Dive #179 USAT Liberty Shipwreck, Tulamben, Bali, Indonesia

Dive Report – 10th April 2015

After three sharp intakes of breath, two sphincter clenches and one occasion when the brace position was attained, I finally bit the bullet. If I was going to make my Maker, I’d rather not see it coming and hence it would be a good idea to be asleep en route! I’m not criticising our driver as he had a fantastic awareness of speed and distance towards oncoming traffic over a pedestrian crossing. It was the general narrow roads, slow moving lorries and what can only be described as a continuous swam of mopeds mandating overtaking, undertaking on the correct, incorrect, middle or over the road boundary. It’s as if white lines did not matter.

We eventually arrived at a small car park where the sign above read “Welcome To Paradise”, which brought a smile to H and I. Phew, have we made it or are we in Heaven?

Briefing

Kit offloaded by the crew and we were escorted to a courtyard area with pool and restaurant. It transpires that Paradise is the name of a hotel in the small fishing village of Tulamuben, which many dive companies use to dive one of three sites in the vicinity.

First item on the agenda was to choose lunch while we wait for the kit to arrive and then H and Dive Guide ‘Faris’ to explain dive one to H in respect to the skill sets she’ll need to attain the first of five Adventure Dives of her Advanced Open Water course.

Coral Garden Navigation skills

All kitted up it was a shore entry to the Coral Garden for H to perfect her Navigation skills while I played with sidemount paraphernalia with new Razor harness configuration, fins and toasty 3mm wetsuit. Post skills it was a easy bimble around the Coral Garden. Plenty of soft corals and fish in soft black volcanic sand with a few nudibranch. Dive time 54 minutes, maximum depth 20M and average depth 8M. Surface temperature 35degC with bottom temperature of 30degC. Visibility +/- 20M.

USAT Liberty Shipwreck

The USAT Liberty was a United States Army cargo ship torpedoed by Japanese submarine I-166 in January 1942 and beached on the island of Bali. Liberty USAT was one of 58 Hog Islanders that were casualties in World War II. Providing one of the most popular dives off Bali, she lays some 30 metres from the shore was the stern of the wreck, which slid into the waters back in March 1963 subsequent to the eruption of volcano Gunung Agung. At a maximum 30 metres on her starboard side, her port side some 6 metres below the surface. Dive operators commonly misname the wreck “USS Liberty Glo” and it has also been incorrectly referred to as a Liberty Ship, which were a similar concept of vessel built during the Second World War.

USAT Liberty Circa 1918

After lunch, more kitting up and and a 100 metre walk to the shore entry to the USAT Liberty wreck. OK I lie, some young local lads take your tanks and for the diver, a nice stroll to the water’s edge. H was briefed on her Adventure Dive two and we entered the water. Although silhouettes of a ship remain, the steelwork is partially buried in the black sand and encrusted with soft corals and marine life. H was happy to see her first turtle, Bluespotted stingray and what we think was a ‘Mastitis Papua‘ jellyfish plus simple swim throughs. Announcing her “best dive ever”, dive time 38 minutes, maximum depth 23M and average depth 14M. Surface temperature 33degC with bottom temperature of 30degC.

Kit Tweeks

Loss of 1KG from spine of Razor helped trim a lot for me on dive two. The Hollis F2s did not feel as good as I would have liked; not as heavy as the Hollis F1s I use on my drysuit and less propulsion. Anyone any experience of the ScubaPro JetFins for use with wetsuit?

We must have hit rush hour on our way home as 2.5 hours rather than 2 hours to get to Tulambem from Sanur. A long day. Some simple and pleasant ‘check’ dives.

Thanks to Dive Guide Faris of Bali Scuba of Sanur. Five days surface interval now, with the family and change of hotel before we’re off to Manta Bay for hopefully some Manta spotting next week and H’s third and fourth Adventure dives of Drift and Deep.

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