Vanuatu - May 24 to June 3 2011
In May 2011, I went back to the Coolidge again this time for a 10 day holiday with 8 days of diving. I decided not to do Million Dollar Point this trip as I have done that site a few times now.
Once I arrived at Santo International Airport, I was met by Ben from The Deco Stop Lodge (15 30.645' S, 167 11.015 E for those with Google Earth). He introduced me to a cutie named Karianne who turned out to be my dive buddy for the first few days. I did take a photo of Karianne but she hinted that "that's not going on the 'Net is it?" So I will not put it up :)
The Deco Stop Lodge has an open plan restaurant with a beautiful view of Aore Island and the Segond Channel.
After settling in, I had a good night's sleep before the first dive. Being the first dive, it was a shallow 20-35 meters along the bow and cargo holds 1 & 2.
But, when I was gearing up, I rolled up the sleeve on my sharkskin suit and saw a rather bad cut on my left wrist. Now, some people commented on Facebook when I put this pic up that this looks like tomato sauce, but when I got back to my room after the dive, this IS how it looked. I have NO idea how, when or why this happened. Anyway, back to the diving..
I found this little tiny Nudibranch on the starboard (right "side" of the wreck which is now facing "up" as the ship is lying on her port (left) side.) It was only about 1cm long.
A port hole on the ship. Needs a clean I think! Must speak to the stewards..
These toilets used to be inside the ship. But since the last time I was there in 2007, they have fallen down into the debris field below the cargo holds.
Just below the safety stop, these 2 Octopuses were huddling in a crevice of a couple of rocks.
The second dive for the day was to "The Lady" and Medical Supplies.
Settie, our dive guide at the rock wall off the beach.
"The Lady And The Unicorn" was a wall decor in the First Class Smoking Room when the Coolidge was a luxury Liner in the 30's. When the Coolidge was sunk, one hand of the lady and the unicorn's horn broke off and have never been found. When you visit the lady, you are "requested" to "kiss the lady". If you do not do that, you are then "requested" to "Kiss the Unicorn's butt".
I have a 28MB video file of a couple of small clown fish attacking Karianne's finger as it was "too close to home". You can view it here.
Day 3 of diving saw me go to the engine room and Galley. On both of these dives, I did not take my camera as it is not rated for those depths.
Day 4, I did the Ghost Train which is a dive into the back end of the ship, around cargo bays 5 or 6 and you swim right through the inside of the ship exiting near the bow at the chain locker. This dive has ALOT of ups and downs, ins and outs and around corners. Our dive computers would have had an interesting time keeping up with all the changes. My afternoon dive was a solo dive around the starboard side and the cargo bays 1 & 2. No pics on either of these dives.
Day 5, Settie and I dived into the pool at about 50 meters. After the pool, we again entered the ship and swam through the corridors and hallways back through the chain locker. I think Settie did this to see if me getting through the chain locker the day before was a fluke! The afternoon dive again was a solo dive around the mast, crow's nest and debris field outside cargo bays 1 & 2. I like these solo dives..
Day 6 was the stern day. Last time I was here, I got a max depth of 68.3M. As I now have a new dive computer, the max depth was alot shallower. On this dive, my computer was on the sand at 67.7M. If the tide was high, this would have been 69M easily. Another solo dive in the afternoon and this time I took my camera.
A fan on the sand.
A light protection fixture.
A typewriter. I think the ribbon needs changing.
On day 7, we did a couple of easy dives. The second being a night dive. The night dive on the Coolidge is a dive without a torch. The 2nd cargo bay has "flashlight fish" which have pockets under their eyes with a green luminescent glow. It is an amazing sight to see when you have thousands of these fish in almost complete darkness. I heard it described as like being inside a Christmas Tree. And it is.
My last day of diving was with Alfred and Tony. We did an "Alfred Special" and went into some places on the ship I have never been before. A beautiful dive and at the end, I PLANKED THE COOLIDGE!!!!!!!!!!!
I also have a video of me planking and falling off the Coolidge. That is here and is 8MB.
And that was my 2011 Vanuatu holiday.
Oh, and my arm a week later..
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