Bali Scuba Diving – A new feature on our blog that we are starting is a series of short articles detailing some of our favourite dive sites in Bali. Bali has long been considered a top destination for scuba diving enthusiasts and underwater photographers alike. With many diving locations spread throughout the island of Bali, there are dozens of different scuba diving sites to choose from. Of course with the sites spread out over such a vast area, the features and denizens of each site is very different. In the coming weeks we will feature a different dive site every few days in order to explain the key features of the most stunning sites in Bali.
Today we start the “Bali Scuba Diving Site” list with quite possibly Bali’s most celebrated dive site, the USAT Liberty Wreck.
This famous wreck dive has a back-story that is better than pretty much any other dive site on the planet. Originally hit by a torpedo from a Japanese submarine in the Lombok Strait, this US ship was towed toward the coast of Bali, where it beached in the Tulamben area. For 20 years, the ship sat on the beach before sinking back beneath the sea as a result of the explosive Mt Agung volcanic eruption in 1963.
Currently, this one time cargo ship lies on it’s starboard side with a depth ranging from 5 – 40 metres. The amount of time that the ship has spent underwater means that much of the wreck is no longer recognizable as a ship, but looks like an incredible natural reef instead. Of course many parts of the ship do look like a wreck and this has proven to be a popular combination, as 1000s of divers visit the wreck each year.
With vibrant colourful corals and a plethora of interesting little critters, the Liberty has something interesting for every diver to encounter. A large open cargo hold is a great attraction for underwater photographers as is the sheer amount of fish life. In an area mostly devoid of a stunning coral reef, the Liberty wreck is a magnet for coral and fish.
A typically easy shore entry (although it can get rough if the conditions are stormy) leads to the wreck, which lies only a scant, few metres from the beach. Divers can enter from the stern, the bow, or midships and will swim over a black sandy bottom before coming face to face with the giant wreck. At over 400 feet long (125M) it’s not easy to see the entire wreck in one dive, it’s far better to spend at least 2 dives on this beautiful site.
The site does get busy, especially between the hours of 9am and 2pm, for the best experience it’s best to stay in the Tulamben area and then dive the wreck either early in the morning or late in the afternoon. Divers who are going on day trips from South Bali descend upon the wreck from 9am onwards and make it very difficult to enjoy the dive, especially for wide angle photographers. The Liberty is also a good night dive or dawn dive with plenty of critter action to be had.
To see a little more what the Liberty has to offer, have a look at this short video:
Interested in diving at the USAT Liberty? We offer diving at the wreck on all of our Bali Scuba Diving Safari packages, have a look at our Bali Safari Diving page for sample itineraries.
Stay tuned for the next installment of our Bali Scuba Diving Site descriptions to follow soon.