One of the most exotic and popular dive site of Alor is Kalabahi Bay, which lies in Kalabahi City. It is located on the inside what is now known as the Pearl Bay, formerly known as the Kalabahi Bay, and has its own natural harbor. The beauty and uniqueness that I’ve seen of Kalabahi Bay’s underwater world is amazing. Even when compared with the Komodo Marine Park is also located in East Nusa Tenggara, Berau in East Kalimantan, Bunaken in North Sulawesi and Raja Ampat in Papua, the stunning beauty of Kalabahi Bayis surely an experience that I will not easily forget.
Kalabahi is actually the name of the only town on the island of Alor, with a metropolitan population of about 60,000 people in it. You could easily reach this place by taking flights from either Bali to Maumere or Kalabahi via Kupang. I’ve also heard that you could also take a boat there in the month of September to October, but I really don’t think that I have so much time to do that. In coastal areas, especially around the Kalabahi Bay, the capital of Alor Region, is a center of trade, bureaucracy and public life where the livelihoods of the poeples depend so much from the ocean. In fact, those that lives in this region are consisted of many ethnic groups with diverse backgrounds that became a symbol of modernization. At least, the area is turning into the development of traditional industries such as local the famous Alor weaved-cloth.
I have been looking forward to go and diving in Alor Archipelago from way back, as it is purported to have some of the best scuba diving here in Indonesia. And my arrival in the Alor Island region kicked those unrealistic expectations up to a notch. The unusually stunning, if not surreal, crystal blue waters around the sea of Alor simply hinted that they should provide the best diving in the whole world. There is even a chance that you might be escorted by massive resident dolphin super-pod if you are really lucky, or so the people say. I might have ended not to be too lucky at that day.
My disappointment to not be escorted by that superpod, which frequents the channel, is repelled when I start to diving in Kalabahi Bay waters. And true to my expectations, this dive site gives you one of the best muck diving sites ever. I encountered loads of clownfish, some black with white stripes, quite a few lionfish, and a couple of interesting frogfish. The soft corals and sponges were prolific. There were many pelagic fishes here such as the Trevallies, Snapper, Fusiliers, and Sweetlips. There were also quite a lot of Zebra crabs, many nudi’s, tiger shrimps, bobtail squids, and some strange frogfish species.
But the one that took most of my interest was the diversity of the coral fishes. There are many fishes that you could see around the coral such as Butterfly, Cardinal, Angel, Grouper, Damselfish, Anthias, Batfish, Wrasse, Parrot, Surgeon, Trigger, Box, Puffer, and Porcupine. The current is one-way with coral reef with varied bottom structure where there are a lot of stones, boommies, and it is quite sandy. And all in all, the place lived up to its reputation.