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Diving Experience : Tulamben – USS Liberty Wreck

I went to Bali last week to attend a friend’s wedding at Nusa Dua. I should say that was the most unprepared trip I had in the past few years. Maybe because I lost my interest to Bali? I meant, Bali isn’t a new place for me, I’ve been there few times, been to it’s famous places, and  I didnt know where and what else to visit and didn’t even have any intention to browse it on the internet. So, I just simply asked my friend who often enough to go to Bali, then she mentioned some must-visit place like Finn’s beach, Rock Bar, Ayana, Banyan Tree, etc. Those are the name of fancy resorts or restaurant with private beach and surely has an amazing view. Most of them located in Pecatu or Uluwatu. Yes, Bali these days is full of those. And if you want to enjoy them, you have to reach minimum billing for their food and beverages, it’s about Rp 200.000 – 250.000 ($20-25) per pax.

One thing that I really wanted to do in Bali this time is to go dive! I’ve never dive again after getting license in Pulau Pramuka back in January. Long enough to forgot how to dive, right? I should go dive at least once a year! That’s my promise to myself. So I think my visit to Bali would be my good chance to do it, besides they said Bali has a lot of beautiful dive sites such Nusa Penida, Menjangan, Tulamben, etc.

Unfortunately, none of my friends are licensed. So I kinda about to shut my plan down. Until finally a week before departing, Pak Sasmita (my diving instructor) suggested me to contact his friend, Pak Jamal, a DM (Dive Master) which based in Bali. He said that Pak Jamal is very flexible in arranging dive trip. He also able to guide a single guest to go dive. Sounds cool, eh? So there I go, I made such a good deal with him, 2x dive in Tulamben (yes, I chose Tulamben! I wanted to see the wreck!!), including transfer from and to hotel, diving gear rental, and lunch in a very convenient price! Yeay!

So, on monday, I was picked up at 5.45 am in my hotel in Kuta. Pak Jamal came with his assistant, Mas Kus. And we had this 2.5 hours drive to Tulamben from Kuta. Pardon my sleepy head during car ride, I was asleep all the time and woke up right when we arrived in Tulamben. Mas Kus prepared like almost everything, he even brought my personal stuff down to the beach.

In Tulamben, we’re going to have beach-entry. The beach was bit wavy at that time, so it’s kinda hard to walk in to the sea with a complete dive gear  in my body. We swam about 5 meters away from the beach then we went in. Not far from our entry point, we could see a quiet big wreck of USS Liberty Ship in 20-25 meters depth. So gorgeous! There was plenty of corals on it and a lot of fishes around! Too bad I didn’t bring underwater camera. Yeah, my biggest-est mistake!
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I also met a 0.5 meters long Bumphead Parrotfish, two small Barracudas, a 0,5 meters long Netfin Grouper, and a 0.5 meters long colorful fish (I-dont-know-what’s-the-name-but-it-looked-so-gorgeous!) I got stunned for a moment, I looked at this big and colorful fish eyes to eyes, it looked back at me. And ouch! I felt like a butterfly in my stomach!

Time flew when you dive, we spent about 45 mins which felt like 15 mins in our 1st dive. My oxygen was only 50 bar left when we went up to safety stop. Guess what, Pak Jamal still have 150 bar oxygen in his tank, and I was like..what the hell! How could he do that? Later I know that he has done about 8000x dive in his entire life. Well yeah, practice makes perfect, doesn’t it?

Bumphead Parrotfish
(courtesy of www.mantaraycharters.com)

There’s supposed to be a bigger Bumphead Parrotfish around Tulamben, about 2 meters long. But it usually be found if you do a night dive. I don’t know why but ‘night-dive’ always sounds soo tempting in my ears, but I still don’t have guts to do it. But I promise myself (again), one day, I will!

Netfin Grouper
(courtesy of www.arkive.org)

 I really enjoyed the sensation of being surrounded by hundred fishes, dance around the corals, swam in and out the wreck,  I just love it!!