Atauro is a small island 16NM off the coast of Dili.  It looked beautiful on the internet so we decided to go and explore it.  Ian spent a while looking up on google earth for any good anchorages but did not find many that appeared really safe.  He eventually settled on one and so we set off to explore.

We soon discovered that there was not a good anchorage here, as it was mainly coral with a 200ft drop off 30m from shore.   We did manage to drop in about 10 metres in a small sandy spot and then drifted back so that we were sitting over 70 meters!  We went ashore and visited the island – a gorgeous little unspoilt place.  We had anchored on the West side of the Island due to the offshore wind, which is the unexplored side.  The kids didn’t even come running up to us as they were unsure about westerners – unusual in comparison to Dili.

Atauro Island
Lollipops are always popular.  India is in the background.

We then decided to go snorkelling.  WOW! – what a place to snorkel. The coral gardens we had discovered continued over the 200 ft drop, and it was magnificent to see hundreds of fish, different coloured corals and different colours of the water.  Having snorkled in many places in the world, we wished we had been able to dive there, but we decided to put that off until the next day.  I even went back to the boat to get the go-pro to film it.  By the time we had organised ourselves for another swim, the tide had started to go out, and the wind had gone up to 15-20 knots.  Ian took the decision not to stay the night and leave for Oecusse that night.  As with so many places we have visited to far – we will be back!!

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