Tulamben, Bali – Dive at USS Shipwreck

written by Hanie Hidayah May 30, 2014

If you think Bali is only known for their lush greeneries and pristine beaches then you are dead wrong. I had the chance to visit the other side of Bali, where the land is barren, and the only plants that survives are those without leaves. It’s amazing how different Bali can be, one area to another. One second you see green leaves and big trees, and the next would be areas resembling the desert. That was how it was like when we reached Tulamben’s border – sand, sand and more sand. It was beautiful in its own way.

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Reaching Tulamben from Ubud

It took us about 2-3 hours drive from Ubud to reach Tulamben, breaking my back in the car throughout the whole journey of going up and down the hills until we see a small cowboy town that separates the Volcano area and the sea. There are no sandy beaches in Tulamben, only rocky ones that greets you when you go for a dive into the shallow waters. There are so many diving centres here, however, for those who are interested to take a tour underwater around the USS shipwreck. The wreck is known to be the easiest wrecks to dive in the world as it is just a shore dive and lies just 30 meters from the beach.

Puri Wirata Tulamben

After surveying for dive centres and hotels, we decided to go with Puri Wirata Tulamben who partnered with Bali Reef Divers for their diving courses. Since they had packages, and none of us had any diving license, we had to take the Discovery Dive to familiarise ourselves with the whole works. Obviously, according on my own personal experience, one dive is never enough. I booked two dives for both of us via the internet and the hotel arranged everything for us with the dive centre.

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After reaching the hotel from a very ‘bouncy’ and unpleasant journey (it really depends on drivers’ driving skills), we were greeted by the hotel staff who showed us to our rooms. It looked like we were the only guests in that part of the hotel. The rooms were huge twin chalets with a nice verandah overlooking the swimming pool. You don’t get beach views here, unfortunately but it’s definitely something when you see the volcano on one side, and the sea on the other. It was a sleepy town in Tulamben, with only a small stretch of lively resorts and restaurants and by night, it was pretty dead. We pretty much stayed in our hotel compound the whole 3 days 2 nights we were there as the food was pretty good and cheap! I guess we didn’t have to worry much but try to enjoy ourselves as much as we can. By the way, there’s also a spa within the resort, so I definitely didn’t hesitate a one-hour foot rub after a tiring half day of diving.

Puri Wirata Tulamben Website

Diving at the USS Shipwreck in Tulamben

We were chauffeured in motorbikes on the day of our dive to the dive centre and met again with our Dive Master, who we met the evening before inside the hotel. Liane, was a totally cool chick with a passion for being underwater and we’re glad to say that she’s now also a friend. The dive training was pretty quick, although I had some trouble with buoyancy as I always have. I can’t even walk properly on ground, what more underwater but Liane was patient and had quite a laugh while helping me out with my D grade circus-level balancing act. We had our first dive over the shore reefs to make sure we’re okay with being in the open water (cause some people are okay in the swimming pool but not at sea). When that was done, I think point8cam finally liked it (cause he’s not easily impressed and that’s my biggest challenge lol) that we went for our second dive – and it was major as we went to the shipwreck instead.

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It was definitely bigger than I expected, sitting in the waters looking quite majestic. Covered in beautiful corals and surrounded by all sorts of marine life, going through the vessels were nothing like I’ve experienced in my previous dives. However, it is definitely a start to something that both point8cam and I will venture in the near future. Here are some photos from our Tulamben pitstop, and you can also watch the video at the very bottom of this post of our Bali experience.

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