Wednesday, May 9, 2007


The currents in East Timor can be treacherous. If you think you know the currents here you havn’t dived enough in the country. If someone tells you they know the currents, they havn’t dived enough. When you plan your diving it would be a good idea to check with one of the established dive operators in Dili on tide times. Two of the best are FreeFlow Diving and Dive Timor Lorasae. Their experienced staff should be able to tell you the best and worst times for getting wet, although it is not written in stone. In general about 1 hour before either high or low tide is optimum for gentle to no current. I have found the best visibility is on a low tide, especially during the wet season. Another tip is to watch the local spear fishermen. If they are in the water then generally it would be OK for a dive. If they are NOT in the water there is a good reason. I have also found that if, when you get in the water, there is a strong current, just swim back to shore and wait about a half hour for the current to die down. As I’ve said, the currents can be very very strong but in general they do not last for too long. It is also advisable to carry at least two SSD’s (surface signalling device), such as, but not limited to, a safety sausage, whistle, an old CD to reflect the sun, marker dye or Hammerhead air horn.
Of course, if you are boat diving the current issue is not so important. Just enjoy the underwater movie and wait for the skipper to pick you up! Of course, it is still important to carry a SSD.
For the less experienced diver I would recommend guided diving with one of the above operators and for the more experienced who have not yet dived here I would recommend a ‘Discover Local Scuba’ dive.

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