Morning Dives at Pertamina Pier – by DM Leo

Morning Dives at Pertamina Pier – by DM Leo

I love early morning dives at Pertamina Pier.

There is a certain thrill that comes with getting up while the rest of Dili is sleeping, grabbing some tanks, and diving in the ocean just as the sun pokes its head over the mountain. It’s almost mischievous, like we’re going on a mission to surprise the sleeping fish.

The water was still dark when we dropped down and my buddy and I stayed close together as we made our way down the corridor of pillars. The atmosphere is surreal, almost ominous, as shapes slowly emerge and disappear into the watery mist. We poked our heads under slabs of concrete and peeked into rusty pipes looking for who we might find. And more often than not, we found someone inside: an octopus half tucked into a pipe with rocks pulled up at the lip like a heavy blanket, a moral eel greeting us with a stream of yawns, and even a bright eyed puffer fish hesitating at the mouth of a pipe as if he was wondering whether it was too early to go out for the day or not.

I’m definitely glad we did! As we neared the end of the pier, the visibility improved and we could see far beyond the pier’s support structure to the tires, pipes, and drums strewn around it. There was next to no current and it was a treat to explore so much more of the dive site. I’ve never seen so many scorpionfish. There were small ones wedged in the cracks of tires, perched in the sand and tucked against pillars and coral. We even found a huge one nestled in the folds of an I-beam. They seemed to be everywhere we looked! And I’m sure there must have been more hiding where we didn’t. But there is only so much you can see in an hour.

That’s why I can’t wait to get up early and go back out again!