The dive destination Tulamben
Tulamben is a small village on the east coast of Bali and offers a perfect location to start your dive adventure on the magical island of Bali. Known for the Liberty wreck, Tulamben is now a popular dive area on Bali. . In addition to the famous Liberty wreck, Tulamben offers many other beautiful dive sites: A Drop off, a coral garden, artificial reefs, muck dive sites and yet another wreck. It is a perfect area for divers and snorkelers. The area offers another wreck in Kubu, Makro spots in Seraya or beautifully overgrown rocks of ancient lava rock at Emerald if we use a local wooden boat or our van.
The short distance to the dive sites allows us to organize the dives flexibly, and we try to organize the dives individual as possible. Tulamben is also a perfect location for dive training and is suitable for beginners, advanced, professional and technical divers.
The Liberty Wreck was an American freighter which navigated across the Indian Ocean during the Second World War. After an attack by a Japanese submarine, the Liberty was seriously damaged in 1942. The attempt to drag off the freighter to Northern Bali failed and the crew beached the Liberty directly in front of the small village of Tulamben. The ship was left on the beach for the next 21 years. The last big eruption of the “Mount Agung” let the wreck slip back into the sea where it broke in two parts.Today, the Liberty Wreck is one of Bali’s most famous dive sites. The wreck is 125 meters long and 17 meters wide and lies in a depth of 3 meters to 27 meters only a few meters away from the rocky beach. We reach the wreck from the resort after a short walk.
The Liberty Wreck is an easy dive site and suitable for all experience levels.The dives start in shallow water after the entry from the shore.Following the sandy bottom, we will meet the wreck in a depth between 3 meters and 14 meters. There are various possible tours around the wreck . It is beautifully covered with hard and soft corals. The wreck offers some swim troughs and it is still possible to enter in the big hold of the freighter. Even some old guns are clearly to see. The biodiversity of the wreck is impressive.
We will meet a big school of soldier fishes located on the stern, almost tame doctor fishes waiting for food and many other tropical fish. With luck we can find a big barracuda or turtles at the wreck. With very big luck we can even see an Ocean Sun Fish. Many different kinds of nude brunches, crabs or shrimps make fans of muck diving happy.
The whole day dives are possible at the wreck. Between 9 am and 2 pm many daily tourists from the whole island visit this site and it can get a little crowded. Early morning dives give you the chance to see the big school of humphead parrot-fishes that leave the wreck in the morning. Night dives are possible after 6.30 pm.
The location of the Drop Off is marked by volcano rocks which we can see from the shore. As usual in Tulamben, we slowly descend over a sand bottom area. Nothing really looks interesting here but if you focus on small things you will find special macro stuff like nude brunches or shrimps between the small rocks. Even special critters, like the mimic octopus, can be seen here.
After approximately 5 minutes we reach the first corals.The wall starts in shallow water and follows the sloping ground to a depth of 120 Meter. This makes this place a perfect dive location for all experience levels. We will meet the wall depending on the respective depth limits of your experience level. Some corals grow on the lava rock wall and in small gaps we can often find colorful nudebrunches, octopuses or other specials of Bali’s underwater world. After the wall we can turn into a nice coral garden. The blue background of the ocean, a school of golden damselfishes and different kinds of butterfly fishes give us an amazing view on this edge.
The wall offers ideal conditions for deep dives. Especially Technical divers will discover how to fulfil their desires and with a bit of luck they will see the unique Ocean Sun Fish at the deeper wall. Other big ones like the napoleon fish, humphead parrotfish, turtles or reef sharks are also often seen here. A school of Fusiliers guarantees an interesting safety stop in the end of the dive.
The middle of the Bay of Tulamben, between the Drop Off and the Liberty Wreck, is named Coral Garden. The shore entry is located just footsteps away from the resort. As the dive site is very easy, we like to do the first dive with beginners to get an unforgettable first dive experience.
The coral garden is suitable for all experience levels and those divers that need to refresh their dive skills.This site is perfect for beginners because plenty of colorful tropical fish live here and corals grow in the shallow water between 3 meters and 10 meters depth. The right side of this dive site offers more coral and it is easy to discover the popular clown fish in their anemones here. Between the corals we can often find blue, yellow or black ribbon eels.The left side has more sand bottoms and here we have a big chance to see a reef shark.
Many artificial reefs such as steel constructions, temples or Balinese stone figures were put in the water here in the last years. These artificial reefs are already partly covered with corals which attract more fish to this area. By now, a school of banner fishes and a school of fusiliers feel home in this area.
Deeper we can find some cleaning stations. Different kinds of cleaning shrimps offer a special cleaning service to all fishes of the reef. Especially Moray Eels love the stations and are often seen here. Interesting to watch is how fishes sometimes wait in line until it is their turn to be cleaned. At a depth of 35 meters the so-called Deep Garden starts. Technical divers get an almost untouched coral reef which partly extends to 80 meters depth . With luck they can spot an Ocean Sun Fish that is cleaned by other fishes.Big Lobsters can be found in the corals here, and sometimes sharks will swim by.
Alam Anda is a site we reach with a so-called “Jukung.” The small wooden boat sets off from the entry point of the Drop Off dive site. The drive is just 5 minutes. We put on our equipment in the water because the boat is too small. We can see the first corals in shallow water immediately after descending.Starting at the shore, the shallow area extends up to 50 meters into the sea.
After the shallow part we have a sloping sandy bottom crossed by lava rocks. The lava rock is a perfect base for a healthy reef and offers us countless soft and hard corals, gorgonians and sponges. The sandy bottom between the rocks invites us to relax and gives us ideal conditions for beginners and photographers. There is an enormous diversity of tropical fish. Blue spotted ribbon tail ray, leaf Scorpionfish, Morays, Lionfish, Longnose Hawkfish, Ghostpipefish, Pygmy Seahorse, different kinds of Nudebrunches and many more can be found here. Currents are possible at this site and at good conditions we can use the currents for a nice drift dive.
We reach Batu Kelebit with small local wooden boats from the entry point of the Drop Off in about five minutes. The site is characterized by 3 small rocks above the surface. Beneath the surface we have a similar site as Alamanda. Cooled lava flows created rock formations which extend deeply into the sea. By now, these rocks are covered with beautiful corals. The dive site can have an amazing visibility, and the reefs are untouched.
Big fish like reef shark, humpedhead parrotfish, or eagle rays can be seen here. Even an Ocean Sun Fish sometimes comes up to more shallow water. The riff is a home for the typical inhabitant of Bali’s underwater world like soldier fishes, fusiliers or banner fishes.
The site offers good deep dive conditions for scuba and technical divers.Corals can be found down to a depth of 40 meters here. Currents are possible but can be used for a drift because the boat is waiting on the surface.
With the “Jukung” we reach the site named Emerald after a ride of 10 minutes from the rocky beach in Tulamben. We put on our equipment in the water after the entry from the boat. The bay where we descend is protected from currents. In shallow water, we will already see a bottom fully covered by corals. Colorful Emperor Fishes and Harlequin Triggerfishes are the first inhabitants greeting us here.
After the shallow part of the bay, we will find the typical cooled lava rocks beautifully covered by corals which can even be found in the deeper areas, and the sandy bottoms with light coral growth.
One of these lava rocks marks the outer border of this bay.This corner is going farther in to the ocean than the other ones. Here, the coral growth is more beautiful and plenty of tropical colorful fishes can be found. This corner will be our goal at Emerald. So we slowly follow the reef in direction of the outer border. A giant Elephant Era Sponge is growing on the first lava rock at a depth of 18 meters.An old car wreck is located at a sand slope at 24 meters depth.The currents can become stronger as we approach the border. The currents give us a drift around this outer border in good conditions and we can motionlessly enjoy the underwater world.
Behind the border we turn into the lee side of the current.Big fishes like sharks, eagle rays or humphead parrot fishes can be seen here from time to time. A stone wall protects us from the current here and we can find a big table coral which is used by reef sharks to hide and rest. A stone table and some chairs were placed on the sandy bottom which divers like to use for funny pictures. If the current is not too strong we can go over the stone wall back to the point where we started. In a strong current we just finish the dive in the neighboring bay. The rich stock of fishes and the special topography make Emerald our favorite spot in Tulamben.
In a van we will reach the shore entree to the Boga Wreck after a short ride of 10 minutes.The wreck is a 43 meter long formal coast guard vessel, which was cleaned up in 4 months from all toxic residues. All doors and windows have been prepared for divers. The Boga Wreck was controlled sunk on 17th of September 2017 and is thus a young wreck.
Today the wreck is placed in a perfect vertical position at an ideal depth for advanced divers from 18 meters to 34 meters. Slowly following the sloping bottom, we will see the bow of the vessel after 5 minutes. Corals already grow on the whole hull of the wreck and plenty of tropical fishes are at home here.The screw propeller is located at the deepest point of the wreck at 34 meters depth.
The perfect vertical position and three decks of the ship invite you to discover the inside of the wreck. Some surprise such as an old car or Balinese figures can be found here. On the upper deck you can still see the toilet and an old fashioned wooden rudder which is a funny motive for photographers.
On the way back to the shallow water, we will cross some blocks of coral that provide an interesting safety stop. Different kinds of Nudebrunches and Mantis Shrimps romp between the corals. In the gaps we can find some sweepers and other unique inhabitants of the reef.
We reach the Seraya Bay with our small van after 10 minutes. Seraya is a paradise for macro fans and photographers. Seahorses, Little Dragonfish, Harlequin Shrimps, Ghost Pipe Fish, Frog Fish and many more critters can be found here.
The dives start in shallow water after the entry from the shore. Every depth is possible and, the dive site is suitable for all experience levels. The dive site doesn’t have a standard route. We just look for special critters here. Good eyes are helpful. In the shallow water we can find some artificial reefs.
A variety of fishes is at home here such as Bat fishes, countless Shrimp fishes and thousands of other reef fishes. The black sand bottom gives us a good contrast to the colorful Nudebrunches we can find here as well.
The coral growth is low and big areas of sandy bottoms characterize the underwater topography. But some rocks, corals and sponges are perfect habitats for unique critters which makes this site one of the best macro places in the area.