Tuesday, January 08, 2008
Wreck and Muck Diving in Tulamben, Bali
My favorite part about my Bali trip was being able to dive a couple of days in a hot spot called Tulamben.
I split from the group and went on a grueling 3 hour drive up and around the central mountains just north of where I was staying in Ubud. I got car sick but at least we avoided all the mudslide areas since it had been hammering rain earlier that week. I arrived in the evening and checked into a place located right in front of the USS Liberty wreckage called Puri Madha Bungalows for about 225,000 R ($25) a night. I could have spent way less somewhere else but I really needed a place with hot water.
Access to the wreckage from my cottage was so easy. All I had to do the next couple of mornings was wake up at 6 am for a sunrise dive, put my gear on, and do a shore entry or get in a boat. Brrr, the water was cold and the visibility was about 15 meters. I'm in love with muck diving! The best months to dive Tulamben though are July, August, and September.
I have to be honest and tell you that I was nervous going on a dive without any of my favorite dive buddies =( But my scuba instructors, Judy and Dennis, taught me well. I felt so prepared to dive solo. At first glance my dive master, Angel, looks like he is in his early teens!! He was my size, sported sun bleached dreadlocks, and was in his early 20's. I felt bad because I asked him how old he was in an uncertain voice. I hate it when my patients ask me how old I am and how long I have been in my profession because it makes me feel like they think I'm incompetent. Anyway, Angel turned out to be a great dive master. It was just the two of us. I told him that I'm on a quest to see Nudibranchs like this one called Thecacera pacifica ! I just love him cause he's bright orange and blue like my bike =)
The other dive hot spots to hit are Drop off, Seraya's Secret, and Coral Garden. I saw plenty brilliant colored soft corals, Thorny oysters, huge Bumphead Parrotfish, Anemone Fish, Racoon Butterfly Fish, shrimps, Nudibranchs, Blue spotted Rays and so much more. Too bad not all my pictures turned out. I know, I know . . . big surprise eh? So my new years resolution is to work on my underwater photography skills!
Here is a picture of a Thorny Oyster. These were in the shaded areas of the wreckage. Careful not to get to close they do bite! But aren't they beautiful?
What blew my mind was seeing these huge Bumphead Parrotfish! They were fantastic! They come out before sunrise and after sunset. I was making my way inside the wreckage and ran into one of these. It kind of scared me especially after that one Trigger fish attack I had a while back. I didn't go to close to him and cruised right by him. He seemed really friendly though. I stole this picture from a website to show you how huge these fish are!
More Nudibranchs! Overall I had a great time diving in Bali. I didn't make it to the Gili Islands in Lombok though. I'll have to save that trip for another time.