Tulamben, Bali October 2013
A solo return to Liberty Dive Resort as my usual
fellow traveller was unable to join me this time. I
decided quickly after my last trip to come up at
this time of year to try what I hoped to be an
experience with stuff I had not had the chance
to shoot before. I settled back in fairly quickly
and set up all my chargers to prepare for the
next day. The afternoon was a good chance to
catch up with friends I had made on the last visit
and it was good to see all the old faces from
last time were still there. I had a few too many
drinks but we had a lot of laughs.
Day one
It all started with a 6:00 am dive on the Liberty
Wreck and although I had a slight hangover it was a very enjoyable dive. A big school of Bump Head Wrasse were found around the stern
of the wreck and we did a gentle drift along the full length returning to our entry point. Visibility was pretty good at this stage but the
weather was hot. I had a bit of a break at this stage and we decided to go to Kubu for a couple of dives at 12:00 noon. Both dives were
quite good but the visibility was down a bit here. Lots of fish life around so I stuck with wide angle for the
day.
Day two
Breakfast first today as we were headed to Bali Hai for a couple of dives as I was keen to find some
Coleman Shrimp. The current was strong and we had to dig in so that we would not be swept away. Apart
from this Mega was able to find a Fire Urchin with two Coleman Shrimp on board and I was able to get a
few good shots despite the bad angle and strong current. After Lunch we went to Seraya for another two
dives and we found a white bubble anemone that a friend told me about
which makes for a great background. Unfortunately it was late in the dive
so didn’t have a lot of time but we will come back. The afternoon was
spent at Seraya and fortunately the current had dropped to nil.
Day three
It was one of Bali’s big ceremony days so we started a little later in the
day and headed off to Coral Gardens but were hit with current once again.
We went to the 20m cleaning station but not much was happening so we
headed up to the shallows and shot some Ghost Pipe Fish. We finished the
day with two dives at Melasti where mega found some doughnut
Nudibranchs and on the second dive we had Hairy Squat Lobsters, Mantis Shrimp with eggs as well as a
number of different Ghost pipe Fish.
Day four.
Went back to Seraya to have another attempt on the white Anemone but the fish were far too flighty to
get any good shots. I will try again on Saturday but my time here is coming to an end soon. Spent the
following three dives on the cleaning station at 22m with lots of action going on. Plenty of posing Coral
Trout along with three big Emperor Angel Fish that were all getting cleaned by the resident shrimp. It is a
reasonably big cleaning station and can be quite active but also attracts a lot of divers, which can spoil
the experience.
Day five.
Headed back to the wreck for a 6:30 am dive and it was a beautiful day, Flat seas and good vis. Visited
the small Anemone on the sand near the stern for a few shots before approaching the wreck to find the
Bump Head but not to be seen unfortunately. Did find a Turtle and really enjoyed a relaxing dive. After
Breakfast we headed back to Kubu to do the new wreck. I had done it before but wanted to see haw far it
had travelled down the slope in the five months between visits. It is surely on the move and probably will
be gone in the next year or two. Second dive here was just a relaxing drift around the reef before
returning to Liberty for lunch. Last dive of the day was to the cleaning station in front of Tauch Terminal
but it was fairly inactive. Did find a small Ribbon Eel on the way back to shore.
Day six.
Went back to Seraya for one last crack at the white anemone but still not muck luck. It gives me an
excuse for a return trip. The second dive took us to a big Barrel Sponge where there used to be two big
spotted Moray Eels and fortunately they were back. They had been
missing for a while so I was happy that they returned but as luck would
have it I was on macro. We then drifted over to the next ridge where we
found lots of Anemones as well as a really nice pair of Christmas tree
worms. I decided that we should go back for a couple on wide angle but I
had forgotten to pack my rectilinear lens so had to use my fisheye behind a small port. It was not the best
combination for these eels but it was all I had. I made a note to update my packing list as there were a
few things missing.
Day seven.
6:30 am and back to the wreck. The visibility was a little reduced this morning but I had a really relaxing
dive. Back for breakfast and then over to Bali Hai for my last two dives of the trip. On the first dive we
headed over to an Anemone that I spent some time on last visit and, as the conditions were very calm, it
was a good choice. The Anemone Fish were watching over a clutch of
eggs under the Anemone and I was able to get a few good shots. Also
found some small blue Porcelain Crabs in a barrel sponge, which made for a
good contrasting shot. At the end of the dive the current started to build
so we chose to wander along the beach a bit for the second dive and ride
the current back. Unfortunately once we headed down the slope we
found the current had switched and we had a bit of a fight back in. Not
the way I wanted to do my last dive but that’s the way it goes. Back to Liberty Resort and time to wash
my gear one last time.
My diving was over for the trip and I must say that I regretted not booking for longer. I stripped my
camera down and spent an hour getting my last massage before having a shower and heading to the
restaurant for another good meal, three scoops of ice cream and downloading the last of my shots. My
final night was spent enjoying a few Bintangs and talking with the girls in the restaurant until it was time
for them to go home. We had a few good laughs and I will miss them all until I return in May next year. I
consider many of the staff here as good friends and will keep in contact over the months between visits
but I think I need to learn Balinese to catch some of their cheeky comments.
I can’t say enough about Liberty Dive Resort without sounding like I have shares in the place but I feel
they have a resort that was tailor made for what I look for. From the rooms to the meals in the restaurant
and the wonderful massages which I still can’t believe fixed a problem I had with my leg for a number of years.
A special thank you to all the staff at Liberty Dive Resort for making my stay enjoyable and effortless. Although I made the trip on my own
this time I felt I was never alone and I can’t think of a single moment where I was disappointed or felt that you could have done more. I
will miss you all and wish nothing but the best for all of you. I look forward to seeing you in the near future.
Pictured right (from left Tari, Juni and Okta.)