Published on September 19th, 2017 | by adventuremag
Scuba Diving In Vanuatu
There are a lot of good things about Vanuatu, it’s warm, the people are lovely, it’s close, it’s not expensive, it has an amazing culture and the Scuba diving in Vanuatu is world famous. Nothing is too hard in Vanuatu for the dive sites themselves are close and easily accessible, the water is warm and visibility can be amazing. There are a number of professional dive operators all over Vanuatu and a plethora of great sites but even around the main island of Efate and the capital Port Vila there is some remarkable diving to be had.
Vanuatu is a great place for an introductory dive (lean to dive) you can just have a free go in the hotel pool to see if you are comfortable with the basic skills and then it’s a short boat ride to one of the dive sites.
There are reef and wreck dives for the novice and experienced divers as well as caves, swim-throughs and aquatic life of every description.
There are many dive sites within half an hour of Port Vila. Dive costs vary depending on whether you have your own gear and how many dives you take with costs around VT6000 (NZD$65)
Some of the specific sites are
- TWIN BOMBIES: There are two ‘bombora’ formations and a sheer wall on this dive. The grottos and coral are alive with a variety of welcoming fish. 10 metres on top of the reef to 18 metres over the drop-off. Lots of fish with varying size and colour.
- MELE REEF: An extensive reef that rises up in the middle of Mele Bay to around 6 metres from the surface. There are lots of dives around here – a good one is along a vertical wall to a shallow reef to finish. It’s a marine sanctuary surrounding Hideaway Island so the wildlife is protected and abundant. (Also a great place to spend the day and eat lunch!)
- THE CATHEDRAL: A delightful dive in a vast cavern off the Pango peninsula to 26 metres. Shafts of light create unusual effects. You can swim through to the back and up a ‘chimney’ to a large pool on the surface inside the reef – then back to the outside and along the wall to explore and look out into the deep open ocean.
- OLLIES LOLLY: Near Hideaway Island this is a large bommie starting at 9 metres. A range of hard and soft corals and heaps of fish – large and small. Great for photography.
- MV KONANDA: This is a lovely wreck dive. Konanda sits on a flat, sandy bottom at 26 metres with her derricks and rigging reaching up to within ten metres of the surface. She is an Island Trader, 45 metres long, which was damaged in a cyclone in 1987 and deliberately sunk for the delight of scuba divers. She has been carefully prepared so penetration into the cabins and holds is totally safe. It’s an ideal introduction to the fun of wreck diving.
- STAR OF RUSSIA: This grand old lady of sailing ship days rests in Port Vila Harbour. She’s 80 metres long and 13 metres wide and down 33 metres. Divers can swim through the body of the ship, swim up the three massive masts, around the romantic, shapely bow and check out the wheel, rudder and anchor machinery. There’s some history here too. The Star of Russia was built by Harlan and Wolff of Belfast who also built the Titanic. It was also part of a race between herself and one of the new steamships in the early 1900’s. The race was from England to Australia. They took different routes (as ‘Russia’ was subject to the prevailing winds) and the sailboat took the honours with the steamship three days behind!
- MV SEMLE FEDERSEN: This is a cargo-carrying trading vessel that was sunk along the Pango Coast in Mele Bay in 1985. Now home to lots of aquatic plants and animals, the stern, cabins and wheelhouse can be dived within 40 metres. The visibility here is outstanding (60 metres) and the whole ship can be seen at a glance while descending the mooring line.
As mentioned there is a range of dive operators in Port Vila and surrounding coastline but it would pay to book in advance as they do get book