Vanuatu 1

 Vanuatu1 / Vanuatu2

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  The islands of Vanuatu are situated East of Australia, about three hours flight from Sydney with the only aeroplane of the national carrier Air Vanuatu. Most of the islands are volcanic and on some of them the volcanoes are still active.

   The capital is Port Vila on the Efate Island and has 33.000 inhabitants. The other important town is Luganville on Espiritu Santo, with 10.000 inhabitants. Further you go from the capital, the higher are the prices and lower the quality of services.

   About our trip: we arrived in Port Vila at night, next day we flew to Luganville to dive the wreck of President Coolidge and to meet the liveaboard vessel. We stood four days on the island and the time was spent with diving or relaxing in Deco Stop Lodge, situated on the hill with view of the bay.

   Next seven days we spent aboard MV Silentone, diving four or five times a day on different places between Santo and Efate. The dive sites were of great variety, boomies, walls, atoll, lava tubes, airplane wreck and coral gardens. The corals in Vanuatu are very healthy, there is no sign of damage from fishing or anchoring. The fish life is rich, thousands of small fishes, some sharks and barracudas, turtles. The visibility ranged between 20 m and 40 m, water temperature 28 degrees.

   On the last five days of our holiday we visited Tanna Island for the active volcano Yassur. The volcano was on low level of activity, this means we could go till the crater rim to watch the lava explosions. The firework was impressive, the explosions were higher and louder at dusk, and the volcano was throwing lava from three vents every couple of minutes.

   The visit to the volcano was completed with a visit to a nearby small village where the men performed a kastom dance for us.

   The last day was spent in the capital trying to relax in the overwhelming heat.





The SS President Coolidge was before the WW II the biggest luxury liner in the world with 200m length and place for 1000 passengers. At the beginning of the war was requisitioned for the American Army to transport soldiers and equipment. In 1942 was carrying troops and supplies to Vanuatu when it run into a friendly mine near the island of Espiritu Santo. The captain drove the ship on the reef near Luganville town where all 5000 soldiers were evacuated to the shore. All the equipment was left aboard to be rescued later. But in about 90 minutes the ship sunk and nothing could be taken out in this time. Only two lives were lost.

   Now the ship is laying in sand on its side between 20m and 60m. The wreck is easy to dive and to penetrate, the openings are big and there is not much silt inside. The dive guides are very professional and they bring you nearly everywhere around the wreck. We dived four days on President Coolidge, two dives a day, we visited the promenade deck at 36m, the cargo holds no.1 and no.2 at 35m, the Lady at 40m, the medical supplies at 31m, the engine room at 46m and the swimming pool at 60m! There are artefacts everywhere, guns, helmets, masks, swords, gun shells, plates and tea pots, light bulbs still intact, table lights mounted on tables, bottles with medicine inside, etc. The night dive was awesome! It was done for most of the time without light to see the lantern-fish (fish which emit blue light) in the cargo holes.

   Diving the President Coolidge was an unforgettable experience!


3   Vanuatu – divers paradise

Michael on promenade deck with guns and helmets left by the fleeing soldiers


5   “The Lady” – famous ceramic relief situated in the first class smoking room
6   Medical supplies: a lot of bottles are still intact and full of medicine

Row of toilet bowls


8   Anemone fish greeting us at 5m depth where we stood for the long decompression stop
9   MV Silentworld – one week our home for the trip between the islands of Espiritu Santo and Efate

“Million Dollar Point” is a place where the American army dumped in the sea at the end of the war equipment and machinery worth millions of dollars. There are now trucks, cranes, lifting equipment, tyres, etc, in quite good condition, a very strange place to dive.


11   Overturned tank
12   Michael driving an American truck
13   Hermit crab

Diana and school of Anthias fish


15   Michael enjoying diving
16   Local canoe in Maskelynes group of islands


Vanuatu1 / Vanuatu2

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