Million Dollar Point: Sunken Treasures from World War II


In the tranquil waters off the coast of Espiritu Santo in Vanuatu lies an underwater treasure trove unlike any other. Named “Million Dollar Point,” this dive site holds remnants of World War II, but not of the typical battleship variety. Instead, it is a graveyard for tons of American military equipment intentionally discarded post-war.

Historical Context:

At the end of World War II, the U.S. military found itself with vast amounts of surplus equipment on the island of Espiritu Santo. Rather than shipping it back home or leaving it for the local islanders, and after failing to strike a suitable deal with the colonial French and British administrators, they decided on a drastic measure. Trucks, bulldozers, jeeps, forklifts, tractors, clothing, and countless other goods were driven or pushed off the beach into the sea, creating what came to be known as Million Dollar Point.


Diving Experience:

Diving at Million Dollar Point is like exploring a surreal underwater museum. Vehicles stacked upon vehicles, everyday items, and military goods lay scattered across the ocean floor, creating a unique seascape. The marine life in the area has since claimed these remnants. Corals grow on jeeps, and schools of fish dart in and out of rusted machinery. Divers often comment on the strange experience of swimming alongside a bulldozer or floating over a pile of Coca-Cola bottles, still in their original cases.

Conservation & Exploration:

Million Dollar Point is not only a testament to the wartime history but also a lesson in waste and environmental impact. While nature has done its part to reclaim the site, divers are urged to explore with caution and respect. Disturbing the artifacts or attempting to remove them is frowned upon. The goal is to let history lie in peace while providing a window into a unique chapter of the past.

Million Dollar Point is a must-visit for diving enthusiasts in Vanuatu. Beyond the marine life and the thrill of exploration, it offers a poignant reflection on the aftermath of war and the ways in which human decisions can leave lasting marks on the environment.