The island of Espiritu Santo attracts more divers each year than all the other islands of Vanuatu combined. Diving in Espiritu Santo is a must for several reasons.
Fans of underwater wrecks are obsessed with that of President Coolidge and often make the trip to Santo only to dive on this boat. This is obviously not the only wreck; the sites of Million Dollar Point and the USS Tucker are two major diving spots in Santo for lovers of submerged carcasses.
The history of Espiritu Santo is closely linked to World War II; it was an important military base, having played a leading role in the battle for the Pacific. During your diving stay in Espiritu Santo, you will not explore the land wrecks, as they will complete your discovery of the war relics in Vanuatu.
Santo is a superb holiday destination because, besides diving, it offers superb landscapes of the South Seas, and many activities for families or non-diving companions.
Diving in Espiritu Santo
The diving conditions in Santo are very favorable, and accessible to the greatest number. The dives take place around Luganville, from the coasts close to the capital, but also around the neighboring islets. If you are staying in Luganville, you will mostly dive on the wrecks of President Coolidge and Million Dollar Point. By staying on the islets of the bay, you can also discover the reefs that line the coasts and explore the world-famous wrecks.
The Wreck of President Coolidge
The island of Espiritu Santo is world famous for the wreck of the SS President Coolidge. All divers interested in wrecks have heard of this ship and dream of one day diving there. It is a former cruise liner over 198 m long, converted into a transporter… Read more.
Million Dollar Point
Million Dollar Point is an incredibly fun dive through the history of the place. At the end of the war, when they were leaving the country, the Americans offered to sell them all the equipment at the cost of scrap metal. The latter refused, and the Americans then moved everything to the sea. Nowadays, we find jeeps, trucks, passing by bottles of coca, and two wrecks of boats. You can dive there directly from the beach, but also by boat. Coral and fish colonized the shallow site (5 to 40m maximum) which makes it an amazing place for diving.
Dive sites around Santo
Tutuba Point is a beautiful reef in the north of Tutuba Island. It is covered with soft and hard corals, has canyons, caves, tunnels, and is inhabited by dense fauna. It is a drift dive, and visibility can go up to 50m. You can often come across turtles, reef sharks, and napoleons.
Aore Wall is a place protected from winds, the depth is between 5 and 25m maximum. It is a nice dive, easy to access. It covers the wall with hard corals, gorgonians, and you can meet some pelagics passing through. Many triggerfish have colonized the drop off, just as the crevices are home to small creatures.
Ratarata Reef is a photographer’s paradise. The reef begins 3m from the surface, up to 45m deep. Thanks to the currents often present, it is populated by schools of rainbow runners, barracudas, jacks, reef sharks, turtles, and a myriad of tropical fish. The corals are superb, deer horn coral, brain coral, acropora table, and soft corals. Macro enthusiasts will not be disappointed in shallow water.
The wreck of the MV Henry Bonneaud is located awfully close to the island of Bokissa. It is relatively young; it was cast in 1989. It is accessible to all levels because even beginners can enter. In night dives, schools of flagship fish create a spectacular atmosphere.
They cut the wreckage of the USS Tucker into two pieces, placed from the bottom 100m apart. It was hit in 1942 by an American mine. You can enter it, and the play of light through the portholes and doors helps to create a pleasant atmosphere. Beautiful pieces of coral and sponges decorate the guns, and schools of batfish, sweetlips, and spotted groupers often roam around the wreck.