Timor-Leste is located in the heart of the Indo-Pacific coral triangle, and a home to more species of marine life
than anywhere else on the earth. The clean, warm waters that surround the world’s youngest country provides an ideal conditions for a fine coral reef ecosystem, supporting a vast diversity of creatures, from the smallest of shrimps to the massive whales, sharks and dolphins.
Timor-Leste’s north coast rests on the edge of an underwater precipice called the Wetar Strait. The Wetar Strait is a marine trench nearly three kilometers in depth, and this provides a corridor for pelagic and migrating animals such as whales, dolphin, tuna and sailfish patrol offshore. The coastal coral reef is constantly rejuvenated by the deep water, and this attracts both predators and prey to within the reach of its inhabitants. This is the secret for some of the world’s best diving experience.
To dive in Timor-Leste can be a simple swim into the sea from the roadside or it can be as thrilling as a flying drift dive shoulder to shoulder with a school of barracuda. The country’s dramatic mountain scenery is often repeated underwater: a strip of cliff crashes down to a sweeping beach, which plunges within meters to a spectacular coral wall that slopes off into a marine prairie of sponges and fans grazed by flashing shoals of brilliantly colored fish. The variety of corals and marine life makes the dive an experience simply incomparable with any other for marine biology enthusiasts and photographers in search of nature’s stranger, smaller critters, as well as divers who love to look at the big picture of life on one of the healthiest coral reef systems in the world.
The shore diving is easy and to the north coast, there are dive sites wherever the reef reaches the road. Some of the best diving in the country can be found within an hour’s time from Dili. Dive operators run 2-dive day trips to these sites and you can get many such operators there.
Towards the east is a place where experienced divers have a chance of adrenalin-pumping and can encounter very large animals at Whale Shark Point also known as Lone Tree. This roadside diving site is often a stiff current and brings whale sharks, orcas and mantas that cruise by on occasion during the months of August to November.
Incredible diving can also be experienced from Com to Jaco, which is the island that marks East Timor’s extreme east. It takes almost 4 hours to drive down to Com, so divers usually stay overnight exploring the outstanding beaches, abundant reefs and spotting sharks and mantas in a seascape of stunning hard and soft corals.