Despite having an advanced diving license,
i’ve only clocked less than 20 dives and hence, not too confident with my underwater skills.
I was advised by a dive master friend to go Tulamben for diving instead of Crystal Bay in Nusa Dua because the currents tend to be stronger at Crystal Bay.

It was a real struggle for me cos i really wanted to experience Manta Point!
Plus, Crystal Bay is actually nearer to where i was staying (Seminyak) compared to Tulamben.

I eventually settled for Tulamben as i wanted to have an easy dive.
It was actually also the wrong season to be diving (January is the rainy season) and my friend did mention it wouldn’t be worth travelling to Crystal Bay at this time of the year.

I only made my reservations with the dive company one day before the trip.
I thought the wet weather would affect diving plans, but it didn’t really matter at the end.
It was raining when we began our descent and everything turned out fine!

We went with this company called Aqua Dive Paradise because of it’s high ratings on tripadvisor.
I’m a huge believer in Tripadvisor reviews and there seemed to be an overwhelming amount of positive testimonials left for the dive company.

So we went with it,
the price was reasonable, about SGD140 in all,
including transport to and from our hotel in Seminyak,
both breakfast and lunch,
as well as 3 dives with a private instructor – USAT Liberty Wreck, Drop-Off and Coral Garden (Underwater Temple).

All confirmation was done through whatsapp with Kadek.
I initially thought the transaction was pretty dodgy and was afraid we would be kidnapped.
Well i’m still alive now so i guess it’s how things roll in Bali.

We were assigned to Made as our private instructor.
We had specifically requested for a refresher because it has been more than a year since our last dive.
Made was very patient and detailed during the refresher session.
He also showed us a map of the USAT Tulamben Dive Wreck, our first dive spot in the morning, and pointed out our diving route.

It was a shore dive, so we didn’t need to take a boat out into the sea.
My bcd was strapped on in the sea and we swam out further before we found a spot to begin our descent.

Despite the rain, we had a very pleasant time underwater!

More about the USAT Liberty Wreck Site;
It was a US Army cargo ship torpedoed by a Japanese submarine in 1942 and beached on the Island of Bali.
The hulk later got pushed deep into the water by the flowing lava from Mt Agung eruptions!

It was really pretty damn hauntingly beautiful.
I gotta admit though, the ecosystem wasn’t exactly vibrant.
It could be due because it was not right season and many fishes were in hiding. 🙁

I know what you’re thinking,
this steering wheel has been touched by tens of thousands of tourist divers.

 

After our first dive,
we headed straight for the 2nd one at the Drop-Off.

The reef edge lies at around 5-10m deep, and drops off to 70m deep beyond that.
The cliff was formed from a series of underwater lava flows.

We headed back for a lunch after the 2nd dive.
Mee goreng for champions.

It was Made’s birthday and his colleagues surprised him with a cake. Aww.

 

The last dive was my favourite – The Coral Garden (Underwater Temple)

It was a pretty magical experience when the underwater statues came into view.
These Coral Goddesses are living sculptures put underwater by men.
Deemed as “Art wth a Purpose”, they not only contribute to the diving ecotourism,
they also help create new habitats for the flourishing of marine life and help in the recover of destroyed coral reefs!

 

I like Made!
He was constantly looking out for us underwater, ensuring our safety.
He also kept taking shots of us underwater.
During the dive log debriefings, he would take out his books to show us the fishes we encountered.
You can definitely considering booking your package with them!

So… if you’re a novice diver looking for a leisure dive,
i say go to Tulamben and uncover these underwater gems!