Santo Vanuatu

Dive 32 SS President Coolidge

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3

Out of three

The Coolidge lays on her side just off the shore. The bow is in about 21m of water and the stern in 60 to 70m.

Our first dive on the Coolidge. An introduction. Down to about 28 metres.

Here's what Illana had to say:

We started off slowly just a short trip down off the Aquamarine dive boat ( Aqua One ) to the bow below us. We stayed outside and down over and along the promenade. You can see the guns, helmets and gas masks beneath you as you move through the water. I can imagine these dropping as they abandon ship, with only 2 people losing their lives. We watch the air bubbles streaming up through the portholes and cracks in the ship evidence of other divers going through the wreck.



Dive 33 Million Dollar Point

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3

Out of three

Down to 26 metres.

I really enjoyed this dive! It's fascinating. This is where the US dumped war material England and France refused to pay for. Semi-trailer chasis, a landing craft. The amount of stuff just laying on the sandy bottom is incredable!

Here's what Illana had to say:

A gentle drift dive with the current taking us slowly passed a million dollars worth of jeeps, bulldozers, cranes and welding gear.

My first sight of the Crown of Thorns starfish. Also saw soft black coral like tarantulas with 20 legs waving in the air. Yellow and white fish in a huge school swim around us. Pretty apricot fish around my mask that became white as it swam away on a different angle.



Dive 34 SS President Coolidge, the Lady

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3

Out of three

Down to 37 metres. It was low tide, The Lady is now at 39 metres at high tide.

We used 50% NITROX for the deco stop.

Illana's description:

Our next trip is to 37 metres and the pick of the trips to the Coolidge. We go along the top to the sea gate and down into the dining room yep we were off to see the Lady. It is an incredible sight to see her emerge from the gloom. Her pink dress and white unicorn holding their colours as if they were made yesterday. Mushroom lights on the ceiling, side bar with crockery on it where it has fallen and not broken. Our first Nitrox dive gee you feel so much better after the enriched air not at all tired.



Dive 35 SS President Coolidge

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3

Out of three

Down to 30 metres. The first of the shore dives where Illana and I went by ourselves and pottered around the outside, along the deck.

Swam passed the 3 inch guns and over the port ancher








Dive 36 SS President Coolidge, Holds 1 & 2

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3

Out of three

Down to 35 metres. We used 50% NITROX for the deco stop.

I found the holds very interesting because of their contents jeeps and all manner of things!

Illana's thoughts:

Tyres are like new have not rotted at all. Guns and war implements scattered around. Messy collection of vehicles on their sides. For the first time I get a little anxious about which way is out. I like going inside to the Lady, but this area is more cluttered and darker and I am happier when we are back outside. Through galley we see pans and crockery.





Dive 37 SS President Coolidge, Holds 1 & 2

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3

Out of three

Down to 37 metres. We used 50% NITROX for the deco stop.

This time we went further in and saw large items like semi-trailer chasses.

I also found it more pleasant at the deco stop having a NITROX tank each.









Dive 38 SS President Coolidge

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3

Out of three

Down to 34 metres. We used 50% NITROX for the deco stop.

On the way to the Coolidge Illana saw Boris, a 200lb groper. Unfortunately I couldn't see him when she pointed him out. Though I did see some very pretty clear fish with yellow fins.

We went down to the shark cage. Then over the edge to work our way back to the bow. As we did this we saw a very long black and white snake playing in some coral, near the deck.


Dive 39 SS President Coolidge, Engine Room

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Over all

3

Out of three

Down to 48 metres. We used 50% NITROX for the deco stop.

The best mooring for the engine room entry is the middle one. However the best for exit after the deco garden is the bow mooring. So we got into the water at the middle mooring and bounced around while the guide moved the boat to the other mooring and then entered the water. We were to meet him at the bottom of the mooring we were on. I was a little concerned when I noticed it took me 95 bar to get to the bottom of the mooring! And I did not have to work to get down. I just let myself drift down!

Looked at turbine engines and the telegraph system. Came out via the funnel.




Dive 40 SS President Coolidge

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3

Out of three

Down to 34 metres. We used 50% NITROX for the deco stop.

We went along the bow till we got to the engine room cut. Then over the deck to work our way back.

At the deco garden I saw Boris, a Moray Eel, Lion fish and the garden gnome from the lodge, on his way home.







Dive 41 SS President Coolidge

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3

Out of three

Down to 37.6 metres. We used 52% NITROX for the deco stop.

We went to the bow. Then dropped down over the port anchor.

I dropped down and sat on the anchor.

At the deco garden I saw pretty blue fish with yellow fins. For some reason this time the Moray Eel decided to out stare me.

Here's what Illana had to say:

Fish playing with each other in elaborate dances as they move through the water. Large ones in pairs and smaller ones in schools. A pretty yellow fish is very deceptive. It has false eyes on its side that make it look like it has been squashed.

My first experience in knowing I have nitrogen narcosis. Having heard so much about it being like you are drunk, I was curious to experience it. Then again most people I have talked to say that they know they have had it because they could not have done the deep dives beyond 30 metres plus and not have had it but they are not aware of having felt differently. This makes it tricky if you get narked cos you don t know that you are! And if something goes wrong down there your response time will be off. We had dropped down to 36 metres. I decided to swim up that there was no need to be down there. I remember looking at my gauge and thinking how odd I am swimming up, my legs are swimming up, and my gauge tells me I am sinking to 37 metres. I fin a bit harder, and sink to 37.2 metres. Hmm& I remember Tony telling me & trust your gauges and your bubbles! I decide I am narked! I must be swimming sideways or something. Look at bubbles yep they are not above my head. Change direction and swim up slowly. Funny that my gauge shows I am getting shallower and I can laugh at myself about how clouded you can get at depth.



Dive 42 SS President Coolidge

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3

Out of three

Down to 40 metres. We used 50% NITROX for the deco stop.

Similar to our last dive. This time Illana sat on the anchor.

There were heaps of pretty things to see at the deco garden.

Someone had dropped a plastic bottle full of bread. You should have seen the poor frustrated fish trying to get to the bread. I am sure that eventually a fish will have bitten through the plastic.

I waved good bye to Boris.

This dive was our last at Santo and it was also significant because it was the only dive where Hudson was not there helping us with our gear. It was his day off.

Hudson is such a happy, helpful chap! With a great sense of humour. We missed him.




Illana's impression of the Deco garden

We must have spent hours in the 5-7 metres depth. This is the tropical aquarium we were allowed to rest in. Set up specifically to allow divers to do safety stops or deco stops, this area has been planted out with coral of all sorts, and the fish life is enormous. So many different sorts of brightly coloured fish. Iridescent colours, darting in and around the rich corals. Some coral looks like white crystal, others vivid red, or soft apricots and pinks. Some soft coral looks like it has teardrops on the end. A pair of yellow and blue fish seem to be using the tear drops to rub themselves all over or tickle themselves. Diving the Coolidge would be worth it for the deco stop garden alone.

Boris a 200lb groper comes to nudge us on the line as we make our way to the deco garden. He was not there for the first few dives, but came back for the later ones. He has a swarm of yellow fish dashing around him, and he slowly examines the area he calls home.

Parrot fish liked to play in and around our masks one was nibbling at my wet suit. Pretty green and blue and red fish they dash about so quickly. Clams slowly opening and closing in the water trapping their meals. An eel popped out from near the rope that ties back to the bow poking his face in our faces. He must live there and on 5 previous dives I had not seen him, but saw him on all the rest. Finally saw the majestic Lion fish. All those feather like bits to its body as it guards his territory.




Aquamarine

We dived exclusively with Aquamarine. And will do when we go back again.

We found them a delight to dive with.

Kevin's service is just great!


Our Dive Site Ratings

Scenery

3

Navigation

3

Over all

3

Out of three


Images on this page courtesy of Aquamarine.


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Last Updated 6-8-0