Off the coast of Tulamben is one of Bali’s best dive sites, the USAT Liberty Wreck. Encrusted in coral, this sunken ship provides a rich habitat for marine species. Scuba divers from around the world come to explore this famous wreck and see its fascinating marine life. But how did such a massive ship end up submerged next to a small fishing village?
The story of the USAT Liberty began in 1918 when the ship was built in a United States shipyard. The Liberty served as a U.S. army cargo ship during WWI and WWII. In 1942, the Liberty was sailing through the Lombok Strait, located between Bali and its neighboring island of Lombok, when it was hit by a torpedo fired from a Japanese submarine.
The Liberty suffered considerable damage as a result of the attack. Two destroyers attempted to tow the battered vessel to Singaraja, a port town at the far north of Bali. But as the Liberty was being towed, it began taking on too much water. To prevent the ship from sinking, the Liberty was instead beached on the shores of Tulamben. This marked the end of the Liberty’s sailing days.
The 120-meter boat remained stranded on Tulamben’s beach for 21 more years. Then, in 1963 Bali’s tallest volcano, Mount Agung, sprang to life. As the volcano erupted, the tremors caused the Liberty to slip off the beach, sinking it underwater.
Decades later, the Liberty still rests on its side just 25 meters off of Tulamben’s coast, making it one of the most accessible wreck dives in the world. From the beach, an unknowing visitor might not realize the awe-inspiring attraction that lies just below the ocean’s surface. But those who are lucky enough to dive the wreck will witness the Liberty’s remarkable transformation: from a derelict, man-made ship to a thriving haven for marine life. Click here to learn more about scuba diving at the USAT Liberty Wreck.
If you are coming to Bali, we encourage you to put a scuba diving trip to the Liberty at the top of your list. Our top-rated dive center offers trips to the Liberty Wreck every day. If you’re ready to book your dive with Let’s Dive Tulamben, click here. Or select an option from the list below to learn more.
- Beginner Scuba Diving
- Fun Dives (for certified divers)
- Underwater Photography Dive
- PADI Open Water Diver Course
- PADI Advanced Open Water Diver Course