Thursday, June 23, 2011

Tulamben Fun Dives

Yet another dive trip has passed last week before I get the chance to write about the previous one :P Okay, this one is about my dive trip to Tulamben (again) last month. My plan after the certification would be to the Gilis, but too bad I couldn't take a leave from the office. So, in May, we just went to a dive site that was accessible for the weekend.

As usual, here's the dive report... We did 3 dives on the first day and 2 dives on the second day. I'm gonna do the dive numbering based on my log book (starting from #5). The number looks ridiculous compared to the dive numbers my senior diver friends have, but for me it can be a personal reminder and a motivation to dive more. Haha...

Day 1

#5: The first dive of the day is at USAT Liberty Shipwreck. We enter the site from a passage near Ocean View Tulamben hotel, not from the usual place near the public parking lot. On our previous dive trip, our dive gears were carried to the shore by porters, but this time we carry them by ourselves. There's a 2-step steep stairway from the passage to the shore. The tank is sure heavy for a walk like that! I don't want to sound like a spoiled diver, but the tank is about half of my body weight... seriously. I think I need to hit the gym :P About the dive, at first I have a problem descending because it's not easy for me to put myself in a vertical position. I use bigger fins, and it feels like my legs tend to float. I can descend after some times :P Some of the fish we see during the dive are the schooling jackfish (of course!), pufferfish, oriental sweetlips, leaf scorpionfish, and napoleonfish.

#6: Not long after we descend for the second dive in Drop-off, we see the great barracuda! Actually, it is a very famous dweller of Tulamben, but this is the first time I see it. Just like in our previous trip, the current here is stronger than in the first dive. I don't know if it's always like this because of the dive site or because of the time (the current seems to pick up in the afternoon). Beside the usual suspects like pufferfish and a school of yellowstripe scad (as seen in the picture), we also see stone fish.

#7: We do the third dive in Coral Garden at about 3.30 p.m... so I've already expected the current. This time we see a moray eel, lots of small shrimps, cute boxfish, nudibranch, and my favorite: juvenile emperor angelfish. I love the the pattern and the electric blue color of the fish, kind of like a shiny batik. Hehe... The blue stripe is more vibrant when you see it directly than from a picture :P This time, Fajar also take a video of clownfish playing around the anemones.

Day 2

#8: We dive at the shipwreck again. We see a turtle swimming fast upward at the beginning of our dive. Great start! This time Renaud, our guide, take us to explore the wreck further. We go inside, pass through the cavities in the wreck, and even go into a narrow opening in the bottom of the wreck. It's a lot of fun! It's also a great way for us to hone our buoyancy skill. By the way, here's the video taken by Fajar to show some of the swim-though inside the wreck (I was right in front of him with the unflattering over-sized BCD) Excuse us if the video shows too much of my fins :P

#9: We dive in Coral Garden, but this time we head north. It's the first time I've been to this particular spot. There's a framework with marine plants in it, just like in the southern part. We see 2 beautiful lionfish in the structure. North from this place is mostly a barren sandy area with occasional sighting of corals. I don't know why but this place kind of gives me an eerie feeling... maybe because it's desolate? When we head further north, Renaud suddenly clank his tank and point to the shallower water. There's a black-tip reef shark swimming fast to the opposite direction! Whoaaa this is the first time I see a shark while diving, and I just freeze until Renaud give me a sign of "are you OK?" Hehehe... What a newbie. And then, not long after the encounter, we see the great barracuda again! It just lingers near the sand getting cleaned by some smaller fish. This time we get closer, and we can see the sharp teeth and the big eyes (I still remember how it felt to see those teeth and those eyes... very exciting).

So that was our dive trip in May. Great dives, lots to see! Oh how I love weekend in Bali :D The most memorable thing for me is the great barracuda of course. Fajar regretted that we couldn't take a clear picture of it since my camera was fogging from the previous dive, but I'm still very happy to finally see it with my own eyes. I mean, isn't that the point of diving? Hehe...

Dive center: Dive Concepts, Tulamben (
Price: Rp 1mio for 5 dives
Include: dive guide, full equipments
Exclude: meals, transport to Tulamben, accommodation

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