During the War
of the Pacific (1879-83) four Australian mercenaries stole 14 tons of
gold from a church in Pisco, Peru.
buried most of the treasure on Pinaki or Raraka atolls in the Tuamotus
before proceeding to Australia where two were killed by aboriginals,
and the other two were sentenced to 20 years imprisonment for murder.
prior to his death the surviving mercenary told prospector Charles
Howe the story.
Howe began a 13-year search which finally located part of the treasure
on an island near Raraka. He reburied the chests and returned to
Australia to organize an expedition which would remove the gold in
secret. Before it could set out, however, Howe disappeared.
using Howe's treasure map, diver George Hamilton took over in 1934.
Hamilton thought he found the cached gold in a pool but was unable to
extract it. After being attacked by a giant octopus and moray eel
Hamilton abandoned the search and the expedition dissolved.
a descendant of Hamilton chartered the Sea Belle out of Fakarava for
the atoll of Tepoto which had been identified from an old photograph
as being the place he was looking for. However, soon after his arrival
on unsheltered Tepoto, the weather turned very nasty and it is only
after a narrow escape from the menacing reef that the boat was able to
head back, never to return.
about the same time, The Discovery Channel made preparations for an
expedition to search for the treasure for a documentary. But after
some last minute doubts, the project was scrapped.
as is known, the US$1.8 million in gold has never been found. But
there is also a vague rumor that some years ago, not wanting any more
intrusions and believing it cursed, the natives found the treasure and
dumped it out at sea.
So who knows.....?