Getting There - Aneel's Travelogue

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Diving, Wreck Off of Bali, Indonesia, Sunday, 10 July 2011 4:00pm

Two dive day today. The first was at the wreck of the USAT Liberty, a ship that was deliberately beached on Bali during World War II when it couldn't get to port for repairs. A volcanic eruption in the 1960s pushed it into the water and it has been growing a coral reef since.

It feels a bit odd to dive just off of Bali, after doing so many dives in remotest places. There were a number of other groups of divers at the site, many of them presumably having dived from shore, rather than from boats. More noticeable were the fish. They were totally used to divers, and some swam so close that it seemed like they were expecting a handout. I was told after the dive that some people feed them bananas.

It was a beautiful dive site. The wreck provides lots of interesting geometries, and the reef is quite young, so a lot of things which might be hidden deep in the crevices of a natural coral reef were visible growing out in the open. There were some particularly attractive sea squirts. The light shining through their purple hollow frames made them seem to glow.

The best part of the dive was a cyclone of thousands of jacks, swirling over the wreck. They're medium-sized fish, maybe 12-18 inches long in this school, shining silver in the shallow water. This school is also habituated to divers, so I swam with and against the flow of the swirling fish, my vision entirely full of them.

The second dive was slightly annoying. Though it was just our boat diving in the area, it was a dive with a single celebrity attraction (a very rare scorpionfish), so we were all bunched up in a small area while the many underwater photographers tried, each in turn, to get the perfect shot of it. I did get to see a cool juvenile Midnight Snapper, a Bushy Feather Star "walking" along the seafloor, and a Spearing Mantis Shrimp firmly ensconced in it's burrow.

We are now finished with our diving and heading back into port. We expect to be on land again tomorrow morning.


Diving, Wreck Pa (Anonymously) Saturday, 16 July 2011 7:54pm


There's a famous poem by Adrienne Rich called "Diving into the Wreck." Perhaps you've read it, hence your caption...


aneel Saturday, 16 July 2011 9:23pm

No. It's not a reference. Diving around or into sunken ships is known as "Wreck Diving". And this dive site is explicitly called the "Liberty Wreck".