Instead of waiting to leave at 8am for Tulamben from Lovina, I decided to get up before sunrise and start off early, catching some good light along the way. I left my hotel before 6am and started East. After catching the sunrise along coastal rice paddies, I took a quick trip inland to see the Git Git waterfalls. I arrived there before 7am, which meant that I was also there before any locals came to set up their tourist trap stands or even the people selling and collecting tickets. I made the 400m walk to the falls in peace and silence, which has to be a completely different experience than later in the day when droves of tourists in busses and "transport" services arrive.
The road between Lovina and Tulamben proved to be more rough than my previous treks, which I'm attributing to the fact that no tourists travel that route. I think that most people get to Tulamben from the East coast, instead of coming East across the North shore. In any case, I enjoyed the ride, arriving in time to shop around at dive shops before finding a great deal and a one-on-one dive with a divemaster.
Tulamben is famous for two dive areas. First, there is a WWII ship, the Liberty, which was a US cargo ship sunk by Japanese submarines in WWII as it tried to pass through the Lombok straight. The ship has since been left untouched, allowing coral and sealife to claim it. Second, there is a giant sea wall that goes to 60 or 80 meters deep (I can't remember which one it is). I signed up to dive both places.
Though it was just me and the divemaster, I wasn't diving alone for very long. The wreck proved how popular it is actually is. There had to be 20 other people down at the bottom diving at the same time. Despite the large number of people down there, it was still the best dive I've ever done. The wreck is huge (100+ meters), the coral is everywhere, there are hundreds of different kinds of fish, the visibility was outstanding and there was so much to explore.
After a short break and quick lunch, I went back for my second dive at the underwater cliff. Again, I was totally impressed by the quality, variety and size of the coral and sea life. I think it really speaks large amounts to the local dive shops for maintaining the area so well, despite the large numbers of people coming from around the world to dive there. The only part about the second dive I didn't completely enjoy were the strong currents I had to fight. Though this could have easily been caused by diving while the tides were changing. I'm not sure.
In any case, I can easily see why Tulamben is world renowned as one of the best spots to dive. All of my pictures from Tulamben are posted now too. I only got in two dives, and would have loved to stay there and dive many more times, but there was more of the island to see. I hoped back on my bike, and headed through the mountains to Ubud, where I planned on spending the next several days.