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ESPIRITU SANTO – LUGANVILLE. 15°31.452S, 167°9.755E

This is the largest island in Vanuatu and the second place to clear in or out of the country and be issued a cruising permit. If you clear out of Luganville, as long as you provide an itinerary, the officials are very reasonable and will generally give you permission to visit the anchorages and islands north of Luganville.

If wreck diving is your passion, right in Luganville harbour is the SS President Coolidge, a cruise liner converted to a troop and supply ship that sank here during WWII. It’s still full of vehicles and equipment. Lucky for you all the mines that guarded the harbour and sank the Coolidge have been removed.

The harbour is clearly marked and the anchorage is well laid out with good holding. There are several docks to tender in, but all of them are challenging. Anchor in 11 metres with good holding in mud. The harbour is full of debris from WWII, so have a hacksaw and bolt cutters available in case you foul your anchor.

About 10 miles east and north of Luganville, is Palikulo Bay at 15°29.406S, 167°14.751E.

Anchor in 7 metres in fair conditions and never in a strong northerly. Holding is poor on a hard bottom. Several wrecks outline the shore dating back to WWII and in August migrating Humpback whales use this bay as a nursery for their young. There’s a fine beach at the southern end of the bay with a taxi service into Luganville.

Click to view South Pacific photo gallery.

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While every effort has been made to ensure that the information contained in this book is accurate, the charts of anchorages are based on personal experience and satellite imagery and are intended as a guide only. They should not be used for navigation. Please refer to Official Hydrographic Charts of the respective countries.

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