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SS President Coolidge - Vanuatu

SS President Coolidge is a shore accessible salt water dive site, located in Espiritu Santo Island, Vanuatu. This dive site has an average rating of 5.00 out of 5 from 1 scuba divers. The maximum depth is over 150ft/46m. The average visibility is 41-50ft/12-15m.

It’s touted as the world’s largest shore-accessible wreck: The 654-foot-long passenger ocean liner-cum-troopship is just a two-minute swim from shore, with a deck that starts at a depth of about 65 feet. Doesn’t sound extreme? The behemoth rests on a 45-degree slope, with its deepest point about 240 feet down. Given the number of holds and penetration points, the site can be as easy or as challenging as you decide to make it.

Guns, cannons, jeeps, gas masks, medical supplies, ammunition and other intact gear still lie within the coral-encrusted walls. Given the ship’s first life as a luxury ship, the art-deco details such as chandeliers provide another layer of interest. One highlight beloved by photographers is the first-class smoking room’s carving of the lady and the unicorn, a sharp contrast to the spartan lives of those troops who later served aboard.

The vessel now rests on its port side, making navigation slightly more difficult, but the sea conditions couldn’t be more favorable. Much of the time expect calm, clear waters that attract marine life ranging from moray eels to dugongs. Turtles also regularly stake out real estate.

But perhaps the most memorable and chilling feature of the Coolidge are the men’s personal effects: typewriter, hairbrush, talcum-powder bottle. No other wreck provides such an intimate look into the lives of those aboard who braved duty.
From SportDiver Planet’s 50 Greatest Dives, #41, The SS President Coolidge is one of the most impressive, accessible and artifact-rich wrecks in the world. Did we mention it’s a shore dive too? Diving the Coolidge is like drifting through a ghostly, history-filled aftermath of war. At 654 feet long, and with depths ranging from 70 to 240 feet, there is a lot to explore: rooms filled with old Jeeps, rows of toilets and a medical-supply room. Guns, gas masks and old boots are strewn all over the ship. Navigating the array of personal effects and everyday, utilitarian objects abandoned in 90 minutes after the ship was grounded is a daunting journey through history, but one you’ll want make again and again. — Lia Barrett

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Freelancer19 - 1/31/2013 6:11 PM
Just came back from my 2nd 10 dive trip in 18 months and planning my next for October
Diverjim242 - 1/31/2013 11:30 AM
Rating Added: 5
9 dives on her in ’04, loved it, one of the best wreck dives ever...period!