Sunday, 28 July 2013

The Liberty Wreck, Tulamben

Whilst staying in Amed we rode a moped to Tulamben and checked out some prices for diving the Liberty Wreck. We looked at quite a few dive places and had intended on staying here for a few days after Amed, but the rooms on offer were terrible value for money and ironically more expensive than the apartment we had in Amed, yet only worth the price of the 100,000IR rooms we were would usually stay in. Instead we booked x2 dives with ‘Pearl Beach geresrg’ and decided to drive from Amed to Tulamben, as it only took us 20 minutes to get there.

Before the dive we hired a waterproof camera for 200,000IR and got some really great shots. I highly recommend hiring one for this dive if you do not already own one.

We met with our dive guide and got kitted up. I was nervous about doing this dive because compared to Big Fish Diving it didn’t seem as organised and I had expected to have had a western guide and not a local. There is absolutely nothing wrong with local dive guides but for some reason I was concerned for our safety and worried about the equipment, even though Ian kept telling me there was nothing wrong with it and that I couldn’t expect to have a western dive guide in Asia! Obviously I knew that he was right but in Bali the locals let their 7yr old children ride around on motorbikes and I couldn’t help but think that health & safety is usually the least of their concerns.

I decided I just had get on with it and so once we were all set to go we walked to the shoreline opposite the wreck and began our dive. 

The visibility was not as good as it had been in Nusa Lembongan and the Gili Islands, roughly about 12m and this surprised me as I had thought that it would have been the same. Still you can't complain at 12m vis.

We descended towards the wreck and my nerves got the better of me and I felt worried. I carried on regardless and tried to enjoy myself but then at 15m a little bit of water got in through my regulator. Immediate panic struck me and I breathed out and in but there was still some water stuck inside there. I forgot about purging the water away and by now I felt as though I couldn’t even breathe. My heart was racing and I desperately tried to get Ian’s attention to tell him something was wrong and that we had to return to the surface.

I grabbed him and signalled that I wanted to go up and he could see that I was distressed and motioned for me to breathe slowly. The guide saw this and immediately came to my aid, gently holding my arms and motioning me to stay calm and breathe slowly. I still felt as though I wasn’t getting enough air and signalled that I wanted to go up. The guide signalled for me to stay calm and agreed that we could ascend. I slowly started getting my breathing back to normal but was shaking all over. The guide signalled if I was ok and although I wasn’t feeling confident and still felt very panicky I agreed to carry on with the dive.

Towards the end of the dive I started to enjoy myself and really appreciated the beauty of this fantastic wreck that was alive with sea life. It truly was a once in a lifetime experience and I was annoyed at myself for ruining the beginning of the dive for both Ian and I. Once we were back to the surface I told Ian to do the second dive without me as I didn’t want to be a burden and I still felt shaky. Also the feeling of not being able to breathe and having the water in my regulator played over and over in my mind and it made me panic.

The dive guide could not have been more helpful and understanding. He was amazing and I am so grateful that he took the time to calm me down so that I was able to continue with the dive. He never left my side the entire time, always checking up on me and ensured i was safe and well.

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