Divers: Gary, Stuart, Mark, Danny, Warren, Paul, Chris, Matt, Puspendu, Youri, Vikki & Mark
Surface support: Denise & Teena
Our plan was to get out of town for the Melbourne winter and head for the warm tropical climate of Vanuatu. It has been warmish although it has rained here every day (and for most of the day) however this did not stop the trip from being one of our best ever!! The diving has been superb and the company first class. Our host for the diving is Rehan of Aquamarine, which was a bit of an unknown to us as we have not dived with them before, however right from the start the service is fantastic and our guides Dave, Tula, Simon & Rehan really know their stuff and do their job well. We started off with some of the easier dives such as Cargo Holds 1 & 2, then working up to some of the more adventurous dives like a full penetration into the Engine Room and then the Swimming Pool. With 2 dives a day every day we soon have dive skills up to speed and our guides seem to be very relaxed with the group’s ability to safely complete the dives. As the week went on we explored more and more of the wreck, some areas that we have not been to on previous trips, that’s the beauty of doing multiply trips to a site like the Coolidge. Everyone has their favourite dive, whether it be the excitement of the deep dive of the Stern or the adrenalin rush of the Gauntlet or maybe even the challenge of leading a dive through the wreck without the guides to assist. But I’m sure each team member from this trip will take away at least one special memory that will last them a life time of diving. With the latest craze of palm sized video cameras I think we’ve taken more video of the Coolidge this trip than has been taken over the past 40 years of diving the wreck – so keep an eye out for the final cut on Youtube.
Beach combing, helped pass the time during surface interval and fragments of discarded WWII Coke bottles became the prized item. We had a plan to recreate a complete bottle from the shards of glass picked up of the beach – like girls in the school yard with swap cards, bases & bottle necks are traded to complete the bottle. For those of us who like to ‘get high while we dive low’, the night dive’s into Cargo hold 1’s psychedelic light show courtesy of the green glow fish and the narcosis at 55 metres provided plenty of entertainment. The Kava, Jaeger bombs and spiced Frangellica after our last day of diving were an added bonus, the sharing of a meal with our hosts, chatting to the boys in a relaxed, social atmosphere was a night to be remembered.
Stuart & Mark