Port Vila (Diving)

Trip Start Jan 2003
Trip End Dec 2003

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Sunday, August 31, 2003

Day 206 - 207 - Port Vila

Vanuatu's main attraction is its diving and given Kirsty and I's eagerness to cram in as much as possible before it gets too cold, the last two days have been organised around this new found hobby. Some of the other islands of Vanuatu boast some hugely appealing dives - notably the SS President Coolidge (the largest accessible wreck dive in the world) and the chance of an encounter with a dugong (a herbivorous hybrid of whale and sealion)- but there is enough around Efate to keep us occupied - the dive outfit does three dives a day every day and doesn't repeat a dive during the course of a week. The depths of the dives are considerably greater that we'd previously encountered and we'd have been in trouble if we hadn't completed our advanced course. Having said that however, in true island fashion, they're not that bothered if you're qualified to dive the required depth, providing you don't do something inconsiderate like die. We opted for reef as opposed to wreck and have now dived Mele Reef, Ollie's Lolly, Hat Island (yes, it does look like a hat) and Paul's Rock. Despite frequently suffering from typhoons, the effects of which are evident by the fact that all the beaches are made up of broken coral and not sand, where we were, while only in isolated patches offered superb diving.

All sites can brag about an array of vividly coloured coral and a cacophony of fluorescent and irridescent fish, many of which seemed oblivious to us intruding on their world. Paul's Rock had the added bonus of a number of long swimthroughs where just as you begin to panic about their not being an exit you see the sunlight again. Unfortunately the necessity of oxygen prevented us from spending as long as we would have wanted exploring the entirety of the sites but memories of scarlet anenomes housing a hundred clown fish, being followed by a shoal of curios rainbow fish, seeing a lion fish producing its glorious fan and spotting a two metre eage wray 'flying' across the ocean floor are memories that will last a while as well as reminding us why we learned to dive in the first place. Vanuatu's diving riches attract career divers and when you hear stories of three legged turtles swimming round and round in cirlcles and a crab which lost its shell but requiring something for protection, replaced it with apoisonous anenome, you understand why.
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