After a very quick stop in Japan, we happily made it back to the warm waters of Indonesia. For us, Bali was an easy and logical first stop on this trip. Since our plan is to spend most of our time in Indonesia in the water taking photos and filming, we wanted to get our gear wet somewhere where it is easy to fix and replace things before hitting the road. Best to work out any kinks somewhere other than say…Nabire, Papua. Bali fits the bill as a easy launching spot, and and some of the best and most easily accessible diving on Bali can be found in Amed.
The area known by tourists as Amed actually includes a number of villages – Culik, Amed, Jemeluk, Bunutan, Lipah, Selang, Banyuning, and Aas. The Amed area has a variety of interesting shore dives where you can find everything from muck diving to wall diving and reefs that are in pretty decent shape considering how well traveled the area is.
There is wreck diving to be found along the coast near Amed as well, including the USS Liberty wreck located in near by Tulamben. The Liberty was a US Army cargo ship which came ashore on Bali after it was torpedoed by a Japanese submarine in 1942. This ship migrated from the beach to where it now sits, in 7.5-30 meters of water, due to seismic activity from the 1963 eruption of nearby Mount Agung.
Amed is very popular with divers these days (especially new divers taking advantage of the readily available courses in the area) and you are likely to share most of the well known dive spots with crowds, but visit in the off-season (like say during the rainy season in early December before the holiday rush hits) and you can find some peace and quiet in spots such as Bunutan. The visibility is less than great during the rainy season, but the macro world is interesting enough to make do with the cloudy water. Dry season typically runs April to October. Our personal favorite dive shop is Bali Reef Divers due to the great folks working there and their location near what seems to be some of the better diving in the area.
Amed is a few hours drive away from Denpasar (home of the major international airport on Bali). We’ve been to this area a few times before and always wanted to stop to check out some of the rice terraces along the way.
Bali is famous for its terraced rice cultivation, but Ubud and other well known spots have turned their postcard image into a tourism circus. While this has been a boon for local economies, something significant has been lost in the process. The rice terraces along the way between Denpasar and Amed, on the other hand, offer a quite place to get a window into the growing of this all important crop.
Indonesia is the third largest producer of rice in the world. Rice is planted during the rainy season, the exact timing of which is determined by the water level in the fields.
Bali is certainly on the well traveled path, but it is truely a beautiful island with a unique culture and well worth spending some time.
More images can be found in our Indonesia Underwater Gallery