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“Excellent Dive Shop - Don't Go Anywhere Else”

Allan Power Dive Tours
Reviewed January 9, 2014

Allan Powers Dive shop is the only shop in town you should consider. Allan has private access to the Coolidge which means that you take a 5 mins bus trip from the shop in town, to the dive site, you kit up on wooden benches (so civilised) and then you walk a mere 5 metres to the shore. From there you literally walk out to a break wall, put on your flippers and descend - the ship is RIGHT THERE!

The diving was so easy and hassle free I don't know why you'd bother with any other dive store! They all make you go on boats which is just crazy given how close this wreck is to the shore.

our dive guide was excellent (Henri) and the location of Allan's shop is a lovely spot to relax with a cup of tea after the dives.

don't go anywhere else!

Thank SydTravellerGirl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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54 - 58 of 74 reviews

Reviewed November 25, 2013

We planned to visit Vanuatu after my business trip in Australia, and originally, my wife and I were not planning on getting scuba dive certified. After looking at some of the photos at our hotel, though, we decided that we would finally take the plunge and get our diving certification, something we had never made time for back home in San Francisco.

We had an absolutely amazing experience. Lionel was our instructor, and he was so calm and patient, making us feel comfortable the entire time. There was one time in our first underwater plunge where my wife felt uncomfortable and almost made a run for the surface. Lionel held her hand, calmed her down, and helped her resume normal breathing. It was so impressive to watch that learning experience.

Every day we came back, Lionel made sure we had done our homework, and he taught us all of the skills so well. When we finally did one our final fun dives, Lionel again was very comforting and held my wife's hand at another point in the dive when she got nervous. By the time we were finished, my wife and I passed the diving test with flying colors!

Lionel is a star, but so is the rest of the staff. Allan Power is actually a legend, it turns out, having maintained and supported the SS Coolidge wreck for many many years. After our dives, we would always come back and have tea and buns with Allan and the other staff members, which is a cool experience.

Santo is a very special place, and if you're there for diving (or interested in getting your certification like us), Allan Power is the way to go! Thanks, Allan and Lionel. We hope to visit again soon!

Thank hungarianhc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 25, 2013

Allan Power Dive Tours is the real deal! They have written books about Allan and the Coolidge. You can dive other shops and depending on who you choose, be putting your life on the line or you can simply go with the best.

Organization
The set up for the dive shop is exactly what you would expect from a top notch operation. They fill their own tanks and they don’t pinch on the air, you get a full tank. There is a large wash room and lots of room to hang the gear to dry between dives. It is locked up and safe. When they say they leave at 8:00 they mean it. You are given a large bin to put all your gear into and they load it into truck to deliver it to the site.

Office
The office is in the house next to the shop where they invite you in and serve you coffee on the back deck before the dive. They call you when the van is ready to leave. There is lots of memorabilia and books to peruse while waiting. Remember, Allan has over 20,000 dives on the Coolidge. After the dives they invite you again onto the deck to share hot buns with jam and butter and fresh coffee. This is definitely diving first class. Of course they have a shower, bathroom and places to change.

Divemaster
The staff at Allan’s shop is TOP NOTCH. Some of the most attentive, skilled, professionals I have ever met. The great thing at this shop as well is they assign you one guide who stays with you throughout all your dives all week. I dove for 5 days and on all but one dive I was the only diver with the guide. On the one dive with another person it was a medical intern who was by herself so I invited her to join us. David was my guide and I would highly recommend that you request him although all the other guys seemed great as well.

Shore Base
The van will transport you a short 10 min down to the shore base if you are diving the Coolidge and a bit farther if you dive million dollar point. The land is owned by Allan and he had set it up nicely. Long benches with lots of room to spread out and prep your gear which is waiting when you arrive. They have a locked locker onsite where you store your weights (if you use intergrteted just leave the pockets behind and pick them up the next day or next dive). Once you are ready you walk about 5 steps to the beach and two more into the water.

You can leave you dry clothes in the van because they leave an employee there to watch all the items. Upon return you change out and into dry clothes and through the gear into the bin for transport back to the base where it can be washed and hung to dry.

Dive Site (SS President Coolidge)
When looking for diver operators I read on the Santo Island Divers site that it was better to be in a boat because then you didn’t have to swim to the wreck. This is just a marketing ploy and is incorrect. In fact this other dive shop use’s Allan’s deco stop on the coral reef and the swims BACK out to the boat. The water is shallow and allows the divers to walk for the 50 steps or so towards the dive site. Once the water begins to deepen there is a large rock with handles to assist you while putting on your fins.

You then drop down and begin your decent onto the wreck. Allan has built a large coral reef that is full of incredible fish with a large sand area for the deco stops. Watching the fish makes the deco time fly by.

Spare Air
The DMs take a spare tank of air fitted with a reg to the deep safety stop. I saw them use it a couple times with people from other dive shops who didn’t bother to bring extra air. Again this real diving and choosing who to dive with can be a life and death decision. Not long ago a diver died on this wreck while diving with the Aquamarine Dive shop.

Wreck
I won’t spend much time one the wreck because most of the other reviewers have discussed much of the details. I will say depending on how deep you are willing to dive you can see most of the wreck in 7-10 dives. Most of the good stuff is deep but you will be comfortable with the DM and the shop many people decide to explore deeper than they ever have on other dives.

Deco Stop
Because the dives are deep you will spend a bit of time at multiple deco stops. I have my own computer but the DMs are conservative and you will find that they add a margin of safety even after their own computers clear. No rush to the surface, they dive deep they way you should. The safe way.

Dive Times
You leave the shop for the morning dive at 8:30 and are back at the shop by 10:30. The afternoon dive leaves promptly at 2:00 and you are back at the shop by 4:00. They do night dives upon request which is something I would highly recommend.

Conclusion
I have dove over a 100 times this year alone in many different countries. I can honestly say this is one of the best dive shops anywhere. If you have questions, email me…

1  Thank ksiddel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 5, 2013

My partner and I have just returned from 6 nights in Santo. Whilst there, we did 7 dives on the Coolidge and 1 dive at Million Dollar Point with Allan Power Dive Tours.

I cannot speak highly enough of this company. When my partner and I arrived in Santo, unfortunately, our luggage did not arrive with us, leading us to miss our first dive on the Coolidge. This was not a problem however and Tony organised for us to make it up at the end.

Our first dive on the Coolidge was to the bow and around the upper outside area of the ship. Our second dive on the Coolidge was to The Lady and definitely the highlight of all my dives in Vanuatu. The remaining dives on the Coolidge were to various areas on the ship, and we dived a different area on each occasion.

We would do our deeper dive in the morning with a good surface interval of over 4 hours and then do our shallower dive in the afternoon. We were picked up and dropped off from our accommodation on time also.

I was really impressed with the staff to diver ratio. My partner and I were lead by one dive master on each dive. On more than one occasion, it was just the two of us doing a dive at that time which was great also.

The dive masters were very knowledgeable and experienced in relation to diving the Coolidge. We were informed that they clock up approx. 500 plus dives per year on the ship!

There was spare air at the deco and safety stops in case a diver required this. I utilised this on 2 occasions and the dive master assisted with this. My partner and I felt very safe the entire time including during our deep dives which were to 45 metres.

From what I saw, the hire dive gear was in good working order. It appeared to be in good condition and well maintained (we bought our own so tanks and weights were provided only).

We would like to say a big thank you to Tony, Ian (Molly) and David for making our trip to Santo very memorable. We will be back again, and will hopefully make it to the pool the next time!

Thank djk085
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 5, 2013 via mobile

Just spent a great week diving The Coolidge with Henry from Allan Power. A great week of diving. Very professional, all staff extremely helpful and friendly. Allan still really involved and driving the bus down to the site. He's still so passionate about diving after all these years. Amazing. Operation is very safely run adhering to strict deco timings, no cowboys here. The only downer for us was a large group arrived and tended to muck up the silt and crowd the wreck. Hard to do on such a large ship! Overall, excellent operation.

Thank SeanKennaway
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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