Sunday, January 10, 2010

Tulamben, scuba diving heaven

Tulamben, known in the diving world as one of Bali’s premier dive locations, preserves a piece of history as its visitors and residents protect its marine life.

On Jan. 11, 1942, the USAT Liberty started sinking after a Japanese torpedo struck it. Towed to the shore by the American destroyer USS Paul Johns, the Liberty was brought to Tulamben to unload its cargo and supplies since the Singaraya harbor was too full.

It remained in the small village of Tulamben partially submerged in water. Then in 1963, Mount Agung erupted and the lava and earthquakes pushed the ship further down into the water, where it rests on the ocean floor parallel to the shoreline.

Now scuba divers gear up to swim into an underwater playground, where the coral grows on the ship’s 120-meter frame and where marine life includes schooling jack fish, barracuda, napoleon wrasse, humpback parrot fish, white and blacktip reef sharks, as well as pigmy seahorses.

A handful of resorts cater the tastes of guests – divers and non-divers alike.

“Tulamben is a very quiet place with a strong focus on leisure and unwinding, and diving of course,” says Axel Schwan, owner of Tauch Terminal Resort.

While diving at the wreck is the main attraction, guests can also enjoy spa services and scenic spaces to unwind. The black stone beaches might not be ideal for beach-bound sunbathers, but the resort pools and decks all but kiss the ocean and offer a serene setting to capture some rays.

Full article with photos

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