off of your head is extremely important. It is the most exposed part of our bodies when we are floating on the surface.

-Underwater Flashlight for our planned night snorkel. Alor has excellent opportunities for night snorkeling and we will take full advantage.

-Biodegradable sunscreen lotion. Okay, this is a tricky suggestion. Even many biodegradable sunscreen lotions have been shown to harm and even kill tiny larvae (baby marine life ranging from fish to all types of invertebrates especially coral). It is fine to wear on land, but we highly discourage the use of sunscreen lotions in the water. Having a full wetsuit or skin will do the job of protection from the sun much better than lotions and the suits also help with thermal protection. It is truly a win-win for everyone and the marine environment.

-Casual, lightweight, tropical clothing
-Sunglasses (and a spare in case you lose your main pair)
-Comfortable footwear such as active sandals (Teva, Keen, Merrell, etc.)
-Hats. We cannot stress the importance of a hat in the tropics!
-All of our boats provide items like shampoo, soap, towels, etc. We bring this up because these items represent added weight and if they leak, less-than-fun times during the unpacking stage of the trip.

Other items that may be considered:
-Lightweight rainwear to protect from the occasional afternoon shower

DEPARTURES

Sept 11 – 23, 2023 ←Click to request a booking
Accommodations: Gaia Love
Guides: Ethan Daniels, Brian Magnier
Length: 13 days

Prices and Payment schedule:
$8200 USD per person, double occupancy
$12,200 USD per person, single occupancy

Reservation deposit: $500 USD
March 11, 2023: $4000 USD
June 11, 2023: $3700 USD / $7700 (single)

Sept 24 – Oct 06, 2024 ←Click to request a booking
Accommodations: Gaia Love
Guides: TBD
Length: 13 days

Prices and Payment schedule:
$USD per person, double occupancy
$USD per person, single occupancy

Reservation deposit: $500 USD
March 11, 2023: $USD
June 11, 2023: $USD / $(single)

Back-to-back combination with: Komodo Sept 12 – 24, 2024

Tour cost includes:

  • Accommodations on day 1 through day 13
  • All meals on days 2 through 12 (dinner on day 1 – breakfast on day 13)
  • All internal transfers including international arrival and departure transfers
  • Non-alcoholic beverages
  • All snorkeling and park fees
  • All gratuities

Tour cost does not include:

  • Round-trip international airfare (Please contact us with recommendations for routes or referrals to any of the several travel agents we currently work with)
  • Additional hotel accommodations and meals as a result of travel outside of the program dates
  • Visa requirements including payments
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • International departure taxes
  • Extra / overweight baggage fees
  • Trip insurance (recommended; (we recommend Travel GuardWorld Nomads, or Travel Insure)
  • DAN insurance (required unless personal insurance program has worldwide emergency evacuation services)
  • Additional accommodations while on tour in the event of flight schedule changes or events of force majeure
  • Any required COVID-19 tests
  • Any required quarantine or flight changes due to a positive COVID-19 result

Cancellation policy:
91 – 150 days prior to departure: 50% of trip cost
90 days or less prior to departure: 100% of tour cost

Please see our Terms and Conditions for more information


Departures

 

gaia love - coral triangle adventures

Gaia Love

Sept 11 – 23, 2023 ←Click to request a booking
Accommodations: Gaia Love
Guides: Ethan Daniels, Brian Magnier
Length: 13 days

Prices and Payment schedule:
$TBD USD per person, double occupancy
$TBD USD per person, single occupancy

Reservation deposit: $500 USD
March 11, 2023: $TBD USD
June 11, 2023: $TBD USD

 

gaia love - coral triangle adventures

Gaia Love

Sept 24 – Oct 06, 2024 ←Click to request a booking
Accommodations: Gaia Love
Guides: TBD
Length: 13 days

Prices and Payment schedule:
$USD per person, double occupancy
$USD per person, single occupancy

Reservation deposit: $500 USD
March 11, 2023: $USD
June 11, 2023: $USD / $(single)

Back-to-back combination with: Komodo Sept 12 – 24, 2024

Tour cost includes:

  • Accommodations on day 1 through day 13
  • All meals on days 2 through 12 (dinner on day 1 – breakfast on day 13)
  • All internal transfers including international arrival and departure transfers
  • Non-alcoholic beverages
  • All snorkeling and park fees
  • All gratuities

Tour cost does not include:

  • Round-trip international airfare (Please contact us with recommendations for routes or referrals to any of the several travel agents we currently work with)
  • Additional hotel accommodations and meals as a result of travel outside of the program dates
  • Visa requirements including payments
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • International departure taxes
  • Extra / overweight baggage fees
  • Trip insurance (recommended; (we recommend Travel GuardWorld Nomads, or Travel Insure)
  • DAN insurance (required unless personal insurance program has worldwide emergency evacuation services)
  • Additional accommodations while on tour in the event of flight schedule changes or events of force majeure
  • Any required COVID-19 tests
  • Any required quarantine or flight changes due to a positive COVID-19 result

Cancellation policy:
91 – 150 days prior to departure: 50% of trip cost; 90 days or less prior to departure: 100% of tour cost. In any event of cancellation we will endeavor to find a replacements. In the case we find replacement guests we may be able to offer a partial refund or may transfer some or all payments to another departure.

Please see our Terms and Conditions for more information

Trip Reports


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Alor, Indonesia Snorkeling Tour, May, 2019 Trip Report The Lesser Sunda Islands never seem to disappoint snorkelers with the region’s
Alor Indonesia, October 2022 Trip Report It sure felt wonderful to be back in Indonesian waters again and snorkeling through
close up of anemonefish photographed in Alor, Indoneisa
Alor Snorkeling Tour, 2018 Trip Report Alor 2018 trip report. Unbelievable. That one word is certainly an apt description of