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Noel Hitchins 1951-2005
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Our Yachting Adventures
Below is a list of links to the main pages about our yacht, Catlypso and our Our Yachting Adventures:
  • Purchase of Catlypso
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  • Our Yachting Adventures.
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    Michael and Kelly's 4WD Trips
    Click here for a list of our Four Wheel Drive and Camping Trips.
    Current Kareela Weather
    A summary of the current weather conditions at our house at Kareela, Sydney, is below. Click here for more Detailed Diving Weather and Conditions. Weather from Michael McFadyen's Tempe Weather Station


    Conditions at
    23:49 on 23/1/17

     
    Temperature 25.6°C
    Humidity 65.0%
    Barometer 1003.4hPa
    Rate -0.3hPa/hr
    Wind Speed: 0 km/hr
    Wind Direction S
    Rainfall for Today 0.0mm
    Rainfall last hour 0.0 mm
    Rainfall last 24 hours 0.0 mm
    Rainfall at Start of Month 814.6 mm
    Rainfall this Year 827.0 mm
    Today's Extremes
    High Temperature 31.2°C at 15:48
    Low Temperature 20.9°C at 6:27
    Peak Wind Gust 0km/hr at 0:00
    Weather from Michael McFadyen's Kirrawee Weather Station
    Yesterday's Extremes
    High Temperature 27.5°C at 17:11
    Low Temperature 19.8°C at 6:29
    Rainfall at Start of Yesterday 827.0 mm
    Rainfall at End of Yesterday 827.0 mm
    Weather from Michael McFadyen's Tempe Weather Station
    Astronomical Data
    Sunrise 5:06
    Sunset 19:05
    Moonrise 1:09
    Moonset 15:04

    Home Brewing
    Click here for an article about Home Brewing.
    Sydney Dive Site Hints
    "Marys Reef is named after Phil Short's wife"
    SS President Coolidge - Dive Index
    Note: For more information on the history and sinking of the Coolidge, see the Main Coolidge Index.

    As you drop below the surface and start descending along the thick rope that connects the bow to the shore, your first sight is of a difference between light and dark. At ten metres you can now ascertain that the darkness is the hull. At 15 metres you are just metres from the bow. Your first thought is that this really is a huge wreck. Your guide leads you across the bow towards the stern and the depth gradually increases.

    The Coolidge starting to list

    The President Coolidge on a shakedown cruise

    The starboard side of the Coolidge when she is hard aground

    Ahead you see winches and huge guns, then a mast and its cranes. Amazing! It is a breathtaking sight that confronts you. Ahead is the enormous bridge, stretching all the way to the bottom at more than 40 metres. To your right runs a jumble of huge masts and above you there is a huge gun emplacement and below you, yet another gun. The masts themselves disappear out of sight, angled down towards the sand. This is really a lot bigger than you imagined. Your first dive on the wreck has vastly changed your views on what to expect. This is the SS President Coolidge, the largest easily accessible shipwreck in the world.

    As I indicated above, there is only one word to describe diving the SS President Coolidge, AWESOME.

    When you descend to the bow you see that this is indeed a huge ship, but it is really not until you swim further back along the hull and drop from the hull past the deck towards the sand almost 30 metres further down that you begin to appreciate its enormous size. Out of the dark huge shapes emerge, the bridge, masts and crane arms, enormous cargo holds, anti-aircraft guns, anchors and winches, far too much to examine in even a dozen dives.

    The minimum depth for even a basic dive on the Coolidge is 33 metres, so we are talking deep diving. However, do not let this put you off diving the Coolidge, as deep diving on the Coolidge is not like deep diving off Sydney or Melbourne. It is a lot easier here, the water is warmer, the visibilty (usually) better, no rough seas and little if any current. Even novice divers can dive safely here and still see lots.

    There are numerous dives that you can do on the wreck. This page gives links to the standard (and not so standard dives) on the Coolidge. A lot of the dives do one or more of the individual parts that I explain. Remember, the ship is on its port side so all references to the back of a hold really refer to the bottom of the hold, the right refers to the rear and the left refers to the front.

    Diagram of Coolidge courtesy of Kevin Green

    Deck plans of the Coolidge I drew in about 1995 from the master plans of the ship

    NOTES

    • Nearly all dives on the Coolidge are deep, more than 30 metres
    • Likewise, nearly every dive on the wreck is a decompression dive. Deco ranges from a minute or two on the afternoon dive to up to 30 minutes on the very deep morning dives.
    • Deco is done in the shallows next to the reef. This is very interesting and there is always something to see. See the separate article on the deco stop.
    • Aquamarine Diving and Santo Dive both do shore and boat dives.
    • You can choose to do either boat dives or shore dives or a combination of both.
    • Boat dives are especially good for deeper morning dives.
    • Shore dives are fairly easy and not too troublesome.
    • There is a rope that runs from the shore near the deco stop to the bow.
    ABC DecksFirst Class Dining RoomHold 7

    Swimming Pool

    Barber Shop

    First Class Lobby

    Lady

    Toilets

    Beauty Shop

    First Class Smoking Room

    Medical Supplies

    Tourist Smoking Room

    Bow Area

    Galley

    Promenade Deck

     
    Bridge

    Hold One

    Prop Shafts

     
    Chain Locker

    Holds Two and Three

    Rear Hold

     
    Continental Lounge

    Hold Four

    Rudder

     
    Doctor's Office

    Hold Five

    Soda Fountain

     
    Engine Room

    Hold Six

    Stern  
    Euart's Door   A dive to the Stern  

    Copyright © Michael McFadyen 1990 to 2017
    Non-commercial use of an article or photograph is permitted with appropriate URL reference to this site.
    Dive shops, dive operators, publications and government departments cannot use anything without first seeking and receiving approval from Michael McFadyen.
    This web site has been wholly thought up, designed, constructed and funded by Michael McFadyen
    without any help from the Australian Dive Industry since 1996!