USAT Liberty Shipwreck

Commissioned in 1918 by the US Navy, she was launched from New Jersey headed for France during World War I, with a cargo of general materials and horses. Liberty was employed throughout the years since for a variety of defense services and cargo transportation needs. But as World War II began, she was torpedoed by a Japanese submarine in 1942 during a route from Australia to the Philippines carrying cargo of railway parts and rubber. In the attempt to tow USAT Liberty to Singaraja for repairs, she took on too much water and could not be salvaged. And her final chapter includes Mount Agung’s volcanic eruption in 1963, which pushed her off the beach and into the water. Now she lies at a depth of between 5 to 28 metres! No doubt she has plenty of history, and a reason why divers the world over visit Bali and Tulamben!

A large family of bumphead parrotfish make the USAT Liberty Shipwreck their ‘home’!
Spanish dancers (one of the worlds’ largest dorid nudibranchs) visits the shipwreck frequently during night dives – yet another popular time to dive the USAT Liberty!
Sunrise dives on the wreck during the dry seasons of (May – October) offer spectacular visibility (30m+), and also the most likely time of day to see a family of bumphead parrotfish!

Coral Gardens

Tulamben’s fish nursery is the Coral Gardens dive site, right next door to Bali’s ‘rockstar’ – the world famous USAT Liberty Shipwreck! Coral Gardens reef slopes down to about 18 metres with very healthy, vibrantly coloured coral in the shallow areas. Types of hard corals are staghorn, brain, great star and table corals; abundant soft corals such as sea whips and sea pens, and toadstool and bubble corals. With such a high biodiversity of coral species, it’s an incredibly high population of tropical marine life that choose the area for their habitat – from blacktip reef sharks to macrolife! At depths of 12 – 18 metres, a collection of birdcages, Balinese statues of Hanuman and Buddha have been placed in a sandy area on the edge of the reef to promote coral growth to extend. These features of Coral Gardens and its natural topography, make it a popular choice for all divers, in particular: first-time divers on the PADI Discover Scuba Diving program, entry-level certified PADI Open Water Divers and underwater photographers.

Statues of Buddha in different poses are a favourite feature of the coral reef with divers; offering a unique underwater photography opportunity!
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Coral Gardens resident great barracuda can usually be seen at any time of day, coasting along the reef.
Nestled in the variety of hard corals, tube worms and Christmas tree worms decorate the reef with their vivid colours – stunning underwater macro photography.

Drop Off Wall

Technical divers train at the Drop Off wall dive site in Tulamben for its incredible depth of 70+ metres! To truly appreciate this wall dive, Bali Dream Divers’ PADI Pro Divers suggest recreational divers be certified (at least entry-level PADI Open Water). During the diving season in Bali (roughly April – November), visibility can reach 30+ metres and illuminate the entire structure of the wall! Best time of the day will be before 3-4PM because the sun sets to the east where the mountainous terrain of Bali (which includes Mount Agung!) blocks the sunlight. Many rare critters, such as the pygmy seahorse and painted frogfish, return to the Drop Off’s massive and strikingly colourful gorgonian sea fans and tree corals to suit their camouflaging abilities.

mantis with eggs 500x667 double tagged
Peacock mantis shrimp can be seen often hiding in cracks and crevices of the Drop Off wall. It’s rare to see one protecting her eggs…but there’s always a chance!
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Masters of camouflage! Frogfish will enjoy a stress-free environment, and more likely to stay in an area for longer if undisturbed.
Enormous corals make the wall-structured reef even more dramatic!

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