Tulamben Dive Site
is located on the eastern part of Bali is one of the best wreck dives with regular sightings of giant barracuda, bumphead parrot fish and abundant reef life. The wall drops off to 60 metres, has large barrel sponges, and is characterised by 3 main spurs and an overhang at 18 metres. There is 1 magical, purple gorgonian fan at 27 metres. This gargantuan is over 3½ metres tall and in perfect health.
The USAT Liberty Wreck : One of Bali's favourite dive site. Built circa WWI this cargo ship was equipped with guns for WWII. Torpedoed by the Japanese off Lombok; despite attempts to tow the ship to North Bali it was taking on too much water so was semi-beached at Tulamben. Over the years anything reusable was removed. In 1963, with the earth tremors from the last eruption of Mount Agung, the wreck slid further down the slope where it still lies (as close to the beach as it can be and still be underwater!). You can also snorkel on the wreck - the highest point of the stern is about 4m below the surface. The Liberty lies approximately 30m offshore almost parallel to the beach on the sand slope and is suitable for all levels of qualification and experience.
The wreck lies in depths from -9 / -30m; the shallowest part of the wreck, where it touches the sand slope, is at -5 / -10m. Depth along the middle of the wreck is -16 / -20m. The lower edge of the wreck, ie: furthest down the slope, is -28m (at high tide). The wreck is 120m long, it's pretty broken up (no penetration possible) but you can still see the guns, toilets, boilers, anchor chain, etc. It is a lovely dive site, possibly the world's easiest wreck dive. Visibility is usually 18-25m, lower when it has been raining. There is rarely a current present, at most it will be mild. During the 3 days before the full moon, there are usually waves. The air temp is 25-32degrees, the water 26-28degrees.
The Drop Off : This site, an old lava flow from Mount Agung, is at the opposite end of the bay from the Wreck. The dive starts off on a steep san d slope with nudibranches, flounders (Platichthys flesus), goby (Sin Ghiozzus) and shrimp sets. At -12m are sponges with many varieties of shrimp, Leaf Scorpionfish (Taenianotus triacanthus) abound and there are many crinoids, often with attendant Ghost Pipefish (Solenostomus paradoxus). Continuing round to the right, the slope develops into a reef with very impressive topography, becoming a vertical wall from -15M and descending to below -60m. Visibility - best in the morning - is usually 15-20M and, because of the location, it is rare that there is a current, even a mild one. The wall has profuse sponges, corals, black coral bushes, gorgonian fans - at 30M there's one that reaches 2M in width that we visit for the Deep Dive on Advanced Courses. The wall, the lava spur, then reverts to being a steep slope.
Coral Garden : Running along the middle section of Tulamben beach is a shallow reef (averaging - 8 / -12m so also excellent for snorkelling) of mainly table (Acropora pulchea) and fire corals (Millepora dichotoma) interspersed with anemones as well as barrel (Xestospongia muta) and other sponges. The fishlife, as with the Drop-off and the Wreck, is very diverse. It is here that you can see a surprising number of Blue Ribbon Eels (the juveniles are black) and octopus, the variety of shrimp is surprising too along with the different anemonefish. The bigger fish seen here are Bumphead Parrotfish (Bolbometopon muricantum) and Black Tip reef shark.
The depth and location make the Coral Garden a very good, and popular, Night Dive on which you may see Spanish Dancers (Hexabranchus sanguineus) and flashlight fish (Anomalopidae). In fact the diving actually extends much deeper than 12M, if you carry on down the sand slope, you'll find barrel sponges with many surprises: juvenile Emperor Angelfish, Two-spot Lionfish, maybe a school of juvenile catfish; cleaning stations with shrimp and wrasse, a shoal of Razorfish swaying in their hiding place. If you continue along the slope, towards the start of the Drop-off, you'll come to a dry river bed, scooped out into a bowl-shape, marked by ridges radiating outwards. These ridges are often the best places in Tulamben to find unexpected specimens. Although it is certainly not an area for divers looking for a profusion of marinelife!