Bali’s Best Dive Sites and PADI Courses with Bali Scuba
The US Liberty shipwreck in Tulamben, Bali

Liberty wreck Tulamben

Thank you to Fatima Mar for this wonderful image of the USAT Liberty

One of Bali’s most famous dive sites (and one of our favorites) is the USAT Liberty Shipwreck in Tulamben. This incredible wreck is completely encrusted in colorful soft corals and is home to over 400 species of reef fish. It’s a beautiful dive where we see turtles, fields of garden eels, a huge array of interesting critters, giant barracuda, hiding blue spotted sting rays and when we get lucky – tiny pygmy seahorses. It’s a hive of activity and every dive is different to the one before.
The USAT Liberty (United States Army Transport) ship wreck lays in relatively shallow, calm water just 30 meters out from the beach. The Liberty was built as a 120 meter long cargo ship which was equipped with two guns for World War II. In January 1942 the ship was torpedoed by the Japanese whilst it was anchored off the Lombok coast, incredibly no-one was hurt but the ship was badly damaged. The US Navy proceeded to tow the ship to northern Bali to the harbor of Singaraja, however the plan fell short as the harbor was already fully occupied leaving the US no option other than to ground the ship on the beach of Tulamben to be unloaded. The ship was stripped bare and left to be returned to when the Singaraja harbor became available.

Canon of the USAT Liberty

The canon of the USAT Liberty is completely encrusted in colourful soft corals and tunicates

However the war efforts diverted attention away from the damaged ship and in 1963 it was still grounded on the beach in Tulamben when Mount Agung erupted. The lava flow from the volcano pushed the ship off the beach and back into the sea to its current resting place. The ship lays parallel to the beach and as it slipped into the water it listed onto its side and lays with the deck facing the open ocean, the starboard side underneath and the port side facing up to the surface. The shallowest part of the wreck is only around 5meters where the super structure stretches upwards, the deepest part is around 28m – 30m where the bow has settled into the sand. If you approach directly from the shore the main bulk of the wreck starts at around 10 – 12 meters.

The Liberty wreck is a great dive site for exploring – thanks to Fatima Mar for this beautiful picture.

The highlight of this dive is being able to swim in and out of the ribs of the ship and look out to the blue. The deck of the wreck has now all but disappeared meaning that you can have direct access to the surface at all times whilst feeling like you are inside the ships hold. It’s a wonderful dive that is suitable for all levels of divers. Whether you are interested in wreck diving or in spectacular marine life you won’t be disappointed.
If you are a certified diver and you’d like to join us on a trip to Tulamben to explore the US Liberty have a look at our daily dive trips here:

If you are new to diving – not a problem! You can make your first ever dive on this stunning wreck. Click here for more information about our PADI programs for beginners: