Featured House Reef: Alami Alor | Indonesia

Alami Alor has a very unique and beautiful house reef that runs the entire length of the resort and a bit beyond. While the reef is right in front of the bungalows, you can not access it from your rooms as the entire shoreline is made up of large lava rocks, not to mention as soon as you get to the waterline the reef begins, so there’s not real area to safely enter the water. Instead, the reef is accessible from Alami Alor’s private pier which is right in front of the dive center where all your snorkeling gear is stored. You can either jump in from the pier, do a seated entry, or climb down the wooden ladder at one end of the floating platform.

There is rarely a current on the house reef as the resort is situated on the side of a bay where the current doesn’t affect, at least not in a significant way. On stronger tides there can be a bit of a current, but it’s never really something we need to be concerned about as you can almost always swim against it.

The house reef starts with a shallow plateau that runs the entire length of the resort’s property and beyond. At very low tides this plateau can be inaccessible to snorkelers as it can only be a few centimeters deep, however, at medium to high tides you can access the whole thing. As you swim further away from the bungalows the plateau turns into a gentle slope which again runs the entire length of the reef.

A standard house reef snorkel route would be to jump in at the pier and then swim with the bungalows on your left. As you pass the last bungalow you’ll start to notice that the reef turns into more of a black sand slope. This is a good turnaround point. As you arrive at the pier it’s always nice to explore the area directly around it as a lot of life collects around the pilings and hides under the floating platform. If you want to keep snorkleing, I’d suggest continuing on past the pier—resort on your right–for another twenty meters or so, before turning back to exit on the wooden ladder. At an average pace, this loop could take an hour or so.

Alami Alor’s house reef is made up of a combination of hard and soft corals which start nearly at the waterline. The plateau and the shallow side of the slope are more coral-dense with the coral gradually tapering off into a mixture of coral heads and black volcanic sand towards the deeper end. You’ll no doubt see a bunch of different crinoids/feather stars, as well as anemones, table corals, sea stars, and barrel sponges, among a whole host of other colorful corals.

The reef is home to a ton of different critters and vibrant reef fish big and small. Directly under the jetty you’ll no doubt see the school of juvenile & adolescent batfish—not to be confused with angelfish—who love to hide under the floating platform. This is also a great place to look for the school or diamond spadefish, and if you’re in Alor towards the beginning of the Alor snorkeling season you can be overwhelmed by a school of anchovy-like fish who are constantly stalked by large bluefin trevally as well as the juvenile blacktip reef sharks who patrol in the very shallow water.

The house reef is a nursery for reef fish, particularly up in the shallows, so you can expect to come across juvenile sweetlips, juvenile barramundi cod, juvenile angel fish, and a bunch of other ones. Anemones and their resident fish are scattered all over the reef as well, as are a ton of cool critters like peacock mantis shrimp, nudibranchs, moray eels, pipefish, scorpionfish, cuttlefish, octopus, and at sunset you can even find Mandarin fish!

About Author

Alex Lindbloom
Alex is a Snorkel Venture and Dive Safari Asia guide as well as the video and photo pros for both companies. Alex is also a field editor for a popular underwater photography magazine. Prior to joining Snorkel Venture in 2018 Alex lived and worked all over the world working as an underwater cameraman, with five of those years living/working on a yacht in Indonesia. Alex's images and videos have garnered many international awards such as Underwater Photographer of the Year and can be seen on NatGeo, Discovery Channel, the UN Building, and various magazines.