Where is the Liberty Wreck dive site located?
The famous USAT Liberty Wreck dive site (also commonly called the USS Liberty) is located off the coast of Tulamben, a small fishing village in northeast Bali. While many visitors choose to spend the night or a few days in Tulamben, it is also possible to come just for a day trip from other areas of Bali. If you’d like to book a day trip, please contact us. If desired, we can help arrange transportation for an additional fee.
Below is a list of the approximate times it takes to reach Tulamben when driving from the south and other parts of Bali. Please note that these times may fluctuate depending on current traffic conditions and your exact location.
- Amed: 20 minutes
- Candidasa: 1 hour
- Padang Bai: 1.5 hours
- Ubud: 2.5 hours
- Canggu/Kuta/Sanur/Denpasar: 3 hours
- Uluwatu: 4 hours
- Lovina: 2 hours
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How did the Liberty Wreck sink off Tulamben’s coast?
The USAT Liberty was a United States cargo ship that was hit by a torpedo between Bali and Lombok during WWII. The ship was beached on the coast of Bali for many years until Mount Agung erupted in 1963. The eruption caused the ship to slide from the shore and sink just off the coast. Since then, corals have grown all over the ship’s surfaces, creating a habitat for countless marine species.
You can learn more about the history wreck in this blog post.
When is the best time to dive the Liberty Wreck?
There are a few factors you’ll want to consider when choosing the best time to visit Bali’s Liberty Wreck. The most important things to keep in mind are the visibility and the number of people who will be there at the same time.
Unlike many other countries, Bali only has two seasons: the dry season and the wet season. Because Tulamben is in a more arid region of Bali, it has a longer dry season than other parts of the island. In general, Tulamben’s dry season tends to run from May to November. Conversely, the wet season lasts from December through April. Visibility at the Liberty Wreck tends to be the best during the dry season. The wet season is still an okay time to visit the wreck; however, heavy rains can lead to lower visibility.
Though visibility may be the best during the dry season, this also tends to be the time of year that the most tourists come to Bali. Because the Liberty Wreck is such a popular dive site, it can get fairly crowded during the high season. The months of June and July see the most crowds, while the period of February to May is nearly empty at the wreck. Between September to November the crowds gradually lessen, but they pick up again around the holidays in December and early January.
For those with a flexible travel schedule, our recommended time of year to visit the wreck is between September to November or April to June. This will help you avoid the worst of the crowds and reduce pressure on this fragile ecosystem, while still offering a high likelihood of good visibility.
In addition to the time of year, the time of day also makes a difference. On a typical day, the Liberty Wreck gets the most crowded between 10am to 1pm. Visibility also tends to get worse by the afternoon. For this reason, many people believe that early morning is the best time to dive the wreck. Plus, the early morning is one of the best times to spot the bumphead parrotfish that sleep at the wreck.
What will you see when diving the Liberty Wreck?
As the USAT Liberty remains submerged underwater, it’s morphed from a rusty hunk of metal to a biodiverse ecosystem. The ship is now covered with a mix of soft and hard corals, as well as gorgonian fans, sponges, sea anemones, and crinoids. The “living” wreck is a rich habitat that attracts a diverse array of marine species. In fact, it is estimated that the wreck is home to over 400 species of fish!
With such a diversity of life, each visit to the wreck is a unique experience. Some of the wreck’s residents include surgeonfish, angelfish, butterflyfish, batfish, sweetlips, and damselfish. Critters like octopus, cleaner shrimps, ghost pipefish, and cuttlefish are also common sightings. Turtles occasionally stop by to feed at the Liberty Wreck. If you’re lucky you might even see a barracuda or reef shark. Divers must look closely to spot some of the wreck’s smaller residents, such as frogfish and nudibranchs. It’s also easy to miss the scorpionfish that are camouflaged amongst the corals. Perhaps the most amazing spectacle is the huge school of trevallies, or jackfish, that form a swirling “tornado” above the wreck. There’s also something mesmerizing about watching the garden eels that poke their heads out of the seafloor and sway in the current.
Night dives on the Liberty Wreck offer a completely different experience. Once the sun sets, divers can see flashlight fish and bioluminescent plankton. Night dives also are a chance to see the bumphead parrotfish sleeping peacefully inside the wreck, while groupers and moray eels are busy hunting.
As you can see, the Liberty Wreck is teeming with fascinating critters for underwater photographers to capture. Want to improve your underwater photography skills so you can take stunning photos of the wreck’s incredible marine life? Be sure to ask about our expert-guided photography dives.
Who can dive the Liberty Wreck?
One of the best things about the Liberty Wreck is that it’s suitable for all levels of divers. Because it is located only 25 meters offshore, the Liberty is one of the most accessible wreck dives in the world. The Liberty Wreck is a shore dive, meaning divers enter the water by walking in from the beach.
The shallowest part of the ship is only 3 meters below the surface, so there is plenty for beginner divers to see. Good visibility and calm conditions also make this a great beginner dive. More advanced divers can go inside the massive structure and journey down 30 meters to explore the deepest sections of the wreck.
How to book a dive at the Liberty Wreck?
Ready to book your dive at the Liberty Wreck? Whether you’re staying in Tulamben or coming from another part of Bali, we recommend booking your dive in advance. However, if you’re not a planner and are staying in Tulamben, it’s also possible to stop by our dive shop the day before to arrange your dives. Click here to book your dive with Let’s Dive Tulamben.
We are a local dive center located in Tulamben, Bali. Our team members are all locals who are passionate about diving and know everything there is to know about the Liberty Wreck and Tulamben’s other dive sites. You can learn more about the “Let’s Dive” way here.
We offer scuba diving adventures for divers of all levels. If you’re ready to book your dive, 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
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