A tale of two wrecks: an alternative to Indonesia’s stunning reefs

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New to wreck diving or just looking for a change? Most divers will have heard of the fantastic diving opportunities that abound in Indonesia – fantastic reefs and walls in crystal blue water, marine life, large and small, and tremendous photo potential. However, there are some easy, exciting and rewarding wreck dives on offer which give a fantastic introduction to this scuba specialty.

Molas wreck, Manado Bay, North Sulawesi

This dive makes a great break from reef and wall diving in the amazing Bunaken National Park, a short boat trip from the mainland or from Bunaken Island. Sunk in 1942, this Dutch steel hulled freighter is pretty well intact and is laying on a rock and sand slope with the bow at 38m and the stern at 30m water depth.

The wreck is about 60m long and is in excellent condition and covered in heavy coral growth. It presents many photographic opportunities with lots of batfish and many smaller fish shoaling around the wreck. Often black tip sharks and barracuda can be seen cruising around. On close inspection you will find various types of nudibranch so macro is also an option.

 

The best way to dive this is to finish off the dive moving up the slope and into the beautiful coral garden starting around the 15m mark; here you will find garden eels, sea snakes, goby and jawfish and also a great location for your safety stop. This is a year round dive, suitable for advanced divers. Normally visibility is good to excellent, with little current. Your local dive guide will be able to advise the best time of day to visit this great example of a virtually intact vessel sitting upright on the seabed.

Kubu wreck, Kubu, Tulamben, Bali

If your diving trip takes you to Bali, it will surely mean you have planned a visit to the Tulamben area to the north of the island. Here the opportunities for macro photography abound, with easy beach access to fantastic marine life.

However, a chance to dive an easily accessible wreck gives an opportunity for a pleasant change. If you wish to avoid the over-hyped and overcrowded Liberty wreck at Tulamben, then just down the road, heading north is the village of Kubu. Through the small village you will find a beach which gives easy access to this great dive.

 

Deliberately sunk, in 2012, this Dutch built (1952) patrol boat was previously used by the Indonesian fisheries and it now plays host to many varieties of marine life as an artificial reef. Black tips, barracuda and bumphead parrot fish, as well as many smaller reef fish and the occasional turtle, have chosen this site as their hunting ground. Lionfish hover around the sandy bottom under the hull and many scorpion fish live amongst the abandoned deck cargo of old storage jars and nets.

The wreck lies in 27-30m and is virtually upright. A 25m swim from the beach will put you on the marker buoy. The bilge area is intact and can be easily penetrated so its an ideal intro to wreck diving. This makes a great swim through providing the correct wreck diving procedures are followed. Moving to the foredeck you can see an old jeep loaded with storage jars which is home to superbly camouflaged scorpionfish.

This dive offers the photographer excellent opportunities for some great shots. Once again, it is possible to dive this all year round, but it is best to avoid the rainy season; your local dive guide can advise. This is suitable for advanced divers, but as with all dives requiring access from the beach, a good standard of fitness is required. Be careful on the stony beach during entry and exit as the swell can sometimes be quite strong. If you would like a second , shallower dive there is a beautiful coral garden and drop off accessible from the same beach.

Mike Kochalski

Mike Kochalski

Mike has been diving for over 50 years, always as a scuba diver but also as a Military and then Commercial Diver. He has dived all over the world, with a longtime interest in photography. Mike now splits his time between the waters of South East Asia and the cooler waters of the Spanish Mediterranean.

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