The USAT Liberty Wreck in Tulamben, Bali, is an iconic dive site known for its historical significance, vibrant marine life, and accessibility for divers of all levels.

USAT Liberty Shipwreck: A Diver’s Guide

This guide provides detailed information about the wreck, including its history, marine life, and tips for divers planning to explore this underwater marvel.

Key Highlights of USAT Liberty Shipwreck

Historic Significance: The USAT Liberty Shipwreck is a sunken World War II cargo ship, offering a fascinating underwater exploration site.
Location: Situated off the coast of Tulamben, Bali, in a shallow water area accessible to both snorkelers and divers.
Marine Life: Home to vibrant coral gardens and diverse marine species, including parrotfish, angelfish, and barracudas.
Dive Accessibility: Suitable for divers of all experience levels, with depths ranging from 5 to 30 meters.
Underwater Photography: Provides excellent opportunities for underwater photography due to its clear visibility and abundant marine life.

Pros and Cons

ProsCons
Ease of Access: Convenient shore entry makes it easily accessible for divers and snorkelers.Crowded: Can be crowded during peak seasons, reducing the sense of solitude.
Rich Biodiversity: Offers an impressive array of marine life and coral formations.Limited Visibility: Occasionally affected by weather conditions, which can impair visibility.
Historical Interest: Adds an educational element for history enthusiasts.Environmental Impact: Increased tourism might lead to environmental degradation if not managed properly.
Scenic Views: Clear waters enhance the underwater visibility, making for great diving experiences.

USAT Liberty Shipwreck Amenities

Dive shops
Gear rental services
Guided dive tours
Nearby accommodation options
Restaurants and cafes in Tulamben

Nearby Attractions

Tulamben Beach: Just a short walk from the wreck, ideal for relaxing after a dive.
Amed Beach: Located about 30 minutes away, known for its beautiful black sand beaches and diving spots.
Tirta Gangga: A scenic water palace approximately 20 km from Tulamben, perfect for a cultural excursion.
Mount Agung: Bali’s highest volcano, offering challenging hikes and stunning views, located about an hour’s drive from Tulamben.
Besakih Temple: Bali’s largest and most significant temple, also known as the Mother Temple, situated about 40 km from the shipwreck site.

Location and Dive Conditions

Depth and Accessibility:The wreck lies on a sand slope ranging from about 5 meters (16 feet) to 30 meters (98 feet) deep, making it accessible to divers of all levels. The top of the wreck is just 5 meters below the surface, while the deepest part is approximately 30 meters deep.
Distance from Shore:The wreck is located very close to the shore, about 30 meters (100 feet) off the beach of Tulamben, allowing divers easy shore access to the dive site.
Diving Experience Required:The USAT Liberty Wreck caters to divers of all levels, from beginners to advanced. Beginners can explore the upper sections of the wreck, while more experienced divers have the opportunity to dive deeper into the structure.
Diving License Requirement:A basic Open Water Diver certification is sufficient to dive the upper parts of the wreck. However, an Advanced Open Water Diver certification is recommended to explore the deeper sections.

Marine Life

The USAT Liberty wreck is a thriving artificial reef teeming with life.

Divers can expect to see schools of bumphead parrotfish, barracuda, trevally, and an array of macro life such as colourful nudibranchs, pygmy seahorses, and camouflaged scorpionfish.

The site is particularly famous for its vibrant coral growth and the diverse species it supports.

Diving Tips

  • Buoyancy Control: Due to the wreck’s proximity to the shore and its location in shallow water, good buoyancy control is essential to avoid damaging the coral or disturbing the silty bottom.
  • Night Diving: The Liberty wreck offers an exceptional night diving experience, revealing nocturnal marine life and a different perspective of the wreck.
  • Choosing a Dive Operator: With hundreds of dive operators in Bali, selecting a reputable dive centre that prioritises safety and environmental conservation is crucial.

Best Time to Dive

Diving conditions are generally favourable year-round, but the best visibility and marine life activity are during the dry season from April to October. The wet season, from January to March, might reduce visibility but can also offer unique diving experiences due to fewer tourists and different marine life behaviours.

Exploring the USAT Liberty wreck in Tulamben is a must-do for any diver visiting Bali. Its easy access, rich history, and abundant marine life make it a dive site that appeals to both novices and experienced divers alike.

Always remember to dive responsibly and respect the underwater environment to preserve its beauty for future generations.

Historical Background

The USAT Liberty was a United States Army Transport ship that was unfortunately sunk by a Japanese submarine in 1942 during the Second World War.

After the attack, it was towed to Tulamben, Bali, for salvage operations. However, the eruption of Mount Agung in 1963 caused the vessel to slip into the ocean, where it now rests on a sand slope.

USAT Liberty FAQs

How deep is the Tulamben shipwreck?

The USAT Liberty wreck in Tulamben, Bali, is located at a depth ranging from 5 to 30 metres (about 16 to 100 feet). Initially stranded on the east coast of Bali, the ship was moved 25 metres off the beach and submerged at this depth range due to the eruption of Mount Agung in 1963. Despite its status as a wreck, it retains a captivating allure for divers.

How did the USAT Liberty sink?

The USAT Liberty was a United States cargo ship that was torpedoed by a Japanese submarine during World War II, specifically between Bali and Lombok. After being beached on the coast of Bali for an extended period, the eruption of Mount Agung in 1963 caused the ship to slide from the shore and sink just off the coast, creating the popular dive site known today.

What does USAT stand for?

USAT stands for United States Army Transport, a designation used for troop transports operated by the United States Army. This prefix is placed before the ship’s name to denote its service and purpose within military operations.