Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Sunrise Bumphead Parrotfish Dive, Tulamben, Bali

Bumphead Parrotfish
Sunrise at Tulamben Beach
There is no time to sleep-in here in Tulamben. Doing a late night dive searching for nocturnal creatures isn't an excuse to miss the very special dive that happens at 5:30am every morning. Sometime late at night, a resident school of bumphead parrotfish make their way back to the wreck of the U.S. Liberty to sleep into the morning. Different fish have different sleeping or resting methods. Bumphead parrotfish rest by floating motionless just off the sandy bottom with all of their buddies. Unlike small fish who have to hide at night so they aren't eaten, the bumphead parrotfish's massive size is defense enough. Floating together in a large group can make them look even more intimidating.

Part of the school
  If you are one of the first groups of the day in the water here at Tulumben, you have a good chance of hanging out with these big fish. Their clown like grins and beautiful blue green colors make them a favorite of scuba divers and photographers alike.
  Phoebe, Erica, and I met up with our dive guides Tisnu and Eka at 5:30am, before sunrise. We were determined to be the first ones in the water. Soon after descending, the outlines of these huge fish emerged out of the darkness. We floated as part of the school as the sun rose above us. Small movements suggested the parrotfish slowly waking up as more and more divers showed up around us. After some time we left the school to descend further and explore the wreck.

Bumphead Parrotfish in the wreck
  We had a few more encounters with bumphead parrotfish throughout our dive but attention quickly turned towards the soft coral covering this massive wreck and all of the macro critters calling it home. Every part of the old WWI wreck is covered with living organisms. It is amazing to think that the wreckage has only been under water since 1963.

  It is hard to envision the form of the ship as it must have been before time and waves had taken their toll on it. The sights of an old anchor, a hatch wheel, and a massive hold still give the impression of a once working ship.

Phoebe and Erica inside the wreck
Scuba Diving inside the US Liberty

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