Welcome to Indonesia
Located mainly in the Southeast Asia with some territories in Oceania, Indonesia, officially known as the Republic of Indonesia is a unitary sovereign state.
Indonesia is the world’s largest island country and is situated between the Indian and Pacific oceans. The island itself consists of more than 17,000 islands. It is the world’s 14th largest country in terms of land area and the world’s largest country in terms of combined land and sea area. Being the world’s 4th most populous country, it is home to an estimated population of over 260 million people.
Indonesia’s island Bali, is one of the most beautiful islands in the world. With Bali being the most popular dive travel destination, many visitors are attracted by the good shore-based resort diving set against an amazing back drop of magnificent volcanoes and picturesque landscapes, makes this island simply irresistible.
On the northeast coast of Bali, sits a small fishing village called Tulamben. It is here where divers congregate to visit one of the world’s most popular dive sites, the wreck of the Liberty US Army Transport ship and experience the Tulamben diving.
History of the USS Liberty
Known as one of the best sunken ships in the world, the USS Liberty Wreck is the most famous dive spot in Bali. In 1942, the USS Liberty, a World War II cargo ship, was torpedoed by a Japanese submarine in the Lombok Strait. Miraculously, nobody was hurt in the attack, but damage turned the ship into a non-functional and useless hull. The USAT Liberty is also known as the Liberty Shipwreck, USAT Liberty Glo, the USS Liberty, Hog Island Hull No. 517, and SS Scooba.
A plan was made by the American Navy to tow the ship back to Singaraja harbour (north Bali), however this failed due as the harbour was completely occupied. Its captain was forced to steer the ship onto the beach at Tulamben Bali where it was unloaded. It was here that the boat remained until
1963, when lava flow from Bali’s greatest volcanic eruption from the nearby Mount Gunung Agung pushed the ship back into the ocean, to where it lies now, on a sandy slope in 9 to 30 metres of water for all divers to visit.
Since the eruption, the wreckage has been coated with coral turning this piece of history into an extraordinary new home for a number of marine life. The 120 metre long ship wreck rests parallel on a 90 degree angle to the shore, with the deck facing the open sea. Tulamben Bay, like the rest of Bali, is situated in the world’s richest marine biogeographic zone: The Indo-Pacific. Bumphead parrotfish, barracuda, and napoleon wrasse are regularly spotted around the wreck. The Liberty wreck Bali is covered in marine life that has transformed the ship’s remains into an underwater haven.
Diving the USS Liberty Wreck
Due to its popularity, this location does get over crowded, therefore it is advised to dive there early in the morning or late in the afternoon. The shallowest part of the wreck is in about 5 metres of water with the deepest on the other side in a depth of 30 metres.
This impressive ship stretches over 120 metres long and sits just 30 metres from the beach of Tulamben. The World War II cargo ship is broken but is still an outstandingly large shipwreck to explore. Up to 100 divers descend on the wreck each day during high seasons.
This location is also an excellent place for a great night dive Bali! But the real treat here is the wreck diving in Bali as this is definitely a must do.
The famous Bali wreck dive, the USS Liberty Dive is completely covered in coloured corals and hundreds of different species of fish that inhabit it. It is estimated that some of 400 species of reef fish live within and around the wreck itself, which is also visited by over 100 species of pelagic. This is such a remarkable number for an area only 120 meters long, and is without doubt one of the main reasons hundreds of divers come here each year.
Don’t miss the most popular scuba spot in Bali: the USS Liberty shipwreck at Tulamben. It’s covered in coral and home to amazing numbers of colourful fish. Even beginners can enjoy this world-class site. – Bali Scuba
A Bali scuba diving course could be the beginning of your scuba adventure. Why not dive in! Why not learn to dive Bali? Visibility is usually good ranging from 15 to 20 metres on a good day, making it an ideal dive for the underwater photographer. Water temperature is roughly warm at about 28 to 29 degrees. Diving Tulamben is an unforgetabble experience.
With the wreck being so close to the shore, night diving is particularly popular and memorable. Night dives are best to do on the slack tide. During the night you will be able to see the outstanding flashlight fish amongst the black corals as they shine bright like a star lit sky. Tulamben wreck divers will never leave disappointed and this dive location really is an underwater photographers wonderland. Remember to do some research and choose a well reviewed Bali dive center. You will be in for a treat when you do, as the diving in Tulamben Bali truly is just out of this world.
What Marine Life Can I See at the USS Liberty?
The Tulamben wreck, also know as the USS Liberty wreck is an all round underwater wonderland just beaming with a vast variety of marine life. The Liberty wreck is very popular with photographers as the vessel of this large wreck is encrusted with gorgonians, corals and anemone. With the black sand providing a colour contrast, the shots you can capture at this dive location are truly unique. Large fish such as the sunfish, barracuda, scribbled filefish and napoleon fish surround the wreck on a daily basis.
Bali’s common reef fish are also found within the wreck, these include; coral trout, surgeonfish, peacock grouper, unicornfish and angelfish. Schools of big-eyed trevally, bream, fusilier and anthias mill can be seen all over and around the wreck, whilst often following you during the dive.
The Liberty wreck is simply alive with life. The corals, gorgonian fans and sponges are just breath-taking, along with the invertebrate life that lives within them. Large sweetlips, butterflyfish, angelfish, anemone fish and batfish hover in crevices and underneath the ledges.
The spectacular beams of marigold cup corals shimmer in the sun, where hundreds of shrimp meet you at every corner. Spot hawkfish, pufferfish and bumphead parrot fish every way you look. As are the blennies, dottyback and gobies out in the sand flats.
This really is a world class dive site and is one not to be missed. Underwater photography experts and divers alike will be in their element with so much to see and explore. If your skills are up to scratch, why not look into taking some underwater photography courses? Watch as the Lionfish stalk their prey, alongside the rare nocturnal oscellate dwaft lionfish. See the vast variety of corals and invertebrates along the wreck, wait for the larger fish during specific seasons, the most popular being the Mola Mola, the oceanic sunfish and the gentle giant whale shark.
When heading back towards the shore on your dive, you will be able to see a colony of spotted garden eels, with their heads swaying as if in a gentle breeze as well as goatfish nuzzling its way through the sandy rubble. If you keep your eyes peeled, may also be able to see the rather peculiar sight of free-swimming crinoids in search of a new hold within the wreck.
It is clear why this dive location is in the Top 12 Dive Destinations on the planet. The reef is dominated by hard corals, fire corals, leather corals and some very large table corals which support the diversity of fish population within the area. Local residents have even been praised by professional divers for minimising the local fishing activity, helping to support this thriving reef and all its residents.
When is the best time to visit Indonesia?
The dry season in Indonesia is between the months of April and September, but the very best time to visit is possibly between September and November. During this time the weather is generally calmer and it is the start of the southeast monsoon, which usually extends from May to July. Get the best out of your Bali dive resort by doing some research online before you book.
Bali scuba diving is all year round, however the best conditions for the diving season runs from May to November. April and May are the best months to be able to see manta rays and the best time or season to see the famous Mola Mola, the oceanic sunfish, are during the months of August to October.
There are many places to stay in Bali and many Tulamben dive resort located within the area, so be sure to do some research before booking. A very popular choice, Tulamben’s award winning Liberty dive resort which is situated just 150 meters away from the world famous wreck is a top spot. The resort has various levels of accommodation, some which include garden view cottages which are just beautiful. Take a look at more reviews on Tulamben accomodation on Trip advisor to help you find the best dive resort Bali. After a long day scuba diving, why not kick off your fins and relax and the Bali dive resort and spa and make your dive holiday one to remember, make it a trip to Bali Tulamben. And don’t forget to take your underwater photography camera!!
Indonesia Travel Information
Note – Travel to any destination may be adversely affected by conditions including (but not limited) to security, entry and exit requirements, health conditions, local laws and culture, natural disasters and climate. Regardless of your destination, check your local travel advisory board or department for travel advice about that location when planning your trip and again shortly before you leave.
Language – Indonesian, Balinese, English
Currency – Indonesian Rupiah
Major Airport – Ngurah Rai International Airport
Top Attractions – Waterbom Bali (Kuta), Sekumpul Waterfalls, Sacred Monkey Forest
Information link – https://www.bali.com/