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Vanuatu: Diving on the USS Coolidge

Amazing wreck dive!...

overcast 28 °C

Today we did two amazing dives on the USS Coolidge. We went out with Alan Powers who has been diving on the Coolidge since 1969. As Alan puts it,"the only reason people come to Santo is to see the Coolidge, Alan Power and the other wrecks here".

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During the war in the Pacific, the Coolidge was entering the harbor with about 5,000 troops aboard when she hit a mine in the harbor. The captain was able to beach her a few km from town and all but 2 people made it off the ship alive. When she finally sank, she slipped down the reef and now sits in water anywhere from 20 to 70 meters deep. Its amazing to think of a ship over 600 feet long sitting within walking distance of the shore.

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On our first dive we toured along the outside of the ship from the bow down to a couple of the holds at the front of the ship. It was amazing how well preserved the ship was after all of these years and how much stuff is still down there after all these years.

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Artillery rounds

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And even rifles

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As we went down below 35 meters on the dive, we had to make a couple of decompression stops on the way up.

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Alan has built a lovely little coral garden to rest in while you are decompressing. He even provides treats to feed the fish while you wait.

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After coming out of the water, we headed back to Alan's shop and enjoyed tea and biscuits on his beautiful deck

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As usual, Gayla made friends with Jock, the resident Rotweiller/Doberman mix.

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Since we were going deep again in the afternoon, we had to stay on the surface for a few hours. We decided to take a walk around the town to see what it was like. We walked over to the wonderful little waterfront park by our hotel. Most of the business close for a couple of hours at lunch and it seemed everyone headed to sit in the shade here.

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After our break, we headed back out to the dive site for our second dive.

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The tide was in so we had to walk out a bit farther.

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This time we penetrated deeper into the ship going into the medical space.

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And then passing through the ship into one of the hold where the jeeps were stored.

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Back up to the surface

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With another decompression stop

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What a great day!!

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If any of you are divers I recommend you put a dive of the USS Coolidge on your bucket list. We only saw a fraction of the ship, but it was one of the most amazing wreck dives ever. You could easily spend a week here.

Posted by TravelWithTom 13:00 Archived in Vanuatu

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