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 old “junk”.
|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.