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“Perfect spot for wreck diving and so many dive options”

SS President Coolidge
Ranked #2 of 25 things to do in Luganville
Certificate of Excellence
Attraction details
Zurich, Switzerland
Level Contributor
28 reviews
14 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
“Perfect spot for wreck diving and so many dive options”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 27, 2012

Very nice 6 dives from 30 to 55 metres, never got bored or seen anything twice due to the size of the ship. Definitely a must if you love wreck diving. Went with Santo Island Dive and was happy with the staff / dive guide but the equipment could use some replacing as some of the parts very quite well used (but still working in good order)

Visited August 2012
Helpful?
Thank Lukas H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Wellington
Level Contributor
23 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
“Santo Island Dive - thanks for a great experience Malcolm”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 23, 2012

SS Coolidge is why we went to Santo. Our hosts at Village de Santo arranged a meeting with Malcolm of Santo Island Dive to plan our dives and maximise our time. My husband dives & I snorkel & it was important to us that we shared our adventure . Malcolm assured us that we would both have a good experience and happily accommodated my needs at no extra cost! The one thing that separates Santo Island Dive from the others is that all dives are from the boat. This is a consideration if you don't want to waste energy swimming out from the shore - besides the boat trip is fun too. The guys on the boat gave a thorough briefing of what to expect when diving on the Coolidge and the safety stops required on ascent. Snacks & water were provided as well as lunch. We were very impressed with Matthew (driver of boat) who has an outstanding attitude & exudes enthusiasm.

SS Coolidge has the reputation of being the best wreck dive in the world! There are many aspects to it and as mentioned by previous reviewers - there is always something different to discover - no matter how many dives you have done before.

For me - the bonus was that I could happily entertain myself snorkelling without having to go far from the boat. It is very easy to combine the two activities if you are travelling with someone who can't dive. So don't leave them behind as they will be able to share some of your adventure too!

Visited August 2012
Helpful?
Thank Tascino
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Melbourne, Australia
Level Contributor
222 reviews
76 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 82 helpful votes
“The best wreck dive I've ever done”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 14, 2012

First tip for diving the Coolidge - go with Allan Power Dive Tours. Allan is a Hall of Fame member with 27,000 dives on the Coolidge & a bottom time of 3 & a half years! His company is professional, his guides are brilliant & very experienced. He owns the land right at the beachfront access to the wreck & so you get private access to an easy shore dive facility. Plus you will be welcomed back to his house after the diving for morning tea & will be made to feel right at home.
Second tip for diving the Coolidge - if you are a keen diver, you really want to have 5 or 6 dives at least. The more dives you do, the more advanced places you will be taken to. You can't fathom some of the amazing things you will see & experience in just 1 or 2 dives - & they simply won't take you to the better places without first ensuring you have some diving competency.
Third tip for diving the Coolidge - try & do as many morning dives as your time in Santo will allow. It is generally in the morning where they will do the deeper & more advanced dives. I also did a night dive which was good, but not as good as the daytime dives. And unlike other night dives I have done on wrecks, this one wasn't so much about exploring the ship, it was all about seeing the flashlight fish. They are pretty hypnotic & mesmerising I must say. Think back to that bit in Finding Nemo: "I feel....happy" heehee
I also dived Million Dollar Point. I'm glad I did, but it doesn't hold a candle to diving the Coolidge. So don't trade the Coolidge for Million Dollar Point if you don't have a lot of time. Also they normally only dive Million Dollar Point in the afternoon because it is a shallow dive - even though you'll still do nearly 40 metres. Yep, that's considered shallow in these parts!

Visited August 2012
Helpful?
3 Thank TravelDooey
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Perth, Australia
Level Contributor
39 reviews
17 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
“Great diving but be careful!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 23, 2012

The SS Coolidge is a great dive site but is really an Advanced Dive. We did 3 dives on the wreck but we are experienced divers. There are 2 dive companies the one we went with and another that I know of who are taking people down on the wreck firstly without even checking their qualifications or previous diving experience. We did 2 dives on one day and went down to 40m on the first dive and 38m on the second dives. We went into deco on both these dives. This is irresponsible on behalf of the dive companies and it won't be long before someone is killed diving the Coolidge. I would advise taking your own equipment because the hire equipment is of a very poor standard and is not well maintained and look after yourself. If you are a nervous diver then the Coolidge is not for you.

Visited July 2012
Helpful?
2 Thank Laspig
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cambridge UK
Level Contributor
62 reviews
27 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 86 helpful votes
“World-class dive site”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 19, 2012

I suppose that I've dived this site in excess of 40 times and it's impossible to tire of it. The 654 foot, 21,936 ton President Coolidge was the one of the last truly opulent vessel s to be built anywhere. This elegant Art Deco cruise liner that once held long-distance speed records was impressed by the US Army to deliver troops to the New Hebrides on their way up to the fight at Guadalcanal. It hit a mine in the sound of Espiritu Santo and the Captain managed to ram the vessel onto the beach. Of the more than 5,000 troops on board, only two were lost. the ship eventually rolled back into the water, sitting almost perfectly at 25-78 meters.

Visibility is normally acceptable, at between 15-25 meters all the way down. The superstructure can be visited by the less experienced divers, while the more experienced have the chance of some wonderful and extended penetration dives. There is plenty to find - the Doctor's Surgery still holds phials of medicines and reference books while on the floor the silt will yield anything from ship's china to a Browning pistol. There is a splendid ledge with a huge array of coral and small fish at 5 meters, where those on a long deco after visiting the propellor can shut down. For the brave, the best dive is at night, swimming down the funnel to the boiler room, then on to the ballroom....without turning on torches.

Visited August 2011
Helpful?
Thank NMarshall
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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