Santo is a mecca for divers from all over the world because of the diversity of the diving offered, ranging from live coral to spectacular wrecks.
It is the final resting place of the 22,000 ton liner turned troopship “SS President Coolidge" and the destroyer “USS Tucker", both victims of US placed mines. Fresh water cave diving is also becoming popular, with the recent discovery of connecting sinkholes and caverns.
Due to the close proximity of surrounding islands and the tropical climate, dive sites are well protected and the waters remain calm and warm year round. Water temperatures range from 25 to 30° C with visibility from 10m to 40m. All dive sites can be reached within 15 to 30 minutes of departure from the dive shop by either boat or shore access.
SS president Coolidge
The “SS President Coolidge” is a “must” dive. This luxury ocean liner was converted into a US troopship during WWII and sank off the coast of Santo after hitting a mine.
Lying on her port side with the bow in 18 metres of water and the stern in 73 metres, the 198 metre long wreck is a very impressive site. Almost completely intact, you can swim through the numerous holds and decks viewing the reminders of her glorious days as a cruise liner and the remnants of her days as a troop ship. There are guns, cannons, jeeps, helmets, trucks and personal supplies left by some of the soldiers, as well as the beautiful porcelain statue of “The Lady,” chandeliers and a mosaic tile fountain. The wreck is covered in coral and is the home to a plethora of sea life such including turtles, barracuda, lion fish, and a host of reef fish.
Most dives are from the shore but some boat dives are also available. Moorings have been placed at intervals along the wreck to allow quick and easy access to the various parts of the wreck, thus saving both time and air, and allowing more time to explore the Coolidge. There are 20 different dive spots to choose from, so it doesn’t matter what the weather is like, good diving is easily found.
Million Dollar Point
Million Dollar Point is not far from the President Coolidge. This amazing dive site is where the US Navy dumped tonnes of valuable machinery and supplies after the war. From the shore down to 35 metres you will find scores of colourful corals and fish that have taken up residence in bulldozers, cranes, engines, large trucks, tyres and all kinds of auxiliary earth-moving equipment. Truly a unique dive.
Struck by friendly mines, the SS Tucker is a US Destroyer resting in about 20 metres of water. The wreck is spread along the sea bed making it possible to swim from stern to bow stopping at "wreck bombies" along the way.
Iit’s not just all about wrecks! There are many local reefs boasting colorful corals and prolific fish and marine life to be explored.
A beautiful and relaxing drift dive over a bed of bright, colorful coral and an abundance of fish life. Divers see a tremendous variety of staghorn corals, large plate corals and our very own “potato head” coral which is unlike anything you’ve seen before. There is also an abundance of fish life and turtles and sharks are often spotted.
A dive not to be missed, this is one of the most stunning reef dives in all of Vanuatu. This highly protected dive site ensures calm waters, little to no current and crystal clear visibility. You’ll see an amazing variety of coral and this is a great dive for spotting crayfish, turtles and sharks.
This dive has it all — caves, swim throughs, chasms, crayfish, and an abundance of spectacular hard and soft corals that seem to go on forever. Incredible visibility makes this a favorite reef dive among our divers.