Deco Stop Lodge - Vanuatu
 

Diving


Espiritu Santo is a diver's paradise – world-renowned for our wreck dives, and home to spectacular reef's and marine life. There are many options available, and regardless of whether you are a technical expert, or have never dived before, this will be an experience you will never forget.

Wreck & Reef Dives


The President Coolidge  

Map of president coolidge

"A Must Dive!"

This is the largest, most accessible shipwreck in the world. Sunk by a friendly mine in 1942, the ship lies close to shore and is virtually intact. The Coolidge rests in 20 - 70 meters (66 - 231 feet) of clear, calm water and offers divers the chance to explore the remnants of a World War II troop ship, which was formally a luxury liner.

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Million Dollar Point  
Forklift at Million dollar point

An astonishing quantity and array of vehicles, and equipment was dumped into the sea at the end of the war.

RATING: Non-decompression
LEVEL: All levels
MAX DEPTH: 35 - 40 metres
DESCRIPTION: After the World War 2, the American’s forces based in Santo were ordered not to leave any military equipment and supplies on the island (to avoid such not getting into the wrong hands). The solution was the establishment of an underwater dump site, now known as Million Dollar Point. An easy dive from the shore where you can see two ship wrecks, and numerous amounts of military hardware and supplies - including bulldozers, cranes, trucks etc. A great diversity of marine life has made this their home with some unusual coral growth amongst the wreckage.

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Cindy's Reef   Reef diving in Espiritu Santo, Vanuatu
RATING: Non-decompression
LEVEL: All levels
MAX DEPTH: 5 - 15 metres
DESCRIPTION: Located off the northern point of Aore Island in protected waters. This dive offers a large variety of soft and hard corals with all types of marine life present. An easy and colourful dive experience.

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Charles's Reef  
Clown fish
RATING: Non-decompression
LEVEL: All levels
MAX DEPTH: 5 - 15 metres
DESCRIPTION: Another easy and protected reef dive site which ensures calm waters and no current. A mini wall dive which you can swim along and view the healthy and colourful large plate coral. Keep an eye out in deeper water for pelagic fish, reef sharks and turtles.

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Tutuba Point   Tutuba reef in Vanuatu
RATING: Non-decompression
LEVEL: All levels
MAX DEPTH: 5 - 25 metres
DESCRIPTION: Northern point of Tutuba Island. This drift dive gives you a variety of swim thru's and caves formed by volcanic activity many years ago. Colourful plate coral and large diversity of marine life with regular sightings of turtles.

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USS Tucker  
RATING: Non-decompression
LEVEL: All levels
MAX DEPTH: 20 metres
DESCRIPTION: A US destroyer sunk by friendly mine in the Segond Channel, the Tucker now lies in about 20 meters (66 feet) of water. In the ship's construction, stainless steel was used extensively. The Tucker was at Pearl Harbour at the time of the Japanese attack. In 1942, she was split in two by the American mine she hit and stretched out from 104 meters (343 feet) to over 150 meters (495 feet) with boilers, condensers and gearboxes bridging the two sections. There are a number of interesting swim-through's on the Tucker and the ship is easily explored in one dive.  An abundance of portholes and open bulkheads provide plenty of light. There are some spectacular finds in colourful corals and sponges growing on gun turrets and mounts.  Fish regularly seen include coral trout, cod, sweetlip, anglefish and batfish. Visibility is normally 40 - 50 meters (132 - 165 feet). 

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Sub Nets   gorgonian fan
MAX DEPTH: 1 - 90 metres
DESCRIPTION: Large chain nets ran the length of the channel from Santo Island to Aore Island to block submarines during the war. The nets were collapsed after the war, and a reef has been growing on them ever since. There are beautiful hard corals and gorgonian fans at this site. 

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President Coolidge – Promenade Deck  
Diver dressed in military remnants on the Coolidge

The promenade deck is littered with with rifles, helmets, gas mask and other war relics.

RATING: Non-decompression
LEVEL: Novice
MAX DEPTH: 35 metres
DESCRIPTION: Normally your first dive on the Coolidge. A light penetration dive where you follow the rope down to the bow, pass the anchor winch and one of the huge 3” guns stacked with live ammunition. You then enter the starboard side promenade deck, which is covered in war relics to your maximum dept of 35m. You then sweep over the side of the ship, past a cooking pot with US1940 engraved on the lid. Then swim over the keel where you get to fully appreciate how big this wreck really is. Air and time permitting, you then drop into one of the salvage cuts into the number 2 hold and back up to the bow.

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President Coolidge – Cargo Holds 1 & 2  
diving in the coolidge

With military vehicles to see, this is great first penetration dive with plenty of room to move around.

RATING: Non-decompression
LEVEL: Novice
MAX DEPTH: 35 metres
DESCRIPTION: You enter into cargo hold number 2 first which is a full penetration dive. The first thing you come across is the barrel of Long Tom cannon, a 155mm Howitzer. To your right is the crews barber’s chair and doctors office. Continue swimming towards the back on number 2 hold over the tracks of an armored troop carrier. Now to your right, you will see four 155mm Howitzers wedged in the deck, including wheel carriages. At the back on the number 2 hold are the GMC trucks. From the number 2 hold, you make you way up one of the decks into hold number 1 where you see a number of Willys Jeeps. Exit from hold number 1 back to the bow.

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President Coolidge – 20mm Cannons   20mm cannons on the President Coolidge
RATING: Decompression
LEVEL: Novice to Intermediate
MAX DEPTH: 45 - 50 metres
DESCRIPTION: You drop down to the lower 3" gun and below cargo holds 1 & 2 where you can rummage amongst packs of rifles, fire extinguishers, fans and other military supplies. You swim over the 9 ton anchor, around the crow's nest, until you come to two sets of 20mm cannons (anti-aircraft). This dive has an option of a light penetration or remaining outside the wreck. A great dive for getting used to diving at depth and as a first decompression dive.

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President Coolidge – The Lady  
Santo's famous diving icon - The Lady

“The Lady” is one of the world's most-photographed underwater icons

RATING: Decompression
LEVEL: Intermediate to Experienced
MAX DEPTH: 40 metres
DESCRIPTION: World-famous, “The Lady” and the Unicorn, was formally positioned in the first-class smoking room, but now resides in the first-class dining room. Approach from entering a sea-door from deck C where you swim along deck C and “The Lady” is mounted in front of you at 38 metres. Turning around, you head back towards the sea-door where you can exit the wreck or drop down and swim towards the top of the ship through the first class lobby, past the Italian mosaic fountain into the continental lounge and past a series of mushroom shaped light fittings. Then you exit through the front of the promenade. A full penetration dive.

"A must to do! Don’t forget your camera!"

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President Coolidge – Medical Supplies  
Medical supplies remaining in the Coolidge

War-time medical supplies still remain hidden in the Coolidge.

RATING: Non-decompression
LEVEL: Novice to Intermediate
MAX DEPTH: 30 - 35 metres
DESCRIPTION: A dive of many stashes of medical supplies as most of them have air pockets and would simply float away. Weave your way through decks B, C and D to see medicines, catgut, bottled tablets, insulin kits, coloured powders and other medical supplies. You also drop into cargo hold number 4 where you see the drop fuel tanks from airplanes. Exit from hold number 2 or one of the salvage cuts. A full penetration dive which requires good buoyancy skills.

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President Coolidge – ABC Deck   diver looking through porthole on the Coolidge in Espiritu Santo
RATING: Decompression
LEVEL: Intermediate to Experienced
MAX DEPTH: 40 metres
DESCRIPTION: A dive that weaves its way through A, B and C decks consisting of second class accommodation. You swim over and below bathroom suites with some confined spaces. Not for the faint-hearted and good buoyancy skills are a must. A full penetration dive with very little natural light.

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President Coolidge – Engine Room  
RATING: Decompression
LEVEL: Intermediate to Experienced
MAX DEPTH: 45 - 50 metres
DESCRIPTION: You enter the wreck dropping down into a large salvage cut on the starboard side. You drop down onto the main condenser and then facing the stern you will see one of the huge propulsion motors. You then enter through a small hole into the control room. Here there is a series of gauges, control levers and four brass telegraphs. You exit the wreck out of the number 2 funnel and swim back up along the outside of the wreck, past the number 1 funnel to the bow. A unique penetration dive to swim out of the funnel.

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President Coolidge – First-Class Swimming Pool   Diver exercising in the first-class swimming pool on the Coolidge
RATING: Decompression
LEVEL: Experienced
MAX DEPTH: 52 - 55 metres
DESCRIPTION: Probably the deepest swimming pool in the world which is accessible by scuba. You drop straight into the pool with remains of stainless steel ladders and the colourful mosaic tiles can be seen. You can either swim back along the outside of the wreck or along the starboard side of the promenade deck. This dive provides the option of non-penetration.

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President Coolidge – Galley   Containers in the galley of the Coolidge

In the galley, there is copious amounts of china and crystal glass still in their places.

RATING: Decompression
LEVEL: Experienced
MAX DEPTH: 52 - 55 metres
DESCRIPTION: You enter the wreck through another sea-door on C deck into the tourist class lobby through one of the water tight doors into the tourist dining saloon. As you are swimming back up the ship, the colourful lino floor coverings are to your right. This then changes to square tiles indicating the start of the galley. You swim over the top of a potato peeler machine and big steam cookers which resemble witches caldrons. You then enter the first class dining room where you can see the ornate light fittings on the ceiling and exit through the sea-door which is the usual approach to “The Lady”. Alternatively, you can continue along C deck and exit from the number 2 hold. A full penetration dive with no immediate exit from the wreck for the majority of the dive.

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President Coolidge – Ghost Train    
RATING: Decompression
LEVEL: Experienced
MAX DEPTH: 50 - 60 metres
DESCRIPTION: The dive takes you through second class accommodation on A deck, through the lobby and the first class accommodation. Named the “Ghost Train” because you weave up and down through bathroom suites and bulkheads as you get deeper and deeper. The dive is strewn with personal effects, including shaving mugs, combs, soldier’s boots and personal belongings. Look out for the gentlemen and ladies toilet signs. As you duck under the last bulkhead, you will see the A deck sign on your right hand side, past the barber’s chair, barber sign and beauty shop. Exit the wreck below the pool. A full penetration dive and requires very little fining action and use of your hands to reduce the risk of silt out.

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President Coolidge – Cargo Hold's 6 & 7  
vehicle in cargo hold number 6 on the Coolidge

Cargo hold number six contains numerous vehicles – mainly ambulances.

RATING: Decompression
LEVEL: Experienced
MAX DEPTH: 60 metres
DESCRIPTION: Entering into the number 7 hold first where you swim over the top of two GMC trucks scattered around the hold, a series of two wheeled 58mm anti-tank guns. In the back right hand corner, boxes and boxes of ammunition still stacked there, with some split open. Heading back towards the exit, looking at the next deck towards the stern you can see the solid bronze spare blades for the propeller. After there, you can swim over the top of the blades into a small room which contains the rudder steerage motor. Returning back to where you came from in the number 7 hold and pass through underneath the Japanese bath into cargo hold number 6.

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President Coolidge – Stern  
Name plate on the Coolidge stern

The ship's name is spelt in 30cm brass lettering at the stern.

RATING: Decompression
LEVEL: Experienced
MAX DEPTH: 60 metres
DESCRIPTION: Swimming down past the swimming pool, cargo holds number 6 and 7, and then swim passed the docking bridge and the telegraph that controlled the stern when the ship was being berthed. You then swim over the top of the huge 5” gun mounted on the stern, which then leads you around to the back end of the wreck. You can now view the brass lettering spelling the name of the ship, and the port of registration (San Francisco). Then swim up over the limp rudder with the starboard side propeller shaft above you and the port side propeller shaft below. Air and time permitting, you then cruise deeply up the keel of the wreck to view the mine explosion hole at 52 metres. Continue up the keel side which resembles a huge wall dive with some marine species not found anywhere else on the wreck. This is a non-penetration dive and be prepared for the long swim back.

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President Coolidge – Night Dive  
night dive in santo, vanuatu

A night dive like no other in the world!

RATING: Non-decompression
LEVEL: Intermediate to Experienced
MAX DEPTH: 35 metres
DESCRIPTION: Timing is critical for this dive as you enter the water just on dusk and approach the wreck without torches on. This unique dive is to experience the wonder of flashlight fish (Anomalops katoptron). The fish have a gland under each eye full of bacteria where they lift a little flap sending out a fluorescent light. These fish live in all the dark spots of the wreck during the day because they are sensitive to light. At night, they make their way up the decks, through the continental lounge and into the two forward cargo holds.

" A real trip - more of an experience than a dive…"

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Deco Stop Lodge - Vanuatu
Deco Stop Lodge home page About Activities Accomodation Deco Stop home page facilities Contact Plongees - Francais Promenade Deck on the coolidge Cargo Holds one and two on the coolidge Cannons on the coolidge Medical Supplies on the coolidge The lady on the coolidge The ABC deck on the coolidge The Engine room on the coolidge Swimming pool on the coolidge Galley on the coolidge Ghost Train on the Coolidge stern on the coolidge night dive on the coolidge