Hadrian is our current Divemaster Trainee, and he joined our first trip to Tulamben. Here is his account:
On the speedboat the small group of 8 divers from all over the world share their excitation for this dive site that is world reknown. Is it because of the outstanding visibility and the rich exotic marine life, or because of the historical story of the shipwreck? Whatever the reason, everyone has smiles on their faces!
The USS Liberty was an American troop transporter/cargo ship that was attacked and torpedoed in the Lombok Strait by a Japanese submarine in 1942. It was towed and beached in Tulamben on Bali’s coast, where it sat grounded in the shallow part of Tulamben bay for more than twenty years until Mount Agung erupted in 1963. The subsequent earthquakes caused the ship to roll out into deeper water, making it the wonderful dive site that it is today.
On our way to Tulamben, we are briefed by our boat trip leader Stéphanie, the French instructor at Two Fish Divers. There will be three dives, two on the wreck and one at a coral garden that is great for macro. There will be no current, and there is a small wind will keep everybody cool between the dives and during our lunch.
The boat trip takes 1.5hours, and we follow the Balinese coast as we take nice pictures of the two volcanoes, Mount Agung and Mount Batur. Our two local dive masters set up our equipment and suddenly we are there, ready to jump in the ocean. The top of the wreck is only a few meters from the surface and the visibility is wicked. It seems like it is going to be a legendary dive!
During the dive, we keep meeting rich marine life, from very small to reasonable big: ghost pipefish, pigmy horses, lionfishes, blue spotted sting rays; clown, butterfly, angel, sweetlips and bat fishes, ribbon and garden eels, blackspotted moray, and groupers to name a few while a great barracuda, kept an eye on the divers behavior.
We start at a depth of 24 meters to end up at 5m, still on the wreck, surrounded by fishes and their exotically breathtaking colors: this is the best safety stop ever!
Thinking it couldn’t be better, the two other dives were as good as we hoped: the diversity of the underwater life kept all the divers marveling. A few of them even confessed to me that it was their best dives. What a success! Everyone came back with great memories and great pictures as the sun was going down, setting in its most beautiful pink and orange colors. What an epic day!
Find out more about diving Lembongan and the Liberty wreck at Tulamben.