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Sector 5. New Caledonia

5.3

Strong currents set W off the NW and SW extremities of Ile

Matthew. These unite about 0.5 mile from the W side of the island and form heavy tide rips, the foam from which is said to have the appearance of shoal water. The prevailing set in the general vicinity of the island is NW.

5.3

In 1990, a depth of 20m was reported to lie 2 miles ENE of

Matthew Island. In 1999, an obstruction with a least depth of 5m was reported to lie 14 miles NW of Ile Matthew.

5.4 Ile Walpole (Walpole Island) (22°37'S., 168°57'E.)

lies about 134 miles W of Ile Matthew. It is composed of coral, and presents the appearance of a narrow tableland, the vertical walls rising about 91.4m at the N end and about 100m at the S end. The summit of the island is barren in the S and wooded in the N; and the E side drops down to a green terrace.

5.4

There are some sheds in ruins on the S extremity, and a wharf

in ruins just N of the SW extremity of the island. Landing may be affected on the W side of the island only in calm weather or with the wind from an E direction. It is reported that landing is possible on the E side of the island in good weather. The anchorage on the SW side of the island is not safe, as the depths decrease rapidly on approaching the shore.

5.4

island.

5.4

A N set of 0.5 knot has been observed off the E side of the Caution.—Mariners are advised that the majority of islands

and reefs in this area have been reported to lie elsewhere than charted.

5.4

A bank, with a depth of 18.3m or less, is reported to be about

38 miles SW of Ile Walpole. Vessels are advised to avoid this vicinity. Ellet Bank, with a depth of 25.6m, lies about 34 miles SE of Ile Walpole.

5.5 Banc de L’Orne (L’Orne Bank) (22°24'S., 168°56'E.),

about 12 miles N of Ile Walpole, has depths of 10 to 24m, and a sand and gravel bottom. It appears to be quite extensive. Depths of 24 to 27m have been reported between the bank and Ile Walpole.

5.5

Durand Reef (22°02'S., 168°39'E.), located about 26 miles

NW of Banc de L’Orne, is about 0.7 mile in diameter and has depths of less than 2.7m. This reef is particularly dangerous because it does not always break, and the soundings give no warning of its proximity. A depth of 384m has been obtained 0.5 mile W of it.

Reefs and Islands off the Southeast Side of New Caledonia

5.6

Extensive reefs, consisting of two separate horns,

extend about 35 miles S and 40 miles SE of New Caledonia. Ile des Pins, the largest of the islands close off the coast of New Caledonia, lies near the SE extremity of the SE horn.

5.6

Approaching the S coast of New Caledonia requires particu-

lar care. The high ground is not always easy to identify, as the peaks are often hidden by mist or clouds. The shape and dis- tance of the islands and islets in this vicinity are often mis- leading due to mirage.

5.6 5.6

Pilotage.—See paragraph 5.1 for further information. Ile des Pins (Kunie) (22°38'S., 167°29'E.), located about 29

miles ESE of the S extremity of New Caledonia, is the prin- cipal island off the coast. It is surrounded by numerous reefs

135

and islets, particularly along the S and W coasts. The shore of Ile des Pins is generally low, stony, and densely covered with brushes. The land gradually rises to a undulating, brownish red plateau, which attains its maximum elevation near the SW part of the island.

5.6

The E extremity of the island is almost free of reefs, but the

N, W, and S sides are encumbered by broken and extensive reefs with deep anchorages within them. Navigation is intricate without the aid of a pilot.

5.6

Pic Nga (Nga Peak) (22°39'S., 167°30'E.), about 266m high,

is conical and heavily wooded, rising on the S part of Ile des Pins. It is visible for about 30 miles in clear weather, and appears as a twin peak when seen from the SW. Ile des Pins is a good radar target at 22 miles; and the breakers can be picked up by radar at about 8 miles.

The island Koutomo lies off the SE side of Ile des Pins, from which it is separated by a shallow narrow passage.

5.6 5.6

Recif Nokanhoui (Nekanmue) (22°45'S., 167°36'E.) en-

closes a lagoon open to the SE. On the S and E extremities of the reef are Ile Ami and Ile Ana, two bare sand cays. In the vicinity of Recif Nokanhoui, the general current sets to the W and is rather strong.

5.6

Two wrecks were reported (2005) in close proximity to

Nekanmue Atoll. This area should be avoided by deep draft vessels.

Torch Bank (22°52'S., 167°41'E.), located 17 miles, bearing 134° from Pic Nga on Ile des Pins, has a least depth of 31m. Anchorage.—In general, the anchorages at Iles des Pins are

5.6 5.6

safe during good weather, or during the prevailing E winds. During the bad season if the barometer is low, or if the winds veer to the W, it is not advisable to seek shelter at these anchorages. All of these anchorages require local knowledge. In any case, the channels and passes leading to these anchor- ages should be navigated with caution, as numerous coral heads standing up in deep-water may be found here, along with numerous unmarked reefs and shoals.

5.6

Passe Nokanhoui, between Recif Nofanhoui and Koutomo,

is a little less than 0.8 mile wide between the reefs on either side, and has a least depth of 11m in the fairway. There are some detached patches, with depths of from 8.8 to 10m, about 2 miles E of the S extremity of Koutomo Island. This pass requires local knowledge.

5.7 Ile Brosse (Alcmene) (22°43'S., 167°28'E.), covered

with trees, is located on the W extremity of a reef extending about 5 miles W from the S end of Koutomo. Mouillage Alcmene and Port de Vao are formed between this reef and the S side of Ile des Pins (Kunie).

5.7

Mouillage Alcmene and Port de Vao, the latter available

only for small vessels, are not very secure except with winds from an E direction. They are open to the W or SW winds, which often are very violent and raise a heavy sea. Landing from these anchorages is often difficult, and the tidal currents are very strong.

5.7

Tides—Currents.—Tidal currents generally set through

Passe Nokanhoui at a moderate rate. If there is a SW wind during flood current, which sets W, the sea becomes agitated. When the SE wind is established, there is no swell, but the current then is very strong. For these reasons, the passage is not recommended for small vessels.

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