I kick and launch myself forward, swimming through vertical beams while trying to catch a glimpse of the sleeping big potato grouper. As I near the hull of the ship, the water turns freezing cold – the thermoclines here are hard at work. As am I.
The USAT Liberty was sunk during World War II and is one of the most popular wreck dives in Southeast Asia. Pro tip, if you want to dive the Liberty and want to see cool stuff like the sleeping grouper or the bumphead parrot fish, plan to overnight in Tulamben (a small, sleepy fishing town in Bali’s Northeast) and head to the wreck at 6 a.m. in the morning. Otherwise, it gets way too crowded with day trippers from 9 a.m. onwards.
Countless of interesting things have made the wreck its home. While swimming to the wreck (shore dive), the few things I spotted were some ghost pipefish, a really aloof frogfish, a massive school of trevally, stoned-out scorpionfish, some small shrimp, giant barracuda, a blue spotted stingray, pikachu-ish nudibranches and a yellowish eel.
Would love to have made a video, unfortunately my Xiaomi Yi 4K hasn’t yet arrived. Looking forward to that one, and to returning to Tulamben in the future 🙂
Some tips for diving the USAT Liberty
- Overnight at Tulamben and plan an early morning dive. It’s less crowded and you see more interesting stuff.
- If you bring your own fins, make sure you have water shoes or booties. The Liberty is located at a stone/pebble beach.
When to dive Year Round
Suited for All level of divers (the ship has a shallow part to a deep part). Currents are normally weak, although when I went there this time (April 2017), there were ‘freakishly’ strong currents here, according to my guide.
Keep an eye out for Macro stuff (pygmy seahorse can be found here, as can nudibranches), Schooling fishes, Giant potato cod, Bumphead Parrotfish