Top Snorkeling and Scuba Diving in Indonesia
USAT Liberty Ship Wreck
The Liberty wreck is Bali’s most famous dive site. Built circa WWI this cargo ship was torpedoed by a Japanese submarine off Lombok. Despite attempts to tow the ship to north Bali it was taking on too much water and so was semi-beached at Tulamben. Over the years anything reusable was removed. In 1963, with the earth tremors from the last eruption of Mount Agung, the wreck slid further down the slope where it still lies (as close to the beach as it can be and still be underwater!). The Liberty lies approximately 30m offshore almost parallel to the beach on the sand slope, and is suitable for all levels of qualification and experience. The wreck lies in depths from 9-30m. The shallowest part of the wreck, where it touches the sand slope, is at 5-10m. Depth along the middle of the wreck averages 16-20m. The lower edge of the wreck is 20-28m (at high tide). The wreck is 120m long, it is quite broken up but you can still see the guns, toilets, boilers, anchor chain, etc. It is a lovely dive site, possibly the world’s easiest wreck dive. You can also snorkel on the wreck - the highest point of the stern is about 4m below the surface. Visibility is usually 18-25m, lower when it has been raining. There is rarely a current present, at most it will be mild. During the 3 days before the full moon, there are usually waves. The air temperature is 25-32 degrees, the water 26-28 degrees. The wreck is very popular with photographers as it is totally encrusted in anemone, gorgonians and corals. The black sand provides an excellent colour contrast for the incredible variety of marine life, which includes a huge school of big-eyed trevally and over 400 other species of fish. You will see just about everything in any Indo-Pacific Reef Guide book if you dive here. The variety is amazing. Night diving on the wreck is fantastic, especially during full moon. You may see Spanish dancers, flashlight fish, and phosphorescence.
Wakatobi Dive Resort's House Reef
I can only concur with one of my UW photography idols, JAMES WATT, who after his first visit said: "There is no question in my mind that the house reef is the best house reef available at any dive resort in the world." I mean the place is absolutely unbelievable! There's not a square inch that doesn't have coral growth on it, all the way from the surface down to as deep as you can go (the resort only offers pure air so far). But what really blows your mind is the ease of access. Check out their website and you will see from the aerial what I mean. Just step out of your cabin, on with a tank and enjoy. I am going back! -- PygmyDiver This one's easy to get to. Simply hop on a plane and fly to Bali. Then enjoy the resort's own charter flight to the island. You leave Bali at 8am and you can be diving by noon. From then on, every day at the resort you have this awesome reef available for top-notch diving at any time of day - and only 50' from your room!
This site is an old lava flow from Mount Agung, at the east side end of the Tulamben bay. The dive starts off on a steep sand slope with nudibranches, flounders, goby/shrimp sets. At 12m are sponges with many varieties of shrimp, leaf scorpion fish and crinoids, often with attendant ghost pipefish. Continuing round to the east, the slope develops into a reef with very impressive topography, becoming a vertical wall from 15m and descending to below 60m. Visibility is usually 15-20m (due to the amount of plankton in the water). The wall has profuse sponges, corals, black coral bushes, gorgonian fans - at 30m there is a sea fan that reaches 2m in width. You may see white tip and black tip reef sharks, napoleon wrasse, big bumphead parrotfish, some big filefish (including scrawled) and moray eel. Late afternoon is the time to see the wide variety of lionfish. From southern Bali (Kuta, Nusa Dua, Sanur, Denpasar) drive east via Gianyar town, Semarapura and Amlapura. From Amlapura head north to Culik. Tulamben is about 20 minutes from Culik. Resorts are situated on either side of the road in Tulamben. Those on the right run down to the beach. The drive takes about 3 hours.
Secret Bay is about 2km wide and very shallow (3-12m). It contains two small islands and has some areas of mangrove. Secret Bay is the only bay off the narrow Bali Strait, where currents can reach 7 knots. A reef lying just outside the mouth of the bay creates a channel through which these waters flow, and this is what makes Gilimanuk an extremely interesting dive site. Strong tidal currents mean that Secret Bay's fish and invertebrates are extremely healthy, colourful and well-fed (and that the water here is colder at Bali's other dive sites, about 25 degrees). Entering the bay from the channel the bottom is fine black volcanic sand. The channel contains no coral although the sides are scattered with bommies full of angel fish, butterfly fish, schools of razor fish and tiny reef fish, including cardinal fish and multitudes of damselfish. The best time to dive is on an incoming tide or around high tide, it doesn’t matter if it is early or late in the day, as the bay will have filled with clear water from the Bali Strait. Gilimanuk Bay contains many rare macro-photography subjects, including nudibranches, gobies, crustaceans, dragonets, abundant seahorses and pipefish, juvenile Batavia batfish, large areas of long-spined sea urchins with clingfish, and many other organisms. At other sites it is difficult to see juvenile marine life as they hide to avoid predators. However as the bay is shallow and there are very few large fish juveniles in Secret Bay have very little to hide from. Night diving at Secret Bay is a unique experience! You can see cephalopods of all shapes and sizes, crustaceans wandering in search of dinner and other weird and wonderful creatures. While Bali offers great diversity of dive sites Gilimanuk Bay is unique within Bali. It is the very definition of muck-diving. No rich coral reefs, no depth to speak of, it is a site for macro-photographers, and maybe for recreational divers looking for something different from the norm. From southern Bali (Kuta, Nusa Dua, Sanur, Denpasar) drive via Tabanan to Soka. Then follow the coast road via Medewi to Negara. From Negara head to Gilimanuk, from where you can shore dive at Secret Bay. The drive takes about 3-3.5 hours.
Tulamben House Reef
Running along the middle section of Tulamben bay is a shallow reef of mainly table and fire corals interspersed with anemones and sponges. The fish life is very diverse. You can see a surprising number of blue ribbon eels, octopus, shrimps and anemone fish. Bigger fish seen here include bumphead parrotfish and black tip reef shark. The depth (averaging 8-12m) and location make the Tulamben house reef a very good and popular night dive. -- From southern Bali (Kuta, Nusa Dua, Sanur, Denpasar) drive east via Gianyar town, Semarapura and Amlapura. From Amlapura head north to Culik. Tulamben is about 20 minutes from Culik. Resorts are situated on either side of the road in Tulamben. Those on the right run down to the beach. The drive takes about 3 hours.
At Kubu Point there are two different reefs accessible from the shore. After a 20m swim from the shore the reefs run from a depth of 5-40m. The profile is a black sand slope where you can find many garden eels. There are both soft and hard corals in great diversity, including many sea fans. Fish life here includes barracuda, pygmy seahorses, sharks and some large octopus. Visibility at Kubu is normally excellent, even when it has been wavy with low visibility at Tulamben. From southern Bali (Kuta, Nusa Dua, Sanur, Denpasar) drive east via Gianyar town, Semarapura and Amlapura. From Amlapura head north to Culik. Tulamben is about 20 minutes from Culik. From Tulamben keep heading northwest. After approximately 10 minutes there is a junction, the road to the right will bring you to the beach after about 1km.