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Scuba Diving in Bali, Indonesia
Dive Site: Liberty Wreck
Location: Tulamben, Northeast Coast of Bali, approximately 2.5 hours drive from Kuta, Indonesia
Length: 120 metres (400 feet)
Depth: 7 - 30 metres (23 - 100 feet)
Visibility: 20 - 30 metres (65 - 100 feet)
The Liberty was built by the federal shipbuilding company in Kearny, New Jersey. She was 120 metres long, 17 metres in beam, drafted 7.3 metres and grossed 6.211 tons powered by a 2500 horsepower steam turbine engine. Early in the morning of January 11th 1942, the Liberty was motoring across the Lombok Strait, bringing war material from Australia to the Philippines. At 4.15 am the ship was torpedoed by the Japanese submarine I-166. Although crippled by the blow, the Liberty did not sink. Two destroyers tried to tow the ship toward Singaraja where it was hoped she could be repaired, however the ship was taking in too much water so she was beached at Tulamben. Over the coming year anything of value was removed.
In 1963, Bali's highest and most holy mountain, Gunung Agung, erupted creating a powerful earthquake that rolled the ship in to deeper water and broke her at the bow and stern. The Liberty now lies almost parallel to the beach, the shallowest part of the wreck touches the sandy slope at 7-9 metres and the deepest part is at 28-30 metres. It's a lovely, easy wreck dive that is popular for photographers as it is totally encrusted in anemones, gorgonians and corals. Tulamben's black sand provides an excellent colour contrast for the incredible variety of marine life. It's quite difficult to list what you will see on this dive because you will come across just about everything in any Indo-Pacific reef guidebook. The variety is amazing with minute angelfish, nudibranchs, pipefish and gobies through to the areas of garden eels, huge schools of big-eyed trevally, sweetlips, batfish, butterflyfish set against hard coral, black corals, sponges and sea fans. Current is rarely present and at most it will be mild. The wreck is great for night dives, particularly if the moon is full. You may see Spanish dancers, flashlight fish, or sleeping parrotfish and will notice the different behaviour of marine life compared to the daytime.
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