Currently I am working on Hideaway Island for a 3 month period as the Dive Manager . I have managed to get 3 months leave from Abyss to work in here so I thought I would tell you a bit about my paradise.
Hideaway Island, Vanuatu, is a small paradise only 3-hour flight out of Sydney. Landing directly into Port Vila, the island is a short 5-minute drive outside the city center and is only accessible by boat. As the island is a marine sanctuary, the marine and coral life here is very extensive offering a wide range of aquatic life to be seen. The island is so small the staffs say you can walk the entire thing before finishing a beer. Hideaway Island can hold up to 60 guests at a time, but during the day can get more than 400 visitors –on such days it can be a bit of a battle to claim a beach chair.
The water conditions around the island are always perfect – 29 degree waters, over 30m visibility and not a wave in site. The reef diving here is very different to that in Sydney, and the snorkeling is some of the best I’ve ever done. The reef systems are heavily dense with marine life and the best way I can describe its structure is it’s similar to ‘the drop off’ in Finding Nemo. The walls start in as shallow as 4m and in some spots drops steeply to over 100m – so good buoyancy control is a must!
All dive sites are around the island itself and are only a maximum 5-minute boat ride away. There is diving to suit all diving levels, from new divers to more experienced divers who maybe want to try out some interesting wreck penetration. There are divers operating 3 times a day, so no matter what your plan is there is always time to jump in the water and splash around.
For those who are not keen divers, but still love the ocean, there is some incredible snorkeling available right off the beach. The reef is very shallow offering thousands of brightly coloured coral to gaze upon, as well as fish that completely surround you coming right up to your mask to play. As the fish are very accustomed to snorkelers, the marine interaction is one of a kind. For those who loved ‘Finding Nemo’ there are more clown fish than you can count!
Divers and snorkelers can both experience the worlds first underwater post office which is located only 50m off the beach in 2m of water. Dive down and post your mail to the underwater postman for a different experience.
There are two none diving tours that run during the day, a snorkel safari and a bottom glass tour. The snorkel safari takes those confident snorkelers out to the top end of the reef systems to experience some incredible untouched snorkeling locations and to experience the large drop offs around the island. With thousands of fish around you and few extra moray eels, trigger fish and turtles not seen in the shallows it is really an experience you wouldn’t want to miss.
The bottom glass tour is for those who love the ocean and young children too young to snorkel but would love to see its beauty from above. The bottom glass boat tours around the edges of the reef systems showing guests all the incredible marine life which lies below the surface. Witnessing fish chase after the boat, the brightly coloured coral below and maybe a turtle swim by, it’s always an enjoyable activity.
With Vanuatu only being a short 3-hour flight out of Sydney, Hideaway Island is a perfect place for snorkelers and divers alike with endless opportunities on offer. Check out our upcoming trip to Hideaway Island over the New Year period.