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I talked about it in previous article. The wreck of LibertyTulamben (about 15 kilometers west of Amed) is the most popular dive site in Bali, Indonesia.
I had already dived on the Liberty in 2002. And that's the very first dive I decide to do, the day after I arrive in Amed...
The history of Liberty :To learn more about this US Army cargo ship and understand how it ended up stranded like this, on the northeast coast of Bali, just in front of the beach, I invite you to read this other article below:
I kept the memory of an easy and spectacular dive, in clear water. If the spectacle remained grandiose, this Tuesday's dive was rather sporty with a rather strong current and a more limited visibility... The fault, it seems, was a few days of rain and wind last week, which stirred up the bottom.
The boat launch alone is difficult on this windy day. Big waves crashing on the black pebble beach.
In spite of the precautions and warnings of our guides and the help of the staff ofEco-DiveMany of us lose our balance on the pebbles and fall, with all our diving gear on our backs, into the rollers...
No boo-boo for me, fortunately. An Australian woman was less fortunate: she broke her knee when she came out of the water. The trick is to jump at the right time, right between two waves. The Australian is doing well anyway, she's just limping for a few days, nothing broken.
The wreck of Libertya steel monster full of life...
Here's a short video overview of the wreck. Sorry for the poor quality, I remind you that it was made in 2008, with my modest compact camera at the time, far from what can be done today with cameras and devices that film in HD or even 4K...
Underwater, we do not see the huge mass of cargo appear at the very last moment, when we are almost on it, so much visibility is bad. I intend to dive back into the wreck in a few days, hoping that it will be a little better.
But even without being able to completely look at this mastodon of steel, I am subjugated.
The wreck is, as I remember, covered with corals, gorgonians, teeming with life. Poiscaille galore, all sizes, all colors...
But it's not easy for me to take pictures. There's a current this Tuesday to decorate the nudibranchs. You have to get inside the wreck, get out of the way of the hull, to blow a little.
Nothing scary in there. The openings are wide, easy. All "swim-through" where we went let the light constantly filter.
Only photographer of the palanquée ...
But my palanquée palm a little too fast for me, the only photographer of the band. I am hardly posed in front of a pretty yellow leaf-fish, in a corner not too exposed to the current, that already the others spin towards the end of the hull ...
Bugger. I need a few minutes, me, in front of my little fish, the time to try to shoot him the portrait mouth open.
Mission accomplished! I joined them quickly, in two strokes of the flippers, carried by the current. The others hung on to a broken part of the hull, to contemplate the aquatic ballet of a school of big jacks. Yes, the current means more life and more fish on the prowl...
Except that, once again, I barely have time to stop in a corner, to admire the show, to raise my lens to the bench that cuts itself against the light towards the surface (how beautiful!) that already the others are moving away to get back inside the hull... Fortunately, the dive-master that is a broom wagon is waiting for me.
However, some of them have already exhausted their air... Two of them have to go back up, a Frenchman and an Australian, accompanied by the dive-master who closes the dive.
Muck diving on the black sand
I finish the dive with the "thrifty consumers" of which I am, another Australian, impressive with all her "tek" diving gear, and our dive-master Kadek. We sneak into the holes in the hull and have the good surprise to come across two very strong Napoleons on the way out. With the pleasure of finishing the trip at shallow depth, on the sand, in the mode "muck-diving".
In front of big holes in the sand, Kadek hits two pebbles against each other. It soon emerges the elongated and globular eyes of a big "manta-shrimp" or squish. Hop, I'm totally flashing!
When I get out of the water, I make a firm resolution to come back. This wreck is too big! There's too much to see, we don't know where to start!
And among the great rewards, at the beginning of the dive, Kadek found us in the branches of a gorgonian sea fan attached to the hull... guess what? A Pygmy seahorse,!
Yes, one more! Yippee! Come on, I can't resist the pleasure of putting up his little picture for you. He's so cute, that one.
But on our return, the beach is already invaded by divers in black suits, scuba tanks, and porters carrying gear, sometimes two complete sets of equipment balanced on their heads...
All these people, who disembark at Tulamben on the stroke of 11 am, arrive from further away (Kuta, Sanur, Padangbai, Ubud) for an express dive on the famous wreck.
Hey, hey! We who are here have had it all to ourselves or almost all to ourselves!
Good plan for accommodation and diving in Tulamben: I have been to Bali many times since this trip of 2008 (in 2011, in 2012, in 2015) and I again plunged on the fabulous wreck of Liberty, but now with a guide for me alone and at the right times (those where there are less people) ... I point you to this real good plan of resort to divers, which is also an excellent address, especially if you are a photographer underwater, and you want to discover the wreck in the best possible conditions → Liberty Dive Resort