Espiritu Santo Island
More commonly known as Santo (Spanish for “Holy Spirit), this is the largest island in Vanuatu with an overall area of 4000km2. Situated in the northern region of Vanuatu, it is home to one of the world’s best dive wrecks, The SS President Coolidge.
The majority of the population of some 10 000 inhabitants, live along the coast or on the small offshore islands. The capital of Santo is Luganville, Vanuatu’s second urban centre. Within recent years there has been a steady growth in the business sector on Santo, with new businesses, resorts and land developers flocking to its untouched lands. Santo Islands claim to fame is that James Michener was inspired to write “Tales of the South Pacific” while he was stationed in Santo during World War II.
During World War II, particularly after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour, Santo Island was used by Allied forces as a military supply and support base, naval harbour, and airfield. The presence of the Allies later contributed to the island’s diving tourism, as the United States dumped most of their equipment into the sea at what is now known as ‘Million Dollar Point’.