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Sector 4. The Kiribati Islands to the Marshall Islands

4.6

97

A pier, 15m in length, is located just N of the wharf. It was

reported to be in moderate condition in 1997 with 3.5m of water half way down its length.

A boat ramp, 28m in width, is located just N of the pier. It is made of concrete and was reported to be in good condition. There is a small boat basin N of the boat ramp protected by a breakwater on each side and has a least depth of 2m.

4.6 4.6

Piers and jetties charted along the lagoon on the SW side of the atoll, S of Spam Island, are reported (1997) to be ruins. Aspect.—There is a fuel tank farm SW of the wharf. Jet A,

4.6 4.6

Bunker C, and Diesel fuel was available in 1997. A wind generator, 15m in height, located in the village on the NW side of the atoll, can be seen from sea.

4.6

Anchorage.—There is fair anchorage on the coral shelf just

off the lagoon entrance for vessels drawing less than 7m, in charted depths of 13 to 25m, white coral sand, good holding ground.

4.6

Care must be taken to insure the vessel anchors on the shelf,

as the depth increases abruptly to depths over 30m a short distance seaward.

4.6

At this anchorage the ship will swing from 040° to 160°, but

will not swing into the beach while the trade winds are blow- ing. West winds are practically unknown at this island. Local opinion, supported by that of masters who have visited

4.6

NASA Space Shuttle Image (1999)

Canton Island

There are no noticeable seasons throughout the year. Temp- eratures range from a night low of 24°C to a daytime high of 35°C.

4.6 4.6

Tides—Currents.—Close to the W shore the flood sets

325°. In the lagoon entrance, the current runs 6 to 8 knots at the strength of the flood and the ebb. The current has been ob- served to run as high as 11 knots at the ebb, with a strong E wind blowing. Ebb currents produce a marked rip when mixing with ocean currents up to 1 mile or more off the entrance chan- nel.

4.6

The ocean current near the island sets about 255° at about

0.8 knot, but is much stronger at the NW and SE points of the island. A vessel lying off the W shore may expect to be set off at the average rate. Local weather conditions make both tide and current predictions inaccurate, and vessels entering the harbor should contact local authorities for information regard- ing conditions at time of entering.

4.6

Depths—Limitations.—The channel N of Spam Island was

reported (1997) to have a least depth of 9.1m. Depths of 4.5m were reported immediately outside the channel. Shoaling, which was visible in daylight, was occurring on the Spam Is- land side of the passage. The channel S of Spam Island was re- ported to be able to accomodate vessels with a draft of 2m.

4.6

A wharf, 100m in length, lies just inside the lagoon N of the

N channel. The apron is paved and extends back 35m to where it meets the road. The depth alongside the wharf was reported to be 9m. The face was reported to be in good shape, but the bollards were in poor condition. It is recommended that vessels berth starboard side-to. A tide measuring station is located at the S end of the wharf. The wreck charted just S of the wharf was searched forin 1997 and could not be located.

the island, is that there is no good anchorage for a vessel too large to enter the harbor. Smaller vessels, waiting for slack water, are advised to stand offshore.

4.6

Directions.—A vessel entering the lagoon in 1988 recom-

mended favoring the NW side of the channel, however, bank suction should be guarded against.

4.6

Caution.—The strong current, strong wind, and small space

in which to maneuver a fairly large vessel make entry quite hazardous. A speed of 5 to 8 knots must be maintained to stem an ebbing tide in the channel, and to navigate the turn at the lagoon end of the channel. The current in this channel runs as high as 10 knots on both flood and ebb, and the periods of slack water are almost negligible. The channel is on the lee side of the island, and a strong wind may prolong the period of ebb and shorten the period of flood tides. Vessels should plan to enter during daytime at HWS and leave at LWS in order to insure that they will be stemming the current. Also, a boat should be sent close inshore to sound the passage, observe the tidal currents, and to report when conditions are suitable for the vessel to proceed.

4.6

An explosives dumping area has been established SW of

Canton Island, between 3°09'S and 3°28'S, and between 171°53'W and 172°13'W.

4.6

The island may lie 0.25 mile ENE of its charted position. 4.7 Birnie Island (3°35'S., 171°31'W.) lies about 43

miles S of the S extremity of Canton Island. The island is 3.6m high on the rim, sloping gradually to sea level at a shallow brackish pond located about 90m inland from the E side of the island. Birnie Island is a bird sanctuary.

4.7

A flat fringing reef, drying at LW and extending as far as 0.1

mile offshore, surrounds the island. A shoal, which breaks in heavy weather, extends 0.7 mile S from the S point of the is- land. A stone monument on the E side of the island, about mid- way of the length, is visible 6 miles and is a radar target for the same distance.

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