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East of Flores

Unspoiled & remote, yet bewitchingly accessible aboard The Seven Seas

Unspoiled, remote, yet bewitchingly accessible aboard The Seven Seas, the 2 dozen islands East of Flores are now recognized as one of Asia’s top ten dive destinations. This area ranges from the Eastern tip of Flores itself, in the West, via the islands of Adunara, Solor, Lembata and Pantar, plus numerous smaller islands in between, to the Island of Alor in the East of the Nusa Tenggara Timor island chain. Not only World Class muck diving at our new sites in Lembata and Pantar, not only the classical walls and coral reefs that made this area famous, but now also plenty of high voltage diving on rocky corners, islets and pinnacles along the Southern shores and in the straits between these islands.

Highly diverse habitats, with hard coral dominated reefs, pinnacles and walls covered in combinations of hard and soft corals and other invertebrates, various types of sandy habitats (volcanic black, reef white), sea grass beds and even some blue water mangroves! Great fish life on some of the rocky pinnacles and promontories in the South as well as on some of the new reef and wall dives that we have explored in the North. Last but not least some of the very best cetacean diversity and abundance all around and right through this area which forms a migrating and feeding area for several great whales (notably sperm and blue whales) as well as a preferred habitat from many species of dolphins that occur here in staggering numbers. This area like no other lends itself beautifully for a day of whale watching, whether that is close inshore around the deep volcanic slopes in search of blue whales or out wide where the sperm whales are diving! Too much to do and see but do take the time also for some cultural trips in these remote and interesting islands, with arguable the most stunning volcanic scenery that the entire Coral Triangle has to offer.

“What a marvellous experience! The diving was superb and the trips ashore were an added bonus. The entire staff team were friendly and very professional”

Tony and Susan Pigott

East of Flores, April 2015

The waters around the islands hold a great diversity in marine life, due to its variety in marine habitats. From dark sandy slopes full of the strangest critters, through lovely coral gardens and into the stronger currents in the narrow straits around Pantar island. Coral reefs are mostly found along the northern coast of the Solor and Alor island group with some coral reefs lining the channels in between major islands. The southern coastline of the islands is lined with rocks that hold great soft corals in selected places. The reefs also include rocky bottom habitats with diverse invertebrate life and good fish at some sites in the straits between most of the islands. Spectacular walls, great reefs, rocky corners, pinnacles full of life as well as most interesting critter dive are all on the agenda.

The straits in the area play an important role in the exchange of marine life between the Indian and Pacific Ocean. Each year whales and dolphins travel from the Pacific and Indian Oceans through the deep but narrow Nusa Tenggara island chain, which has been identified as an important migration route for numerous whale species as well and great schools of tuna. Massive blue whales also frequently visit here and sometimes spend time resting in Kalebahi Bay in Alor. Coastal communities living along eastern Indonesia’s marine migratory routes, especially in the villages of Lamalera and Lamakera, have been hunting whales for centuries. Equipped with simple spears, they take only what their village needs to eat and barter in return for vegetables and rice.

 

Our trips to the islands East of Flores are fast becoming one of our favorite cruising destinations both above and below the water surface. Every trip we are adding new dive sites and activities to the list of “have to include”. We have recently discovered some great new high adrenalin & big fish dives in an area that is still very much unexplored, and where the potential for finding more untouched sites is still very good. In Lembata we have a fantastic new site claimed to be the latest and greatest muck diving area recently discovered in this region. At this site we have found the rare and sought after Rhinopias or “weedy” scorpionfish on every visit to date. Also numerous other rare and unusual forms of marine life are found here, such as frog fish and various species of octopus. Combined with existing critter sites at Maumere, the Brewery at Lembata, Beang Abeng in Pantar, Clownfish Alley at Pura and Ghost Town in Alor we can offer a wide range of sites and custom build an itinerary to suit your interests. We can even take you to see the saltwater crocodiles in Wetar, and swim with them if you are game for something like that), if you are ready to take the time out for the extra steam and if weather permits. Wetar is the next island to the East of Alor, way off the beaten track, and this is where the “Forgotten Islands” begin…

The area offers without a doubt the most complete all round adventure cruise experience that Indonesia has to offer. From the breathtaking erupting volcano of Komba with a fireworks display at night that has to be seen to be believed, to spectacular tranquil lagoon anchorages surrounded by towering volcanoes. The simple villages and the friendly, welcoming people make cruising in this area a great experience for all who are open to take it in.

East of Flores Videos

Climate information

Dry season:May - November
Rainy season:December - April
Air temperature:27 - 32°C
Water temperature:27°C on average but often colder in the south
Best time to dive:All year round, site selection based on seasons

Activities

  • Spectacular diving especially for experienced divers
  • Beachcombing and Snorkeling
  • Exploration by Kayak to small islands with pristine beaches and coastlines
  • Fishing for pelagic fish like Spanish mackerel, dogtooth and yellowfin tuna
  • Whale & large marine life watching
  • A visit to the traditional whaling village of Lamalera in Lembata
  • Visit local markets, always an interesting and colorful experience (see below)
  • Visiting isolated villages with some of the friendliest people in Indonesia (see below)
  • Traditional performances by the indigenous inhabitants of the islands (see below)
  • Overland excursion to Kelimutu Lakes National Park in Flores (see below)
  • Visits to traditional weaving villages and admire / buy local textiles (see below)

Land Tours

Land Tours are optional on various itineraries and charged at US$ 40 per person per tour.

Watubelapi ikat weaving processIkat Weaving Watubelapi, Flores

Flores is known for its unique traditional cloth. Some of the island’s best textiles come from Watubelapi, a traditional ikat-weaving village. Not only will we be able to witness the traditional weaving process, we will have an opportunity to purchase some of these unique items during the visit. You will also enjoy some local entertainment from your hosts, including cultural performances.

You will be accompanied throughout by a knowledgeable English-speaking guide, who will explain to you the traditions and beliefs of the people of Watubelapi.

Kelimutu, by Robert WilpernigKelimutu, Flores

Experience a bus trip through the spectacular scenery of Flores island as you climb to the Kelimutu National Park, where you will hike around the famous three-coloured crater lakes of this volcanic region. A delicious lunch and visit to a traditional market are also included in this day tour.

You will be accompanied throughout by a knowledgeable English-speaking guide.

Aboi tribeTakpala/Latefui Aboi Tribe, Alor

A rare opportunity to visit the Aboi hill-tribe from the island of Alor, still actively practicing their traditional culture and beliefs. You will watch cultural performances and learn about the value of the “Moko” drum from your knowledgeable English-speaking guide. Afterwards, you will visit a traditional market and the Museum of a Thousand Mokos in Kalabahi town.

How to get there

Flights: From Bali to Maumere
Flights also available to Kalabahi via Kupang but less frequent.

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