Port Vila - diving with Big Blue & staying at Poppy's on the Lagoon
The Konanda was a 45 metre long island trader that was sunk after being damaged during Cyclone Ulma in 1987. The wreck lies on sand in 26 metres close to reef. A dive of the wreck ends with time spend on the shallower reef
Twin Bommies is a lovely reef dive on the same side of the bay as Konanda. The reef plateaus at 12-18 metres before dropping to white sand at 30 metres. Two large bommies rise from the slope giving the site its name..
Semele Federesen wreck
Our first dive of day two ...an inter-island cargo ship that was scuttled as a dive wreck in 1985 but slipped to its current depth during Cyclone Ulma. Currently lying on sand in 38-50 metres with the top of the wreck in 30 metres this was a great bit of deep fun.
Unfortunately a broken o-ring in my housing meant I dived with an old Olympus in a housing lent by Big Blue ... not quite as good in low light/depth than mine but better than no photos at all.
Another great reef dive in the Port Vila area. Not far from the wreck of the same name. The reed features a wall that drops well below the 35 metres some of us got to and plateaus from 18 to 12 metres - so lots to explore.
Our first afternoon boat dive ... a short trip out to the site of a plane wreck. the plane has broken up with both wings and fuselage all lying separately. We explored the reef on the way to the plane and return.
Abyss - Mele Reef
Day #3 we headed to the other side of the bay opposite Mele Village and Hideaway Island to dive on some of the most beautiful coral reef I've ever seen. The Abyss was the first dive of a magical double.
West Side Story - Mele Reef
Our second dive out on the western side of the bay from Port Vila out the front of Mele Villiage. The reef has a large area of green staghorn coral where the reef is rebuilding after Cyclone Pam
But there's caves! Such a fun reef to explore! Not very deep ... maxing at around 15 -20 metres; not the best viz we had around Vila but so many holes to explore!
Port Vila Fun
A great trip to Port Vila leaving Sydney and flying passed a familiar spot before arriving at Port Vila. It wasn't all diving ...starting our first full day there visiting the beach Bar for pizza, beers and what is probably the most talented Pacific Islander show I've ever seen ... Vanua Fire mix traditional dance, fire dance, trapeze, gymnastics, fire breathing and humour into a breathtaking show; a great meal at the Waterfront Bar & Grill, a visit to the markets and just relaxing at Poppy's on the Lagoon.
The Dive Anywhere Project goes to Port Vila
Paul and Tony's side project the Dive Anywhere Project added some international flavour by diving Port Vila Harbour. Much cleaner than anything we're used to at home there was plenty of nudibranchs, fishlife and even a pipefish to see apart from plenty of Coca Cola bottles dating back to US troops stationed in the area - 1942 bottles from Oakland California and even some much older stuff. Mitchell joined us.
Santo - Luganville - Staying at and Diving with Coral Quays
SS President Coolidge
The main reason any diver goes to Santo/Luganville. One of the great dive wrecks - the massive ex-luxury liner that was converted into a troop carrier and then hit a US mine coming into Luganville Harbour. It was run onto the shore reef with nearly everyone evacuated (two deaths - one in the initial explosion and another as the ship slid down the reef. We did 5 dives on the ship and only covered a small part of it.
Coolidge Safety Stop
Plenty to see at the safety stop between 6-3 metres above the Coolidge slope - which is good coz we spent enough time there!
Coolidge Night Dive
No trip to the Coolidge is complete without a night dive - while the flashlightfish are cool they're impossible to photograph - it's all the other weird stuff that makes a night dive fun! Including a stonefish, crocodilefish, thorny oyster, spotted hermit crab and lots of others
Million Dollar Point
Million Dollar Point - a must dive site at Santo. Where Franco-American diplomacy reached an all-time low with the Americans dumping tons of machinery and equipment off the point. With the salvage ship El Retiro and trader Jedele adding to the jumble you can swim around identifying bulldozers, cranes, diggers, trucks and much more.
For the first of our double boat dive we went to a small island just to the south of Segond Channel and dived the reef there. Plenty to see, a deep wall with lots of coral and lots of fish.
USS Tucker was the second of our boat double. The Tucker was a US Navy destroyer of stainless steel construction launched in 1936. She was escorting the cargo ship SS Nira Luckenbach from Suva to Espirito Santo when she struck a mine entering Segond Channel - the boat floundering. It sank next day splitting in two. 3 were killed in the initial explosion and 3 were missing. The mines had been lain the previous day. The two sections of the wreck lie about 80 metres apart.
Fun, Feasts and Frivolity at Santo
Apart from the diving we had a great time at Santo: the great dive crew of Jimmy, Simo and Marcelo, lovely meals at Coral Quays and a day trip to beautiful Port Olry
Coral Quay House Reef
Convenient shore dive located across the road from the resort. Plenty of fish and patches of reef. Two large water tanks are features of the dive.