Million Dollar Point, Millennium Cave and Ansanvari
American Forces were stationed on Espiritu Santo during
WWII, and after the war they tried to sell their equipment to the French, who
administered Vanuatu (or New Hebrides as it was known). The French knew it
would be very expensive for the Americans to ship everything home, so they
didn’t want to buy anything, hoping instead that the Americans would just leave
things behind. However, the Americans didn’t like this idea, so they dumped
everything into the sea. The story is that over $1 million dollars’ worth of
trucks, jeeps, cranes, and other equipment was dumped off of what is now known
as Million Dollar Point, just east of Luganville. Much of this equipment is in
fairly shallow water so we went and snorkelled it. The wind was up, so there
was a lot of silt in the water, but it was still very interesting to see the
Upside down tank? Crane?
After several days, we motored back to Luganville did a very
large provisioning. Fortunately, the LCM grocery store provides free delivery
and the butcher will freeze and vacuum pack meats. We took advantage of being
back in Luganville to go on the Millennium Cave tour with SV Free Spirit and
new friends, Andy and Brianna of SV Wanderlust V (formerly our Bluewater
Cruising Assoc. friend, Glenora Dougherty’s, boat!). We found the cave a bit
underwhelming, but the river canyon was pretty and refreshingly cool.
Dina at the cave entrance
After the cave, we climb some more to get to the river
Artistic(?) shot of light coming into the river gorge
With our boat full of provisions, we went east to Ansanvari
on the SW end of Maewo Island. It seemed to rain the entire time we were there.
We then read that Maewo is the rainiest island in Vanuatu! We went ashore to
deliver a letter from cruisers who had spent a lot of time in Ansanvari in the
early 2000’s. The first person I showed the laminated letter with embedded
pictures said, “Mr. Gene!” This family was well remembered and loved by
everyone we met in the village.
We next sailed to nearby Ambae Island and found sunshine! We
anchored in Vanihe Bay on the NE side of the island. We dinghied and
paddleboarded all around for a few days, exploring the caves, crevasses, reefs
and freshwater streams on the black sand beach. In one crevasse, with cold,
fresh water coming from it, we found a couple of lion fish. The larger one
refused to come out of the crevasse, but the other one posed for the camera.