ALOR AND LEMBATA ISLAND
Alor and Lembata Islands are the least visited
and are therefore the most unspoiled regions of East Nusa Tenggara
(NTT). Trek to the rim of Pantar volcano, visit the traditional
whaling village on Lembata or dive the straits of Alor at a dive
destination rated by all to be amongst the best in the world.
Alor Island regency is the least
visited and therefore the most unspoiled region of Nusa Tenggara
Timur (NTT). Trek to the rim of a volcano on Pantar or dive the
straits of Alor and Pantar in a dive destination rated by all to
be amongst the best in the world. Ponder on the existence of the
Moko drums, which are not found in large numbers anywhere else in
Indonesia and can be traced back to the Dongson period in Vietnam
around 350 BC and you start to realize that Alor is truly a land
lost in time.
Alor diving is known as the best in the world With
its smoldering Volcanoes reaching down into crystal clear waters
fringed with pristine coral reefs, coconut fringed pure white sandy
beaches and traditional villages built half way up mountains, the
scenery is as spectacular above as it is below the waterline. Alor
Island is so mountainous that it is almost impossible to pass from
one side to the other and many of the villages on the island itself
can only transport themselves via small wooden ferries. The eight
distinct dialects and more than 50 sub-dialects spoken today, testifies
to the diversity on Alor.
Alor traditional culture has been influenced over
the ages by the Indian, Chinese and Javanese traders as well as
by the Islamic and Christian religions. This can be seen in the
silk thread woven into the original weavings and the mix of Mosques
and Christian churches dotted throughout the Island. The traditional
dances, Ikat weavings motifs and the varies architectural style
greatly from area to area. With more than a dozen traditional villages
within one hours drive from the capital Kalabahi - Alor is a cultural
Lembata Island is known throughout
the world as the home of traditional whaling but what is not known
is that the people of this Island are especially rich in cultural
tradition. The beautiful rich Ikat weavings are entirely made from
homegrown cotton, spun and dyed by the weaver. These cloths are
still important as they are exchanged during marriage for Ivory
tusks between the two families. The scenery throughout the Island
is breathtaking, from the ever-imposing "Ile Ape" volcano
of the palm fringed bays to the colorful bustling local markets
- beauty and excitement are everywhere.
Lamalera village located on the southern tip of
Lembata Island is the home of a traditional whale hunting community.
Here, Sperm Whales have been hunted for centuries using all hand
made equipment; their spears, rope and boats are all made in the
village. The boats are without motors and the harpooner must jump
from the boat to implant his harpoon in to the whale to ensure success.
All parts of the whale are either consumed or traded with other
Islanders for corn or other food. While whale hunting is not generally
condoned by modern societies, when consider the ancestral links,
the primitive equipment used and the importance to the people of
Lamalera it is understandable that this traditional hunting has
been sanctioned by the United Nations.