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