The rusted metal of U.S.S. Liberty, a sunken cargo ship, resembles other aquatic life beneath 30 feet of water. Almost green, the sharp scraps of metal have bubbled and warped after years of submersion, becoming almost indiscernible. Kelp grows beneath some of the wreckage, waving gently with the current. Strange movement beneath the metal catches my eye, and I exhale through my regulator, sinking to investigate. Beneath a chunk of the U.S.S. Liberty, a hawk-billed sea-turtle, the size and shape of a garbage-can lid, lazily chews on sea foliage. Mr. Turtle eyes me warily, as I tap my air tank to signal my scuba buddy. Brandon excitedly swims over, and we sea-turtle-selfie with Mr. Turtle, who clearly doesn’t appreciate our need for a photo. “Hmmph!”, he seems to say, while finishing his meal & swimming away.
Scuba diving off the north eastern coast of Bali Island was unquestionably one of the best diving experiences I had in South East Asia. With authentic wrecks, thousands of fish and other aquatic life, and supreme visibility, Tulamben left me falling into bed every evening, spent from the day.
There is so much to see! Make sure you opt for a manta-ray dive, where you might get the chance to see them’flying’ by in the blue, as graceful and slow as a migrating swan. The Liberty shipwreck is nearly as serene, with a few Hawkbill turtles as semi-permanent residents. I often found them hiding inside the belly of the ship. There are also Mola-mola dives, a ‘drop-off’ area, and an artificial garden complete with Buddha statues and bird cages.
Bali Diving Companies
There are dozens of diving companies to choose from, but most are far more expensive than Dive Concepts. Most of the other diving companies offered open water dives for double or nearly triple the price. Far from being a budget dive company, they actually had quite a few perks. I can’t rave more about them, actually. Due to a series of storms that plagued the afternoons and evenings, the afternoon dives were canceled during my trip. Dive Concepts offered complementary dives the following day!
Most of the dives were just with a dive master and Brandon, and the largest group being 4 persons. The dive masters are all locals, so I felt confident in giving my money to Dive Concepts knowing that I was giving back to the community rather than corporate entities.
Where to Stay
Though you will want to stay in Amed, which is located further east along the Bali coast, most dive companies will offer free shuttle service from your hotel to their offices. The accommodations in Amed can’t be beaten, frankly. I stayed at a little B&B overlooking the city, in a honeymoon suite with Brandon. (We’re already so spoiled from this trip, I don’t know how I’m going to plan an ACTUAL honeymoon….)
There’s a ton of hostels and guest houses to choose from. I hear that Lily Hostel is the best one in the area!
Have you dived in Bali? Where was your favorite dive site?