HOLDS SEVEN AND SIX (Maximum depth 55m)
This is one of the deepest dives on the Coolidge and as such should only be done by the more experienced. You swim on the surface out to the furtherest mooring and once there, descend. This brings you to the rear section of the Promenade Deck. You swim to the end of this and then start angling your way down.
|The rear section of the Promenade Deck||The small artillery gun near the Pool and Soda Fountain|
You will pass over the small artillery gun that can be better examined when doing the Soda Fountain or the Swimming Pool. You will pass over the the Tourist Smoking Room (which is right under the small gun), past the Pool itself and across the side of the Tourist Lounge (this is large and empty but interesting nonetheless - do on a dive with the pool or just Hold Six). You go under the rear masts and crane arms till you are at about 60 metres.
|The Tourist Lounge||This is the fallen starboard 3 Inch Stern Gun|
In good visibility, you will see the Stern Six Inch Gun right at the end of the ship and below the two three inch guns (the starboard gun lies on the sand). Outside and below there is what at first looks like a large grader on the sand. However, this is probably the carriage for a large artillery gun, probably a "Long Tom" which has fallen out of the hold.
Inside Hold Seven (the rear hold) there are a number of six wheel drive trucks and artillery guns. These guns, like the one visible in Hold Two, may be one of four 155 mm guns modified in Noumea and loaded onto the Coolidge at her last stop. These were to be linked up with bases being built at Santo. See Joseph Ritz's memories on the Coolidge's last trip page.
There also appears to be a large road grader in here. At the rear (especially the right side) there are thousands of rounds of ammunition all over the hold. These come from broken open wooden boxes.
On C Deck to your right (I think), there is a single blade of a propellor. This is huge and was being carried as cargo rather than as a spare. There were originally three more in the front holds but these were salvaged by Barry May in the late 1960s or early 1970s.
|The propeller blade in Hold 7 which|
was being carried as cargo
|Thousands of rounds of bullets |
are in the back of Hold 7
On C Deck at the left there are a few small wheeled artillery guns and on D Deck there are a dozen or so more. You can swim over these through a large rust hole into Hold Six.
Once in Hold Six you will see more trucks. It is a small hold which is mostly empty but there are some jeeps on the left (as you exit - right as you enter), trucks at the rear and at least one medium wheeled artillery gun on the left as you exit. On the left in about D Deck there are four or five medium sized trucks stacked on top of each other. These are said the be ambulances. There is much more to see in this Hold (you could probably do a whole dive in here).
|One of the small field guns in Hold 7||What appears to be a grader in Hold 7|
On the left as you exit (towards the bow), you can see through into the Tourist Lobby and then onto the Tourist Class Dining Room. On the way out, if you drop down at C Deck and go ounder the pile of things here and look towards the bow, you will see a large pile of China. This is all white and includes dinner plates, soup/ceral bowls and more. It is all brand new and was being carried as cargo. Each piece has "Made in China" on it.
|One of the ambulances in Hold 6||A pile of new China in Hold 6|
Due to the depth and distance from the deco stop, you cannot spend too much time in this hold to explore in more detail. You could also do it with the Swimming Pool or have a look at the Tourist Lounge which is located immediately to the rear of the hold. There are a number of obvious entrances to this lounge.
By now you will need to leave the hold and start a gradual ascent as you swim back towards the deco stop. You will pass by the false funnel, the toilets and up and over the Continental Lounge.
|Kelly swims out Hold 6||The False Funnel|
This is a sensational dive. Definitely only for the experienced deep diver.
Return to the SS President Coolidge Dive Index Page.