USAT Liberty Ship Wreck

USAT Liberty Ship Wreck


Site Review by
 Ed Kenney
Date: 02/13/2005


Site Condition
(1=worst, 5=best)

Name:  Ed Kenney Entry:    4.00
Email:   Click Here Bottom:    4.00
City:   Rainier Reef:    4.00
State:   Washington Animal:    5.00
Country:   USA Plant:    3.00
Diving:   10 years Facilities:    4.00
 Dives:   400 Solitude   2.00
    Roads:    3.00


*Average:    3.86
I stayed two weeks in Tulamben, one in 2001 and another in 2003. Both times the conditions on the Liberty wreck were excellent, but the second summer there was more plankton in the water and more diversity of fish life.
The diversity and abundance of fish and wreck encrustation is like no other wreck I have been on. It demands multiple dives. The local porters take your gear down the beach a half mile unless you're near one of the newer resorts and then they bring your gear back across the stony beach when you're done. It's only a buck for this porterage and helps the villagers immensely.
What can you see? Everything, including the "coral" another poster here said was absent. There's plenty of soft coral, some hard coral and tremendous bouquets of tunicates, bryozoans, sponges, wire corals etc. The huge swirling schools of jacks usually take center stage, though a friend of mine said one of the schools has now moved down the beach in front of the Paradise hotel. In addition to the jacks are hundreds of species - you will definitely see something you haven't seen before. The second summer I was there, the upslope section of the wreck was far better than the first time - the first thing I noticed were the huge blue-ringed angelfish on top of the wreck. I rested there next to a vertical congregation of two types of sweetlips, just watching those blue rings. Not too far away were the garden eel beds and flats filled with blue-ringed stingrays. Just past that were the two huge stonefish guardians, then all the black sand muck diving for bumblebee shrimp, mantis shrimp, pipefish etc. When I looked down to get one last view before I exited there was a school of bumphead parrotfish and a solitary Napoleon. A scrawled filefish at least three feet long, which I normally see lower down, came up for a send-off as well. It was an incredible end to a dive.
Local guides can show you all the different morays, scorpionfish, frogfish, leaf fish, pygmy seahorses, shells that you can name. Rarely was I able to find these myself.
Try the dive at all times of day, except when a busload or liveaboard load of divers shows up. Late afternoon is really a ghostly, lonely time on this wreck.
By all means, buy the Periplus edition for Bali diving written by David Pickell and Wally Siagian. It shows you parts of this wreck that are hard to discover in only a couple dives on your own.
Though I like the Drop-off site better than the Liberty, perhaps because it's a natural reef and fewer people dive it, it recommend the Liberty whole-heartedly. It's almost a can't miss dive.

Enjoyment Level

Snorkel:    3.00
Beginner:    3.00
Intermediate:    4.00
Advanced:    4.00
Night diving:    5.00

Seasonal Information

Season:    Summer
Year:    2003
Visibility:    4.00
Current:    4.00
Surf:    4.00

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