Diving in the Legend of Tulamben: Black Sand Beach & Sunken Wreck

Diving in the Legend of Tulamben: Black Sand Beach & Sunken Wreck
Credit: Instagram/vivinrosyarinta

If you want to do scuba diving in Bali, you must go to the northeast coast. The town of Tulamben is located at the end of a curving road that winds up and down the hills, passing through the jungle and rice fields. Tulamben would have remained a small village in the middle of nowhere if it hadn’t been for its spectacular diving site, which is one of the best in Bali. The underwater ecology has been given the optimal environment to create outstanding marine biodiversity as a result of volcanic activity. Tulamben is not only a fantastic macro diving spot, but it’s also one of the top wreck dive sites in the world, thanks to the USAT Liberty, which has a strange history tied to the volcano.

Diving in Tulamben Bali: The Majestic Sunken War Ship

The USAT Liberty wreck is one of the world’s most accessible wreck dives, as it is only 25 meters from the beach and only 5 meters deep. Its deepest point is 30 meters, making it accessible to most recreational divers, which explains its widespread popularity.

The USAT Liberty, an American cargo ship, is torpedoed by a Japanese submarine between Bali and Lombok in 1942, during WWII. The ship can only be hauled as far as the beach of Tulamben when attempting to reach the port of Singaraja. It was not a wreck dive location for 21 years until Mount Agung erupted in 1963. The eruption caused an earthquake, which caused the ship to sink to a depth of 5 to 28 meters.

What to See in the Tulamben Wreck

The Tulamben is well-known for its shipwreck site. The diving is acceptable for all types and levels of divers because the wreck is located in shallow waters. The dive is well-known among beginners because several dive centers provide beginning dives at this wreck. The shipwreck now serves as a fantastic attraction for all marine creatures. There are numerous shoals of fish and sea horses to be found. The water is crystal clear and warm. At the majority of the time, there is no current.

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Best Time to Dive the Wreck in Tulamben

Because of the constant calm water, you can go diving in the Tulamben wreck Bali at virtually any time of the day. However, the best time to visit the sunken ship are during early morning and late afternoon. That is when the wreck is a bit empty from dive tours and you can enjoy the wreck for yourself. Because the wreck is a popular site, it can get crowded during the noon.

Why Sunrise Diving at USAT Liberty Tulamben Bali is the Best

If you want to dive the wreck in Tulamben, it’s best to sleep in the village so you can make the sunrise dive. These are why sunrise dive in the USAT Liberty is the best, compared to other times of the day.

First thing first, you’ll be virtually entirely on your own. The sunrise dive start at around 5.30 – 6.00 am. No day tours have arrived at such time. They will start coming to Tulamben around 8 or 9 in the morning, and the site will be busy until late afternoon. 

Second, there are some species that can only be seen at sunrise: The bump-head parrot fish is one example of this. They are quite large, measuring around 50cm in length, and are surprisingly unafraid of divers while staying cautious. They are usually visible right at the start of the dive, as they are in the first 5 meters of water at the shipwreck’s base. They return to the blue after the sunrise.

Last, the dim lighting around the ruin adds to the mystery and eerie atmosphere that shipwrecks may elicit due to their history.

The USAT Liberty wreck is also famous for being a remarkable site for night diving! That’s the time when the ocean changes and all sort of creatures that sleeps during the day come from their hiding. Try it once and see how it amaze you.

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Shore Diving in Black Sand Beaches

Tulamben diving is entirely about shore diving. There is no need to be concerned about boat logistics here. You load your gear into a jeep and are on the beach in under two minutes. It’s so fun how you literally walk to the world beneath the water. You can easily fit 5 dives into a day if you get up early and have 1-hour surface rests between each dive.

Will you add diving in Tulamben Bali to your summer to-do list this year and see the legend with your own eyes?