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65

SECTOR 3

THE FIJI ISLANDS AND THE LAU GROUP (INCLUDING ISLANDS AND REEFS NORTH OF THE FIJI ISLANDS)

3.0

Plan.—This sector describes the principal islands; Viti

Levu; Vanua Levu; and the off-lying islets, reefs, and dangers associated with each island. The outlying islands, reefs, and dangers lying E and N of the principal islands are also de- scribed.

When discussing an island, or group of islands, they are gen- erally described in a clockwise direction.

3.0

General Remarks

3.1 The Fiji Islands are a Commonwealth Nation, while

Iles Wallis and Futuna are a territory of France. Rotuma Island is a dependency of the Fiji Islands.

3.1

Tides—Currents.—In the vicinity of the Fiji Islands, cur-

rents in any direction may be experienced, but there is some preponderance of W currents over E currents, particularly in the months from September to November. Most of the currents in any direction do not exceed 1 knot.

Fiji Meteorological Service

http://www.met.gov.fj

3.1

In Kandavu Passage, with strong E and SE winds, the current

sets W at the rate of 1 knot, but after W winds there is a de- cided E set.

3.1

The tidal currents are by no means regular in force or direc-

tion, being in the latter respect greatly influenced by the wind. The tidal currents usually set S and N between the reefs and islands, with the former current being the stronger.

3.1

In Nanuku Passage and Somosomo Strait, in the NE part of

the group, the general direction of the currents is S and N. Off the S coast of Viti Levu, they set SE and NW. Among the Lau Group, they set SSE and NNW, but are irregular. Between Oneata and Mothe, the current has been observed to set S and N; the proximity of the reefs deflects it to NE and SW, respect- ively.

3.1

Among the Lau Group, in the good weather season from

April to November, a vessel making surveys experienced little or no current, except in the lagoon passages, where it was distinctly tidal. This current was found near the reefs, where it did not appear either regular or to exceed the rate of 0.5 knot. During the months from December to April, an E set has been experienced.

3.1

After a period of strong NW winds, such as occurs between

November and April, a strong SE set is experienced in the Koro Sea and around Nanuku Passage. This strong set has resulted in two vessels being stranded S of Nanuku Passage; several others have narrowly avoided stranding due to the strength of this set. Regular traders in the area allowed for the set but underes- timated its rate and have narrowly avoided stranding.

3.1

Near Yandua, on the W coast of Vanua Levu, the current at

times has been observed to set SW. The strongest tidal current found in the group is in Somosomo Strait, where it has a rate of 3 knots after the full and change of the moon. In some lagoon passages the tidal currents attains a rate of 2 knots during springs; notwithstanding that the entrances are chiefly on the NW sides of the islands; both the flood and ebb appear to be of equal strength.

3.1

Caution.—Volcanic activity has been reported to occur at

various locations throughout the region, and may best be seen on the chart.

3.1

Floating fields of pumice have been reported between Tonga

and Fiji, in the Koro Sea to the W of the Lau Group, and N of Vanuantu between position 13°00'S, 160°30'E and position 14°00'S, 167°30'E. This hazard to ship’s intakes may continue for some time, depending on how long the volcanic activity continues, and the extent to which pumice is washed up on beaches, and is refloated by high tides.

3.1

Beacons around the coasts of the Fiji Islands are frequently

destroyed or damaged by heavy weather. When this occurs, it may be some time before the aids are repaired or replaced. Also, it may not be possible to rebuild the aid in its exact charted position. Mariners are advised to use caution.

The Fiji Islands

3.2 The Fiji Islands (17°00'S., 179°00'E.), located about

1,350 miles N of New Zealand, are a group of 332 islands, of which 110 are inhabited. The Fiji Islands are an independent state and a member of the British Commonwealth. The group lies between 16°00'S and 21°00'S, and 177°00'E and 178°00'W.

3.2

In general, the islands are subdivided into four distinct

groups, as follows: 1. Viti Levu and the islands in its vicinity. 2. Vanua Levu, lying NE of Viti Levu. 3. The Lau Group. 4. The Southern Group, containing the off-lying islands from both Viti Levu and the Lau Group.

3.2

the dominion.

3.2 3.2

Viti Levu, the largest and highest island of the group.

Rotuma Island (12°30'S., 177°05'E.) is politically part of Suva, the capital of the State, is situated on the S coast of The islands consist partly of coral atolls, with or without

openings into the central lagoon, and partly of volcanic eleva- tions surrounded by fringing coral reefs.

3.2 3.2

The Lau Group is located 70 to 130 miles E of Viti Levu. Vanua Levu lies NW of the Lau Group and NE of Viti Levu.

The large open sea enclosed by these groups of islands is known as the Koro Sea.

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