Vanuatu Dive Trip…wrecked us!!!
Vanuatu! A stunning place where the scenery is as good above water as it is below. Blue sky (not when we first arrived but it did clear up), palm trees and beautifully clear, warm water…a divers dream.
We were here for a week to escape Perth’s cold, all excited about diving the famous SS President Coolidge and Million Dollar Point. For most of us it was a chance to explore new dive challenges-overcoming nerves, trying out wreck diving and most of all…beating our personal best deepest dive.
The first days were exploring the SS President Coolidge and working out that it takes about 3 weeks to see it all. A grand wreck, lying on its side where it can be found at a “shallow” 20m and the bottom at 60m. It’s an amazing site which is a short walk from the rocky beach and where the sand gives way at a massive 100m drop-off. Wearing just shorts and a thin rashie in beautiful warm and clear water was ideal and we all quickly discovered how much excess weight we quickly managed to remove after the first dive (especially coming from winter in Perth where a 5mil wetsuit is not even enough). The top (or should I say side) of the Coolidge, covered in growth, nudibranchs, anemone fish and corals was beautiful in itself but it wasn’t until peering over the side of the ship that you could grasp the sheer size of her.
The week was spent diving inside the many different rooms including the Barbershop, kissing the ‘Lady’– a porcelain figure of a medieval woman riding a unicorn in the first class dining room, The Engine Room and of course swimming in the Pool at 55m. Each room was different and made for an exciting dive each time, especially when feeling the effects of being ‘narced’.
We also had a great dive exploring the wrecks at ‘Million Dollar Point’. A dive site of tracked and wheeled vehicles, and various other machines (and boats!) in about 15-25m of water just off the beach, which were driven off the pier just after the war. Diving next to tanks and scrap metal heap was unique and although a bundle of mess, was still pleasing to the eye.
The night dive spent on the Coolidge was one not to be missed! Gearing up and walking out into the water just before sunset, we slipped underwater to watch it come alive. Swimming with our torches on to the appropriate spot, our guide signaled for us to turn off our torches. Holding our hands in total darkness, we trusted him as he guided us to a part of the ship to watch the show. Once our eyes adjusted to the darkness we could see thousands of flickering lights. They were everywhere! It was like being at a silent, dark rave where everyone has their lights flashing in the darkness. I have never seen anything like it before in my life! Amazing!!! The swim back to the beach was a flash of light everytime you moved your fins or hands as the phosphorescence were glowing.
The last few days were spent doing some shallower dives at Dany island where we saw a reef shark and plenty of beautiful corals. Relaxing on a stunning island and eating pig on a spit for lunch and holding baby turtles that had been saved. Our last day was at Champagne beach, relaxing, swimming in the blue waters and lying on the white sand in the sun, soaking it up before it came to an end in cold Perth.
Thank you to everyone who joined us on this fantastic adventure and to Pacific Dive for looking after us. Great service, fantastic fun dive guides and delicious meals and comfortable beds at the Espiritu Hotel.