Ahhhh Shangrila!!!!!!

Heading out on the night dive - Port Vila Vanuatu

Heading out on the night dive – Port Vila Vanuatu

We arrived at our new hotel in Port Vila after a short 10 minute ride in a  minibus.What a difference a pool and aircon makes.

The Moorings Hotel in Port Vila is a small but nice  hotel a few minutes walk out of the centre of the tourist strip in Port Vila. Don’t get me wrong it’s not perfect but for the price in comparison I would happily recommend it.

The rooms are fresh and clean with daily maid sevices. Airconditioning is good and in some rooms there is a separate shower and toilet rather than the usual where it is the same room. The pool is a good size and the view from around the hotel over the bay is pretty damn nice as well.

On the negative side is the fact you need to pay for Wifi with timed cards and breakfast is only continental so no bacon and eggs unless you want to pay for it. We solved that problem by going to breakfast in town at the Nambawan Cafe. We still had to pay for our bacon and eggs but the coffee tasted alot better and they provided free Wifi.

It was now our intention to do some of Efate’s[ main island of Vanuatu ] better dive sites. I had done my research and was hoping

Shrimps seen o night dive - Port vila Vanuatu

Shrimps seen o night dive – Port vila Vanuatu

to do a tour with a double dive on Hat Island and Pauls Rock. This area was supposed to be some of the best diving Efate had to offer.

Unfortunately the company that ran the tour I read about seemed to have gone missing. It may be, that it does not run this time of year, as I found the weather was pretty much stopping any diving in that area. Just another Vanuatu mystery I guess.

Anyway it turned out Big Blue Scuba was running a night dive so we thought that could be ok for our last dive in Vanuatu. They are located on the foreshore next to Nambawan Cafe and the helicopter joy flight main office.

This was an easy dive on a site called Twin Bommies.

Beautiful Soft Coral - Night dive - Port Vila Vanuatu

Beautiful Soft Coral – Night dive – Port Vila Vanuatu

Nine of us plus dive guides headed out in a small boat for about 10 mins to get to the site. You would have thought it was a swimming pool the water was so c

alm within the protected area of the harbour at Port Vila. Giant stride entry off the boat and a nice easy descent with a maximum bottom depth around 16m.

The reason they go to this site is because they say they regularly see turtles sleeping there. Yes, it was true we actually did see turtles. Good to know they were actually telling the truth….I have lost count of how many dive sites I have been to called Shark point..etc and never see a damn thing bigger than my hand.

For me the highlight of the dive was after spotting the second turtle.

Turtle on night dive Twin Bommies Port Vila Vanuatu

Turtle on night dive Twin Bommies Port Vila Vanuatu

It was under a bit of a ledge so after taking a couple of pics I wanted to get out without silting it up before the others saw it. I took in a deep breathe and floated up while gently pushing myself along and up with the reef. I was slowly turning as I was doing this to keep site of the rock near me and just about crapped myself as I realized I was about to put my hand right next to a huge Moray eel that was right out of it’s hole in the reef looking for a meal.

Hungry Moray eel and Crab - Night dive - Port Vila Vanuatu

Hungry Moray eel and Crab – Night dive – Port Vila Vanuatu

Definate lesson to me “to look before I touch” in future.

Anyways not a bad little night dive in a nice easy location with enough to see so that most people would be happy.

 

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Next morning saw us up early for some quick study over breakfast. It was time for the big one…..Underwater Navigation. For some reason this one had us a bit nervous having never really learned about using a compass. In the end, once it was explained to us it became more interesting rather than worrying.

Working through the various exercises helped us learn about distances travelled underwater and keeping to an accurate direction. We were also taught to take more careful notice of things around us as we travelled along so as to have natural undersea features to use as markers.

All in all, a testing dive where we learned how to navigate ourselves around rather than just relying on the dive guide as we usually do. Other divers on the reef at the time commented on how we looked like we were concentrating too hard.

This was our final dive to complete our Advanced Openwater Course…yahhh!!!!
These five dives were what we chose to do based upon the skills we wanted to gain. There are more electives and others may better suit your diving adventures.Thanks to Phil Jones of Hideaway Island Dive for his clear, professional instruction.

Now it was time to pack up our bags and leave Hideaway Island and head over to Port Vila.

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