After the recent discovery that East Timor’s Ataúro Island trumps Raja Ampat in hosting the most biodiverse waters in the world, we decided to ask the experts what else the country has to offer for divers. The tropical island of Timor, which is divided between East Timor on the eastern part and Indonesia on the western part, is largely mountainous and sparsely populated – offering an abundance of rare species both on land and below the waves. Francisco Mesina, Operations Manager at Dive Timor Lorosae offered his list of the five best dive sites in the region:
The farthest dive site in the east and a top site for nudibranchs, K57 is famed for its unusual topography of overhangs and swim-throughs, as well as an abundance of rare critters. With coral that varies in shape, size and formation, the site also features tight crevices and caves, with the chance to spot razorfish, lionfish and boxfish.
A great muck dive, Bob’s Rock also has a reef and shallow wall to explore. Offering the chance to see leopard sharks, big groupers and plenty of diverse reef fish, it’s a top dive site among those in the know. Near the entry point, there’s a chance to watch garden eels on the seabed sway like reeds in the wind.
A fantastic drift dive that offers great visibility, Lone Tree treats divers to a huge anemone garden that shelters millions of clownfish. There is a variety of reef fish that inhabit the sandy patches and gardens, along with beautiful nudis.
Tipped as the site for muck dive enthusiasts, Tasi Tolu offers divers the chance to seek out plenty of unusual macro subjects, such as seahorses, leaffish, and nudis. It’s also a good site to spot the ever-elusive dugongs, or sea cows, who visit to graze on the seagrass.
Black Rock is known for its spectacular wall that descends down into darkness. Francisco has been to a depth of 50 metres and still hasn’t found the bottom. The site is full of caverns and pelagics passing by in the blue. The currents can, at times, be extremely strong, so we suggest doing it as a boat dive.