Vanuatu, 23 Sept to Oct 2, 2006

(There is a text only version of my complete holiday here.)

A sticker on the door of the Santo Hotel reads "I eat, I sleep, I dive". From 23 September to 2 October 2006, that's just about all We did.

Shane and I headed over to dive the wreck of the S.S. President Coolidge in Santo, Vanuatu for 7 days.

(Photo courtesy of Allan Power)

After arriving at the Deco Stop Lodge on Santo, checking
in and getting our gear ready for the first dive in the morning, sleep called in room 3. Next morning, we woke at about 6:30 to see the Deco Stop for the first time in daylight. What a beautiful view of the Segond Channel and the islands in the distance.

Then it was down to the business that we came here for... Diving on "The Coolidge". (For those who don't know the history of the Coolidge, THE LADY AND THE PRESIDENT, The Life and Loss of the S.S. President Coolidge - by Peter Stone is an excellent read.)

We were picked up by Allan Powers Dive Tours right at the front door of the lodge. From the Deco Stop to the dive site, it's only about a 10 minute drive.

Allan has setup a purpose built gear up area at the dive site. Here, the dive guides, Alfred, Alfred2, Garry, Lionel and Toame help in any way they can  to get you in the water. Once geared up, you walk out to the wall that has been built to assist in the donning of the fins as you don't put those on before you enter the water


Once you have donned your fins, you make sure your guide and buddies are ready. Then off you go. There is a rope tied to a steel pole in the ground, as you pull yourself along this, you come across the "coral Gardens". Here is where you do your safety and deco stops. But more on those later. As you ascend the rope which is moored to the bow, you get the feeling this is not going to be an ordinary dive. All of a sudden, the bow of the ship comes into view.

(Photo courtesy of Allan Power)

Remember, the wreck is not upright. So the top of the photo is not the deck. From here, there are about 15 different routes you can take to see various parts of the wreck. One of the most popular tours is "The Lady"

(Photo courtesy of Allan Power)

"The Lady" resides on her side, this is of course because the wreck itself is lying on her port side.

There are 3 dive times available.

  1. Morning - After this dive, you go back to Allan's home for "Coffee Bun". See the Allan Power Gallery for photo's on this.

  2. Afternoon - Best to avoid this one to take up the third dive time.

  3. Night Dive - I recommend you do this one at LEAST once!

Other tours include the following areas of the ship:

I visited all of these sites on this trip. I did 12 dives on the Coolidge, 1 at Million Dollar Point and 1 on the Henry Bonneaud. In these dives, I did 8 at 30+ meters, 2 at 40+, 1 at 50+ and 3 at 60+ meters.

During the trip, We met some wonderful people. Of course they are wonderful, they are all, well, mostly all, divers. I have put their pictures here. I also lost my Canon A80 Digital Camera. Actually, it wasn't "lost", it was misplaced. During one day at Allan's, I had used my camera and asked Shane "Is this your bag?", he replied yes and I put my camera in. Well, my fault for not checking and someone walked away with my camera. All by accident. I hope, if they see this page, that they will realize who's camera they have and email me and let me know. I know I gave everyone our OzScuba webpage address, so I am hoping they see this.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the following for their help and generosity to make my trip the huge success it was.

Allan Power - Allan Power Dive Tours

Cathy De Koeyer - The Deco Stop Lodge

Allways Dive - Ashburn Victoria

Virgin Airlines - Australia


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