.Introduction Local Dive Sites;
“Local” Dive sites are counted as those shore dives within a 30minutes drive around East Timor’s capital city Dili. Below are brief descriptions of the main options. In general these dive sites are most popular for courses because they are close by yet still impressive. The key word for local tends to be ‘macro’ because we can find some wonderful and surprising small creatures at these locations. Yes there are fish and some coral reef areas but these are defiantely the best spots for the small stuff (and night dives!!)
Dili Rock East
A sloping reef site, also perfect and shallow for snorkelers. With easy access during high and low tide this is one of most dived sites locally. It starts with a shallow reef that comes to a sandy slope and gradually drops from 5m to around 18. Following the reef will bring you to a an extension, sometimes refers to as the ridge, than drops slowly to 30m. This area is usually full of fish and has some big barrel sponges. Although the reef continues this can be the turning point if the current is strong because no one wants to get sucked in the wrong direction haha. Due to the shallow reef it is so easy to finish the dive and make your safety stop whilst still seeing so much!
Another one of our most dived local sites is Tasi Tolu. This muck dive is full of the weird and wonderful of the underewater world. Despite very little hard coral there is a large patch of soft coral, anemones and sponges at around 15-18m direct from the entry point. Here is the perfect place to look for scorpionfish,including leaf scorpionfish, and lionfish (so be careful with your buoyancy). Also keep an eye out for frogfish,nudibranches, seahorses and huge varieties of small crustaceans.
In the shallow sandy slope there are some scattered areas of reef where life congregates but the highlight, if you are lucky enough, is to spot the DUGONG! Happy hunting!
Dili Rock West
As the name suggest this site is on the opposite side of Dili Rock East but the difference in these sites is more than obvious once you gert down there. Unfortunately, the entry to this site is restricted to high (or at least rising) tide to be able to swim across the shallow reef shelf. Meaning it’s totally tide dependent whether or not you can dive. Having said that is it a beautiful reef particularly down to around 20m. It tends to be a good place to spot nudibranches but also has plenty of fish ans the reef itself provides scenery that engrosses you throughout your dive.
There are some really large coral structures and barrel sponges here too!
An artifical reef made of old tanks and other metal, wood or glass structures. It’s located east of Tasi Tolu. Built with the aim of attracting various macro life. In addition providing a new dive site in an area that would otherwise just be sand. Thus far it has attracted moray eels, leafscorpionsish, tonnes of shrimps and so much more.
For a more detail decrtiption on this site please see our previous La Casa blog
An artifical reef made of old tires by Dive Timor which you can find between Dili rock east and Tasi Tolu. The tire structures start around 12m but the site drops easily to 30m. Over time frogfish, leafscorpionfish, shrimps, lionfish, pufferfish, groups and bannerfish have colonized this area.
Although there are dive site on both the front and back side of the jesus statue that can be accessed by shore the descriptions will be covered in “Boat Local”. These sites are most commonly visited by boat. Both require a high tide for entry. Plus the swim from the beach to the dropout can seem a bit far.
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