Before arriving in Bali, we both listed a few things we wanted to do on the island. On the top of Joe’s was the WW2 USAT Liberty wreck dive. It pretty much encompasses some of his great passions in life, ships, swimming and fish. Picture yourself floating amongst colourful, inquisitive shoals, in their sun-lit, coral covered habitat. Sounds like heaven right?
This former merchant vessel was torpedoed by a Japanese submarine in 1942. Miraculously no-one was killed, but because of the extensive damage the ship was beached at Tulamben. If things weren’t already going bad enough for the Liberty, it was then dragged back out to sea in 1963 after a volcano erupted. More than 50 years later, and she’s now home to a vibrant community of marine life and is a popular site for diving.
Tulamben is on the east coast of Bali, a two-hour drive from Ubud and only 20 minutes from Amed Port where you can catch a ferry to Gili T after your underwater adventure. We decided to spend a day and night in the area before heading to the Gili islands, as the ferry from Amed was an early one. The company which runs the only route, FreeBird Express, also offers free pick-ups from hotels in the area to the port 👍.
If you book a diving package through a company you often get transport from the airport or other areas of Bali included in the deal. However, they normally charge a lot for this, so if you want to save some cash try getting a Grab or a bus to Tulamben.
What does a dive include?
A single dive usually includes the equipment, a guide, and a lesson. If you have experience already, prices range from $25-$35 usually. If you’re a newbie like us and need training in the pool first you could be looking at $40-$50.
The company we went through, Tulamben Wreck Divers Resort, charged us $113 pp (£80) for accommodation, transport, a lesson, 35 minute dive, and breakfast.
You could probably do it a fair bit cheaper if you sort the transport and accommodation yourself.
Another good company I’ve read about online are Aqua Dive Paradise.
What could I see?
There are 300 species of fish that you could have a Nemo moment with by the wreck (just don’t bag them up and take them to a dentist office with a weird little girl please).
Bluespotted stingrays, mackerel and clownfish are just a few of the common residents but different currents and water temperatures can attract newbies.
Is diving the only way to see it?
No it’s not! Parts of the Liberty are a short 5 metres below the surface and you walk to it from the beach. So if diving isn’t within your budget or you don’t like the idea, try swimming out and snorkelling.
I would recommend diving though, as you get an incredible up close and personal experience that I’ve only ever seen watching Blue Planet!