Sunday, 3 November 2013

Tulamben- Under the sea

We left Legian and had a pleasant drive to Tulamben with some spectacular views of Bali's coastline and countryside along the way. Unfortunately we were also reminded yet again of the massive problem with litter that seems to permeate throughout the islands. Strewn along the roadside and beyond, whilst not ruining or affecting the natural beauty of Bali, it just tarnishes what could otherwise be perfectly spectacular landscapes. Change takes time, we just hope it starts sooner rather than later.

Tulamben is a small town on the east coast of Bali and like everyone else we went there unsurprisingly to do our PADI open water course! The place is only really known because of the great dive spots and the dive schools that have sprung up because of that, with a few restaurants, a shop and not much else along the main road, and well only road in Tulamben.
It was a nice change from busy legian but what was especially nice was our huge A/C room and swimming pool! We didn't expect it either as the accommodation was part of a package deal from our dive school Tulamben a Wreck Divers Resort (highly recommended if you're in the area). Result.
We were on the bottom floor, but this was the view from the room upstairs overlooking Gunung Agung.
We had a really good instructor, Erik who was from Tulamben and had done thousands of dives before and we felt comfortable and safe with him instantly. We practiced breathing and using the equipment in the pool then the next day went to the sea to do some proper scuba diving! They have porters that take our heavy BCDs and cylinders to the shore on their mopeds, but we saw one women carry two BCDs and cylinders on her head! And these things are HEAVY. We got kitted up and went into the sea, which was 29 degrees! We still wore a thin west suit for protection but it felt a bit like diving through bath water.
The dark pebbles and rocks on the beach also a result of the volcanic eruption.
6am dive at sunrise
WOW what an amazing experience! we went on four open water dives imcluding the Tulamben coral garden, the wall and the ship wreck twice. The ship was the WWll U.S.A.T Liberty which was hit by a Japanese torpedo during the war and ship wrecked on to Tulamben. It was only in 1962 with the eruption of Gunung Agunung that not only killed a lot of people in the village, but pushed the ship further down into the sea and submerged it. The ship at its shallowest is 3m so if you were just snorkelling you could see some of it, and the deepest part was about 23m. We went down to about 18m as we were new divers and aren't allowed to go much deeper just yet but we could see the bottom of it. It was thrilling to dive the wreck and see all the life that has formed on it as well. It satisfied the drape arms you have of what scuba diving could be, diving through the nooks and crannies of a piece of history lying at the bottom of the sea, and we saw a 2m Baracuda. It was a very special moment and something I won't be quick to forget. Learning to dive was definitely worth the money and we plan on doing a few more during our travels. It's probably the closest feeling I will get to being in space!
Olly got to make use of his new toy: the GoPro Hero 3 black. It has been great fun to use. BUT we have stumbled upon a problem with uploading the go pro photos on to the iPad to show you guys, will explain In a later post, so for now these are he only photos from the go pro we can show you. Google the USAT liberty ship wreck, it's pretty cool...

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