SS President Coolidge

Editor:  Jenny Geldart

Video:  Jenny Geldart

Genre:  Documentry/ Diver's Guide

 

In May 1991, Dan & I had an opportunity to visit Vanuatu which included a stay at a remote Resort called Bokissa Island.  Their specialty was diving on the site of the SS President Coolidge, a WWII troop carrier that in it's earlier days boasted some very special  Art Deco interior design.  After another visit in January 2010 Dan & I became completely obsessed with the wreck and it's history as both a luxury liner and a troop carrier during WWII.  I put this initial video togther after our first visit and the series of videos grew to become the SS President Coolidge Diver's Guide Collection.  I'm not sure when or if the series will end - the wreck is now beginning to change quite dramatically over time with parts collapsing with a coral garden growing on her starboard side, so the videos will probably continue as long as we are entranced by this amazing wreck.

 

SS President Coolidge Channel
Part 1. Highlights of the SS President Coolidge
 
Part 2. A Dive to the Swimming Pool

Editor:  Jenny Geldart

Video:  Jenny Geldart

Genre:  Documentry/ Diver's Guide

 

The SS President Coolidge boasts 2 swimming pools. It carried passengers across the Pacific via Hawaii to places like Hong Kong, Tokyo and Singapore.  The first class swimming pool is now quite a famous dive on the Coolidge.  You can dive to around 50 metres and do laps if you wish.  It is the deepest swimming pool in the world. My favourite thing to do is to challenge my narcosis and attempt a count the colours of the tiles that still exist around the edge of the pool. 

Part 3. A Dive to the Stern

Editor  Jenny Geldart

Video:  Jenny Geldart

Genre:  Documentry/ Diver's Guide

 

An absolute must if you are up to the challenge of a long swim, with deep depths, short bottom times and long deco times.  On our dive to the stern our dive guide Moli carried our extra tanks for our deco stops while hands were full of camera gear and he helped us celebrate our wedding anniversary, (a bit of a surprise that one).

Part 4. The Treasures of Cargo Hold 2

Editor:  Jenny Geldart

Video:  Jenny Geldart

Genre:  Documentary/ Diver's Guide

 

One of the first penetration dives that a new 'Coolidge Diver' might enjoy is a dive to Cargo Hold 2.  At the bottom of the hold one can reach depths of around 35 metres so you can still find yourself easily going into deco. There is quite alot to look at. This area provides a great display of artefacts that seem to change from year to year, so always worth another look each visit.  You can cruise over the trucks and earth movers that now lay in a tangled mess that provide fish an opportunity to hide from potential predators. Depending on your air consumption you can take advantage of a number of ways to exit, either inside or outside of the wreck, to make your back to the 5 metre coral gardens to complete the last of your deco stops.

Part 5. A dive to the Crows Nest

Editor: Jenny Geldart

Video:  Jenny Geldart

Genre:  Documentary / Diver's Guide

 

If you dive to the mast and then follow it to the sand you can get some pretty decent depths to well over 35 metres.  If you look carefully you can find the anchor, typewriters, fire extinguishers, fans and many other items. You do need to be careful though, with little current you can find easily find yourself at very deep depths while just getting totally engrossed in the amount of Coolidge artefacts to be seen.

Part 6. The Secrets of Euart's Door

Editor:  Jenny Geldart

Video:  Jenny Geldart

Genre:  Documentary/ Diver's Guide

 

One of the most iconic dives to do while visiting the Coolidge is a dive to 'The Lady'.  Dan & I visit the lady each time we dive the wreck - her mystery compels us to do so.  After doing some research we've discovered that she has a rather interesting history which I have tried to cover in this fascinating epsisode.

Part 7. A dive to the Jeep Hold

Editor: Jenny Geldart

Video:  Jenny Geldart

Genre:  Documentary / Diver's Guide

 

On our return to Santo in 2015 we attended our 5th ANZAC Dawn Service.  To be able to play the bugle for the service it is quite special for me and we are always made to feel very welcome when we stay.  This was the short film produced from this trip.  An area that many first time Coolidge divers can easily see is the Jeep Hold, as it is the first hold from the bow of the wreck.  The iconic images of the sunken Willy's Jeeps becomes fixed in your mind after this dive.