East Timor, also known as Timor-Leste, is the newest country in Southeast Asia with a magnificent array of coral reefs and fish species located in the Coral Triangle between Indonesia and Australia. As a relatively new diving destination, its dive sites have, for the most part, only been recently discovered, and the country’s waters have yet to be fully explored. More and more divers are arriving all the time to see the country’s hidden beauty underneath the surface. More excitement awaits as a new shipwreck was recently added to the area!
About the NRTDL Kamanasa Shipwreck
The NRDTL Kamanasa was sunk by the Timor-Leste Navy and is one of the country’s newest dive sites. Instead of letting this Chamasuri-class patrol boat go to waste, it was scuttled on the 15th of July, 2023 with the aim of creating an artificial reef and popular tourist attraction.
Previously known as P217, the NRDTL Kamanasa was in service with the Republic of Korea Navy from 1979. It was then gifted to the Timor-Leste Defense Force (FDTL) in September 2011, together with other naval and coast guard units. The name was later changed to NRDTL Kamanasa, with inspiration coming from the word Kamanasa, which means “brackish water mangroves.” Kamanasa is also a place on the south coast of East Timor.
The Dive to The Shipwreck
The NRDTL Kamanasa can be found 41 kilometers (25 miles) from the capital city of Dili along the east coast road. Its position makes it suitable for divers of all levels of experience. Whether you’re just starting out with your PADI Open Water Diver certification or you’re more advanced with an Advanced Open Water Diver certification, you’re in for a treat. The dive begins with a simple swim 30 meters (100 feet) out from shore. As you dive down, you’ll see the top of the bridge at eight meters (26 feet) deep. The shipwreck is perfectly placed and stands upright, with its front pointing towards the shore. As you descend deeper, you’ll reach the bottom part of the ship at 18 meters (60 feet) and find the stern at 30 meters (100 feet).
Other Dive Sites in Timor-Leste (East Timor)
The fun doesn’t stop there! East Timor (Timor-Leste) has even more exciting dive sites to offer. After you’ve explored the NRDTL Kamanasa, your next dive can be one of the most popular dive sites in the area. K41 is located at the other side of the bay. Here, you can also explore the bay’s shallow wall that gradually drops to a sloping reef. You’ll get to discover beautiful corals, nudibranchs, clownfish, tiger anemones and occasionally, dugongs. And as you descend to 30 meters (100 feet), you may even encounter a white tip reef shark.
With the addition of this new dive spot, East Timor’s diving industry is becoming even more appealing and interesting. It is exciting to imagine the discoveries that await as East Timor’s potential to become one of the best scuba diving destinations in the world is unleashed.
Want to become one of the first divers to explore the NDTRL Kamanasa and discover the best dive sites in East Timor at the same time? Then start planning your next dive trip to this off-the-beaten-path destination today!
This blog wouldn’t be possible without the contributions of PADI Dive Center Dive Timor Lorosae.