World Class Diving Site: Tulamben
Are you one of those travelers who are tired of the lively hubs and now searching for a total retreat? Tulamben is the best spot for you. However, the tranquility advantage of the place will be added if you are also a diver. No matter in what level you are right now, this spot offers a diving site worthy of your visiting. Since very a long time ago, shipwreck has been a source of adventure for many divers. Tulamben has such a shipwreck, a huge wreck of a 120 m vessel dated back from the World War II.
Before we discuss about the shipwreck, let me tell you basic information about Tulamben. The place got its name from the world Batulambin, meaning many stones in English. This is because the shore line of the village is characterized not by the white sand commonly found in the southwestern coast of the island. The stretch of the shore line here is full of smooth, large stones. These stones are the results of the eruption of Mount Agung that you can see clearly from here. While beach tourism like in Kuta is impossible here, the local and investors take their benefits from the evolving diving tourism.
The local people in Tulamben village still retains their original occupation, namely as fishermen. However, their fishing activities are still traditional in nature and they do not use ultra-modern equipment that destroys the environment. In fact, tourists to Tulamben praise the local as they have higher natural awareness. As a result, no matter where you are diving in Tulamben, you can see coral formations growing healthily. There are no bombs or poisonous chemicals being used in the fishing. This in turn affects the beauty of the living organisms that attract many divers from around the globe.
The shipwreck itself is the remaining of USS Liberty. In World War II, a Japanese submarine spotted the vessel which was functioning at that time as a supply war ship. Soon the submarine torpedoed the vessel. Of course USS Liberty tried to run away as it was not equipped with anti-submarine weapons. But fate was rigid and the great vessel finally sunk just off shore Tulamben village. When Mount Agung erupted in 1963, the waves and stones resulting from the eruption put the wreck in its current location. It is only around 25 meters from the shoreline of Tulamben. The uppermost part of the wreck can be seen just around 3 to 5 meters under the surface.
During October and November, visibility is at the best. The monsoon wind blows mildly along the surface, resulting in calm weather. That is the best time to dive the wreck. During the peak season, we can see around 100 divers descending into the wreck. Besides the coral and fish life, some large fish have been reported, such as black-tip reef sharks and mola-mola. There are many diving operators here and the difference in rates is not too big. Some of the operators have PADI certificate and provide useful diving lessons.