Diving the USS Liberty Shipwreck in Tulamben, Bali
Arguably the most famous dive site in Bali, the USS Liberty Wreck is a must dive when you visit the island. Gangga Divers at Lotus Bungalows Candidasa will take you on a voyage of discovery to this amazing site.
The History of the Liberty Wreck
The USS Liberty was a US Army Transport ship hit by a Japanese submarine torpedo in 1942. It was towed to shore at the village of Tulamben on the eastern coast of Bali where it was left for salvage. However, when Bali’s largest volcano, Mount Agung, erupted in 1963 the ship was shaken back into the water by the resulting earthquakes.
Since 1963 it has been resting just 25 metres off shore between 5 and 30 metres deep. Over the years it has become encrusted with corals and has become home to many different types of marine life.
The wreck is about 130 metres long and sits on a sandy slope and is one of the most accessible WW II shipwrecks you will have the chance to dive anywhere in the world.
What you can expect on a USS Liberty Shipwreck dive
There is a lot of hype around the Liberty Wreck but any diver will tell you it lives up to it. First of all the easy access from shore is a dream. Add to that good calm diving conditions and great visibility and you’ve got the ideal dive site for beginners and more advanced divers.
When you dive at the Liberty Wreck site you’ll immediately see the richness of the marine life. The ship itself is festooned with healthy corals, large barrel sponges and beautiful sea fans.
In amongst all of this is a huge variety of fish including giant barracuda, bumphead parrotfish, huge potato cod, oriental sweetlips and black surgeon fish go about their business around you. Pygmy seahorses and sea turtles are also wonderful to spot here. If you are very patient, spend some time searching out the unique leaf scorpion fish that is sometimes seen in the stern.
If you’re really lucky when you’re diving here you might even spot a Mola Mola (oceanic sunfish), black tip reef sharks, or the very occasional whale shark.
On the shore side of the wreck there is a fantastic eel garden where timid eels poke out of the sandy sea floor and dart back in as they see you. It’s quite an impressive sight and a fun dive to the side of the actual shipwreck.
One thing to be aware of is that you will be diving with a lot of other divers. Up to 100 divers a day visit the wreck so you will have to compose photos carefully and look out for the other divers around you.
When to Dive
The best conditions for diving the USS Liberty are towards the end of the year in October and November. Saying this, you can dive here year round, but just before the rainy season the waters are at their calmest and visibility is best.
This is also a good time for diving in Bali in general because the high season is over and the Christmas rush has not yet begun. If you’d like to take your PADI scuba diving qualification you might want to think about this season when you will have some quiet and will be able to study and relax to make the most of your training.
If you’d like more information on PADI certification at Gangga Divers click here: PADI Diving Courses
Would you like to dive the USS Liberty Shipwreck?
Is diving the USS Liberty something you would like to do on your next trip to Bali?
You can even dive it as part of your PADI certification! Let us know in the comments what you think would be the best part of this dive for you.