“Very little of this is made up. The coastwatchers on Leserser were there as described – as was I, half a century later.”
Sounds used in this episode:
The city is buried deep under the South Pacific ocean, and that is all I want to tell you about it.
In 1942 South Pacific Command was established on the island of New Caledonia following the hurried departure of its French colonial administration. Nouvelle Caledonie, unlike the other islands of Melanesia, was not volcanic. It was, in fact, the sole remnant of an entire sunken continent called Zealandia, a fragment of the once-mighty Gondwanaland.
There had been monsters on New Caledonia, before humans came. Meiolania, a giant horned turtle, two and a half meters long with an elongated skull and multiple horns protruding from of it. Or the Sylviornis, an almost two meters tall, flightless bird with a long reptilian tail. Or the enormous, armoured Mekosuchus crocodiles.
Real monsters, all of them. But when the humans came, when the ancient Lapita people crossed the ocean in their giant canoes, they settled the islands, and they killed the monsters.
I was not in New Caledonia. I was with III Island Command, first on Espiritu Santo and then on Vanua Lava, in the islands of the New Hebrides.