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Bali Dive Sites: Tulamben – Liberty Wreck

Tulamben Bay Dive Sites – Liberty Wreck

The USAT Liberty Wreck in Tulamben Bay is definitely one of the most popular dive sites in Bali and also one of the world’s easiest wreck dives.
Diver on the Liberty Wreck dive in Tulamben Bay, Bali

Diver on the Liberty Wreck dive in Tulamben Bay, Bali. The wreck is broken up providing habitat for a huge variety of marine life.

USAT Liberty Shipwreck

Possibly the world’s easiest wreck dive and definitely Bali’s most popular dive site.

History of the USAT Liberty

Built circa WWI, this 120m cargo ship was equipped with guns for WWII.  The Liberty was torpedoed by the Japanese off the coast of Lombok. Although attempts were made to tow the ship to north Bali, it was taking on too much water and therefore was semi-beached at Tulamben.

During the last eruption of Mt Agung, Bali’s highest and most sacred mountain, the earth tremours roched the boat down the beach and into the sea.

Location and Direction of the Liberty Wreck

The USAT Liberty Shipwreck lies a mere 30m offshore, and almost parallel to the beach, making it suitable for all levels of certification and experience. The shallowest part of the wreck where it touches the sand slope is at 5-10m while average depth along the middle is 16-20m.

The lower edge of the wreck, the furthest down the slope, is 20-28m at high tide. The wreck is pretty broken up, no penetration possible. But you can still see the guns, toilets, boilers, anchor chain, etc. A truly lovely dive site!

You can also snorkel on the wreck as the highest point of the stern is only 3m below the surface.

What you will see diving the Liberty Wreck Dive

Big Eyed Trevally, Liberty Wreck, Tulamben, Bali

Big Eyed Trevally, Liberty Wreck, Tulamben, Bali. These trevally (jacks) are resident on the wreck.

Popular with Underwater Photographers

The USAT Liberty Shipwreck is very popular with underwater photographers/videographers as it is totally encrusted in anemones, gorgonian fans, hard and soft corals.

In addition the black sand provides an excellent colour contrast for the incredible variety of marinelife, which includes a school of 100s of Big-eyed trevallys (length 30cm/12in) and over 400 other species of fish.

As most of the fish are resident, they are quite used to scuba divers – from the goatfish and wrasse that nibble around your feet and fins during entry/exit, to the unicornfish and surgeonfish that accompany you down the slope towards the Wreck.

Each area of the Liberty Shipwreck offers something different to see.

Diving on, in and around the Liberty Shipwreck, you are quite likely to see a high percentage of the marinelife shown in any Indo-Pacific Reef Guide book. That is what keeps divers coming back time and time again.

The possibilities for underwater macro-photography on Tulamben Bay’s USAT Liberty Shipwreck are endless – please try to schedule several days (and nights) here as there is a lot to shoot and a huge area to cover.

Amazing Variety of Fish Life

You may see minute anglerfish, neon nudibranchs, various ghostpipefish, and shrimp/goby sets sd you swim past areas of Garden eels and multi-coloured clouds of anthias and damsels. Encounter the resident Great barracuda, Giant groupers, batfish, and schools of sweetlips, batfish, fusiliers, butterflyfish. The variety is amazing!

Then there are the invertebrates, the hard and soft corals, black corals, sponges with crinoids, sea fans, tunicates. The list goes on.

Night Diving on Tulamben Bay’s Liberty Wreck

Spanish Dancer on the Surface, Tulamben Bay, Bali

Spanish Dancer on the Surface, Tulamben Bay, Bali. Night diving, and early morning diving, on the Wreck is spectacular. At that time there are many species to be found but fewer divers.

Night Diving

Night diving on the Wreck is always great but particularly so during the full moon.

You may see Spanish dancers and the school of huge Bumphead parrotfish in their sleeping cocoons. Also Flashlight fish, Bobtail squid,  even phosphorescence, and the basket stars!

Where else in the world could you make such an easy and varied Night Dive?

Early Morning Wreck Dives

If you dive early enough, 06-07:00, (only possible if you stay overnight) you may see the school of Bumphead parrotfish heading out for breakfast.

This is also the most likely time of day to see Mola-Mola, Manta rays, turtles and any Whalesharks passing through. In our opinion, it’s the best time of day to dive the wreck.