Lady Porter of Tulamben

The Lady Porter of Tulamben

by Mardia, AMD-B’s 2023 Divemaster Internship

In the 1980s, Tulamben beach was a tranquil haven that had yet to be discovered by tourists. At the time, hotels, restaurants, dive shops, and other facilities were scarce. However, the calm atmosphere changed when a vehicle carrying divers showed up. Several locals ran to meet the parked car, resulting in a commotion between the helpers, who were aiding in moving the diving equipment to the dive site.

Around 1983, a group of female helpers decided to organise themselves to prevent any more commotion. This group became known as the Lady Porters of Tulamben. These lady porters offer a unique service that makes it easier for divers to transport their scuba tanks and other diving equipment weighing up to 15 kg to the dive site. Since Tulamben’s beach is rocky, having this service available is incredibly convenient.

The-Lady-Porter-of-Tulamben

Lady Porter Organization

The lady porters of Tulamben became the unsung heroes of diving in Bali, and the diving community appreciated their service very much. They established a very successful system that included cooperative cash management in their community. For instance, the coop provided money during holidays to assist in paying for religious ceremony supplies, and they also succeeded in providing jobs for the villagers. Many female porters were able to provide their families with a better life by allowing their kids to attend school. In the 1990s, the women porters were officially organised as the Sekar Baruna Cooperative. The word ‘Sekar Baruna’ means either flowers from the sea or fortune from the sea.

Tulamben’s lady porters are renowned for their incredible strength and endurance. They are hard working, enthusiastic about their jobs, and always smiling. They take pride in their work and are always willing to go above and beyond to ensure divers have an enjoyable diving experience. One thing that distinguishes the lady porters is their sense of community. They work as a team, and this makes the lady porters a vital part of the Tulamben diving community.

Lady-Porter-Sekar-Baruna

Dive Site: Tulamben Bay

Tulamben Bay: A Dive Site for Everyone

The small village of Tulamben, famous for both its black volcanic sand and the 120m USAT Liberty shipwreck, is quite rightly Bali’s most popular diving location. Tulamben is also the place in Bali where you are most likely to see internationally-recognised underwater photographers and journalists.

Tulamben Bay, like the rest of Bali, is situated in the world’s richest marine biogeographic zone: the Indo-Pacific. Due to Tulamben’s location on Bali’s north east coast, the Indonesian Throughflow (the major ocean current that moves from the Pacific to the Indian Ocean) supplies the bay with very plankton-rich waters.

This, together with the different physical environments within the bay, gives Tulamben a remarkably diverse underwater ecosystem.

Tulamben-Bay-Sea-Fan-Gorgonian

Popular Tulamben Bay Dive Sites

The 120m USAT Liberty shipwreck lies 20m offshore in depths of 5-30M, and is completely encrusted with hard and soft corals. The extraordinarily dense marinelife includes Clown frogfish (juvenile and adult), Bumphead parrotfish, a huge school of Big-eyed trevally, Leaf scorpionfish, and various pygmy seahorses. Wonderpus and Mimic octopus can be seen on early morning dives. The Wreck offers magical night diving with flashlightfish, Spanish dancers and cephalopods.

The Coral Garden, which runs eastwards from the USAT Liberty shipwreck, provides wonderful shallow dives where you’re limited by air supply rather than bottom time. You can expect to see a wide selection of marinelife from Thecacera nudibranchs, Harlequin shrimps and Boxer crabs, to frogfish and Ribbon eels in all stages of development.

Tulamben-Bay-Shrimp-Harlequin

On The Wall/Drop-off you will find a wide variety of sponges, hard and soft corals, and Gorgonian seafans (one of 3m diameter) – while the larger marinelife includes reef sharks, with occasional sightings of Whalesharks and Mola-Mola. During the rainy season (Dec-March) the reef flats can receive some run-off but continue to yield surprises.

Being shore entry, Tulamben is also great for snorkelling and Discover Scuba Diving. Please note Tulamben has a stony, rather than sandy, beach.

Slightly north of Tulamben is Kubu, home of Bali’s newest shipwreck. Kubu reef has Gorgonian seafans, bommies with soft corals, scores of nudibranchs, and generally calm conditions.

Taking a local outrigger five minutes east of Tulamben Bay brings you to the sites of Palung-Palung/Alamanda, Batu Kelebit and Emerald Point. Within the Tulamben area, these are the sites where you are most likely to see pelagics including, on rare occasions, dolphins.

Tulamben-Bay-Frogfish-Freckled

Decrease Single-Used Plastic

One Voice to a Global Movement to Decrease Single-Used Plastic

by Mardia, AMD-B’s 2023 Divemaster Internship

Plastic, a widely used material, has gained immense popularity due to its affordability, lightweight, and easy manufacturability. The past century has witnessed an exponential increase in plastic production, surpassing almost every other material. However, the alarming fact is a significant portion of plastic produced is intended for one-time use, resulting in an enormous amount of plastic waste.

Single-Used-Plastic

An estimated 6,300 million tonnes of plastics have been discarded since the beginning of mass production in the 1950s. Approximately only 9% of plastic trash worldwide gets recycled, while 12% is incinerated. Due to its strong durability, most of these plastics are accumulating in either landfills or the natural environment.

The consequences of plastic waste are far-reaching, affecting both the ecosystem and the livelihoods of those who rely on them. Environmental effects range from short-term, such as animal entanglement, to long-term, such as harmful component bioaccumulation in the food chain.

Growing worry about the usage of single-use plastics can be seen all across the world. It is becoming abundantly evident that the contribution that each of us makes to the reduction of plastic waste is of the utmost importance as our understanding of the effect that our routine actions have on the environment expands.

Consequences-of-Plastic-Waste

What can one voice achieve in the face of such a large-scale problem?

Quite a lot, as it turns out. We can make a difference by reducing our use of single-use plastics and encouraging others to do the same. A single voice can become a powerful force when it joins with others in a common cause.

Simple actions such as using reusable shopping bags, refusing plastic cutlery, and drinking from reusable water bottles can significantly reduce our plastic footprint. We can also support businesses that prioritize sustainable packaging and participate in local clean-up efforts to remove plastic waste from our communities.

The issue of single-use plastic is daunting, but it is manageable. Each of us has the power to influence change through our daily actions and by raising our voices to advocate for sustainable practices. Remember, the journey to a plastic-free world begins with one voice – yours.

One-Voice-to-a-Global Movement