This is, without a doubt, ‘the mother’ of all Tulamben dives and the reason why many divers come to Bali. You enter the water wading across a beach of boulders, which can be a bit tricky when the surf is up. Your guide will assist you.
As you swim out towards the wreck, about 50m off shore, boulders and gravel give way to a sandy bottom. You will instantly be surrounded by rather aggressive but harmless goat fish looking for handouts. Don’t pay them any attention and continue over the sandy bottom; you will probably pass a large field of garden eels just as the wreck comes into view. Lying on her side at a 45 degree angle parallel to shore, what you will see first is her port side, much of which is now covered by sand. Your guide will probably lead you on a ‘grand tour’, taking in the entire wreck with her 120m length and 17m beam, usually beginning at her stern heading towards the bow on the deeper (approximately 25m) side, returning over the broken up center part at an average depth of 15m. It is futile to try to describe the variety of fish you will see on any given dive within the confines of this guide; depending on your brains capability to retaining short term memory I would say at least 60% of everything listed in a pacific tropical fish guide!
The most ‘dramatic’ part of the dive may well be as you come round her bow, where the heavily coral encrusted gun is clearly visible pointing down to the bottom. Here you feel that Liberty looms large indeed; the wall to your left is actually her foredeck deck due to the angle at which she is rested. This is also the deepest part of your dive, should you decide to round the bow under the gun where the deck meets the sandy bottom at 28m. Some ‘deeper diving’ enthusiasts might follow the slope at this point, away from the wreck to about 35m to where the Liberty’s anchor chain will lead them to a beautiful coral garden with an abundance of Sea fans and large Broom coral. Macro photographers often hang out here in pursuit of that perfect Pygmy Seahorse shot.
Returning the length of the wreck towards the stern over the shallower center, you may swim thru the cargo hold, and past 3 clearly visible large boilers, and yes, bits of gear from the sophisticated steam turbine. You will probably end your dive doing a safety stop at 5 m near a boom pointing you on your way home towards shore under which big Snappers and Oriental Sweetlips always hang out, completely ignoring you. Or you may surface thru an enormously huge school of swirling jacks (Bigeye Trevally), an almost guaranteed highlight on every dive on the Liberty. Having said that, I should add, that one dive here is not enough. You may return innumerable times, and each time, Liberty will enthrall and surprise you!
Diveable: Year round
Visibility: 10-30m Maximum
Depth: 35m (the reef extends to well below 50)
Level of Experience: All