Tulamben, Bali May 2013
On our return to Tulamben this year we ended up
at Liberty Dive Resort instead of our usual
“Tulamben Wreck Divers” stay which was due to
little more than the possibility of some new sites.
We arrived on the 11th May and spent the first
afternoon settling in, organising our first dive and
trying out their restaurant with lunch and dinner.
The prices on their menu did not match what
was on the web site but we found out that was
in the process of being done and not exactly
expensive either. The food is good and the
service was fast and friendly. In fact the staff
are great, more
on that later.
Day 1
We started the day with an early morning dive on the Liberty wreck. In fact it was still dark. Spent most
of the dive around the bow just getting used to the diving again. Next we took a drive over to Kubu and
had a look at the new wreck. It’s not bad and will develop a lot of growth over the years but it is slowly
sliding into the depths. It has been set up with old pots and bits and pieces and there is even an old car in
the hold. Does make for a reasonablenatural light shot. The second dive here we spent around the
colourful reef straight out from the parking area. For the last dive of the day we went back to macro and
out to the 20m cleaning station.
Day 2
We had breakfast first today and headed off for a couple of dives at a site called Melasti, which is on the
way to Seraya. The site is mainly sand with outcrops scattered around the area. Lots of Nudibranchs,
Ghost Pipe Fish and a number of other macro subjects. The first dive had a
little bit of current to start with but soon settled down. We came back to
town for lunch and then headed back out to Seraya for our last two dives of the day. Two really great
dives with Harlequin Shrimp, Boxer Crabs, Ghost pipe fish and a really busy cleaning station. Our plan was
to make day three a duplication of day two.
Day 3
Went back to Melasti for the first two dives of the day and found a small goby with eggs on a blue
Ascidian. Great contrasting image and I will try to have another crack at this before I head back to Perth.
Also Doughnut Nudibranchs as well as all the normal small stuff. The last two dives were back at Seraya.
Again we had heavy rain today and were not able to switch to wide angle but still had some good diving
here. Lots of macro at Seraya this trip.
Day 4
What can I say, heavy rains and storms, but we still went diving. Spent all four dives at Bali Hai, just west
of Seraya. Shot macro again because of bad light but we were hanging out for some sunshine so we could
shoot the wide angle that we intended on doing this trip. We found lots
of things to shoot here including colourful Anemones’ with their resident clown fish, Leafy Scorpion Fish
and a whole lot of other small creatures. We spent the surface interval between the third and fourth dive
huddled under a hut - freezing - in the wind and rain (lucky we were at a site with reasonable shelter).
Who would have thought? One good thing about the rain is that we are left with the sites pretty much to
ourselves because nobody else is stupid enough to dive.
Day 5
We saw a site on the way in called “Macro Point” so we had to have a look. Two dives again but the first
one was with a strong current so apart from finding a Doughnut Nudibranch we did not do much on this
one. After a surface interval the current had dropped right back so we looked for the Doughnut Nudibranch
again and I finally got some shots I am happy with. The last two dives we had at Seraya and I thought I
would have another crack at wide angle as the sun had finally come out. By the time we got there it was
overcast again and some more storms rolled in. To top it off I had one of my strobes die so the decision
was made to scrap wide for this trip and try again next time’ I canceled the last dive and when we got
back to the resort I pulled out my backup strobe and set up for macro
again.
Day 6
We went back to Melasti for two dives in the morning and the first was nothing but current. We followed
this with a second and the current had dropped off so we hung around the reef where I spent a bit of time
shooting Gobies in various backgrounds. The final two dives were back in Tulamben Bay at the Wreck
Slope and the cleaning station at 25m. Here we found Tiger Shrimp, Nudibranchs, more Gobies as well as
Ghost Pipe Fish.
Day 7
My last day was a bit mixed as I think I was just about burned out after four dives a day. Went down to
the 20m cleaning station on 6:30 am start andnobody had woken the fish up. Pretty quiet dive with just a
few Nudibranch to get my interest. After Breakfast we went back to Bali Hai for my final two dives and I
was hoping to find an Anemone I shot earlier in the week but the current
put an end to that. Called it quits as I was flying out the next day and
went back to the resort to dry my gear and wet my insides with a Bintang
or two.
Mick Tait was staying on another day and took the chance to do a trip to Amed hoping the rain would go
away. This is something I had planned to do this trip but the weather put that on hold. May turned out to
have un seasonal rain for a lot of the trip but we still did some good diving. Visibility was patchy but on
the whole it was OK. I now am looking at coming back in October and I hope to finally go to Amed and
enjoy a bit more wide angle.
In summary I can’t say enough about how pleased we are with the Liberty Dive Resort. From day one we
were welcomed and treated like a customer should be treated. The rooms are well maintained, kept clean
and you get enough of a supply of soap and shampoo to get you through the trip. We stayed in the
standard rooms on this trip and for me they were fine but for US$10:00 a night more you can stay in one
of the new cottages. I had a chance to look through one before leaving, very nice.
The use of the small trucks to get you to and from the dive sites make diving this way quite easy to fit in four dives a day. It may not be
for everyone but we found this type of diving great. Our guide (Mega) was with us for our entire stay and he did everything to make our
diving easy and pleasant. Not once did he pressure us to finish a dive or try and persuade us from going to a particular site and we never
got anything but a smile and laugh when we spoke with him. One more thing is that the Nitrox is free.
The restaurant that is in the grounds of the
resort is kept clean and is staffed with the
friendliest girls you could ask for. I developed a
friendship from the start with “Juni” (pictured
right). She reminded me so much of one of my
nieces here in Australia, having a similar
personality and sense of humour and always
making me laugh. It was great to mix with all the
girls in the restaurant while having a bit of a
laugh and if they are given the chance they will
be cheeky and playful. We found that the staff
really like to talk and interact with the guests but
will not do so unless invited to, so it’s worth
striking up a conversation and friendships can be made that can last for many visits. Pictured left (from left Tari, Wine and Juni)
The food served here is as good as any you will get in Tulamben and the menu has enough variety to please most. Breakfast is included in
the room price and you get a choice of Indonesian, American or Continental and the fruit salad that comes with it is fresh and well
presented. Coffee is the usual for Tulamben with a choice of Bali, Nescafe and three in one. They even present you with a cup of coffee or
tea and a plate of watermelon after you come back from a dive (nice touch).