Michael McFadyen's Scuba Diving - Kubu Wreck and Artificial Reef, Indonesia
In April and May 2023 I travelled for the third time to Tulamben in Bali, Indonesia, where I spent a couple of weeks diving the north-eastern coast of Bali. I used Liberty Diver Resort, click here to read about the town.
Kubu Wreck and Artificial Reef is located to the north-west of Tulamben at another little town/village called Kubu. It is about three kilometres from Tulamben to this site. The dive site is located down a lane. A GPS mark for the dive spot is 8Â° 15' 03.478"S 115Â° 34' 37.243"E (using WGS84 as the datum). Note that when I dived at Kubu back in 2014 and earlier, another dive site was called Kubu Reef but it is 400 metres to the north-west of this site. I have written about that site in a different article.
|The shed, toilets and parking area for the dive site
For this site you load all your gear into the shop's ute and then climb in the back yourself. You are driven to Kubu and down to the waterfront. There is a shed with toilet, shower and a small shop.
For this site you tend to do two dives once you travel here. The first one is on the wreck (as it is deeper) and the second to the artificial reef. I will cover these separately below.
This is the wreck of a small old coastal freighter which was sunk here in about 2014 just before my last trip but we did not dive it then. The ship is about 80 metres long and points towards the shore. I am not aware of its real name. It is on a slope putting the top of the bow in about 18 metres and the top of the stern is about 35 metres. It is probably 40 metres on the sand at the stern.
|The reef on the way to the wreck
|The bow of the wreck as you approach
The shore is small rocks, so it can be a little challenging to get in and out, a bit like at the Liberty wreck. Once in the water you put on your fins and drop to the bottom. The wreck is east-north-east of the entry point so you swim parallel to the shore at about 10 metres till you reach the area near the bow and you then turn and head away from the reef to the wreck. The reef on the way consists of a nice wall with lots of sponges.
The bow is quite impressive as you approach it and you will probably have to ascend a bit to get to the deck. The deck is covered in lots of items, oxygen tanks, port holes, statues and much more. There are even some items in the holds. There is no engine of course. Near the bow there is a large old sailing ship type helm for photographic purposes. Quite effective.
|A fake wheel on the deck
|The deck is very colourful and has lots of junk on it
We head to the stern and have a look around, but do not drop to the sea bed. We head back towards the bow and around the middle of the wreck we enter into one of the holds. From here drop to the bottom at 29 metres. There are large numbers of rocks in the bilge, presumably to provide some ballans for when they sank the wreck. We then swim to the bow inside the wreck (see photograph below).
We exit through a hatch at the bow to the next level up and then swim back towards where we entered the wreck. The depth inside here was 23 metres near the bow and 27 metres in the middle of the wreck. We go back up to the deck and head to the bow to finish the dive on the wreck.
|Inside the wreck towards the bow
|A gorogonia on the deck looking towards the stern
At 21 minutes we leave the wreck and head across to the reef south-east from here. This is parallel to the shore. We swim above the bottom till we hit the reef. We then swim at about 20 metres for almost ten minutes before we start a very gradual ascent towards the shore.
|This is the reef top on the way back to the entry point
There are lots of barrel sponges on the reef and some small coral outcrops and spongees. We see a few nudibranchs, some starfish, a crocodilefish in sponge and a turtle. The turtle heads for the surface as soon as we see it. There are also some gorgonias and plenty of fish.
|A crocodilefish in a sponge
|A turtle on the reef
|A large barrel sponge on the reef
We leave the water after just over 50 minutes. using Nitrox 32%, we have not gone into deco despite the depth. The water was just over 30C and the visibility was about 20 metres.
After the dive we have a break and use the shower to wash off the salt. As I mentioned, there is a small shop that sells drinks and some snack items, so bring some money if you want to get something.
Kubu Artificial Reef
The second dive we do starts at the same spot but we head to south-east. We start in 3 metres and over the next 10 minutes go slowly to 23 metres. As you can tell from the name of this dive, there are lots of man-made items in the water. The first things we come across as pushbikes and motorbikes.
Deeper there are lots more items. Some are artificial reefs in themselves. They include concrete blocks, tyres, floats on ropes. bottles, metal structures and much more. The metal structures have very large gorgonias on them and there is plenty of fishlife.
We have been swimming into a slight current all the dive. After 15 minutes we start a slow ascent as we continue heading south-east. After 30 minutes we are at 11 metres and we turn around and head back towards the starting point.
|One section of the reef
|Another shot of the reef structures
|A huge gorgona with floats behind
|Another huge gorgonia
There are more artificial reefs and then we come across large boulders as well. Despite turning around, we still have a current against us, it must be swirling. There are plenty of fish, some spindle cowries, a small yellow boxfish, lionfish, pufferfish and some flutemouths.
|A steel rack
|My Irish dive buddy with a turtle
|Juvenile yellow boxfish
The last 15 minutes of the dive are spent between six and 8 metres, with lots of fishlife. As we head back we are doing our safety stop as we go. The one thing we did not see a lot of was nudibranchs, I think I only saw a couple the whole dive. We did see another turtle, resting on the bottom.
|A smooth flutemouth
|A starfish shrimp
|A spindle cowrie
This was an excellent dive. The visibility was about 20 metres and the water temperature in May was over 30 degrees.
These were both excellent dives, well worth doing.
Click here to return to the list of sites at Tulamben.