Undoubtedly the most famous dive site in the Amed area is the USAT Liberty shipwreck. So why is it so popular and what is actually like to dive the USAT Liberty?
The USAT Liberty was a US Army cargo ship, built in 1918 just in time to see service at the end of World War I. Between the wars she was a civilian vessel only to be pressed back into military service when global hostilities broke out again. In January 1942, she was part of a convoy travelling from Australia to the Philippines carrying a cargo of railway parts and rubber when she was torpedoed in the Lombok Strait by a Japanese submarine (I-166).
Attempts were made to tow her to the port of Singaraja on the northern coast of Bali but while en-route her condition worsened and she started to sink. In order to prevent this and allow salvage of her cargo and fittings, the decision was made to beach her at Tulamben. She then stayed on the beach until 1963, when earth tremors associated with the eruption of nearby Mount Agung caused her to slip into the sea, in the process creating a new dive site!
Normally dived from the shore and just 20 minutes away from our Amed centre, the vessel now sits on her starboard side, with the shallowest part of the wreck at 5m and the deepest at 30m. Although there is sometimes a current there it is never unmanageable and visibility ranges from 15-30+ metres on most days. Sitting in the middle of a sandy seabed the ship has become home to tens of thousands of fish and other marine life, with hard and soft coral covering much of the boat. Animal life ranges from the large (turtles, sharks and a resident giant barracuda) to the macro (leaf scorpionfish, at least 2 species of pygmy seahorses, nudibranchs galore) giving a great mix and really something for everyone.
The visibility and life also make the wreck a photographers dream. If you add all this up it’s clear to see why the wreck is so famous – whether you prefer diving to see lots of fish or big fish or macro or corals or history or photography or…. etc etc…. the USAT Liberty is bound to please.
So why not come to Amed and check out one of the world’s most famous wrecks for yourself?