Dear English-speaking readers, this page is an automatic Google translation from a post originally written in French. My apologies for the weird sentences and the funny mistakes that could have been generated during the process. If you can read French, the original and correct version can be found here:
Ah! I like the wreck of Liberty, in Bali. I go back regularly dive, never tired. She is so beautiful…
Thirteen years later
How time passes. I just checked in my old dive books: my very first immersion on the wreck of Liberty, in Tulamben, in northeastern Bali (Indonesia), goes back ... as of June 28, 2002! Depth reached at the time: 27.8 m. So any young Open Water (first level in the American Padi certification system), I had only 16 dives on the clock! ! !
July 2015. Thirteen years later, I am Rescue Diver (3rd level Padi, passed in March 2009), I have about 650 dives noted in my notebooks and a cumbersome underwater photographic box in my hands. This is my fourth or fifth stay in the beautiful Balinese region of Tulamben / Amed and I am back on the Liberty.
Wonder intact, sensations not dulled. Throughout the week, I chained the dives on the wreck, without getting tired. As in 2002, then in 2008 and again in 2011 and 2012 ... The years go by, but on each of my visits, the Liberty do not betray previous memories. The site is still beautiful. A safe bet I would cry for happiness.
Because the Liberty is a very (too) busy tourist attraction. And it would not be the first site to be a victim of its success. But until then, everything is fine ... Every day, however, hundreds of divers turn the wreck into a jacuzzi with their bubbles. To avoid the crowd, the trick is to come dive very early, at daybreak.
Liberty, the magic wreck
So here I am under water, again. After a few shots of palm, the shadow of the wreck is precise. Huge ! I shrapnel the exuberant soft corals that color the scrap. I come face to face with the humpback parrots - they are always there, oh joy! I go down in the zone of 30 m, to inspect the gorgon which serves as home to shy pygmy seahorses. I play with a school of glass fish refugees behind a piece of metal. I transform my guide Wayan into Chinese shadow back in the frame of the huge rudder ... This wreck is magical.
The site is huge, it is a fabulous playground, with inexhaustible charms. Impossible to be jaded!
The history of Liberty
Vessel USAT Liberty, before becoming Bali's most famous dive site, has a long history. It is a cargo ship of the US Army, 125 meters long, taken out of the Kearny Shipyard, New Jersey, in 1918, at the end of the First World War, and assigned to transatlantic freight missions. He made his first crossing, from New York to Brest, with a cargo of horses, and made several other trips before her disarmament in May 1919.
In November 1940, the ship returned under military command. When the United States enters the Second World War in December 1941 the Liberty is in The pacific.
The January 11, 1942during a crossing between Australia and the Philippines, with a load of railway ties and rubber, it is torpedoed by a Japanese submarine, about ten nautical miles (19 km) southwest of the Strait between Bali and Lombok.
Two destroyer ships, one American, the other Dutch, are trying to tow it to the port of Singaraja, on the north coast of Bali. But the cargo, too damaged, takes the water. Decision is made to fail on the east coast of Bali, in Tulamben, in order to recover items from the ship and its cargo. It remains there, in the bay, until the 1960s.
Tulamben is right at the foot of the impressive Agung volcanowho wakes up early 1963. Violent eruptions, accompanied by seismic shocks, explosions, lava flows and burning clouds, left some 2,000 dead and some one hundred thousand homeless. They also do sinking for good the Liberty, who lies down on the side and slips to the bottom of the bay.
Since then, the wreckage, broken, still lies there, between 6 and 35 meters deep, close to the shore. The engulfed ship has become an artificial reef, colonized for more than half a century by countless colorful corals. He houses a very rich fauna, where we find everything from the smallest (pygmy seahorses, nudibranchs, scorpion fish, leaf fish, ghost fish, shrimps, moray eels ...) to the most imposing (humphead parrotfish, schools of trevallies, napoleons, some sharks and turtles ...).
See also my previous articles of 2008 on the Liberty :
Special underwater photographers: every time I go back dive on the wreck of Liberty, I move to Liberty Dive Resort, close to the wreck. It allows to dive early in the morning, and, above all, they provide you with a private guide, for no more than elsewhere. We are not bothered by a palanquée, it's the luxury! This is not the small resort that it was, they developed a lot, but they remained oriented on the service to the photographers. On site, you can also take photo classes with excellent Jeff Mullins.