Million Dollar Point, Vanuatu

Mon 1 Sep 2014 23:34
1st September 2014

Today we needed to do just TWO things - First of all get Imo and Harry's visas extended, a simple task you might think involving some cash and a rubber stamp….and secondly re stock the boat with more food.


Summoning the water taxi - banging an old cylinder.

We set off after breakfast and after crossing the water on the thatched ferry. We then squeezed into a tiny taxi which spent most of its time on the wrong side of unmade roads into Luganville, past the little settlements into this dusty, grotty town, lots of concrete left over from the American occupation which is now all cracked and broken, a hot, smelly sticky place.

It has some interesting signs in pidgin which I adore translating…


and this one?


The Immigration office was a joke in a semi derelict building, Harry and Imo started the procedure of form filling and photos, they then had to go to Customs which was somewhere else and didn't open till the afternoon, to take all the forms and pay, returning with receipts so the Immigration man could bang his rubber stamp which was done by tea time. (Good thing they were second in the queue-Ed)


The Team….Harry getting hairier, his trench foot is on the mend.

While waiting for Customs to open/wake up we all went over to Million Dollar Point to snorkel all the tanks, jeeps and ordinance that the departing American troops dumped into the sea.


All this was shoved into the sea and is fascinating to explore with a snorkel as its so shallow and some of it exposed at low tide. You can still see piles of corrugated iron sheets and cable, piping and vehicles, tanks, jeeps and landing craft. Lots of building materials. The craziness of war, they could have given a lot of useful stuff to the islanders to make up for occupying them and covering their island in concrete.
14 bulldozers were salvaged and put to good use showing the high quality of General Motors. The US wanted a million dollars for it all from the local government which wasn't forthcoming, so they made sure nobody else would benefit either.

Harry and Imo found brass bullets embedded in coral. Fascinating to see how the sea had fossilised everything transforming it into rock. Lots of remains of Coca Cola bottles embedded in rock.

We then tried to do some provisioning with bags of ice to stop everything melting or thawing and piled the taxi to the roof and set off back to our thatched water taxi, then onto our little dinghy and onto Hebe. Nothing fell into the sea and we got the food and drink stowed away and all collapsed in a heap it was sunset. Its so funny how long such a small agenda can take out here.

Now I have the ice perhaps I should do that ice bucket challenge for Macmillan Cancer Care. Imo says I'll never be able to upload the video. Will a photo do ? Not sure how it works sounds a laugh xx

Later….we are moving north just 10 miles as we've been told about a wonderful sandy beach and two super coral reefs. The ARC was fantastic at giving us a safe and planned itinerary but the deadlines for departure caused a lot of stress and we often had to rush to the next place. No deadlines any more and we are at risk of staying in Paradise forever. Vanuatu is the last frontier before real life starts again. There are so many places yet to explore and we are all reluctant to make the final leg to Australia. We've got plenty of malaria pills and the water maker is still producing. Watch this space.
Andrew has even cancelled some shooting….now he's really gone native.