Before leaving Luganville Vanuatu we hired a taxi driver for the day to show us some of the local sights. The first place we went to was a place called Million Dollar Point.
During World War 2 the Amercians occupied different parts of Vanuatu and had many troops and bases on the different islands. They brought much equipment with them to support the troops and help build their stations. Machinery like bulldozers, trucks, jeeps, lorries, were all brought in by ship but when it was time to leave they couldn’t take it all with them, it was much more important to take all the troops home. Also when they purchased all the equipment there was a clause in the contract stating that it was not allowed to be returned to the USA after the war as this would not help the post war recovery. No new machinery or equipment would be sold if there was a sudden mass arrival of second hand equipment. The Amercians tried to sell all the equipment to the French at a cheap rate but the French tried their luck and knowing that they weren’t going to take it with them held out and tried to get it all for free. The Americans weren’t feeling charitable so lined up all their equipment on the beach, fitted them with hand throttles and drove them all into the sea. Those pesky French didn’t get any of them ! Dozen of trucks, bulldozers, diggers, jeeps, were all driven into the sea and the area was then named million dollar point. Over the years because of rough storms items have been washed ashore and you can now see the remains of many vehicles. Engines, wheels, gearboxes, caterpillar tracks litter the beach, some of the parts now look as though they have melted into the rock and coral and become one.
You can snorkel and dive the site but on that day the sea was rough with big waves crashing into the beach, it certainly must be an interesting site seeing what lays beneath the surface.
OK its a bit of an environmental disaster I guess by todays standards and theres even talk of the Amercians coming back to clear it all up, but I doubt if that will ever happen.
One intrepid New Zealander went back 3 years later and managed to pull a bulldozer from the sea. He cleaned it up, changed the oil, put a new battery and electrics in it, put some fuel in it and got it going !! He then pulled another 7/8 bulldozers from the sea using the one he had saved, did the same thing and then took them back to New Zealand to sell them. Amazing to think that they would have survived having been submerged for 3 years in salt water.
There was also this HUGE tree nearby the beach which was nice –
The second place we visited was a blue hole, there were a few of these in close proximity to each other and we visited just one. Caused by the abundance of minerals the water is a very clear blue colour, reminded me of the sink holes that you see all around Mexico. People come here to swim, relax and unwind –
We stopped for lunch at a place called Velit Bay, the entire bay was owned by an individual, all 1600 acres of it !! It was a long windey drive down to the beach, the place had many cattle and large coconut plantations.
Unfortunately a storm was blowing up and the wind got stronger and stronger, soon the rain came and there wasn’t much point continuing our site seeing trip, Champagne Beach would have to wait for another trip……..
Thanks to ‘Mr Cool’ for driving us around in the smallest taxi ever !!