Introduction East Coast sites
These are classified as being east of East Timor’s capital city Dili. Depending on the condition of the road and which site you are going the drive can take between 1- 2hours. It may seem like a long time in a car but it is worth it! The east coast sites are definately some of the most spectacular reef systems around. Atauro Island has epic walls and corals too! However, these sites are ever changing in their scenery. Also we feel they offer a wider range of life including nudibranches and crustaceans.
There are actually more sites than listed below but these are the most popular picks. They are mentioned in order of their distance from Dili. See also “part 2” for more site options.
Not to give too much away because it is a secret after all! The entry to the dive site includes two trees actually in the water. Pretty cool for a photo! There is a little bit of a swim out to the reef and you need the tide to be high enough. However once you drop down on the reef it won’t disappoint. You can go east, you can go west, you can just wait in one place! The beauty is all around you.
Even though I am including it here Black Rock is much better accessed by boat. There is a long swim from the beach. Sometimes the current can make it unsuitable as a shore dive. Why not book a boat dive out this way to expericence it fully.
It is a obvious rock just offshore with a shallow reef one one side and a deep wall on the other. There are many sea fans and it can be very fishy! If you are lucky. you can see schools of jacks and even barracuda. Despite the sheer wall you can easily shallow up and continue seeing life abundant.
A well known site, even by local, for diving and snorkeling. As the name suggests (maybe) it is 41KMS out of Dili and one of the most popular locations. It has a reasonaly easy entry, although a bit rocky, during low or high tide. Where you enter there is a shallow wall on the right side gradually dropping to a sloping reef. Plenty of fish tend to congegate at the end of this all area. Additionally, if you are certified to 30m you can drop down and try to see the resident white tip reef shark in the sand.
Look out in the sand for garden eels and Kuhl’s stingrays. On the reef keep you eyes peeled for nudibranches, clownfish and tiger anemones.
Actually this site is a good combination of macro and reef. The shallow reef has some wonderful acropora corals that drop to a sandy area where there are loads of garden eels. As you follow this sandy area keep a look out for flounders too. Once you reach the reef look closely for leaf scorpionfish and pipefish. This also is a good place for comet fish in the cracks if you’re lucky.
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