Bali is probably the best known of all the Indonesian islands, it’s been a tourist haven for decades, and has seen a further rise in tourist numbers in recent years. It is located in the westernmost end of the Lesser Sunda Islands, lying between Java to the west and Lombok to the east. It is one of the country’s 34 provinces with the provincial capital at Denpasar towards the south of the island.
Bali is home to most of Indonesia’s Hindu minority, and is renowned for its highly developed arts, including traditional and modern dance, sculpture, painting, leather, metalworking, and music. Bali’s central mountains include several peaks over 3,000 metres in elevation. The highest is Mount Agung (3,031 m), known as the “mother mountain” which is an active volcano. Mountains range from centre to the eastern side, with Mount Agung the easternmost peak. The island is surrounded by coral reefs. Beaches in the south tend to have white sand while those in the north and west have black sand. Bali has no major waterways, although the Ho River is navigable by small sampan boats.
Liberty Wreck Bali
The diversity of soft and hard corals in Bali, and the ‘Liberty’ wreck in Tulamben is one of the top 15 dive sites in the world. The Liberty shipwreck is considered Bali’s most popular dive site. The American ship USAT Liberty was an armed cargo steamship that was torpedoed by the Japanese in 1942. The years under the sea have transformed it to one of Indonesia’s most beautiful artificial reefs. Stunning gorgonian sea fans, huge soft coral trees and big-barrel sponges all flourish here. A resident school of big-eyed jacks live on and around the ship and are unafraid of divers, so it’s safe to enter the school and have them whirl around you. The ship is also a haven for emperors, batfish, sweetlips and parrotfish.
Snorkelling is available at Tulamben, Amed, Padang Bai and Pemuteran/Menjangan. On the northeast coast, Tulamben Bay receives very plankton-rich waters and, coupled with the fact that the three main dive sites provide totally different physical environments, the bay is a stunning and diverse underwater ecosystem. The black sand in the area brings out the colours of the corals, gorgonians, fish and other marine life.
Other important cities include the beach resort, Kuta, which is practically part of Denpasar’s urban area, and Ubud, situated at the north of Denpasar, is the island’s cultural centre.
Bali “The Island of the Gods”, is certainly a diving place the diversity of marine life and dive sites is exceptional, vertical walls and sand slopes, shipwrecks, limestone shorelines and black, volcanic outcrops, peaceful bays and ripping currents, coral-covered ridges, with both shore- and boat-diving One day can be filled with the magnificent Oceanic Sunfish, or Mola Mola, around the waters of Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Penida, whilst the next you can be searching for pigmy seahorses near Tepekong / Mimpang.
At the south end of the bay, a rocky point falls off sharply underwater to create a deep drop-off where sharks, whale sharks and sunfish have been found.
Napoleon Reef is in the north near Pemuteran. It can be dived deep or shallow, day or night. On the northeast end is the Ikan Warung fish house, bustling with various schools. Golden sea fans and large clumps of cotton-candy coral grow beside other gorgonians along the slope.