WW2 wrecks are everywhere in Vanuatu, but there is a great concentration in Santo. Here and in Port Vila you will find the only diving centers available in the whole Republic.
In santo, the big thing is the 'President Coolidge' wreck.
I am not spending many words upon the story of the ship: it used to be a poshy cruise ship in the thirties, then partially converted in an US army cargo ship. It got stuck in front of Luganville and sank.
It is very easily seen with a beach dive. in 6 days you should be able to visit most of it, inside and ouside, included the ball room, captain's cabin, etc.
There are three diving centers in Luganville: one is - to my experience - very bad and absolutely not safe; one, we did'nt try it, but I strongly recommend that you dive with Allan power, very professional team; Allan power is a legend in South Pacific, and especially here: he discovered and first inspected the Coolidge in the seventies, opening the path to touist scubadiving in Santo.
It is also to be mentioned the Million dollar Point, where tons of heavy loads (dozers, tanks, cars, guns, equipment in general) were dumped at the end of the war: accessible also with a snorkel from the beach
Equipment: Bring mask and snorkel, if you want to dive with a good one. Alan Power's rental gear is ok.
Do not forget your log book: you might be asked for it.
The water in Vanuatu is one of the most beautiful things about it, and snorkling and swimming is a must. We went on the Meridien Charters half day tour, with an ex-aust guide. A half day is enough for the beginner tour, but experts might want the full day. the water is beautiful, quite warm, the coral is absolutly amazing, and well worth the effort and money to see. even if you arent a snorkler, you will enjoy it.
be careful who you go with, i read of a case where someone died because they took the cheaper tour. i didnt come across any dodgy tours while we were there, just be cautious of people offering much cheaper tours. generally those set up through your hotel, if it is a good one, will be safe.
Experienced divers come to Vanuatu from all over the world so they can dive on the World War II wrecks that scatter its surrounding sea bed - the Star of Russia, the President Coolidge, the USS Tucker and Million Dollar Point. Whether you are visiting for a few days or several weeks, there is always something to see on the surface or beneath it. It is a new dimension to a whole new world.
Whether you snorkel, scuba or are hoping to learn either, Vanuatu is the ultimate diving destination. For the avid snorkeller, there are boats to take you out or beaches to wade from and if the underwater scenery whets your appetite to go deeper, there is a host of dive operators to teach you how to do it and where to go. In less than a week, you could be a certified diver - and you couldn't ask for a better training ground
Equipment: Fully trained instructors and dive guides are available from the following:
Aquamarine - Santo (678) 3619
Hideaway Island Resort
Nautilus Scuba - Port Vila (678) 22398
Pro Dive - Port Vila
Tranquility Island Dive Centre - Port Vila
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