Santo, Vanuatu was awesome. Our small group didn’t go unnoticed both abroad and back in Melbourne. The weather was perfect during the day and cool enough at night for comfortable sleeping. The 210 metre Coolidge and Million Dollar Point kept us entertained. On our last day we spent walking through Millennium Cave and swimming down the river. Everyone from Alan Power Dive, Millennium Cave Tours and Hotel Santo were great hosts.
Santo is the second biggest city in Vanuatu and the main street must run maybe five kilometres, and on that 5km of road there must have been 1000 taxis, maybe. We visited most restaurants, a couple of kava bars, and walked the main street daily. The Vanuatu people were always smiling, always saying hello or goodnight.
All the dive guides, Lionel, David, Ian, Paul were a lot of fun. The boys were friendly, always had a laugh, extremely helpful and always willing to ensure we had the best time. They were also great divers. No matter where they took us, to the pool, through dark passages, we always felt comfortable and safe. Alan Powell was great entertainment, his knowledge and stories were endless.
The water temperature was around 24 degrees. The president Coolidge kept us entertained for 13 dives, still didn't see every part. We swam the full length of 210m to get a look at the stern. It is a massive ship. In the last 10 years the ship quarters and main promenade has fallen off and laying of the bottom at about 40m. We visited the pool, tested our narcosis skills, tried to remember the 7 different coloured tiles at the pool. We visited the lady and horse and ceremoniously went about our business. Still one of my favourite dives is the night dive. A first for all divers was a night dive without turning a torch on. It's a great experience swimming over the wreck by moonlight, down into the wreck to be surrounded by thousands of flashlight fish. Absolutely captivating. We did one dive at million dollar point, still amazing that the Americans just dumped all the vehicles and machinery into the ocean.
On our last day we walked through rainforest down into a valley where the opening, a black hole about 10m in diameter, of Millennium Cave. We climbed into the cave. The entrance was an extension of a creek. We climbed over rocks, walked through chilly fresh water and followed the creek. The creek is only during dry season, during the wet season the cave system fills up significantly. The walls inside the cave rose 20m high. At the end of the cave, the sunlight beamed through the entrance. It's an awesome sight. We had some lunch just outside the cave. The creek that runs through the cave joins up with the river that ends up opening up at Santo. We walked through the dried out river bed until we got to a deeper part of the river and floated down the river. The walls on either side of the river rose 20m also. You could see the water level line from the wet season. We ended up down the river. The walk out, it wasn't the easiest. Then a short walk back to the village. This is a unique and amazing tour.
Back on the plane, layover in Port Vila for 5 hours, we got a very cool taxi driver who took us to the waterfalls and the exiotic gardens then to a beachside café / bar for lunch. Just the way to top off a great holiday. We all agreed we could live in Santo for a while.