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3.10

Sector 3. The Fiji Islands and the Lau Group

Mayo Rock (18°55'S., 178°26'E.) lies 1 mile off the SW

coast of Ono Island. At the NW end of the channel lies Swans- ton Rocks, with its two coral heads, lying 1.3 miles S of Mayo Rock. Rocks lie within 0.8 mile E and S of Swanston Rocks’ S head, while another group of rocks, marked by a beacon, lie between Swanston Rocks and the coast to the WNW.

3.10

North Astrolabe Reef (18°39'S., 178°32'E.) is separated

from the N side of Great Astrolabe Reef by D’urville Channel, a deep-water passage about 1 mile wide. The reef encloses a lagoon where anchorage may be taken, in 22m, sand and coral. There are two passages through the reef. Renard Passage, at the N extremity of the reef, is for small vessels in good weather. Beagle Passage is located about 0.7 mile WSW of Renard Passage. A beacon marks the reef on the E side of the passage. Solo, a rock 3m high, is located near the center of the lagoon and is marked by a light.

3.10

Caution.—The sea seldom breaks on the W side of North Astrolabe Reef and lightly on the N and E side. Due to this condition, the reef is difficult to distinguish at night.

3.10

3.11 Kandavu Passage is a broad deep channel between

Kandavu Island, on its S side, and Vatulele, Thakau Lekaleka, Mbengga, and the barrier reef, on its N side.

3.11

Vatulele (18°32'S., 177°39'E.) is a low, wooded island lying

36 miles NNW of Cape Washington; it rises to a height of 27m in its N part. The island slopes gently to the E coast from the steep bluffs on the W, and the encircling reef encloses a spacious lagoon. A light is shown from the NW side of the island. The island presents a perfectly even and regular outline, but

3.11

is difficult to make out in thick weather or at night. A coral reef, 0.15 to 0.3 mile wide, and which dries 0.9m, fringes the W coast, but the N and E coasts are protected by a barrier reef.

3.11

There are three islets located on the N part of the barrier reef,

and there are two passages into the lagoon in the vicinity of the islets.

By careful conning from the masthead, vessels of not more than 3m draft can enter the lagoon through either passage. Tides—Currents.—In the N part of Vatulele Lagoon, and

3.11 3.11

along the reef on the W side of the island, the flood current sets SSE while the ebb current sets NNW.

3.11

Thakau Lekaleka (18°36'S., 177°48'E.) is a reef, awash, 8

miles E of the S extremity of Vatulele. It is steep-to and usually breaks heavily. A conspicuous wreck lies on the N side of the reef.

3.12 Mbengga Island (18°23'S., 178°08'E.) lies within a

barrier reef about 20 miles NE of Thakau Lekaleka. The island, about 436m high, lies on the E side of the lagoon. A light is shown from the E side of the island. There are two deep indentations on the island, one on the NE side and the other on the SW side.

3.12

Other islands in the lagoon are Stuart Island (Ugaga Island),

1.3 miles SW of Mbengga; Yanutha Island, 5.5 miles W of Mbengga; and Bird Island, on the E side of a reef 1.8 miles N of Yanutha.

Mbengga Lagoon (Beqa Lagoon) is about 15 miles long, NE-SW, 9 miles wide, and is nearly surrounded by barrier reefs. The lagoon is separated from Viti Levu by Mbengga Passage, which is described in paragraph 3.14.

3.12 3.14

Mbengga Passage separates Mbengga Barrier Reefs and the

isolated reefs N of Mbengga Island from Viti Levu. The pass- age is deep, with a least width of 0.8 mile between the 200m

Pub. 126

3.12

Caution.—Although the lagoon has been surveyed, portions

of the survey have been reported to be unreliable. Vessels should exercise caution when navigating the lagoon, as less water or other dangers may exist in addition to what is shown on the chart.

3.13 Mbengga Barrier Reef, the main part of the reefs

surrounding the lagoon, has an unbroken length of 20 miles extending from a position about 1.8 miles E of Mbengga Island for a distance of 15 miles in a SW direction, then turning sharply NNW for 5 miles. The prominent elbow formed lies about 12.5 miles SW of the highest peak of Mbengga Island. The reef is from 0.5 to 1.3 miles across, and throughout most

3.13

of its length is marked by breakers. At the elbow it dries at LW, and the sea breaks heavily upon it.

3.13

Yanutha Reefs lie on the NW side of the lagoon and are a

continuation of Mbengga Barrier Reef. Frigate Passage, 1.8 miles wide, separates the two reefs. The passage has two coral patches in it, and is available for vessels, according to draft, entering Mbengga Lagoon.

3.13

Thakau Nisithi (18°21'S., 177°59'E.) is a coral reef which

lies about 1.5 miles NE of Yanutha Reefs; Bird Islet, a small sand cay, is located on the reef. Nisithi Rocks are a continua- tion NE of Thakau Nisithi.

3.13

Caesar Rocks, about 2.5 miles NE of Bird Islet, are two coral

heads with a depth of 1.8m; the sea seldom breaks on the rocks. 3.14 Pearl Rock (18°20'S., 178°05'E.), 3.5 miles ESE of

Caesar Rocks, consists of coral and has a depth of 5.5m at LW. The opening between Caesar Rocks and Pearl Rock is shown to have considerable foul ground, alternating with deep sound- ings.

3.14

Pratt Reefs, 1.5 miles ENE of Pearl Rock, are a group of

coral reefs. A radar equipped beacon is situated on the W ex- tremity of the reef.

Nearly midway between Pearl Rock and Pratt Reefs are two rocks, with depths of less than 1.8m, and a reef, which dries. Nanuku Passage, between Pratt Reefs and Nanuku Reefs, is

3.14 3.14

foul.

3.14

Nanuku Island (18°20'S., 178°09'E.), charted as Storm Is-

land, a sand cay with trees 12.2m high, is located near the NW end of Nanuku Reefs, 1.8 miles SE of Pratt Reefs.

3.14

Nanuku Reefs extend in a SE direction to the N extremity of

Mbengga Barrier Reef; they afford protection to Mbengga Is- land from the E swell.

3.14

Sulphur Passage (Bala Passage), 1.8 miles SE of Nanuku

Island, is generally used by vessels from the NE to enter Mbengga Lagoon. It is about 0.2 mile wide, but is constricted by a spur extending S from the N side of the pass.

Cutter Passage (Davetamuamua Passage), between Nanuku Reef and Mbengga Reef, is narrow.

3.14

Anchorage is available at many places within the lagoon, but local knowledge is required.

3.14 3.14

Caution.—Caution should be exercised when approaching

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