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Monday, October 22, 2012

Dive the SS President Coolidge warship in Espiritu Santo 70 years on

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This month sees the 70th anniversary of the sinking of the US warship, the SS President Coolidge off the coast of Espiritu Santo, Vanuatu.  This wreck site and diving in Espiritu Santo is now a major tourist attraction for Aussies and divers from around the world with great diving packages on offer.

Aussie dive operators are offering fantastic 70th anniversary specials to dive the Coolidge as below:

Dive Adventures has a six night trip to Espiritu Santo which includes eight dives from only $1529 per person.  This is based on return flights with Air Vanuatu from Sydney to Espiritu Santo via Port Vila, twin room accommodation at Deco Stop Lodge, transfers and taxes.  The price is for travel until 31 March 2013 and is subject to availability with blackout dates. Contact Dive Adventures on 1800 222 234 (toll free) or visit www.diveadventures.com.au

Allways Dive Expeditions is has a seven night land only trip to Espiritu Santo with 10 shore dives from $899 per person.  This is based on twin room accommodation at Beachfront Resort including breakfast, tanks, weights, airfills and dive guides and return transfers.  Flights are not included in this package. The price is subject to availability and blackout periods.  Contact Allways Dive Expeditions on 03 9885 8863 or visit www.allwaysdive.com.au.

Espiritu Santo was a major weapons and manpower base for the US in World War II due to its position in the Pacific.  The day the SS President Coolidge sunk, on 26 October 1942, it was sailing into to the designated rendezvous point through the Segond Channel and struck a mine which had been laid earlier in the year to thwart entry by midget submarines.  On board was over 5000 Army personnel, medical supplies, field weapons and motor vehicles and within 90 minutes of being run aground she was lying on the sea bed with all but two of her crew having safely abandoned ship.

After the salvors had gone in the 1970's, tourism has been developing on the island and thousands of divers have explored the ship, with many returning to further explore and push their diving skills.

Diving the President Coolidge is not just an amazing wreck dive but it has formed a large artificial reef where a large variety of marine life can be seen, from sharks and large pelagics to smaller marine critters.

Allan Power from Allan Power Dive Tours comments:

"When I first started my dive operation in Santo I predicted that the Coolidge would become the premier wreck of the Pacific.  Not only has this prediction proven right but one could say the wreck of the president Coolidge is now world famous.  Now thousands of divers have dived the wreck of the President Coolidge since I first dived it in 1969.    The Coolidge has stood up well to ravages of time and will continue to delight divers for many years to come."

For information about diving in Espiritu Santo Australians can also visit the following dive operator websites:

-          Allan Power Dive Tours www.allan-power-santo.com
-          Bokissa Eco Dive www.bokissa.vu
-          Coral Quays Fish & Dive www.coralquays.com
-          Santo Dive and Fishing www.santodive.com

For more information on Vanuatu please visit www.vanuatu.travel

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The Expeditionist

The Expeditionist
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