The Great Diving Expedition

Sunday 20 June 2010 Luganville

The weather was really getting into the tropical groove. This morning when we got up at sun rise the air was breathlessly humid and the sea was oily smooth. Occasionally well formed little swells chased each other across the hazy blue surface of the water, probably from a boat that passed some time earlier. By 7am the sweat was pouring off our bodies. But today was to be the day for the great diving expedition.
The following description of the dive has been prepared by a willing volunteer; namely Ray. We all arose early (about 07:15 for some) to prepare for the dive on the wreck off the SS President Coolidge. Christine prepared a hearty breakfast while we prepared o go ashore. Grant ferried Ray and Carl ashore to meet the dive-master and off they went.  The Coolidge is a large ship and a wreck to behold. You enter off the shore and eventually follow a rope connected to the bow of the ship, which is sitting in about 15 M of water. The ship, which is resting its port side and disappears into the depths, after hitting two friendly mines (how can mines be friendly??) is huge. (Look up the history on the net – it is fascinating.)  The dive guide, who looked like Bob Marley’s brother and who was instantly labeled Bill Marley, was very patient as Ray struggled to clear his ears and sinuses.  Before long we were down at 32M exploring the first half of the wreck with Carl snapping photographs with gay abandon in the limited visibility (there has been much unseasonal rain lately). Some of the other divers in the group went down as deep as 67M, which, as most divers will understand, is quite insane. There were coral encrusted rifles, bullets, helmets and other assorted items spread around the wreck. There was also a 3 inch anti aircraft gun and all of its ammunition still in place, aiming out to an invisible target that it was never going to shoot.
There was no way the ship was ever going to be explored on the first dive (one of the women there was diving it for the 110th time) but it certainly whet our appetites for a future dive, if the opportunity presents. After morning tea with the dive operator and his staff, we returned to the Beach Resort for a few cleansing ales and to await the arrival of the other crew members.
Christine decided to maintain watch (through her closed eye lids) in Chimere while the others came ashore whereupon we all headed into Luganville. After walking the whole town (about 10 minutes) we purchased a few items and walked back to the resort. Although we were expecting the medical team to arrive late in the day, we eventually found out they would not be arriving until the morning and so Andrew, Paul, Grant, Carl and Ray all settled in for a dinner ashore and eventually returned to Chimere at about 2030 to plan for tomorrow’s activities. After the medical team arrives, we hope to be underway by about midday and see where our adventures take us.
Ray (and Andrew)
Fair winds, smooth seas and great diving

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