Late last year, I was lucky enough to spend 30 days discovering the wonderful scuba diving on offer in Indonesia. Blue Seasons Bali took me out to experience the famous USAT liberty wreck and Menjangan Island.
When I arrived in Bali, Blue Seasons Bali was the first dive shop that I had the opportunity to dive with. They promptly picked me up at the airport and perfectly arranged my accommodation and diving. I spent my first night in Sanur, which is around 20 minutes from the airport and where most of the dive shops in Bali are located.
In the morning, I was picked up and taken to Menjangan National Park for my first ever scuba experience in Indonesia. Menjangan National Park is located on Bali’s West Coast. The car ride there from Sanur took about four hours, but was completely worth it. When I got there I felt like I was in heaven, surrounded as I was by the ocean and 382 hectares of land owned by Menjangan Hotel – a beautiful resort where Blue Seasons Bali operates one of their full service PADI 5 Star dive facilities.
The accommodation at the Menjangan hotel is nothing short of elegant, with divine cuisine and an abundance of outdoor actives to take part in, too.
Diving in Menjangan was a great introduction to what I’d be experiencing over the next month in Indonesia. The boat rides to dive took around 15 to 30 minutes from the hotel, depending on which dive site we were visiting. Menjangan Island has one of the most spectacular reefs in all of Bali. Every dive site we went to was fabulous, with some particularly great walls to explore. One of my favorite dive experiences, however, was on the hotel’s house reef where a fabulous Mandarin fish dive happens at sunset. It was here that I had my first ever experience with these beautiful fish.
After spending four days diving around Menjangan, I headed back to Sanur to meet a friend to make our ways to the USAT Liberty wreck.
The USAT Liberty wreck is located about two hours from Sanur by car or shuttle bus. The ship was on land at one point, but was moved in 1963 to its current position underwater by the force of a volcanic eruption.
From my experiences here, I’d say the best way to dive this site is first thing in the morning. This dive site can get very, very busy as the day wears on as this is where most dive shops in Sanur take their DSD and Open Water Certification divers. I didn’t enjoy diving the site during the day as I felt it was hard to take photos with so many divers around. When there were fewer people on the wreck, however, I did enjoy the site and the fantastic environment that it provides for all types of divers.
The great thing about diving the Liberty wreck is that it’s a shore dive. And while some shops will offer to take you by boat, it’s definitely not necessary. The ship rests in 95 feet (29 meters) of water and is covered in coral. There are all sorts of marine species to see including bumphead parrotfish, Napoleon wrasse, barracuda, frogfish, mantis shrimp and so much more.
Overall, this site is a great one to visit in Bali. And how many dives you want to do on it is up to you – at 394 feet long (120 meters), the Liberty offers so much to see!