Island Life East of Flores: Lamalera, Alor, Lembata, and Beyond

My first introduction to Indonesia came through the Photovoices International project.

Sponsored by National Geographic, the program was designed to document cultures and ways of life from communities in danger of disappearing.

The first project focused on the subsistence whalers of Lamalera, who have been hunting sperm whales using handheld spears for at least 500 years. As I looked through literally thousands of images from the village, the stories from this far-away place captivated me, leaving a mark that hasn't faded even though it's been ten years.

When I heard there was an opportunity to visit this village while on the Seven Seas East of Flores liveaboard trip, it felt like a part of my Indonesia experience would be coming full circle. I was finally going to have the chance to see this mythical place for myself.

But I was to find out that Lamalera was just the beginning.

Over ten days of exploring the rarely-visited islands East of Maumere in Flores, I was amazed at the diversity of the people and cultures present here. From the ancient tribe of the Abui in Alor to the subsistence spear fishermen off the coast of Lembata, we saw so many different ways of life within just this small part of Indonesia.

This gallery includes highlights from the villages, islands, and cultures we experienced on the boat trip.

Check out the gallery below to see the photo highlights, or see the all the photo galleries from our East of Flores liveaboard dive trip - from scuba diving, to aerial photos, to freediving, to island culture, to portraits of the people who live in this amazing place. You can also see galleries from other Seven Seas liveaboard dive trips - my absolute favorite way to explore the awesome natural beauty and unique cultures of Indonesia.

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Tommy Schultz

Photographer, Writer, & Film Maker

Tommy spent years capturing stories from around the world with his camera. He was inspired by the ocean, working with creative people, and sharing what he had learned along the way. If you're curious how / why he made the switch to being a full-time photographer, just click here.