Tulamben House Reef
Annabel Thomas at www.AquaMarineDiving.com
Running along the middle section of Tulamben bay is a shallow reef of mainly table and fire corals interspersed with anemones and sponges. The fish life is very diverse. You can see a surprising number of blue ribbon eels, octopus, shrimps and anemone fish. Bigger fish seen here include bumphead parrotfish and black tip reef shark. The depth (averaging 8-12m) and location make the Tulamben house reef a very good and popular night dive. --
From southern Bali (Kuta, Nusa Dua, Sanur, Denpasar) drive east via Gianyar town, Semarapura and Amlapura. From Amlapura head north to Culik. Tulamben is about 20 minutes from Culik. Resorts are situated on either side of the road in Tulamben. Those on the right run down to the beach. The drive takes about 3 hours.
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07/30/2005 Jackie (Avg: 3.92 Review) - Thought I would add to Ed's comments. I have heard this reef called "Coral Gardens," too. Nice reef, and entry is easier here than at the Liberty wreck. Lots of macro and the jacks have indeed migrated here. Vis can be variable, but it is more than made up for by the marine life. Good for snorkelers and easier for novice divers.
02/17/2005 Ed Kenney (Avg: 3.52 Review) - I'm just adding this addendum because I noticed my single rating put this site above the Tulamben (sometimes called Kubu in confusion with the more NWesterly site of the same name) Drop-off and the Liberty Wreck. Wrong! The Tulamben Drop-0ff would be much my favorite site of the three, closely followed by the busy Liberty wreck, and then the Tulamben house reef. All are good - I would dive any of them again in a New York minute.
02/13/2005 Ed Kenney (Avg: 3.83 Review) - The second summer I dove this reef, it was only half as large as the first time, since a large avalanche from Mt. Agung had covered part to it. In any case, it's a very dynamic area, affected in both good and bad ways by the nearby Liberty wreck and resorts. I've heard that recently a huge school of jacks from the Liberty wreck has moved onto this house reef.
The snorkeling is excellent here many days, though the time of day and tide schedule makes a big difference in visibility and amount of tiny, stinging jellyfish present, a problem for snorkelers and not usually for divers. Often it's only necessary to move thirty feet or so to get better viz and fewer jellies. The site makes a perfect finish to a dive on the nearby Dropoff or River sites and is often enjoyed as a night or solo diver from travelers staying at the Paradise or Mimpi hotels.
It would be difficult to have a more convenient shore dive, though it is important to look out for both scorpionfish and stonefish here if you are one who gears up in the water. I've seen both within 20 feet of shore. Once in the water, the dive is a near perfect introduction to SE Asian and Pacific underwater life. Lionfish and titan triggers are encountered almost immediately with several types of puffers common as well. Several times my sons and I saw over two dozen morays on this dive, especially on the right side of the less than 100 meter sweep of reef. The right half had tons of blue ribbon eels, even black and yellow ones. Just a bit deeper were coral heads harboring the beautiful twinspot lionfish and even a white, white ghost pipefish. The deeper slope has all sorts of exotic fish species and is patrolled by blacktip reef sharks. You see these more often if you dive solo, and sometimes the local herd of bumphead parrotfish comes here. This slope is also excellent for observing a varied assortment of shrimp/goby pairs.
Children's NEMO favorites are all here - the exquisite palette surgeonfish, 5 types of anemonefish, gorgeous juvenile angelfish, and an occasional clown triggerfish, though I usually only see them on wall dives.
Watching fish behavior is easy - I've seen a large yellow moray hunting several times, escorted by an aggressive lionfish while nearby a medium size coronetfish hid in a school of ruddy chubs. There are a number of active cleaning stations in the mid part of the reef.
Bintang beer and Arak beckon a few meters away at the end of the dive.
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Averages for Tulamben House Reef (1=worst,
Number of reviews for this site: 3