Liberty Wreck Bali diving
Bali dive sites
The USAT Liberty Wreck is probably the world’s best shore wreck dive. It’s certainly one of the easiest wrecks to access as it lies just 30m off Tulamben beach in north east Bali, around 3 hours drive from Kuta beach and the airport. Even snorkelers can swim out and enjoy the wreck. Divers don’t even have to carry their own tanks down to the shore as local village women make a living carrying divers’ tanks on their heads.
Currents are weak making this a dive for all levels of diver. The black sand background can sometimes make the visibility seem dark. Visibility ranges from 5-30 metres.
How the USAT Liberty wreck sank
The USAT Liberty was a World War II Cargo ship that was torpedoed by a Japanese submarine on 11 January 1942 in the Lombok Strait. The Liberty’s captain, along with the help of two US destroyers, managed to coax her back to Bali. But they could not reach port at Singaraja because she was taking on too much water. So he ran her aground and she stayed on Tulamben beach until 1963. Then Gunung Agung volcano erupted and the lava flow pushed the Liberty back out to sea.
She now lies in 28m of water with the shallowest part of the wreck just 3m below the surface. She is laying on a sand slope on her side, parallel to the beach.
The 120m long wreck is very broken up so you can’t really penetrate. Locals have long since salvaged anything of value. But you can still see the guns, as well as the toilets and boilers. The structure is completely covered in coral and encrusting sponge which is incredibly pretty. Huge schools of fish swarm the wreck, they almost block out the light from above. Bigger fish such as barracuda and even sunfish occasionally visited the wreck.
Tulamben black sand diving
The black sand slope between the wreck and the shore is a great place to spend some time decompressing. There you can hunt for smaller critters. You can also see patches of garden eels swaying out of their holes. Plus numerous nudibranch, shrimp and goby species.
The wreck also makes a superb night dive with, among other highlights, cocooned parrot fish, free swimming moray eels and lots of lionfish (look out for oscillate dwarf lionfish).
You need several dives to see Liberty Wreck properly. That’s why many divers visit Tulamben for a few days then end up staying much longer.