Diving in Vanuatu, South Pacific

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Vanuatu is an archipelago of 83 islands in the South Pacific Ocean with Australia in the east, New Caledonia in the northeast, Fiji in the west and Solomon Islands in the south. Most of the diving is concentrated on the islands of Tanna, Espiritu Santo and Efaté.

Diving in the islands is very popular for wreck divers particularly the Million Dollar Point in Espiritu Santo. The name is the result of the US dumping their excess military hardware after winning WW2 in the surrounding waters when the colonial authorities didn't offer their bids. It's now a spectacular diving destination teeming with rich marine life.

Another popular dive site in Espiritu Santo is the wreck of the WW2 troop ship SS President Coolidge at the depth of 70m sunken by a friendly mine. This is a large converted luxury liner weighing 33,000 tonne. She now serves as a recreational diving wreck teeming with a plenitude of reef marine life.

There are also wreck dives in Port Vila particularly the wreck of the Star of Russia at the depth of over 36m. Unlike other wrecks, this was a three-masted sailing ship that was scuttled by an island trader.

The diving in Vanuatu is simply breathtaking from sheer drop-offs, amazing wrecks and fabulous reef diving. Aside from the splendid pelagic fishes such as spotted eagle rays, white tips, hawksbill and green sea turtles and fabulous hard and soft corals that abound in the area, the crystal waters also give a glimpse of the underwater volcanic rock formations with grottoes, overhangs, caves and cliffs.

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The government of Vanuatu is an active participant in marine conservation efforts. Testament to this cause is the establishment of the Nguna-Pele Marine and Land Protected Area Network.

Vanuatu has a tropical climate.

The water temperature averages 22-28°C for the whole year.

The diving season is year round and peaks in March through November.

Natural hazards include cyclones and earthquakes.

The main entry point is the main international airport in Port-Vila. There are several airlines that offer direct flights from Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, New Caledonia, and Solomon Islands.

The islands can also be entered by boat through the main ports in Port-Vila on Efaté and Luganville on Espiritu Santo.

All major islands have buses in the form of mini vans, taxis and rental cars.

The general transportation system of Vanuatu is excellent.

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