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213

SECTOR 8

THE SOLOMON ISLANDS—CENTRAL AND WEST PARTS

8.0

Plan.—This sector describes the islands, reefs, and sounds

of the Solomon Group NW of the Russell Islands. The arrange- ment is from SE to NW.

General Remarks

8.1 The Solomon Islands are comprised of seven major

islands, four of which, Santa Isabel, Choiseul, New Georgia, and Bougainville, are described in this sector.

8.1

Santa Isabel (Santa Isabel Island) is separated from Malaita

by Indispensable Strait, and from the New Georgia Group by New Georgia Sound (The Slot). Choiseul Island is separated from Santa Isabel by Manning Strait, and from the New Georgia Islands by the continuation of the sound. Bougainville Island, the largest of the Solomon Islands, lies W of the W ex- tremity of Choiseul Island.

8.1

Bougainville forms a portion of the Republic of Papua New

Gunea, while the remainder form the nation of the Solomon Islands.

8.1

The coastal description of Santa Isabel will be given follow-

ing an analysis of the dangers around Santa Isabel and the off- lying islands N of the Solomon Islands.

8.1

Aspect.—The islands are similar in general appearance,

having towering mountains and being covered in dense forest. The slopes incline gently to the sea, with mangroves fronting the shore.

Off-lying Islands and Dangers

8.2 The Tasman Islands (Nukumanu Islands) (4°33'S.,

159°30'E.) are comprised of about 39 small and low islands on an atoll reef extending about 11 miles E-W. A vessel visiting this group entered the lagoon by the N pass on the W side of the atoll.

8.2

Anchorage.—Anchorage was taken near the SE end of the

lagoon, in 16m, W of the S end of Nogu Dabu Island, the larg- est island.

8.2 8.2

The Ontong Java Islands (5°33'S., 159°44'E.) are very ex-

tensive and cover an area between 5°38'S and 4°56'S, and 159°07'E and 159°45'E. There are a number of low and sandy islands and islets, which are generally covered with coconut palms, lying on and within the edge of an atoll reef. Luaniua, at the SE end, and Keila Island, in the middle of the SW side, are the largest islands. The crown of reefs is broken in numerous places by generally narrow passes. Kaveiko Pass, 2 miles SSW of the S end of Luaniua, is marked. The seas break heavily at the entrance to the pass. Kaveiniu Pass, 2.8 miles WSW of Kaveiko Pass, is wider and appears safe. Reefs on either side are readily visible.

These two passes are the prime passes used for access to the anchorages in the SE part of the atoll, particularly on the W side of Luaniua.

8.2 8.2

Frindsbury Reef (5°00'S., 159°09'E.), a detached reef about

7 miles NW of the NW side of the Ontong Java Islands, is marked by breakers.

8.2

Caution.—Fish rafts fitted with radar reflectors are moored

in a line about 15 miles E of the group and may best be seen on the chart.

8.3 Roncador Reef (6°13'S., 159°22'E.) lies about 40

miles S of the Ontong Java Islands and is disposed in such a manner as to appear as a crown around a lagoon. It is about 6 miles in extent; the entrance to the lagoon is through two passes in the S part. The lagoon affords anchorage, in 27 to 36m, broken coral. Dangers are readily visible from aloft when the light is favorable.

A wreck aground in position 6°15.8'S, 159°22.8'E provides a good radar target.

8.3 8.3

The Carteret Islands (Kilinailau Islands) (04°44'S.,

155°16'E.) is a group of six islands on the reefs of an atoll 41 miles ENE of the N end of Buka Island. There is a trading post about midway on the W side of the atoll. Three passes allow vessels to enter the lagoon, but the NW pass is not recom- mended; it can be followed by vessels drawing up to 2.4m, but there are many reefs and shoals between this entrance and the anchorage.

8.3

The SW pass forms a marked break in the reef. Its edges can

be distinguished when the light is good. The entrance is about 0.2 mile wide, with minimum depths of 5.5m. Inside the la- goon the channel breaks into two branches running NW. The S pass is 0.25 mile wide, with minimum depths of 5.5m; the tidal currents reach a velocity of 6 knots.

8.3

Vessels can anchor, in about 13m, with the S edge of Iehan Island bearing of 090°, distant 0.4 mile.

8.3 8.3

Two wrecks are beached, respectively, on the S side and on

the N side of the reef; a third wreck is beached in the N part of the lagoon.

8.3

The Mortlock Islands (Tauu Islands) (4°49'S., 157°03'E.)

have been reported to lie 7.5 miles, bearing 350°, from their charted position. This group of some 20 islands and islets are on the reefs of an atoll about 110 miles NNE of Cape Alex- ander and Choiseul Island. Low and covered with coconut palms, the majority are grouped on the E side of the lagoon. Tauu, the largest, is the S island.

8.3

During the Southeast Trades, there is anchorage on the E

side of the lagoon, about 135m offshore. During the Northeast Monsoon, a choppy sea prevails, but anchorage can be found in the NW part of the lagoon.

8.4 Santa Isabel (8°10'S., 159°30'E.), an island lying N

of New Georgia Sound, is entirely traversed by a ridge of mou- ntains. Its highest is Mount Marescot (8°13'S., 159°34'E.), 30 miles NW of Vikenara. The island is sparsely populated, except near Thousand Ships Bay, at the SE end, and Kia Bay, at the NW end.

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