We have arrived in Tulamben on Bali’s northeast coast to survey one of the most accessible wreck dive sites in the world, the USAT Liberty.
Directly situated off the beach, the 120m-long wreck of what used to be an American supply ship rests on a 90 degree angle with the deck facing the open sea. Torpedoed by the Japanese in January 1942 and initially beached on the island, the ship slipped off the beach in 1963 after a volcanic eruption from Mount Agung.
Fifty-one years later, it is simply alive with life, with Bumphead Parrotfish, large Oriental Sweetlips and trevallies, and thousands of invertebrates that live within all the corals and sponges that have coated the wreck over the years. It’s no wonder that it’s one of Bali’s most popular dive sites. Soon you will be able to explore it for yourself as a virtual dive.
Even though over 100 divers can be seen everyday at peak season, the environment here is thriving. So is the local community as they recognize the value of their marine asset and are protecting it. From the iconic female tank porters, the legions of dive guides and t-shirt salesmen, to the off-season fishermen that transport divers. All done with a smile on their face.
Well, we will be leaving with a smile on our faces too.