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Diving Vanuatu’s SS Coolidge wreck

If you visit the Island of Espiritu Santo in Vanuatu and you scuba dive, then you must visit Allan Power Dive Tours.

Located in the main town, Luganville, the staff at this dive shop can take you out into the warm tropical waters and world class diving sites around Santo, including one of the best wreck dives in the world – SS Coolidge.

The shore dive to the world-class SS President Coolidge wreck is on the tranquil Segond Channel. Allan Power and his dedicated team of 7 full time dive guides have been guiding divers in and around this majestic wreck for over 35 years and they are well known as being the caretakers of The Coolidge.

With over 20 different dives on the Coolidge there is something for every level diver, with depths ranging from 20m to 60m. While the Coolidge is an amazing wreck dive, it also has formed a huge artificial reef boasting a wide variety of marine life for divers looking for more diverse marine species.  Today SS Coolidge is living proof of the success of an artificial reef in attracting marine life to an area, earning its title as the best reef dive in Vanuatu.

Hearing this I was keen to get in the water and see it for myself, while being slightly apprehensive as it was my first wreck dive.  Launching from the shore I was surprised firstly by how quickly the ocean floor fell away into the dark depths.  The next surprise was how quickly the bow of the ship was upon me as we were still so close to the shore.

The wreck lies in 20 – 70 meters (66 – 231 feet) of calm waters.  As I hovered over the bow and began exploring this magnificent wreck my mind wandered to how she would have looked in all her glory, before being sunk by an American mine.  The remnants of this now peacefully resting World War II troop ship whispered an eerie and somewhat chilling tale.  Massive cannons and guns protruded off the deck now dormant and engulfed by corals and marine life.  Fish of all varieties clung to the safety of the wreck as if caressing her walls.

It felt as soon as I was in the water, it was all over, and I longed for more time exploring the underwater beauty of this wreck.  Although my time was limited I would suggest a stay in Santo long enough to do a number of dives, as one just is not enough.

Diving SS Coolidge – Facts And Figures
– Built Oct 1931
– Sank Oct 1942
– Overall length 198.2 meters/654 feet
– Gross tons 21,936
– Speed 20.5 knots
– Radius (miles) 14,400 miles
– Construction cost US$8,017,690
– Passenger liner capacity • 305 First class • 133 Tourist class • 402 Steerage
– In combat config. – over 5000 troop on board

Allan Powers Dive Tours

The premises are located in the middle of Luganville, opposite Hotel Santo.

PO Box 233, Santo, Vanuatu Phone (678) 36822 or 7744077 (Santo mobile)

Website www.allan-power-santo.com


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