One of the reasons we chose Bali was because we wanted to dive the Liberty Wreck, an American cargo ship sank just off the shores of Tulamben on the east coast of Bali. It is one of the most famous wreck dives in the world.
After spending a few days in Sanur, Dom and I rented a motorbike and off we went on a road trip to Tulamben for few days.
Bali is such a small island, but in compare to how big Indonesia is… well it is not that small. Looking at the map it seems like Tulamben and Sanur are only just a short ride away from each other.
It was a three hours motorbike drive through hills, mountains and rice terraces under the hot Balinese sun. I wish someone would have taken a photo of us, two people, two dive equipment bags and one motorbike. Quite hilarious!
Dom driving and me at the back with a heavy load on my shoulders holding on for dear life. Of course it was a fantastic adventure, I would do it again!
Tulamben and the surrounding area are dominated by the impressive Mount Agung. The mountain is actually a stratovolcano and the highest point on the Island. It influences the climate of the surrounding area, the clouds come from the west and Agung takes their water so that the west is lush and green and the east dry and barren.
We arrived in Tulamben with jelly legs and went straight to Baruna Dive Center where Charles, a friend of mine I hadn’t seen since Mexico, was running the shop. He was great, he put us up on one of the rooms at the back of the dive shop and sorted us with some dives for a very good price!
So exciting! We couldn’t wait to go diving the wreck.
We organized an early trip for the following morning and at 7am we were hitting the waters. It was good Charles suggested us an early dive because the dive site is so popular that during “rush hour” there might be more than fifty divers around the wreck which makes for a not very enjoyable experience.
We had a sort of private dive, only Dom and I and Charles leading us. It was amazing, definitely up to my expectations. I love diving wrecks, it is one of my favourite dives.
The story behind the wrecks makes this kind of diving even more fascinating. I normally try to imagine the ships in their good old days.
The USAT Liberty was a United States transport ship torpedoed by a Japanese submarine in January 1942 and was beached on the shore of Tulamben so that the cargo and the fittings could be salvaged.
The ship remained on the shore until 1963 when Mount Agung erupted and the tremors caused the vessel to slip off the beach and sink. She now lies on a sand slope in 9 to 30 mt of water.
The wreck is covered in corals and it is home to some of the most diverse marine life including Frog Fish and schools of Bumphead Parrotfish. The experience was fantastic.
The same afternoon we did another shore dive just off the same beach. Tulamben is also a good place for muck diving and the black sand makes it perfect for some good photo shots.
The next day we ventured on a half a day trip for 3 dives off the coast of Amed beach. We were driven from Tulamben to a beach in Amed where some locals took care of our dive gear and tanks carrying everything from the van to the shores.
After setting up our equipment we boarded a local fishing boat that took us to the dive sites. That was quite a different ride!
We stayed in Tulamben another few days and explored the area around Amed. We got on our motorbike and drove around along the scenic road on the sea.
The area here is very dry, such a difference from the lush green of the rice terrace only few kilometers away. This is due again to Mount Angung and its influence on the climate.