What is it that you love about diving? Is it visiting somewhere beautiful? Like this? Or is it getting away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life whatever that’s like…? Or is it about exploration? Heading somewhere new can be very exciting. Venturing off into the unknown, unsure of what might be around the next coral bombie You see getting off the beaten track, you never know what you might find? One way to guarantee an adventure? Go somewhere no one’s ever heard of. My name is Bertie and this is Timor-Leste from Below! Hello and welcome to Timor-Leste, a land of adventure, exploration and exceptional diving. From sandy patches packed full of peculiar critters, spectacular cetacean sightings, and some of the most biodiverse reefs on Earth, Timor-Leste may be the best dive destination you’ve never heard of. Nestled within the Indonesian archipelago, the small nation of Timor-Leste has a complicated past. Whilst in the modern day, Timor-Leste is a peaceful nation, the country has endured more than its fair share of conflict and hardship. For many years the people of Timor-Leste fought for their freedom, and finally in 2002 were officially declared an independent nation. Since then tourists have started trickling in, but if you’re looking for somewhere wild and raw you’ve definitely come to the right place. For my first instalment of Timor’s almost unknown underwater world I’m gonna be swapping the capital city for a marine metropolis. Heading East from Dili we’re on our way to a site nicknamed Anemone City. Just off the road side, beneath the blue water is a sublime seascape, splattered with colourful corals. But hidden amongst this medley of marine life is a piece of underwater artwork that gives this unique site its name. Stretching from underwater horizon to horizon this beautiful blanket of anemones is actually made up of thousands of individual animals. Bubble tip anemone thrive in clear shallow water, getting most of their energy from the solar powered plankton living within their cells. Once they’ve grown big enough the anemones become the perfect home for many species of clownfish. The clownfish and anemone live in symbiotic harmony. Whilst the clownfish keeps their home clean and tidy, in return the anemones stinging tentacles provide a safe place to hide from predators. It’s hard to do this exquisite site justice with a single photo, but I gave it my best shot. Whilst we don’t know exactly why giant gardens like this form, it sure makes for anem-mazing experience… Well that was absolutely stunning. There’s just a blanket of anemones as far as the eye could see. They were pulsing with clownfish and damselfish. Absolutely beautiful dive site, I have never seen anything like that and if the rest of Timor’s gonna be like this then bring it on! Over the next 9 episodes we will be bringing you the best this little known nation has to offer. Exploring uncharted waters, engaging in fascinating cultural practices, and revealing the secrets of Timor-Leste’s magical marine realm.