Santo

Photos & Text by Kevin Green & Paul Hosie
There is plenty of evidence that Vanuatu is riddled with freshwater cave diving of excellent quality. The problem lies not in diving, but finding and then getting to dive entrances in the middle of jungle that?s so dense it?s just not funny !!

One place they have succeeded in finding substantial submerged cave passage is on the island of Espiritu Santo at the head of the Sarakata River and it?s tributaries (in the jungles behind and to the North of Luganville, Santo?s main town). The bonus for tech divers is obviously ?The Coolidge?. The down side is the access difficulties due to frequent rainfall and subsequently muddy tracks.

The Dive Sites were discovered only a few years ago and explored largely by CDAA organised expeditions. The caves have been rated by the CDAA, but are not CDAA exclusive access controlled sites. The only local cave qualified dive operator is Kevin Green of Aquamarine. The Aquamarine website (Aquamarine) has specific details on the sites and Kevin will advise the best time to go (approximately July to October +/- a month each year). Water conditions – moderate flow, clear, fresh & drinkable. Flow & site access becomes a problem during the wet season (March, April, May). Water temperature 23-24 oC.

Cave diving in Santo is an excellent experience as it involves diving in high flow passage which is uncommon in Australia. There is also advanced exploratory and surveying work to be done at the head of the Sarakata River ? this remains incomplete as of Aug 2000 with no currently known plans for completion. This will require some logistical effort and interested groups should contact trimixdivers or Kevin Green for assistance and advice by emailing Kevin Green.

Report Cave Diving Exploration by Kevin Green

Dive Locations in Santo

Sarakata River Caves

There are many tributaries of the Sarakata River in the jungles of Santo, the main river whose mouth is on the West end of the main town Luganville. One of these tributaries sinks into the karst and makes brief appearances on the surface no less than 7 times over the course of approximately 1km where … Continue reading Sarakata River Caves

29/01/2015 06:11 hrs
by
trimixguy

Sarakata Resurgence

Rated as penetration subject to completion of survey work, then possibly cave. Max depth 30 metres currently 1700 metres of known passage. 2 main air chambers in the long passage. The main streamway passage is large (5-10 metres wide). After a several hundred metre cave dive against moderate flow, the passage ascends and comes up … Continue reading Sarakata Resurgence

29/01/2015 06:11 hrs
by
trimixguy

Santo Blue Holes

Santo has a number of blue holes along its Eastern coast, the largest of which is the Matevulu Blue Hole (13m deep). Shark Bay Blue Hole and The Blue Lagoon near Champagne Beach are the other two large ones, but there are many in between that the road passes right by, crosses over their outflow … Continue reading Santo Blue Holes

29/01/2015 06:11 hrs
by
trimixguy

Wet Caves and Shipwrecks Australia