Discovering/rediscovering Dive sites
Photo by Mayumi Kubota
Dreamers Dive Academy has been venturing out to explore on the west coast to look into ‘off the map’ dive site options. Not to say that these places have not been dived before. Especially as Dive Timor Lorosae has been diving these reefs since 2000! But we have been trying to dicover or rediscover some of these places.
Our focus has been areas closer to Dili. Between Dan’s sandy bottom and Bubble Beach. This stretch of road has so much access for the car which is one of the key elements in chosing a diveable site.
Another important feature to look for is an easy entry as no-one wants to be walking over sharp rocks or corals. Most of the spots we have tried have sandy patches but some are better explored during high tide.
Explore -Attempt 1
After one of our divers, who also flies his plane, voiced his interest in finding a new site we decided to take him out to explore. He had seen from his plane a few potential reefs so we went to check them out. Firstly, we looked into the entry closest to the reef. That turned out to be blocked by a friendly fishing village. Secondly, we went to the easiest entry for the car close by. We had to drive through a football field. Finding a place to park we ventured through the trees and down to the beach.’
Initially we snorkeled out to see the viability of the reef. Like the majority of place here in Timor Leste it was beautiful with lots of big hard corals. Unfortunately, it was a long swim to reach any drop of and it did not appear to drop too deep- perhaps 15m. This is a great place for a snorkel though as you are contanstly seeing things. Definately needs to be high tide though.
Explore- Attempt 2
After deciding the swim would be too much with our twins/sidemount gear we opted to explore another area. Close to an existing dive site called Dan’s Sandy Bottom we saw an easily accessible entry for the car. After parking we jumped in and snorkeled again.
Primarily it looked like there was only sand but after swimming a few metres west we found the start of the reef. After gearing up and getting in we were pleasantly surprised by what we found. A sloping reef surrounded by a sandy bottom. The sandy bottom was full of garden eels. Just hundreds of them sticking out and waving around in the mild current.
On the reef we saw lots of snappers and sweetlips. hiding amongst the corals we dound a stone fish and mushroom coral pipefish. Plus soooo many stingrays laying on the sand!
With good visabilty and easy conditions we thoroughly enjoyed the dive. Dreamers Dive Academy Timor has since been back a few times with other guests and recently showed the site to Dive Timor Lorosae staff. It is now named “Garden Eel City”