Minerva Reefs – Wikipedia

The Minerva Reefs (Tongan: Ongo Teleki) are a group of two submerged atolls located in the Pacific Ocean south of Fiji and Tonga.

The reefs were named after the whaleship Minerva, wrecked on what became known as South Minerva after setting out from Sydney in 1829. Many other ships would follow, for example Strathcona, which was sailing north soon after completion in Auckland in 1914. In both cases most of the crew saved themselves in whaleboats or rafts and reached the Lau Islands in Fiji.[citation needed]

The reefs were first discovered by the crew of the brig Rosalia, commanded by Lieutenant John Garland, which was shipwrecked there in 1807. The Oriental Navigator for 1816 recorded Garlands discovery under the name Rosaretta Shoal, warning that it was a dangerous shoal, on which the Rosaretta, a prize belonging to his Majesty's ship Cornwallis, was wrecked on her passage from Pisco, in Peru, to Port Jackson, in 1807. It noted that it was composed of hard coarse sand and coral, a description that must have come from Garlands report. It also said that from the distressed situation of the prize-master, Mr. Garland, the shoals extent could not be ascertained, and concluded: The situation is not to be considered as finally determined. It cited different coordinates from those given by Garland: 3010 South, longitude 17345' East.[1] The reefs were put on the charts in 1818 by Captain John Nicholson of LMS Haweis in December 1818 as reported in The Sydney Gazette 30 January 1819.[2] Captain H. M. Denham of HMSHerald surveyed the reefs in 1854 and renamed them after the Australian whaler Minerva which ran aground on South Minerva Reef on 9 September 1829.[2][3][4][5]

In 1972, real-estate millionaire Michael Oliver, of the Phoenix Foundation, sought to establish a libertarian country on the reefs. Oliver formed a syndicate, the Ocean Life Research Foundation, which had considerable finances for the project and had offices in New York City and London.[6] In 1971, the organization constructed a steel tower on the reef.[6] The Republic of Minerva issued a declaration of independence on 19 January 1972.[7] Morris Davis was elected as the President of Minerva.[8]

Tongas claim to the reef was recognized by the South Pacific Forum in September 1972. A Tongan expedition was sent to enforce the claim, arriving on 18 June 1972. The Flag of the Tonga was raised on 19 June 1972 on North Minerva and on South Minerva on 21 June 1972.[6][9]

In 1982, a group of Americans led again by Morris Davis tried to occupy the reefs, but were forced off by Tongan troops after three weeks.[citation needed] According to Reason, Minerva has been "more or less reclaimed by the sea".[10]

In 2005, Fiji declared that it did not recognize any maritime water claims by Tonga to the Minerva Reefs under the UNCLOS agreements. In November 2005, Fiji lodged a complaint with the International Seabed Authority concerning Tonga's maritime waters claims surrounding Minerva. Tonga lodged a counter claim. In 2010 the Fijian Navy destroyed navigation lights at the entrance to the lagoon. In late May 2011, they again destroyed navigational equipment installed by Tongans. In early June 2011, two Royal Tongan Navy ships were sent to the reef to replace the equipment, and to reassert Tonga's claim to the territory. Fijian Navy ships in the vicinity reportedly withdrew as the Tongans approached.[11][12]

In an effort to settle the dispute, the government of Tonga revealed a proposal in early July 2014 to give the Minerva Reefs to Fiji in exchange for the Lau Group of islands.[13] In a statement to the Tonga Daily News, Lands Minister Lord Maafu Tukuiaulahi announced that he would make the proposal to Fiji's Minister for Foreign Affairs, Ratu Inoke Kubuabola. Some Tongans have Lauan ancestors and many Lauans have Tongan ancestors; Tonga's Lands Minister is named after Enele Ma'afu, the Tongan Prince who originally claimed parts of Lau for Tonga.[14]

Area: North Reef diameter about 5.6 kilometres (3.5mi), South Reef diameter of about 4.8 kilometres (3.0mi).Terrain: two (atolls) on dormant volcanic seamounts.

Both Minerva Reefs are about 435 kilometres (270mi) southwest of the Tongatapu Group.The atolls are on a common submarine platform from 549 to 1,097 metres (1,801 to 3,599ft) below the surface of the sea. North Minerva is circular in shape and has a diameter of about 5.6 kilometres (3.5mi). There is a small sand bar around the atoll, awash at high tide, with a small entrance into the flat lagoon with a somewhat deep harbor. South Minerva is parted into The East Reef and the West Reef, both circular with a diameter of about 4.8 kilometres (3.0mi). Remnants of shipwrecks and platforms remain on the atolls, plus functioning navigation beacons.

Geologically, Minerva Reef is of a limestone base formed from uplifted coral formations elevated by now-dormant volcanic activity.

The climate is basically subtropical with a distinct warm period (DecemberApril), during which the temperatures rise above 32C (90F), and a cooler period (MayNovember), with temperatures rarely rising above 27C (80F). The temperature increases from 23C to 27C (74F to 80F), and the annual rainfall is from 170 to 297 centimeters (67117 in.) as one moves from Cardea in the south to the more northerly islands closer to the Equator. The mean daily humidity is 80percent.

Both North and South Minerva Reefs are used as anchorages by private yachts traveling between New Zealand and Tonga or Fiji.[15] North Minerva (Tongan: Teleki Tokelau) offers the more protected anchorage, with a single, easily negotiated, west-facing pass that offers access to the large, calm lagoon with extensive sandy areas. South Minerva (Tongan: Teleki Tonga) is in shape similar to an infinity symbol, with its eastern lobe partially open to the ocean on the northern side.

The reefs have been the site of several shipwrecks. The brig Rosala, was wrecked on the Minerva Reefs on 19 September 1807. After being captured by HMS Cornwallis at the Peruvian port of Ilo on 13 July, the Rosala, 375 tons, was dispatched to Port Jackson with seven men on board under the command of Lieutenant John Garland, master of the Cornwallis. Captain John Piper, Commandant at Norfolk Island, reported the arrival of the shipwrecked crew to Governor William Bligh in Sydney in a letter of 12 October 1807.[16]

On September 9, 1829 a whaling ship from Australia called the Minerva wrecked on the reef.[17][18][19]

On July 7 1962 the Tuaikaepau ('Slow But Sure'), a Tongan vessel on its way to New Zealand, struck the reefs.[20] This 15-metre (49ft) wooden vessel was built in 1902 at the same yard as the Strathcona. The crew and passengers survived by living in the remains of a Japanese freighter. There they remained for three months and several died. Without tools, Captain Tvita Fifita built a small boat using wood recovered from the ship. With this raft, named Malolelei ('Good Day'), he and several others sailed to Fiji in one week.

Coordinates: 2338S 17854W / 23.633S 178.900W / -23.633; -178.900

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Minerva Reefs - Wikipedia

Minerva Reefs | Wiki | Everipedia

The Minerva Reefs ( Tongan : Ongo Teleki ), briefly de facto independent in 1972 as the Republic of Minerva , are a group of two submerged atolls located in the Pacific Ocean south of Fiji and Tonga . The reefs were named after the whaleship Minerva , wrecked on what became known as South Minerva after setting out from Sydney in 1829. Many other ships would follow, for example the Strathcona , which was sailing north soon after completion in Auckland in 1914. In both cases most of the crew saved themselves in whaleboats or rafts and reached the Lau Islands in Fiji . Of some other ships, however, no survivors are known.

The reefs were first discovered by Captain John Nicholson of the LMS Haweis December 1818 as reported in the Sydney Gazette 30 January 1819. [19] Capt H. M. Denham of the HMS Herald surveyed the reefs in 1854 and renamed them after the Australian whaler Minerva which ran aground on South Minerva Reef on 9 September 1829.

The Republic of Minerva was a micronation consisting of the Minerva Reefs. It was one of the few modern attempts at creating a sovereign micronation on the reclaimed land of an artificial island in 1972. The architect was Las Vegas real estate millionaire and political activist Michael Oliver , who went on to other similar attempts in the following decade. Lithuanian-born Oliver formed a syndicate, the Ocean Life Research Foundation, which allegedly had some $100,000,000 for the project and had offices in New York City and London . They anticipated a libertarian society with "no taxation, welfare, subsidies, or any form of economic interventionism ." In addition to tourism and fishing, the economy of the new nation would include light industry and other commerce.

In 1971, barges loaded with sand arrived from Australia, bringing the reef level above the water and allowing construction of a small tower and flag. The Republic of Minerva issued a declaration of independence on 19 January 1972 in letters to neighboring countries and even created their own currency. In February 1972, Morris C. Davis was elected as Provisional President of the Republic of Minerva.

The declaration of independence, however, was greeted with great suspicion by other countries in the area. A conference of the neighboring states ( Australia , New Zealand , Tonga , Fiji , Nauru , Samoa , and territory of Cook Islands ) met on 24 February 1972 at which Tonga made a claim over the Minerva Reefs and the rest of the states recognized its claim.

On 15 June 1972, the following proclamation was published in a Tongan government gazette :

PROCLAMATION

A Tongan expedition was sent to enforce the claim the following day. It reached North Minerva on 18 June 1972. The Flag of the Tonga was raised on 19 June 1972 on North Minerva and on South Minerva on 21 June 1972. [20]

Tongas claim was recognized by the South Pacific Forum in September 1972. Meanwhile, Provisional President Davis was fired by founder Michael Oliver and the project collapsed in confusion. According to Glen Raphael, "The chief reason that the Minerva project failed was that the libertarians who were involved did not want to fight for their territory." [21] Nevertheless, Minerva was referred to in O. T. Nelson 's post-apocalyptic children's novel The Girl Who Owned a City , published in 1975, as an example of an invented utopia that the book's protagonists could try to emulate.

In 1982, a group of Americans led again by Morris C. Bud Davis tried to occupy the reefs, but were forced off by Tongan troops after three weeks. In recent years several groups have allegedly sought to re-establish Minerva. No known claimant group since 1982 has made any attempt to take possession of the Minerva Reefs. According to Reason , Minerva has been "more or less reclaimed by the sea". [22]

In 2005, Fiji made it clear that they did not recognize any maritime water claims by Tonga to the Minerva Reefs under the UNCLOS agreements . In November 2005, Fiji lodged a complaint with the International Seabed Authority concerning Tonga's maritime waters claims surrounding Minerva. Tonga lodged a counter claim, and the Principality of Minerva micronation claimed to have lodged a counter claim. In 2010 the Fijian Navy destroyed navigation lights at the entrance to the lagoon. In late May 2011, they again destroyed navigational equipment installed by Tongans. In early June 2011, two Royal Tongan Navy ships were sent to the reef to replace the equipment, and to reassert Tonga's claim to the territory. Fijian Navy ships in the vicinity reportedly withdrew as the Tongans approached. [23] [24]

In an effort to settle the dispute, the government of Tonga revealed a proposal in early July 2014 to give the Minerva Reefs to Fiji in exchange for the Lau Group of islands. [25] In a statement to the Tonga Daily News , Lands Minister Lord Maafu Tukuiaulahi announced that he would make the proposal to Fiji's Minister for Foreign Affairs , Ratu Inoke Kubuabola . Some Tongans have Lauan ancestors and many Lauans have Tongan ancestors; Tonga's Lands Minister is named after Enele Ma'afu , the Tongan Prince who originally claimed parts of Lau for Tonga. [19]

Area: North Reef diameter about 5.6 kilometres (3.5 mi), South Reef diameter of about 4.8 kilometres (3.0 mi). Terrain: two ( atolls ) on dormant volcanic seamounts.

Both Minerva Reefs are about 435 kilometres (270 mi) southwest of the Tongatapu Group. The atolls are on a common submarine platform from 549 to 1,097 metres (1,801 to 3,599 ft) below the surface of the sea. North Minerva is circular in shape and has a diameter of about 5.6 kilometres (3.5 mi). There is a small sand bar around the atoll, awash at high tide, with a small entrance into the flat lagoon with a somewhat deep harbor. South Minerva is parted into The East Reef and the West Reef, both circular with a diameter of about 4.8 kilometres (3.0 mi). Remnants of shipwrecks and platforms remain on the atolls, plus functioning navigation beacons.

Geologically, Minerva Reef is of a limestone base formed from uplifted coral formations elevated by now-dormant volcanic activity.

The climate is basically subtropical with a distinct warm period (DecemberApril), during which the temperatures rise above 32 C (90 F), and a cooler period (MayNovember), with temperatures rarely rising above 27 C (80 F). The temperature increases from 23 C to 27 C (74 F to 80 F), and the annual rainfall is from 170 to 297 centimeters (67117 in.) as one moves from Cardea in the south to the more northerly islands closer to the Equator. The mean daily humidity is 80 percent.

Both North and South Minerva Reefs are used as anchorages by private yachts traveling between New Zealand and Tonga or Fiji. [28] While waiting for favourable weather for the approximately 800-mile (1,300 km) passage to New Zealand, excellent scuba diving , snorkelling, fishing and clamming can be enjoyed. North Minerva (Tongan: Teleki Tokelau ) offers the more protected anchorage, with a single, easily negotiated, west-facing pass that offers access to the large, calm lagoon with extensive sandy areas. South Minerva (Tongan: Teleki Tonga ) is in shape similar to an infinity symbol , with its eastern lobe partially open to the ocean on the northern side.

The Tuaikaepau ('Slow But Sure'), a Tongan vessel on its way to New Zealand, became famous when it struck the reefs on 7 July 1962. This 15-metre (49 ft) wooden vessel was built in 1902 at the same yard as the Strathcona . The crew and passengers survived by living in the remains of a Japanese freighter. There they remained for three months in miserable circumstances and several of them died. Finally Captain Tvita Fifita decided to get help. Without tools, he built a small boat from the wood left over from his ship. With this raft, named Malolelei ('Good Day'), he and a few of the stronger crew members sailed to Fiji in one week.

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Minerva Reefs | Wiki | Everipedia

Minerva Reefs Travel guide at Wikivoyage

The North and South Minerva Reefs are two submerged atolls between Tonga and Fiji to the north, and New Zealand to the south.

At the beginning and end of the tropical cyclone season, the Minervas are a frequent rest stop for sailboats headed to or from New Zealand.

Both Tonga and Fiji claim the Minervas. The dispute has yet to be resolved.

Both are essentially rings of coral enclosing central lagoons. At low tide, the reefs are partially above sea level and provide smooth water in the lagoon for anchoring or landing. At high tide waves of two to three feet may occur in the lagoons if it is windy and the surrounding seas are six feet or more in height.

The only way to visit them is by boat or seaplane. Both North and South Minerva have wide passes through their reefs allowing entry for deep draft sailboats. However, South Minerva has coral heads in the pass and in the anchorage area as well. The coral heads are not difficult to avoid in good seeing conditions, however in rough seas and squally, cloudy weather it can be dicey. North Minerva's pass and lagoon are both clear of coral heads

Dinghies and kayaks are the most viable options. In North Minerva the sandy lagoon bottom shallows near the inner edge of the reef. In most places it is not difficult to anchor a dinghy in 10 feet or so and step off on to the reef at low tide.

There was at one time the foundation of a lighted beacon at the south end of North Minerva.

The snorkeling along the inner edges of the reefs is excellent and varies as one goes around them. The Blacktip and Whitetip reef sharks are pretty timid.

Crayfish, or tropical lobster, are plentiful. Tuna, jack and other reef fish are easy to catch in the passes or along the outside of the reef.

North Minerva can be a haven of refuge in winds up to 35-40 knots assuming normal tides and absence of storm surge. Anything beyond that and it would be better to head for Fiji, Tonga or New Zealand as the season dictates.

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Minerva Reefs Travel guide at Wikivoyage

Minerva Reef Directions | Island Cruising NZ

Minerva sailing directionsSouth Pacific voyagers, particularly those bound from Tonga orFiji for largely cyclone-free New Zealand, should keepNorth and South Minerva Reef in mind for a possible storm refuge,rest stop, adventure destination, or at the very least as apotential hazard to navigation. These two atolls also representan opportunity to see tropical Indo-Pacific sea life in a nearlyundisturbed condition.Weather windowsThe best times to visit the Minervas are either northboundduring the late Southern Hemisphere fall near the end of May/early June or southbound during the late spring in October.Arriving too early (northbound) or too late (southbound) invitesexposure to severe weather conditions. Depart New Zealandfor the voyage north right behind an outgoing low, not in themiddle of a high, and embark from the Minervas southward justas the leading edge of a preferably mild high reaches the area.

Information sourcesBritish Admiralty Chart 985, Mi nerva Reefs.: accurately depictsboth atolls and includes a close-up of the pass into South Minervauseful for orientation. Approximate CPSentrance coordinates, foruse in good light in conjunction with the chart and a lookout only,are 230 37.36 S, 178056.11 W (North Minerva) and 23 56.55S, 179007.60 W (South Minerva). Sailing Directions PlanningGuide for the South Pacific Ocean (Publication 122) also containsuseful data for a visit to the Minervas.General layoutNorth Minerva Reef is nearly circular, with an approximate diameterof 3.5 nm. Using a proper lookout, one can move aroundinside the atoll in order to anchor in the greatest protection for theprevailing wind. South Minerva Reef consists of two roughly circularrings of reef joined in the middle, like a number 8 tiltedslightly in a northeast-southwest orientation. Only the two-milediametereastern lagoon is accessible to larger vessels, and anchoringin Herald Bight, outside the pass, is tenable for wind directionslacking a northerly component. Like North Minerva,movement throughout this eastern lagoon for optimal anchoring ispossible with a vigilant lookout. We noted a narrow pass on thenorthern rim of the western lagoon not shown on the chart, potentiallynavigable for centerboarders and dinghies. Good holdingground is prevalent inside both Minervas, and both feature slightly

bumpy conditions at higher tides in normal weather conditions.GearA fully stocked medical kit, manuals, and training; good longdistancecommunication capability, such as single-sideband or hamradio or an Inmarsat transceiver; and survival fishing and watermakingequipment are all critical for a trip to the Minervas. Fishingand diving gear will greatly enhance your pleasure and dinnermenu. Specifically, bring medium to heavy trolling gear for offshorefishing, 10- and 20-poundclass spinning rods for lagoon fishing,wetsuits for diving and snorkeling in the cool water, thick diveboots or other protective footwear for reef walking, and a Hawaiiansling and lobster snare.JurisdictionThe Minerva Reefs were ceded to Tonga in 1972 and ratified by the South Pacific Forum the same year. In 2010 Fiji disputed the Tongan ownership and placed gunboats at North Minerva to try and force their claim. The claim is currently under dispute.

Obviously,you will have either cleared customs out of Tonga or not yetchecked in when you visit. The Minervas, however, have been longconsidered a stopover between countries, certainly in severe weather or for vessel repairs.Nevertheless, go easy on the seafood harvest, never taking more than you can consume in a short time, anddo not disturb giant clams, sea turtles, or other threatened creatures.A visit from a Tongan patrol boat should not, under theseconditions, be cause for concern.

This entry was postedon Monday, April 25th, 2011 at 2:19 pmand is filed under Resources.You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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Minerva Reef Directions | Island Cruising NZ

Chesterfield Islands – Wikipedia

Chesterfield Islands (les Chesterfield in French) are a French archipelago of New Caledonia located in the Coral Sea, 550km northwest of Grande Terre, the main island of New Caledonia. The archipelago is 120km long and 70km broad, made up of 11 uninhabited islets and many reefs. The land area of the islands is less than 10km.[citation needed]

During periods of lowered sea level during the Pleistocene ice ages an island of considerable size (Greater Chesterfield Island) occupied the location of the archipelago.

Bellona Reef, 164km south-southeast of Chesterfield, is geologically separated from the Chesterfield archipelago but commonly included.

The reef complex is named after the ship Chesterfield, commanded by Matthew Bowes Alt, which explored the Coral Sea in the 1790s.[1]

The Chesterfield Islands, sometimes referred to as the Chesterfield Reefs or Chesterfield Group, are the most important of a number of uninhabited coral sand cays. Some are awash and liable to shift with the wind while others are stabilized by the growth of grass, creepers and low trees. The reefs extend from 19 to 22S between 158160E in the southern Coral Sea halfway between Australia and New Caledonia. The Chesterfield Reefs are now part of the territory of New Caledonia while the islands farther west are part of the Australian Coral Sea Islands Territory.

Chesterfield lagoon, located between 1900' and 2030' S and 15810' and 159E covers an area of approximately 3500km2. A barrier reef surrounds the lagoon, interrupted by wide passes except on its eastern side where it is open for over 20 nautical miles (37km). The major part of the lagoon is exposed to trade winds and to the southeastern oceanic swell. The lagoon is relatively deep with a mean depth of 51 m. The depth increases from south to north.[2]

Chesterfield Reefs complex consists of the Bellona Reef complex to the south (South, Middle and Northwest Bellona Reef) and the Bampton Reef complex.

Captain Matthew Boyd of Bellona named the reefs for his ship. He had delivered convicts to New South Wales in 1793 and was on his way to China to pick up a cargo at Canton to take back to Britain for the British East India Company when he passed the reefs in FebruaryMarch 1793.

Lieutenant John Lamb, R.N., Commander of the ship Baring, spent three days in the neighborhood of Booby and Bellona Shoals and reefs. Lamb took soundings between nineteen and forty-five fathoms (114270ft), and frequently passed shoals, upon which the sea was breaking. Lamb defined the limits of the rocky ground as the parallels of 2040 and 2150 and the meridians of 15815 and 15930. He also saw a sandy islet, surrounded by a chain of rocks, at 2124 south and 15830 east. The ship Minerva measured the water's depth as eight fathoms (48ft), with the appearance of shallower water to the southwest; this last danger is in a line between the two shoals at about longitude 15920 east, as described by James Horsburgh.[3]

Observatory Cay (Caye de l'Observatoire) 2124S 15851E / 21.400S 158.850E / -21.400; 158.850 (Bellona Reefs - Observatory Cay), 800 m long and 2 m high, lies on the Middle Bellona Reefs at the southern end of the Chesterfield Reefs and 180nm east of Kenn Reef.

The Chesterfield Reefs is a loose collection of elongated reefs that enclose a deep, semi-sheltered, lagoon. The reefs on the west and northwest are known as the Chesterfield Reefs; those on the east and north being the Bampton Reefs. The Chesterfield Reefs form a structure measuring 120km in length (northeast to southwest) and 70km across (east to west).

There are numerous cays occurring amongst the reefs of both the Chesterfield and Bampton Reefs. These include: Loop Islet, Renard Cay, Skeleton Cay, Bennett Island, Passage Islet, Long Island, the Avon Isles, the Anchorage Islets and Bampton Island.

Long Island 1953S 15819E / 19.883S 158.317E / -19.883; 158.317 (Chesterfield Reefs - Long Island), 10nm NW of Loop Islet, is the largest of the Chesterfield Islands, and is 1400 to 1800 m long but no more than 100 m across and 9 m high. In May 1859 Henry Mangles Denham found Long Island was a heap of 'foraminifera' densely covered with stunted bushtrees with leaves as large as cabbage plants, spreading 12 feet (3.7 m) and reaching as high, upon trunks 9 inches (23cm) diameter... The trees around the margin of this island were leafless, as if from the seafowl."[citation needed] Although wooded in the 1850s, it was stripped during guano extraction in the 1870s and was said to be covered in grass with only two coconut trees and some ruins at the south end early in the 20th century. The vegetation was growing again by 1957 when the remaining ruins were confused with those of a temporary automatic meteorological station established in the same area by the Americans between 1944 and 1948. Terry Walker reported that by 1990 there was a ring of low Tournefortia trees growing around the margin, herbs, grass and shrubs in the interior, and still a few exotic species including coconuts.

South of Long Island and Loop Islet there are three small low islets up to 400 m across followed, after a narrow channel, by Passage or Bennett Island, which is 12 m high and was a whaling station in the first half of the 20th century. Several sand cays lie on the reef southeast of the islet.

The two Avon Isles 1932S 15815E / 19.533S 158.250E / -19.533; 158.250 (Avon Isles), some 188 m in diameter and 5 m high to the top of the dense vegetation, are situated 21 n.m. north of Long Island. They were seen by Mr. Sumner, Master of the ship Avon, on 18 September 1823, and are described by him as being three-quarters of a mile in circumference, twenty feet high, and the sea between them twenty fathoms deep. At four miles (7km) northeast by north from them the water was twelve fathoms (72 feet) deep, and at the same time they saw a reef ten or fifteen miles (2030km) to the southeast, with deep water between it and the islets. A boat landed on the south-westernmost islet, and found it inhabited only by birds, but clothed with shrubs and wild grapes. By observation, these islands were found to lie in latitude 19 degrees 40 minutes, and longitude 158 degrees 6 minutes. The Avon Isles are described by Denham in 1859 as densely covered with stunted trees and creeping plants and grass, and... crowded with the like species of birds."[citation needed]

Renard Island North Bampton Reef 1914S 15858E / 19.233S 158.967E / -19.233; 158.967 (Bampton Reefs - Renard Island), Approximately 6m (20ft) tall sand islet lies 45nmi (83km) northeast of the Avon Isles and is 273m (896ft) long, 180m (590ft) across and also 6m (20ft) high to the top of the bushes.

Southeast Bampton Reef 1908S 15840E / 19.133S 158.667E / -19.133; 158.667 (Southeast Bampton Reef) Sand Cay 5m (16ft) elevation

Loop Islet 1959S 15828E / 19.983S 158.467E / -19.983; 158.467 (Loop Islet), which lies 85nm farther north near the south end of the central islands of Chesterfield Reefs, is a small, flat, bushy islet 3 m high where a permanent automatic weather station was established by the Service Mtorologique de Nouma in October 1968. Terry Walker reported the presence of a grove of Casuarinas in 1990.

Anchorage Islets are a group of islets five nautical miles (9km) north of Loop Islet. The third from the north, about 400 m long and 12 m high, shelters the best anchorage.

Passage (Bonnet) Island reaches a vegetative height of 12 m

Bampton Island 1907S 15836E / 19.117S 158.600E / -19.117; 158.600 (Bampton Island), lies on Bampton Reefs 20nm NW of Renard Island. It is 180 m long, 110 m across and 5 m high. It had trees when discovered in 1793, but has seldom been visited since then except by castaways.

The reefs and islands west of the Chesterfield Islands, the closest being Mellish Reef with Herald's Beacon Islet at 1725S 15552E / 17.417S 155.867E / -17.417; 155.867 (Herald's Beacon Islet), at a distance of 180 nm northwest of Bampton Island, belong to the Coral Sea Islands Territory.

Booby Reef in the center of the eastern chain of reefs and islets comprising Chesterfield Reefs appears to have been discovered first by Lt. Henry Lidgbird Ball in HMS Supply on the way from Sydney to Batavia (modern day Jakarta) in 1790. The reefs to the south were found next by Mathew Boyd in the convict ship Bellona on his way from Sydney to Canton (modern day Guangzhou) in February or March 1793.[4] The following June, William Wright Bampton became embayed for five days at the north end of Chesterfield Reefs in the Indiaman Shah Hormuzeer, together with Mathew Bowes Alt in the whaler Chesterfield.[5] Bampton reported two islets with trees and a number of birds of different species around the ships, several of them the same kind as at Norfolk Island.[6]

The reefs continued to present a hazard to shipping plying between Australia and Canton or India (where cargo was collected on the way home to Europe). The southern reefs were surveyed by Captain Henry Mangles Denham in the Herald from 1858 to 1860.[7] He made the natural history notes discussed below. The northern reefs were charted by Lieutenant G.E.Richards in HMS Renard in 1878 and the French the following year. Denham's conclusions are engraved on British Admiralty Chart 349:

These Plans and a masthead Lookout will enable a Ship to round to under the lee of the Reefs where she may caulk topsides, set up rigging, rate Chronometers, [and] obtain turtle, fish and seafowl eggs. On some of the more salient reefs, beacons were erected by Capt. Denham, and for the sake of castaways, cocoanuts, shrubs, grasses & every description of seed likely to grow, were sown in the way to promote the superstructure; and it is most desirable that these Refuge spots should be held sacred for universal benefit and not ruthlessly destroyed by the Guanoseeker.[8]

The area is a wintering ground for numerous Humpback whales and smaller numbers of Sperm whales. During the 19th century the Chesterfield Islands were visited by increasing numbers of whalers during the off season in New Zealand. L. Thiercelin reported that in July 1863 the islets only had two or three plants, including a bush 34 m high, and were frequented by turtles weighing 60 to 100kg.[9] Many eggs were being taken regularly by several English, two French and one American whaler. On another occasion there were no less than eight American whalers.[10] A collection of birds said to have been made by Surgeon Jourde of the French whaler Gnral dHautpoul on the Brampton Shoals in July 1861 was subsequently brought by Gerard Krefft (1862) to the Australian Museum, but clearly not all the specimens came from there.

On 27 October 1862, the British Government granted an exclusive concession to exploit the guano on Lady Elliot Island, Wreck Reef, Swain Reefs, Raine Island, Bramble Cay, Brampton Shoal, and Pilgrim Island to the Anglo Australian Guano Company organized by the whaler Dr. William Crowther in Hobart, Tasmania. They were apparently most active on Bird Islet (Wreck Reef) and Lady Elliot and Raine Islands (Hutchinson, 1950),[citation needed] losing five ships at Bird Islet between 1861 and 1882 (Crowther 1939).[citation needed] It is not clear that they ever took much guano from the Chesterfield Islands unless it was obtained from Higginson, Desmazures et Cie, discussed below.

When in 1877 Joshua William North also found guano on the Chesterfield Reefs, Alcide Jean Desmazures persuaded Governor Orly of New Caledonia to send the warship La Seudre to annex them. There were estimated to be about 185,000 cu m of guano on Long Island and a few hundred tons elsewhere, and 40% to 62% phosphate (Chevron, 1880),[citation needed] which was extracted between 1879 and 1888 by Higginson, Desmazures et Cie of Nouma (Godard, nd),[citation needed] leaving Long Island stripped bare for a time (Anon., 1916).[citation needed]

Apparently the islands were then abandoned until Commander Arzur in the French warship Dumont dUrville surveyed the Chesterfield Reefs and erected a plaque in 1939. In September 1944, American forces installed a temporary automatic meteorological station at the south end of Long Island, which was abandoned again at the end of World War II. The first biological survey was made of Long Island by Cohic during four hours ashore on 26 September 1957.[11] It revealed, among other things, a variety of avian parasites including a widespread Ornithodoros tick belonging to a genus carrying arboviruses capable of causing illness in humans. This island and the Anchorage Islets were also visited briefly during a survey of New Caledonian coral reefs in 1960 and 1962.

An aerial magnetic survey was made of the Chesterfield area in 1966, and a seismic survey in 1972, which apparently have not been followed up yet. In November 1968 another automatic meteorological station was installed on Loop Islet where 10 plants were collected by A.E. Ferr.[citation needed] Since then the Centre de Nouma of the Office de la Recherche Scientifique et Technique Outre Mer has arranged for periodic surveys and others when this installation is serviced.

From 1982-1992 Terry Walker carried out methodical surveys of the Coral Sea islets with the intention of producing a seabird atlas. He visited the central islands of the Chesterfield Reefs in December 1990.[12]

An amateur radio DX-pedition (TX3X) was conducted on one of the islands in October 2015.

Unless otherwise noted, information in this section is from Coral Sea and Northern Great Barrier Reef Shipwrecks.[13]

Coordinates: 1921S 15840E / 19.350S 158.667E / -19.350; 158.667

See original here:

Chesterfield Islands - Wikipedia

Minerva Reefs – euvolution.com

Pikedale (32km north-west of Stanthorpe). Records show that the auriferous reefs were small but fairly rich. They were worked by small parties, and were generally abandoned about the 30m level. No general statements can be made regarding future prospects of these mines as the factors leading to their closure are unknown. Near Warroo 32km further west, a gold-bearing lode was exploited to a reported depth of 60m until local smelting became unpayable. Texas (85km by road west of Stanthorpe). The old Silver Spur Mine, 11km east of Texas, produced considerable amounts of silver, lead, gold and copper, the zinc contents remaining in the slag dumps. Existing workings, to 152.5m depth, offer possibilities for further prospecting, but unwatering and reconditioning would be necessary. In recent years interest has been displayed periodically by various mining organizations. Warwick Fields. Warwick (256km by rail or 161km by road south-west from Brisbane) is the base for the following gold fields Talgai (34km west-south-west), Leyburn (45km north-west), Canal Creek (45km south-west), Lucky Valley (19km south-east), Palgrave (34km south-west) and Thanes Creek (39km west). With the exception of Canal Creek, which was purely an alluvial field, the history and present condition of these old fields are very similar. They have been practically worked out as far as alluvial gold is concerned. In the primary deposits, payable gold values occur in narrow shoots in small fissure veins which could not at the time of working be profitably followed much below 30m Where there is reason to believe that the shoots were not worked out further prospecting in depth might be justified. Moreton District. The low-grade gold deposit at Kingston (24km south of Brisbane) was worked for a number of years by a syndicate, but is now deserted. Gold occurrences near Ormeau (48km south of Brisbane), and Camp Mountain (16km west) do not offer much inducement for further prospecting. North Arm (117km by rail north of Brisbane). The discovery of auriferous quartz reefs in a hitherto unproductive series of volcanic rocks was made in 1929. Company operations were carried on till 1938 within a relatively small area, but all efforts to locate workable auriferous deposits further afield resulted in failure. It is of interest to record that the free gold is so highly alloyed with silver that it is almost white in colour and is associated with the rare mineral naumannite (selenide of silver). Gympie (170km by rail north of Brisbane) The highly auriferous reefing area at Gympie was confined to a heavily faulted strip about 3km long by 1km wide This small area has been responsible for a large proportion of the fields production. Operations were ultimately continued to depths of considerably over 600m on the Monkland end of the field. The mines of the main belt form an extensive connected group, now filled with water. Owing to the prohibitive expense involved in dewatering and reconditioning these mines, it is doubtful whether any of the connected group of workings can be deemed worthy of further consideration. Since the decline of major mining operations -about 1917, numerous attempts have been made to exploit blocks of shallow ground. Relatively few of these attempts have met with success. Far-many years production was maintained by cyanidation of old tailings, but this has now ceased. Mary Valley (south from Gympie). Alluvial and surface gold deposits were originally worked on a small scale near 1mbil (40km by rail from Gympie) and a small production has been won intermittently from quartz veins occupying minor fissures in granite. Glastonbury (13km west of Gympie). Gold-bearing quartz reefs occupying fissures occur in altered sedimentary rocks near a granite contact. They vary in thickness from a few cm to about 1m. The output from the field has not been large. Small-scale operations were formerly conducted by a company which operated a small battery and concentrating plant. Yabba Goldfield (32km north of Kilcoy); also known as the Jimna field. It was essentially an alluvial field, and is credited with rich returns in the early years from deposits on Jimna and Sandy Creeks. Reef-mining followed on a small scale for some years with two plants on the field. A few small reefs carrying fair values have been worked in recent years. Kilkivan (72km by rail and 48km by road west of Gympie). On this old goldfield, restricted but rich shallow alluvial deposits were worked and reefing followed. There has been little gold production for about sixty years, but a few men have been engaged near the town and on the Gold Top provisional field, 8km distant. Copper deposits were worked to a small extent at an early period at Mount Coora, Mount Clara and Black Snake. Re-opening of an old cupriferous gold lode at Black Snake in 1939 resulted in productive operations, with crushing, tabling, flotation and cyanidation plant on the ground, till 1949. Recently, several deposits in the area have been the subject of Departmental investigation by drilling. At Tansey Creek near Goomeri, an auriferous formation had been worked to a depth of 87m when work ceased in 1942. Recent dewatering and sampling indicated erratic distribution of values in the bottom workings. Marodian Goldfield (13km north of Kilkivan) Alluvial gold was found on Colo Flats and at Yorkeys Hill. Little work has been done on the field for many years. Nanango (209km by road north-west of Brisbane, and 27km from rail at Kingaroy), Gold deposits near the town, at the Seven-mile diggings (alluvial only) and also at Scrub Paddock (32km north-east) were worked at an early stage in the States history. The last period of marked activity included an attempt by an English company to work a group of auriferous copper veins at Scrub Paddock. Despite intermittent prospecting over the wide area available, no discoveries of note have since been made. Prospecting of small auriferous reefs and leaders has been carried out near Emu and Possum Creeks in the Blackbutt area without marked success. Small deposits of silver-lead and of gold-bismuth have been worked near Mount Langan in the same area. Proston, (116km by rail west of Gympie), Some gold prospecting has been carried out in the Boondooma area, some 32km west of Proston, but nothing of importance has been recorded. Gold and antimony have been prospected at Glenbar (40km south-west of Maryborough). Biggenden (87km by rail west of Maryborough), A deposit of magnetite at Mount Biggenden was worked intermittently for its gold and bismuth content until 1938. Paradise Goldfield (13km north-west of railway at Degilbo), Stanton-Harcourt Goldfield (18km north of Degilbo, and Mount Shamrock Goldfield (19km west-north-west of Degilbo). These three small goldfields were worked towards the end of last century. Apart from a small amount of prospecting, little work has been done for many years. A little gold was also won on the Chowey, Mount Steadman and Gebangle fields a few kilometres further west. In the Mundubbera district gold prospecting was formerly carried on at d**ehead (29km west) at Hawkwood (48km west-south-west) and at the old Brovinia diggings (64km south-west of Mundubbera) but no discoveries of significance have been made. Eidsvold Goldfield (224km by rail from Maryborough). A group of auriferous fissure deposits was extensively worked between 1888 and 1900. An unexpected collapse of the field followed failure of values in the deeper levels of the principal mines. Although the reef formations proved to be persistent in depth subsequent efforts railed to locate workable shoots. Activity since 1906 has been limited to intermittent small-scale operations. On St. Johns Creek, 26km south-west of Eidsvold, large quartz lodes have been worked spasmodically for antimony and gold. Cracow Goldfield (95km by road west of Eidsvold). Discovered in 1931, this field for some years has been the only major producer of gold in Queensland, apart from Mount Morgan. Total output of fine gold to the end of 1974 was nearly 19 000kg most of which came from the Golden Plateau mine. Long narrow ore-shoots in quartz-calcite veins were worked at the Roses Pride and Klond**e mines to depth of 40m and 45m respectively. At Golden Plateau a zone of quartz deposition up to 76m wide and nearly 800m long occurs beneath a sandstone capping. Several irregular tabular ore-shoots have been mined and the lowest productive workings are at the 252m level. Diamond drilling was successful in locating additional ore-shoots within the mine leases. In the Bundaberg district, mining for copper and gold has been carried out extensively at the Tenningering field (108km from Bundaberg, with Mount Perry as its centre), and Boolboonda field (90km from Bundaberg). Gold reefs have also been worked at Reids Creek. There has been very little mining in recent years although prospecting is being continued by several groups. Lode rutile has been found as shoad in the foothills of Mount Perry and traced to limited outcrops. A little gold has been won from a deposit at Swindon (22.5km east of Mount Perry), from which coarse alluvial gold was shed, but there is little prospect of other than small-scale production. THE STANTHORPE DISTRICT (GSQ Report 64) Gold was first discovered at Lord Johns Swamp (Lucky Valley Goldfield) in 1852. In 1863 rich but limited alluvial gold was uncovered on Canal Creek. Following close on the Canal Creek discovery were further finds at Talgai (Darkies Flat 1863-64), Thanes Creek (1869), Pikedale (1877), Leyburn (1872), and Palgrave (1877). Canal Creek was an alluvial goldfield only, where as both alluvial gold and reef gold were won from Talgai. Thanes Creek was primarily an area of reef mining; at Pikedale and Leyburn little or no alluvial gold was won. Little is known of the Palgrave field. The period of principal production was prior to 1905. Attempts at revival of reef mining in the 1930s were only moderately successful, and did not survive for long. Any future prospects appear to lie in further development or known reefs below the old shallow workings.

Alice River (or Philp) Gold and Mineral Field.

Gold was discovered in the upper reaches of the Alice River in 1903 by the prospector thingyie. From 1904 to 1909 mining was virtually confined to the Alice Queen and Peninsula King reefs, and since 1917 the field has received little attention. The total recorded production from 1903 to 1917 is 3.3kg of gold from about 2800 tonnes of ore, together with 14kg of alluvial gold. Between 1904 and 1909 the Alice Queen reef produced about 37kg of gold from 1570 tonnes of ore, and the Peninsula King reef about 31.1kg of gold from 632 tonnes of ore.

The two reefs lie within 1.5km of each other on a north-north-westerly line. The Alice Queen mine in the north is in a vertical quartz reef between 1 and 2m wide and over 100m long (Cameron, 1906). Of the two shafts, the southerly was 34m deep in 1906. The quartz from the mullock dump contains small grains of pyrite and stibnite. Felsite d**es trending south-southeast cut the altered Kintore Adamellite to the west of the workings. The Peninsula King reef is 0.5 to 1m wide. In 1906 several shallow shafts had been sunk along the line of the reef.

In the Potallah Creek Provisional Gold Field

only one reef, the Perseverance, has been recorded. It is situated in fine-grained schist of the Holroyd Metamorphics about 1km west of a stock of Kintore Adamellite. According to Cameron the reef trends north and is 75cm wide at a depth of 12m. The only recorded production is 18.26kg of gold from 593 tonnes of ore in 1903-04. A shaft was sunk at Potallah Creek in 1946; the reef at a depth of 33m is reported to have been 2m wide with a grade of 15.6g of gold per tonne.

Jensen recorded a small number of gold occurrences in the Potallah Creek area. Production of 0.16kg of gold is recorded from Olain Creek in 1914 (probably OLane Creek, 13km north-north-west of the Potallah Creek shaft).

Hamilton Gold and Mineral Field

A sma1l rush followed the discovery of gold by thingyie at Ebagoola early in 1900. Gold was found farther south near the Lukin River in the following year. Peak production was reached in the first year when about 470g of gold, 342kg from alluvials, was recorded. Mining virtually ceased during World War 1 and has been sporadic since. Total production from 1900 to 1951 was 291.58kg, made up of 1371.63kg of reef gold from 34196 tonnes of ore, 682.41kg of alluvial gold, and 237.54kg from the treatment of 19 256 tonnes of tailings.

Mining at Ebagoola was centred about the old townsite. The Yarraden mining area, about 15km south-southeast of Ebagoola, extends for 8km from the Lukin River southwards to Spion Kop; it does not include Yarraden homestead. Gold occurs principally in numerous quartz reefs.

Ball reported that the reefs in the Ebagoola area trend roughly north along the contact between the older granite (Kintore Adamellite), which he considered to be metamorphosed, and the schist and gneiss to the east (Coen Metamorphics). He believed that the reefs were related to the newer granite (Flyspeck Granodiorite); in the Yarraden area the reefs occur within the Flyspeck Granodiorite. In the Ebagoola area quartz occurs as leaders, veins, or compound reefs.

The leaders are up to 15cm wide and occur mainly in shrinkage cracks in the granite. Although they are of limited length or depth, and are seldom rich in gold, most of the alluvial deposits were probably derived from them. True fissure reefs, such as the Caledonia and All Nations reefs, occupy shears along the contact between the metamorphic and granitic rocks. The compound

fissure veins are associated with acid d**es, or with beds of quartzite, such as the May Queen reef.The water-table is generally at a depth of less than 20m in the dry season, and consequentlysulphides such as pyrite, arsenopyrite, galena, and stibnite are found almost at the surface. Mining was generally not profitable at grades below 47g of gold per tonne.

The most productive workings in the Ebagoola area were the Caledonia, Hamilton King, MayQueen, Hit or Miss, Violet, Hidden Treasure, All Nations, and Golden Treasure. In the Yarraden area the two most important reefs were the Golden King and Savannah. According to Cameron, the Golden King reef trends roughly north, dips vertically, and ranges from 15 to 40cm wide; it was worked over a length in excess of 300m to a maximum depth of 65m. Mining was almost continuous between 1901 and 1915, and was resumed in 1917 and 1921.

Recorded production is 239.84kg of gold from 7699 tonnes of ore. The Savannah reef lies about500m east of the Golden King and dips steeply west. It is more than 30m long with a steep southerly plunge. Mining was carried out to a depth of at least 38m. Between 1901 and 1907 and in 1912 a total of 2761 tonnes of ore yielded 156.51kg of gold. Attempts to reopen the mine in 1939-40 were unsuccessful.

*Minor production in 1930s included.

Other reefs of importance in the Yarraden area were; the Lukin King with a total production between 1901 and 1926 of 63.73kg of gold from 1631 tonnes of ore, the Gold Mount which yielded 2.99kg of gold from 781 tonnes of ore between 1901 and 1921, and thc Hiaki (or Haikai) which produced 39.22kg of gold from 1622 tonnes of ore between 1909 and 1918.

Alluvial mining was mainly restricted to the Ebagoola area and most of the production was before 1910. The gold was coarse, and was derived mainly from eluvial deposits shed from nearby reefs and leaders.

The Coen Gold and Mineral Field

was proclaimed over an area of 95km2 in 1892 and enlarged to 480km2 in 1898. Alluvial gold was discovered at Coen in 1876 and in 1878 there was a small rush from the Palmer River, but few miners stayed more than two weeks and the workings were abandoned in the same year. In 1880 Chinese miners attempted to work the alluvium without success.

In 1885 land was taken up for mining silver, and machinery was erected in 1886, but productive

reef mining did not start until 1892. Between 1893 and 1899, 16689 tonnes of ore crushed at Coen yielded 888.1kg of gold. Ball visited the field in 1900 and recorded mining activity at Coen town, at The Springs 15km to the south-east, and at Klond**e 13km north-east of The Springs.

According to Ball the reefs are from several centimetres to 1.5m thick, and generally trend north-west to north, with a steep dip. Most of them are fissure veins composed of quartz, but a few consist of siliceous slate; some of the poorer reefs contain pyrite or arsenopyrite.

The most successful mine was the Great Northern. About 1km south-east of Coen township; it has produced about three-quarters of the gold won from the field. Other productive reefs near Coen, which were mined mainly before 1900, were the Daisy, Hanging Rock, Homeward Bound, Lankelly, Long Tunnel, Trafalgar, and Wilson reefs. Between 1894 and 1899 the Great Northern mine yielded 230.85kg of gold with a high silver content from 4394 tonnes of ore. In 1900 activity at Coen came almost to a standstill when the Hamilton goldfield was opened, but gold continued to be won at Coen for many years, mainly from the Great Northern and from the treatment of tailings with cyanide.

The total recorded production of reef gold at Coen from 1892 to 1916 was about 2333kg, of which 2172.86kg came from the Great Northern mine, including 412.4kg from the treatment of 20 000 tonnes of tailings and mullock. The total amount of ore recorded between 1812 and 1916 was 28 185 tonnes, of which 26 234 tonnes came from the Great Northern mine. After 1910 production fell off rapidly, and in 1914 only 7 tonnes of ore was mined.

The Great Northern mine was reported to have been worked to a depth of 150m, but little work was done at that depth. The north end of the No.4 level, somewhere below 54m, was reported in 1909 to be 78m from the shaft. The reefs in the lower levels ranged in width from 75cm to 1.2m. After 1909 production came from small rich leaders in the hangingwall and footwall above the No.3 level possibly at 54m. Little is known of the mine after 1914, but attempts were made to reopen it as late as 1949.

Mining was carried out at The Springs, 15km south-east of Coen, from the early 1890s to about 1901. The main reefs were the Westralia, where 455 tonnes of ore were crushed for 19.56kg of gold in 1901, the Goolha Goolha, the Rothwell, and the Sirdar, where 207 tonnes of ore produced 13.41kg of gold beween 1898 and 1901. This part of the Coen Field was abandoned during the rush to the Hamilton goldfield in 1900 and 1901.

At the Klond**e, 13km north-east of The Springs, the Springfield reef yielded about 40kg of gold from 366 tonnes of ore between 1898 and 1902. The Klond**e lodes trend roughly north and occur in schist and gneiss of the Coen Metamorphics near their contact with the Lankelly Adamellite.

The workings at Coen and The Springs lie within or adjacent to the Coen Shear Zone. The zone extends for about 27km south-east of Coen and lies largely within the Lankelly Adamellite and along its southwest margin. The schistose sheared adamellite contains a little pyrite and arsenopyrite. Quartz reefs are common along the shear zones, and in the south they are up to 5km long and 100m wide. Most of the mullock dump at the Great Northern mine, which lies in the shear zone, consists of a breccia composed of fragments of silicified granite set in a matrix of white quartz; the country rock is sheared Lankelly Adamellite. The quartz and gold were probably deposited from hydrothermal fluids introduced after the rocks were sheared.

In the Blue Mountains,

40km north of Coen, which are not included in the Coen Gold and Mineral Field, gold was mined from some time before 1934 until 1951. The gold occurs in narrow quartz veins in granite. The total recorded production in 1935, 1938-46, and 1948-51 is 33.53kg of gold from 950 tonnes of ore; of this 17.5kg from 593 tonnes came from mines operated by Blue Mountains Gold N.L., principally the Golden Ladder and the Convict. One of the other major producers was the Yarraman mine. No mines were operating in 1967.

A small number of leases have been held in recent years in the Leo Creek area, 30km north-east of Coen, but no production is recorded. In the Nullumbidgee area a few kilometres to the north 3.5 tonnes of ore yielded 0.40kg of gold.

The small Lochinvar Provisional Goldfield on Tadpole Creek, about 18km southwest of Coen, is situated in Kintore Adamellite. The only recorded production is 2.2kg of gold from 50 tonnes of ore in 1904.

Rocky River Gold and Mineral Field

Alluvial gold was discovered in the Rocky River, 32km north-east of Coen, in 1893 by Lakeland. Reef mining began on Neville Creek (location unknown) in 1896 and the field was proclaimed in 1897. Between 1896 and 1901, 951 tonnes of ore yielded 142.64kg of gold. Interest waned in 1901 following the discovery of the Hamilton goldfield, but it revived for a short time in 1910 and 1911 when 57 tonnes of ore yielded 8 77kg of gold. Jack noted that only four people lived on the field in 1914, and there were no returns that year. No mines were located in 1967.

Hayes Creek Provisional Gold Field.

Jack recorded traces of gold in Hayes Creek, 60km northeast of Coen, during his 1880 expedition, and the area was later visited by thingyie and Campbell during a prospecting journey to Lloyd Bay in 1907. Shepherd records that the Hayes Creek field was discovered in 1909, but this probably refers to the start of reef mining on the Golden Gate claim.

Production has been small and spasmodic. In 1909 production from the Golden Gate claim was 37 tonnes of ore which yielded 6.81 kg of gold and a further 1.71 kg on cyanidation. In 1911 production from the field was 3.18 kg of gold from 21 tonnes of ore. Production in 1914 was

1.14kg of reef gold and 0.37kg of alluvial gold. The field was deserted in 1915. Some prospecting continued until 1938, and between 1938 and 1942 some 150 tonnes of ore were crushed for a yield of about 6kg of gold. In the early 1950s small parcels of ore are reported to have yielded between 80 and 120g of gold to the tonne, and one 4-tonne crushing returned 0.2kg of 850-fine gold.

Shepherd noted four sets of workings at the main centre at Buthen Buthen. At the Theodore lease a quartz reef between 30 and 35cm wide was exposed for 65m, with a strike of 140 and dip of 47 to the south-west; the reef contained a little pyrite and arsenopyrite. The 20cm reef on the Diana Lease contained pyrite and a little free gold; on the Campbell and Buthen Buthen leases Shepherd saw only shallow trenches and small shafts. At Companimano Creek, 6km south-south-west of Buthen Buthen, a quartz reef 90cm to 1.2m wide contained gold, galena, pyrite, and arsenopyrite.

The reefs in the Hayes Creek field are situated in a northerly trending shear zone in Kintore Adamellite; the valleys of the Lockhart and Nesbit Rivers follow this zone. In 1964 the valley of the Nesbit River between Buthen Buthen and Kampanjinbano (Companimano?) Creek was investigated as an alluvial gold prospect, and an almost enclosed basin on Leo Creek, 8km southwest of its junction with the Nesbit River, was also tested, but little gold was found.

Wenlock Gold and Mineral Field.

Gold was discovered in 1892 at Retreat Creek, a tributary of the Batavia (Wenlock) River and later at the site of Bairdville. Further prospecting, mainly between 1905 and 1911, disclosed several small alluvial deposits at Downs Gully, Choc-a-block Creek, and other nearby sites. The amount of gold produced up to 1910 has been estimated at 93 kg. In 1910 an aboriginal prospector named Pluto located a large lead at the base of the Mesozoic sediments overlying the Kintore Adamellite; the locality became known as Plutoville and was rushed by miners from Coen and Ebagoola. According to Fisher the early workings covered an area of about 350m2, and consisted of shallow alluvium and small reefs, which were worked to a maximum depth of 5m. Morton mentioned a shallow lead of cemented wash with rich gutters at the workings. Total recorded production from Plutoville is estimated at 190kg of gold. The Main Leader about 5km north-east of Plutoville was discovered in 1922 It consists of a narrow quartz reef with payable gold for over 300m along strike. The discovery became known as Lower Camp and later as Wenlock. Fisher described the Main Leader as a north-westerly trending fissure reef, with a few cymoid loops, which dips at 60 to the south in the north and 35 in the south. In the south it is cut by the Main Reef, a quartz reef over 6m wide.

The average width of the Main Leader is 20cm, and its walls are slickensided. It contains free gold to a depth of at least 100m, or about 30m below the water-table. Connah stated that the Main Leader is composed of quartz with a distinctive white and blue banding, and ranges in thickness from 2 to 45cm. Short rich shoots with a northerly pitch are common, and coarse particles of gold are evenly distributed in the reef, with a few rich local concentrations. Fisher estimated the average grade at about 50g of gold per tonne. The Main Leader occurs in Kintore Adamellite and is overlain by Mesozoic sediments and alluvium. The deep leads at the base of the Mesozoic sediments on the west side of the Main Leader also contain gold. Connah found that the main deep lead was a narrow rich gutter which spread out into a wide drainage channel trending west-south-west.

He has suggested that the extension of the channel beyond the workings is down thrown by a fault trending south-east. This may be the continuation of a post-Cretaceous south-easterly trending fault, downthrown to the west, which was mapped in 1967, 13km south-east of Wenlock. Total production from Lower Camp is estimated at 1089kg.

The Wenlock field was deserted during World War II. The claims along the Main Leader were amalgamated in 1946, but operations ceased again in 1952, partly as a result of flooding in 1950. Prospectors have continued to be active around the field, and in 1964-65 it is reported that 87.09 kg of gold were obtained from 2 tonnes of picked specimen stone.

Gold was first produced from the Claudie River Gold and Mineral Field

in 1933, the field was proclaimed in 1936. The gold was mined at Iron Range, Scrubby Creek, and Packers Creek. Shepherd (1939) gives the total production from 1935 to June 1938 as 17 331kg of gold from 6104 tonnes of ore and 1067 tonnes of tailings. Iron Range produced 13 421kg from 3753 tonnes of ore, Scrubby Creek 33.65kg from 1984 tonnes of ore and 1067 tonnes of tailings, and Packers Creek 544kg from 376 tonnes.

The largest reef, Gordons Iron Range, yielded 1084kg of gold from 2568 tonnes of ore. The average yield from the rest of the field was 162g per tonne. The field closed in 1942 for the duration of the war. A little mining was carried out after 1945, and between 1950 and 1953 the Cape York Development Co. attempted without success to develop a few of the mines at Iron

Range. Total recorded production from the field between 1934 and 1942 is 333.12kg of gold from 17100 tonnes of ore and 3221 tonnes of tailings. Production since the War has been small, but a little gold is still obtained from a mine at Packers Creek. At Iron Range the gold occurs in quartz veins and lodes in schist of the Sefton Metamorphics,

while at Scrubby Creek and Packers Creek the gold-bearing lodes and veins are in the Weymouth Granite. At Iron Range, the deposits are large but low grade in the iron-bearing schist, but small and rich in the adjacent iron-free schist (eg. the Iron Range reef); the reefs occur along fault lines in the schists.

South-east of Iron Range some of the reefs are parallel to the schistosity and others have components both along and across the schistosity; short ore shoots occur where the reefs intersect.

North of Iron Range the lodes, such as the Peninsula Hope and Northern Queen, are composed of crushed sericite schist with quartz stringers. Broadhurst & Rayner suggested that in the primary zone the ore shoots will prove to be lenses of silicified schist impregnated with sulphides, chiefly arsenopyrite. Rayner noted the discovery of a wide body of sulphide ore on the Peninsula Hope lease at Iron Range, and a CSIRO report on the treatment of arsenical gold ore from the Peninsula Hope mine gave the head assay of the ore as 18.2g of gold, 1.8g of silver, 4.4% arsenic, 20 7% iron, 9.79% sulphur, and less than 0.05% copper. The sulphides are arsenopyrite and pyrite, with some altered pyrrhotite and traces of chalcopyrite, sphalerite, and gold. The gold and sulphide minerals at Iron Range may have been introduced by the Kintore Adamellite, as elsewhere in Cape York Peninsula, or by the Weymouth Granite.

Gold was discovered in the Possession Island Gold and Mineral Field

in Torres Strait in 1896, and production began in 1897; Jackson described the mines he visited in 1901. All the workings are near the north-west coast, east and north-east of the monument to Captain Cook. Mining was carried on until 1906 when the leases were abandoned. Attempts were made to reopen the workings in 1919, and again in 1934-35, but without success. Recorded production between 1897 and 1905 is 155.42kg of gold from 7245 tonnes of ore, including some returns for the Horn Island Gold and Mineral Field. Four tonnes of ore yielded 0.09kg of gold in 1919.

Jackson noted that the main workings were located on two almost vertical reefs about 230m apart, which trend south-south-east. The reefs consist of quartz veins, up to several centimetres thick, in a matrix of fractured and altered welded tuft; the veins contain a small quantity of sulphide minerals. Jackson also noted severa1 shafts and small cuts, and records that a sample of ore, composed of vein quartz with galena and pyrite, assayed 57.95 g of gold and 33.9g of silver to the tonne.

Copper-staining associated with limonite has been noted in the chloritized and silicified welded tuff northeast and southwest of the abandoned workings. Northeast of the workings some galena and pyrite have been observed in joints. Alluvial gold was discovered in the eastern part of Horn Island in 1894 and the Horn Island Gold and Mineral Field was proclaimed the same year. Reef mining began in 1895 or 1896 in an area of about 0.5km2, 1km inland from the east coast. The mines are situated in altered and silicified porphyritic microgranite to the south of a stretch of sandy alluvium. Recorded production is 31.07kg of alluvial gold between 1894 and 1896, and 176.67kg of gold from 16 904 tonnes of ore between 1896 and 1900. The recovery of gold declined sharply in 1900, and by 1901 the field was almost deserted.

Most of the reefs are steeply dipping and trend east-southeast or southeast. They consist of closely spaced quartz veins in altered microgranite. Sulphide minerals were found in many of the reefs only 3m below the surface. Pyrite and galena are the most common sulphides, but some of the reefs also contain sphalerite and two contain chalcopyrite. The average yield decreased from 30g per tonne in 1896 to 20g per tonne in 1900. Sporadic production continued on a small scale until 1919, and prospecting went on at intervals until 1966.

Australian Selection Pty Ltd drilled three holes to depths of about 75m in 1963, but did not consider the prospect payable; an ore concentrate assayed in 1961 yielded 750g of gold and 440g of silver per tonne. In 1965 overburden was removed and 120m3 of alluvium were taken for sampling but the results are not known.

A visit to the mines in 1968 revealed a large open cut, probably on the Welcome reef, about 100m long by 50m across, and a smaller open cut, in the vicinity of the Dead Cat claim, with a timbered shaft in the bottom. In the smaller open cut the porphyritic microgranite is yellowish green and intensely altered; it is cut and silicified by numerous quartz veins. The altered rock contains small patches of sulphide minerals. In the larger pit the microgranite is less altered and contains fewer quartz veins; the sulphide minerals occur in small veins. Pyrite and galena are common, and chalcopyrite and a little wolfram(?) were also observed.

Elsewhere, minor amounts of gold are reported to have been won on Hammond Island between 1907 and 1909, and possibly until 1919, and on Thursday Island in the 1930s.

Extract from Bureau of Mineral Resources Bulletin No. 135:

CORDALBA AREA

Mining activity is recorded to the north-west of Cordalba on the southern side of the Burnett River. The area has been a small producer of gold and silver.

History

No official records are available prior to 1933, but it is reported that the Wild Irishman Mine was worked as early as 1883. Mount Ideal, near Cordalba, was prospected about 1895. Most mining activity took place in the 1930s.

Gold

Gold mineralization is recorded from three mines -Wild Irishman, Bull Ant, and Mount Ideal. The Wild Irishman Mine, 13 miles north-west of Cordalba, was first worked about 1883, but was soon abandoned. The lease was taken up again in 1933. The country rock consists of very altered, sheared sediments (Biggenden Beds) with quartz veins, intruded by aplite and granite of probable Permian to Triassic age. The intrusive rocks are sheared. Discontinuous reefs consist of vitreous quartz with minor iron oxide and arsenopyrite. They range in thickness from 18 inches to 2 feet. The reef system is parallel to the Electra Fault and appears to be cut off in depth by a parallel fault. In 1934, 80 tons of ore yielded 51.2oz of gold.

The Bull Ant Mine, 11 miles north-west of Cordalba, was prospected in the late 1890s. The reef consists of quartz and iron oxide; the country rock is sheared sediments (Biggenden Beds) with quartz veins. The mine is on a very wide shear zone. Low gold and silver values are recorded.

Mount Ideal Mine is on the west bank of Woocoo Creek, 2 miles south-west of Cordalba. The reef was probably worked about 1895. The country rock consists of altered sediments (Brooweena Formation) containing masses and veinlets of quartz with pyrite, arsenopyrite, and a little gold. Mineralization is confined to a faulted area of 40 feet by 100 feet. Gold values were found to be associated with siliceous material which formed only a small part of the mineralized zone. No workable ore bodies were located.

THE MUNDUBBERA 1:250 000 SHEET AREA

Three proclaimed mining fields and one provisional mining field lie within the Sheet area. Gold was also found in a number of other areas and some gold deposits were located outside proclaimed fields. Most of the gold was mined from reefs; however, alluvial gold was won from the Hungry Hill -McKonkey Creek -Coonambula area. Except for the lodes of the Cracow area, virtually all the gold occurrences are associated with the granitic rocks of the Permo-Triassic Rawbelle Batholith.

The auriferous quartz reefs occur in these rocks or in the adjacent country rocks. They are largely confined to the eastern and south-eastern parts of the batholith and the nearby Eidsvold Complex. The reefs occur in the less acidic phases, which may represent the oldest parts of the batholith. They do not appear to occur in any preferred structural orientation. Many of the reefs in hornfelsed country rocks are associated with acid or intermediate dykes and occur relatively near the contact with the batholith. Except for the Cracow lodes, the mineralization has been of minor importance.

Cracow Mining Field

Payable gold was discovered in 1931 by C. Lambert and partners, working under an incentive from the Government. Several mining companies operated the field and gold was won from the Golden Plateau, Golden Mile, Roma North, Roses Pride, Golden West, Dawn, Lamberts Surprise, Revival, and Klondyke. All but one mine had closed by the end of 1951. The Golden Plateau mine, operated continuously by Golden Plateau N.L. since 1933, is the only major producer and for many years Golden Plateau and Mount Morgan have been the only important gold producers in Queensland.

The total production to the end of 1972 was 1 453 144 tonnes of ore milled for a yield of 18314.33kg of gold and 19 036.29kg of silver. Average grade is approximately 12 9 per tonne. Annual production figures are listed in thee table.

The gold deposits occur in andesitic volcanics of the Lower Permian Camboon Andesite. The regional strike is north-north-west and the dip 25 west. The volcanics unconformably overlie acid volcanics of the Carboniferous Torsdale Beds which are intruded further to the east by Upper Carboniferous granitic rocks and the Permo-Triassic Rawbelle Batholith. The unconformity is exposed approximately 4km east of the Golden Plateau mine. Rhyolite dykes are associated with some of the gold mineralization; the remainder is localised by fault zones. The age of the dykes and the faulting is not known; however, a Late Permian to Early Triassic age of mineralization is considered most likely.

Although several small lodes have been worked on the Cracow field, gold deposition was confined mainly to the Golden Plateau lode system which Brooks (1965) considered to form a faulted link between the White Hope lode on the west and the Golden Mile lode on the east.

Within the Golden Plateau lode, irregular tabular ore shoots have been mined discontinuously over a length of 693m, a width of up to 15m. and to a depth of 252.5m. The lode system is terminated abruptly on the west by the north-north-west striking Golconda Fault and on the east by a fault of similar strike. These faults were probably initiated prior to ore deposition, but post-ore movement has also taken place.

The gold occurs as gold-silver alloy in a quartz gangue. Primary gold is seldom visible to the naked eye, even in high grade ore. Small quantities of sphalerite, chalcopyrite, pyrite, galena, bornite, and hessite are present.

The Golden Plateau lode is regarded as a hydrothermal replacement deposit. The mineral assemblage and gold fineness suggest that ore deposition took place near the base of the epithermal zone. Ore deposition seems to have been controlled by faults, and in many places appears to be related to rhyolite dykes. Brooks notes that nearly all ore shoots have one wall defined by a fault plane or fault zone. In the eastern section of the mine, ore shoots often occur adjacent to a rhyolite dyke, or they may be confined between a fault and a rhyolite dyke. The mineralization is Post-Lower Permian (Camboon Andesite) and pre-Jurassic ( Precipice Sandstone).

Between 1960 and 1971 diamond drilling by the Queensland Department of Mines on behalf of Golden Plateau N. L. resulted in the discovery of a major oreshoot in the Golden Plateau area and the proving of depth extensions of the main Roses Pride oreshoot. This major oreshoot has been the principal contributor to the production of gold and silver from the Golden Plateau mine since 1965. In 1969 Golden Plateau N. L. deepened the Roses Pride main shaft and drove a level a distance of 208.5m at a depth of 74m to follow up drilling results. In view of the marginal grade of the ore the company did not proceed with production.

Eidsvold Mining Field

Gold was discovered in the Eidsvold area in 1858, but early activity was spasmodic. The first prospectors claim was taken out in late 1886 over an area of land near the wor kings at Eidsvold head station on the north bank of the Burnett River. Initially . the mining activity was centred on Mount Rose ( later Eidsvold) and Craven Town, 5.6km south-west of Mount Rose on the Burnett River. The Eidsvold Goldfield, which included an area of 28.5km centred on Eidsvold, was proclaimed in 1887.

Gold was mined continuously in the field from 1887 to 1914, with the peak production in the period 1893 to 1900. The maximum gold produced in one year was 426.80kg in 1892. With the discovery of payable gold at Cracow in 1931, interest in the Eidsvold field was renewed, and gold was mined intermittently until 1950. The total recorded production between 1886 and 1950 is 3011.91kg of gold from 90 025 tonnes of ore.

The mineralization occurs in the granitic rocks of the Upper Permian to Lower Triassic Eidsvold Complex and in isolated areas within adjacent Lower Permian(?) hornfelsed sediments and volcanics of the Nogo Beds. The gold occurs in quartz reefs. Hydrothermal solutions from the reefs have resulted in the kaolinization of feldspars up to a few metres from the contacts.

The main reefs, Mount Rose, Stockman or Lady Augusta, Craven, and Maid of Erin, are all located in the Mount Rose area, just west of Eidsvold. Rands noted that the majority of reefs strike north-west to north-north-west and dip easterly at angles from 20 to 45 . The reefs consist of quartz and minor associated pyrite, chalcopyrite, and sphalerite (Maid of Erin reef), stibnite and cassiterite (Stockman reef), galena (All Nations reef), molybdenite ( Moonlight reef), and arsenopyrite.

The Mount Rose reef strikes east-north-east and dips 25 south-easterly. Rands reported the reef to average 75 cm in width, and consist of layered quartz, and interbedded clayey material, with the best gold occurring in the quartz.

The Lady Augusta or Stockman reef strikes north-west and dips 22 north-east, with the principal part of the reef dipping 65. Rands noted that the Empress Shaft on the Lady Augusta reef line was sunk to 247m, cutting through the probable extension of the Mount Rose reef at a depth of 119m. The Lady Augusta reef averaged 9 cm in width, but varied at depth from 15 to 20 cm. Generally, the gold occurs in hanging wall leaders in association with quartz and calcite. Rands also noted the occurrence of massive stibnite in a shaft south-east of the Augusta mine (523m due south of the court house and 91m north-east of the outcrop of the Lady Augusta reef).

Rands reported that the north-west-striking and shallow dipping Craven reef has a thickness of 18 to 20 cm and an average gold content of 122g per tonne. The Maid of Erin reef strikes north-west with a north-easterly dip and is approximately 1.2m wide. It contains little quartz and occurs at the contact between granite and diorite. The Lady Minerva reef. striking north-east and dipping approximately 27 south-east has an average width of 8 cm in the underlie shaft. Rands described the Lady Rose reef, which outcrops 362m north of the outcrop of the Mount Rose reef, as a 30 cm wide quartz vein with copper staining in an altered granitic formation within the granite.

During the early years of development of the Eidsvold field, prospecting parties discovered gold occurrences in several adjacent areas. The Queen Bee and Mount Jones prospecting claims were granted in 1887 for areas on the Burnett River, approximately 14.5km north of Eidsvold head station. Considerable development was undertaken, but the only recorded production was that for 1889 when a crushing of 10.16 tonnes of ore yielded 1.41kg of gold.

The Lady Amy claim, approximately 1.2km west of Eidsvold, was located on the line of a fissure in granite marked by a white kaolinized band striking 80 and dipping 15 south. In contact with this kaolinized band is a brown limonitic band up to 1.8m thick, which contains little quartz, but hosts the gold mineralization. A sample from the south-easterly dipping gold bearing formation yielded 4g of gold per tonne.

St John Creek Mining Field

Gold was discovered at St John Creek in 1888. This discovery, at first in alluvium and later in reefs, produced a drift in population from the dwindling Craven Town areas to the St John Creek area. The 5km2 goldfield situated 26km south-west of Eidsvold, was gazetted in 1890.Few reports on the area exist. The two main mines on the field, Perseverence and Burnett Squatter, were worked intermittently between 1888 and 1937. The total recorded production from the field since 1888 is 313.03kg of gold from 15 669 tonnes of ore milled. Peak production was achieved in 1890 when 98.35kg of gold were obtained from milling 7574 tonnes of ore.

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Delights of Egypt Ultra-Deluxe Edition – Egypt Escapes …

The 'Delights of Egypt Ultra-Deluxe Edition' from Egypt Escapes offers the same fantastic opportunity to enjoy a 5-star 'River Nile Cruise & Red Sea Stay but this time with a luxurious finishing touch, for the more discerning traveller. The best cabins on the best Nile Cruise ships will be offered here, combined with an ultra-luxurious option for your Red Sea Stay on the stunning Hurghada Riviera.

We have a wonderful combination of Nile Cruises & Red Sea Hotels available for you, get in touch & we can make your dream holiday for you.

With this deluxe version of our most popular tour you can still follow in the steps of the great Pharaohs! Cruise the legendary River Nile for 7 days on one of our 5-star ultra-deluxe Nile Ships, with full-board basis and opportunities to enjoy sites such as the Valley of the Kings, Abu Simbel & Aswan High Dam. Then spend 7-days in 5-star ultra-deluxe, ultra-all-inclusive comfort with a choice of fine properties on the stunning Red Sea Riviera among the beautiful beaches & reefs.

Return Direct Flights

7-Nt 5-Star Full-Board Ultra-Deluxe River Nile Cruise

7-Nt 5-Star Ultra-All-Inclusive Red Sea Riviera Hotel Stay

Travel winter sun dates for best prices. Please contact us for a bespoke itinerary quote.

Other Options:

Hold luggage optional cost dependent on airline approximately 50 per case for 20kgs.

Choose your own combo from our extra special, ultra-deluxe collection of ships here: MS Alexander The Great, MS Steigenberger Minerva, MS Jaz Jubilee, MS Tarot, MS Nile Azur, MS Blue Shadow, MS Tuya, MS Esmeralda & The Gorgonia Nile Cruise.

Other hotels on the Red Sea Riviera are available including options to stay in Soma Bay, Marsa Alam, El Gouna, Safaga, Sahl Hasheesh or combine a stay in Luxor too.

Full Sightseeing Package during your Nile Cruise Includes (bookable in advance and on the spot): Karnak Temple, Luxor Temple, Valley of the Kings (Tutankhamen), Hatshepsut Temple, Collossi of Memnon, KomOmbo Temple, Khnum Temple in Esna, Philae Temple in Aswan, High Dam of Aswan. English speaking tour guide (Egyptologist) at all tours. All ground transportation by modern A/C vehicles.

No holiday in Egypt is complete without a visit to Cairo, the greatest city in Africa!

From just 149pp you can also add on a trip from Hurghada to Cairo & the famous Pyramids of Giza, one of the '7 Wonders of the Ancient World!' Watch the sun rise on the way to visit the Giza Pyramids & the Great Sphinx. Learn all you need to know about the Pyramids of Giza & Egyptian Museum from your qualified English speaking Egyptologist. Enjoy lunch at a top class restaurant & modern day Cairo shopping opportunities before heading back to your Red Sea Hotel!

Youll depart from your hotel at approx 3am and watch the sun rise as you head by car towards the Giza Pyramids, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, which also includes the Great Sphinx. Your guide is a qualified Egyptologist wholl be bursting with information and ready to answer your questions. Then reflect on your incredible morning over an inclusive lunch in a top class restaurant.

The afternoon is yours to enjoy at a more leisurely pace. Lose yourself in the cool, quiet rooms of the amazing Egyptian Museum containing more than 150,000 incredible exhibits. Wander around the maze of rooms spellbound as you see everything from the golden treasures of Tutankhamun to ancient mummies, statues and more with your guide. Then soak up the real atmosphere of modern-day Egyptian life at Khan El Khalili Bazar and try out your bartering skills. Return to Hurghada at around 11pm.

We have lots of other excursion opportunities available from your Red Sea Riviera base including boat trips to Giftun & Paradise Islands, Quad Biking, Submarine Trips, Jeep Safaris & Aqua Parks!

Alternatives

These are sample itineraries, cruise ships & hotels which can be suited with alternatives depending on the dates you choose to travel. This will be confirmed with you upon enquiry. We have a variety of ships & hotels to choose from so if you would like to discuss alternatives then please give us a call. The options chosen may differ slightly in price.

You can book & secure this special offer holiday with a low deposit & the final balance due 4 weeks prior to travel.

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A list of Caribbean Shipwrecks | Pirate Shipwrecks …

The following is a list of shipwrecks that have been found. Some are old some are new.

Bahamas* SS Sapona a cargo steamer run aground near Bimini during a hurricane in 1926.

Bermuda* Sea Venture grounded off the coast in 1609, subsequently broke up and sank.* Warwick English cargo ship sunk in a gale in Castle Harbor in 1619, discovered in 1967.* San Antonio Portuguese nao wrecked on the west reefs in 1621, discovered in 1960.* Eagle Virginia Company ship wrecked in 1659.* Virginia Merchant Virginia Company ship wrecked in 1661.* Unidentified ship wrecked around 1750, found in 1983, known as the Frenchman wreck.* Unidentified ship wrecked mid-18th century, known as the Manilla wreck.* Hunters Galley wrecked in 1752.* Katherine wrecked in 1763.* Mark Antonio Spanish privateer, wrecked in 1777, discovered early 1960s.* Lord Amherst British armed transport wrecked in 1778.* HMS Cerberus lost at Castle Harbor in 1783.* HMS Pallas ran aground in 1783 off St. Georges Island, wreck has not been identified.* Caesar wrecked on a reef in 1818 en route from England to Baltimore.* Collector wrecked in 1823.* LHerminie French frigate wrecked in 1838.* Unidentified ship wrecked in 1849, believed to be the Minerva though that ship was wrecked in 1795.* Curlew wrecked on the northern reefs in 1856.* Montana American Civil War blockade runner sank in 1863.* Mari Celeste American Civil War blockade runner being piloted by a Bermudian, sank in eight minutes in 1864.* Beaumaris Castle ran aground in 1873.* Minnie Breslauer ran aground in 1873.* Alert fishing sloop sank in 1877.* Kate British steamer wrecked in 1878.* Lartington wrecked in 1879 after just five years of operation.* North Carolina wrecked off West End in 1880.* Darlington wrecked on the Western Reef in 1886.* Richard P. Buck caught fire and sank following a storm in 1889.* Apollo wrecked on the reefs in 1890.* Avenger wrecked on Mills Breakers in 1894.* HMS Vixen scuttled in 1896.* Madiana former Balmoral Castle, built 1877, wrecked 1903* Pollockshields former Herodot, wrecked in 1915 near Elbow Beach.* Blanch King wrecked on the southwest reefs in 1920.* Taunton Norwegian steamer wrecked on the northern reefs in 1920.* Caraquet mail steamer wrecked on the northern barrier reef in 1923.* Zovetto cargo steamer ran aground in 1924, also known as Zovetta or Rita Zovetto.* Mussel Bermudian fishing boat wrecked in 1926.* Cristobal Colon Bermudas largest shipwreck sank in 1936.* Iristo Norwegian steamer also known as Aristo, grounded in 1937 after mistaking the Colon wreck for a ship still underway.* Pelinaion Greek steamer wrecked in 1940.* Constellation made famous in The Deep, sank in 1942.* Colonel William G. Ball wrecked on Mills Breakers in severe weather in 1943.* Wychwood ran aground in 1955, refloated, then sank again.* Elda wrecked in 1956 near the Eagle wreck.* Ramona Canadian ship wrecked in 1967, refloated for salvaging, re-sunk near Dockyard.* King American ship scuttled in 1984, first intentionally-created dive site in Bermuda.* Hermes American ship deliberately scuttled in 1984.* Triton scuttled in 1988 as a dive site.

British Virgin Islands* HMS Astraea a British frigate wrecked off the coast of Anegada on 23 May 1808.* HMS Nymph a British sloop caught fire, foundered and sank in Road Towns harbour in 1783.* RMS Rhone a British packet ship wrecked during a hurricane off the coast of Salt Island on 29 October 1867.

Dominican Republic* Nuestra Seora de Guadalupe a Spanish galleon sunk by hurricane in Samana Bay on 24 August 1724.* Conde de Tolosa a Spanish galleon run aground during a hurricane in Samana Bay on 25 August 1724.* St. George sunk as an artificial reef near La Romana in 1999.* Astron a freighter scuttled just off the coast of Punta Cana.* Monte Cristi Pipe Wreck sunk off the north coast of the Dominican Republic in the later part of the 17th century.* La Viete, French merchant ship, lost on a voyage of reinforcement and supply with a demi-brigade of artillery and infantry, their equipment, and a large shipment of specie (coins), etc. in 1802. This may be the wreck discovered by North Caribbean Research S.A. off Punta Luna. The Punta Luna wreck project is directed by NCRs Rick Berry.

Grenada* Bianca C a passenger ship sunk multiple times before becoming the Caribbeans largest shipwreck, near Grand Anse, in October 1961.

Haiti* Bluenose a Canadian schooner foundered on a reef on 28 January 1946.

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Minerva Reefs : Map (The Full Wiki)

TheMinerva Reefs are a group of reefs located in the Pacific Ocean south of Fiji and Tonga. Thereefs were named after the whaleship Minerva, was wreckedon what became known as South Minerva after setting out from Sydneyin 1829. Many other ships would follow, for example theStrathcona, which was sailing north soon after completionin Auckland in 1914. In both cases most of the crew savedthemselves in whaleboats or rafts and reached the Lau group in Fiji. Ofsome other ships, however, no survivors are known.

TheTuaikaepau ('Slow But Sure'), a Tongan vessel on its wayto New Zealand, became famous when it struck the reefs on 7 July 1962. (This 15 mwooden vessel was built in 1902 at the same yard as theStrathcona). The crew and passengers survived by living inthe remains of a Japanese freighter. There they remained for 3months in miserable circumstances and several of them died. FinallyCaptain Tvita Fifita decided to get help. Without tools, he builta small boat from the wood left over from his ship. With this raft,named Malolelei ('Good Day'), he and a few of the strongercrew members sailed to Fiji in one week.

The reefsgained further notoriety in January 1972 in the Republic ofMinerva 'incident'. Subsequently, on 24February, Tonga laid claimto the Minerva Reefs and annexed them on 15June the same year. The move was recognised by the SouthPacific Forum in September. More recently Fiji has made it clearthat they do not recognize any maritime water claims by Tonga tothe Minerva Reefs under the UNCLOSagreements.

Both North and South Minerva Reefs are used as anchorages by yachtstraveling between New Zealand and Tonga or Fiji. While waiting forfavourable weather for the approximately 800-mile passage to NewZealand, excellent scuba diving, snorkelling, fishing and clammingcan be enjoyed. North Minerva offers the more protected anchorage,with a single, easily negotiated, west-facing pass that offersaccess to the large, calm lagoon with extensive sandy areas. SouthMinerva's shape is similar to an infinity symbol, with its eastern lobepartially open to the ocean on the northern side. Due to the lowerreef and large entrance, the anchorage at South Minerva can berough at high tide if a swell is running. The lagoon also containsnumerous coral heads that must be avoided. While presenting anattractive area to wait out harsh weather occurring farther south,the Minerva reefs are not a good place to be when the weather isbad locally. This does not occur often, but it is important tomaintain awareness of the situation and put to sea ifnecessary.

Scuba diving the outside wall drop-offs at the Minerva Reefs isspectacular due to the superb water clarity and extensive coral,fish and other marine life. There are few suspended particles andthe visibility is normally in excess of 100 feet due to there beingno dry land at high tide. Of particular note are the numerous fancoral formations near the pass at North Minerva and the sharkbowl area located by the narrow dinghy pass on the western lobe ofSouth Minerva. The inside of the lagoon at South Minerva is alsohome to numerous giant clams. Divers at Minerva must be entirelyself sufficient, with their own compressor, and should also beaware that the nearest assistance is a multiple-day boat ride awayin Tonga. Due to the vertical drop off and water clarity, diversmust watch their depth carefully.

The surf that indicates the reef can just be seen in thebackground

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Minerva Reefs : Map (The Full Wiki)

Minerva Reefs | Macronations Wiki | FANDOM powered by Wikia

Republic of MinervaMicronationMotto: Land of the Rising AtollStatusDefunct (now part of Tonga)[1]Membership42Date of foundation19 January 1972LeadershipPresident Morris C Davis, 1972-1973, 1982Organisational structureRepublicLanguageEnglishPurported currencyMinerva Dollar

The Minerva Reefs (Tongan: Ongo Teleki), briefly de-facto independent in 1972 as the Republic of Minerva, are a group of two submerged atolls located in the Pacific Ocean south of Fiji and Tonga. The reefs were named after the whaleship Minerva, was wrecked on what became known as South Minerva after setting out from Sydney in 1829. Many other ships would follow, for example the Strathcona, which was sailing north soon after completion in Auckland in 1914. In both cases most of the crew saved themselves in whaleboats or rafts and reached the Lau Islands in Fiji. Of some other ships, however, no survivors are known.

[2][3]A yacht anchored at South Minerva. The surf that indicates the reef can just be seen in the backgroundBoth North and South Minerva Reefs are used as anchorages by yachts traveling between New Zealand and Tonga or Fiji. While waiting for favourable weather for the approximately 800-mile passage to New Zealand, excellent scuba diving, snorkelling, fishing and clamming can be enjoyed. North Minerva (Tongan: Teleki Tokelau) offers the more protected anchorage, with a single, easily negotiated, west-facing pass that offers access to the large, calm lagoon with extensive sandy areas. South Minerva (Tongan: Teleki Tonga) is in shape similar to an infinity symbol, with its eastern lobe partially open to the ocean on the northern side. Due to the lower reef and large entrance, the anchorage at South Minerva can be rough at high tide if a swell is running. The lagoon also contains numerous coral heads that must be avoided. While presenting an attractive area to wait out harsh weather occurring farther south, the Minerva reefs are not a good place to be when the weather is bad locally. This does not occur often, but it is important to maintain awareness of the situation and put to sea if necessary.

Scuba diving the outside wall drop-offs at the Minerva Reefs is spectacular due to the superb water clarity and extensive coral, fish and other marine life. There are few suspended particles and the visibility is normally in excess of 100 feet due to there being no dry land at high tide. Of particular note are the numerous fan coral formations near the pass at North Minerva and the shark bowl area located by the narrow dinghy pass on the western lobe of South Minerva. The inside of the lagoon at South Minerva is also home to numerous giant clams. Divers at Minerva must be entirely self-sufficient, with their own compressor, and should also be aware that the nearest assistance is a multiple-day boat ride away in Tonga. Due to the vertical drop off and water clarity, divers must watch their depth carefully.

[4][5]Landing on Minerva, years after the confrontation.[6][7]More people walking on Minerva.It is not known when the reefs were first discovered but had been marked on charts as "Nicholson's Shoal" since the late 1820s. Capt H. M. Denham of the HMS Herald surveyed the reefs in 1854 and renamed them after the Australian whaler Minerva which collided with South Minerva Reef on 9 September 1829.[1]

[8][9]The obverse of the 35 Minerva Dollar coin[10][11]The reverse of the 1973 35 Minerva Dollar coinThe Republic of Minerva was a micronation consisting of the Minerva Reefs. It was one of the few modern attempts at creating a sovereign micronation on the reclaimed land of an artificial island in 1972. The architect was Las Vegas real estate millionaire and political activist Michael Oliver, who went on to other similar attempts in the following decade. Lithuanian-born Oliver formed a syndicate, the Ocean Life Research Foundation, which allegedly had some $100,000,000 for the project and had offices in New York and London. They anticipated a libertarian society with "no taxation, welfare, subsidies, or any form of economic interventionism." In addition to tourism and fishing, the economy of the new nation would include light industry and other commerce. According to Glen Raphael, "The chief reason that the Minerva project failed was that the libertarians who were involved did not want to fight for their territory."[2] According to Reason, Minerva has been "more or less reclaimed by the sea".[3]

In 1971, barges loaded with sand arrived from Australia, bringing the reef level above the water and allowing construction of a small tower and flag. The Republic of Minerva issued a declaration of independence on 19 January 1972, in letters to neighboring countries and even created their own currency. In February 1972, Morris C. Davis was elected as Provisional President of the Republic of Minerva.

The declaration of independence, however, was greeted with great suspicion by other countries in the area. A conference of the neighboring states (Australia, New Zealand, Tonga, Fiji, Nauru, Samoa, and territory of Cook Islands) met on 24 February 1972 at which Tonga made a claim over the Minerva Reefs and the rest of the states recognized its claim.

On 15 June 1972, the following proclamation was published in a Tongan government gazette:PROCLAMATION

A Tongan expedition was sent to enforce the claim.[when?] The Republic of Minerva flag was lowered.

Tongas claim was recognized by the South Pacific Forum in September 1972. Meanwhile, Provisional President Davis was fired by founder Michael Oliver and the project collapsed in confusion. Nevertheless, Minerva was referred to in O. T. Nelson's post-apocalyptic children's novel The Girl Who Owned a City, published in 1975, as an example of an invented utopia that the book's protagonists could try to emulate.

In 1982, a group of Americans led again by Morris C. Bud Davis tried to occupy the reefs, but were forced off by Tongan troops after three weeks. In recent years several groups have allegedly sought to re-establish Minerva. No known claimant group since 1982 has made any attempt to take possession of the Minerva Reefs.

In November 2005, Fiji lodged a complaint with the International Seabed Authority concerning Tonga's maritime waters claims surrounding Minerva. Tonga has lodged a counter claim. The Minerva "principality" group also claims to have lodged a counter claim.

In 2005, Fiji has made it clear that they do not recognize any maritime water claims by Tonga to the Minerva Reefs under the UNCLOS agreements. In November 2005, Fiji lodged a complaint with the International Seabed Authority concerning territorial claim over Minerva. Tonga lodged a counter claim, and the Principality of Minerva micronation claimed to have lodged a counter claim. In 2010 the Fijian Navy destroyed navigation lights at the entrance to the lagoon. In late May 2011, they again destroyed navigational equipment installed by Tongans. In early June 2011, two Royal Tongan Navy ships were sent to the Reef to replace the equipment, and to reassert Tonga's claim to the territory. Fijian Navy ships in the vicinity reportedly withdrew as the Tongans approached, leading New Zealand's One News to comment that a military conflict between the two countries had narrowly been averted.[4][5]

[12][13]Minerva ReefsArea: North Reef diameter about 5.6 km (3.5 mi), South Reef diameter of about 4.8 km (3.0 mi). Terrain: two (atolls) on dormant volcanic seamounts.

Both Minerva Reefs are about 435 km (270 mi) southwest of the Tongatapu Group. The atolls are on a common submarine platform from 549 to 1097 meters (1800 to 3600 feet) below the surface of the sea. North Minerva is circular in shape and has a diameter of about 5.6 km (3.5 mi). There is a small sand bar around the atoll, awash at high tide, with a small entrance into the flat lagoon with a somewhat deep harbor. South Minerva is parted into The East Reef and the West Reef, both circular with a diameter of about 4.8 km (3.0 mi). Around both reefs are two small sandy cays, vegetated by low scrub and some trees[dubious discuss]. Several iron towers and platforms are reported to have stood on the atolls, along with an unused light tower on South Minerva, erected by the Americans during World War II.[citation needed]. Geologically, Minervan Reef is of a limestone base formed from uplifted coral formations elevated by now-dormant volcanic activity.

The climate is basically subtropical with a distinct warm period (DecemberApril), during which the temperatures rise above 32C (90F), and a cooler period (MayNovember), with temperatures rarely rising above 27C (80F). The temperature increases from 23C to 27C (74F to 80F), and the annual rainfall is from 170 to 297 centimeters (67-117 in.) as one moves from Cardea in the south to the more northerly islands closer to the Equator. The mean daily humidity is 80%.

[14][15]Sailboat wreck on North Minerva reefThe Tuaikaepau ('Slow But Sure'), a Tongan vessel on its way to New Zealand, became famous when it struck the reefs on 7 July 1962. (This 15 m wooden vessel was built in 1902 at the same yard as the Strathcona). The crew and passengers survived by living in the remains of a Japanese freighter. There they remained for 3 months in miserable circumstances and several of them died. Finally Captain Tvita Fifita decided to get help. Without tools, he built a small boat from the wood left over from his ship. With this raft, named Malolelei ('Good Day'), he and a few of the stronger crew members sailed to Fiji in one week.

The reefs gained further notoriety in January 1972 in the Republic of Minerva 'incident'. Subsequently, on 24 February, Tonga laid claim to the Minerva Reefs and annexed them on 15 June the same year. The move was recognised by the South Pacific Forum in September

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Lau Islands – Wikipedia

Location of the Lau Islands in the Pacific Ocean

The Lau Islands (also called the Lau Group, the Eastern Group, the Eastern Archipelago) of Fiji are situated in the southern Pacific Ocean, just east of the Koro Sea. Of this chain of about sixty islands and islets, about thirty are inhabited. The Lau Group covers a land area of 188 square miles (487 square km), and had a population of 10,683 at the most recent census in 2007. While most of the northern Lau Group are high islands of volcanic origin, those of the south are mostly carbonate low islands.

Administratively the islands belong to Lau Province.

The British explorer James Cook reached Vatoa in 1774. By the time of the discovery of the Ono Group in 1820, the Lau archipelago was the most mapped area of Fiji.

Political unity came late to the Lau Islands. Historically, they comprised three territories: the Northern Lau Islands, the Southern Lau Islands, and the Moala Islands. Around 1855, the renegade Tongan prince Enele Ma'afu conquered the region and established a unified administration. Calling himself the Tui Lau, or King of Lau, he promulgated a constitution and encouraged the establishment of Christian missions. The first missionaries had arrived at Lakeba in 1830, but had been expelled. The Tui Nayau, who had been the nominal overlord of the Lau Islands, became subject to Ma'afu.

The Tui Nayau and Tui Lau titles came into personal union in 1969, when Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara, who had already been installed as Tui Lau in 1963 by the Yavusa Tonga, was also installed as Tui Nayau following the death of his father Ratu Tevita Uluilakeba III in 1966. The title Tui Lau was left vacant from his uncle, Ratu Sir Lala Sukuna, in 1958 as referenced in Mara, The Pacific Way Paper.

The Northern Lau Islands, which extended as far south as Tuvuca, were under the overlordship of Taveuni and paid tribute to the Tui Cakau (Paramount Chief of Cakaudrove). In 1855, however, Ma'afu gained sovereignty over Northern Lau, establishing Lomaloma, on Vanua Balavu, as his capital.

The Southern Lau Islands extended from Ono-i-Lau, in the far south, to as far north as Cicia. They were the traditional chiefdom of the Tui Nayau, but with Ma'afu's conquest in the 1850s, he became subject to Tongan supremacy.

The Moala Islands had closer affiliation with Bau Island and Lomaiviti than with Lau, but Ma'afu's conquest united them with the Lau Islands. They have remained administratively a part of the Lau Province ever since.

Since they lie between Melanesian Fiji and Polynesian Tonga, the Lau Islands are a meeting point of the two cultural spheres. Lauan villages remain very traditional, and the islands' inhabitants are renowned for their wood carving and masi paintings. Lakeba especially was a traditional meeting place between Tongans and Fijians. The south-east trade winds allowed sailors to travel from Tonga to Fiji, but much harder to return. The Lau Island culture became more Fijian rather than Polynesian beginning around 500 BC.[1] However, Tongan influence can still be found in names, language, food, and architecture. Unlike the square-shaped ends characterizing most houses elsewhere in Fiji, Lauan houses tend to be rounded, following the Tongan practice.

In early July 2014, Tonga's Lands Minister, Lord Maafu Tukuiaulahi, revealed a proposal for Tonga to give the disputed Minerva Reefs to Fiji in exchange for the Lau Group.[2] At the time that news of the proposal first broke, it had not yet been discussed with the Lau Provincial Council.[3] Many Lauans have Tongan ancestors and some Tongans have Lauan ancestors; Tonga's Lands Minister is named after Enele Ma'afu, the Tongan Prince who originally claimed parts of Lau for Tonga.[4] Historically, the Minerva Reefs have been part of the fishing grounds belonging to the people of Ono-i-Lau, an island in the Lau Group.[5]

Just off the island of Vanua Balavu at Lomaloma was the Yanuyanu Island Resort, built to encourage tourism in what has been a less accessible area of Fiji, but the small resort failed almost immediately and has been abandoned since the year 2000. An airstrip is located off Malaka village and a port is also located on Vanua Balavu, at Lomaloma. There are guest houses on Vanua Balavu and on Lakeba, the other principal island.

The Lau Islands are the centre of the game of Cricket in Fiji. Cricket is the most popular team sport in Lau, unlike the rest of the country where Rugby and Association Football are preferred. The national team is invariably dominated by Lauan players.

The Lau Islands' most famous son is the late Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara (1920-2004), the Tui Lau, Tui Nayau, Sau ni Vanua (hereditary Paramount Chief of the Lau Islands) and the founding father of modern Fiji who was Prime Minister for most of the period between 1967 and 1992, and President from 1993 to 2000. Other noted Lauans include Ratu Sir Lala Sukuna (1898-1958), who forged embryonic constitutional institutions for Fiji in the years that preceded independence. Other notable Lauans include:

Given its small population, the Lau Islands' contribution to the leadership of Fiji has been disproportionately large.[citation needed]

List of resources about traditional arts and culture of Oceania

Coordinates: 1750S 17840E / 17.833S 178.667E / -17.833; 178.667

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Lau Islands - Wikipedia

Minerva Reefs | Prometheism Transhumanism Post Humanism

August 03, 2017 19:11

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Andaman And Nicobar Islands Blue Seas, Virgin Islands And Colonial Past:- Andaman and Nicobar Islands, located in the Bay of Bengal are known for their scenic beaches, dense forests and adventurous water sports.

Out of the 600 islands in the Bay of Bengal, only around 36 islands are inhabited. The archipelago is divided into two groups of islands the Andaman Islands and the Nicobar Islands. Of these, only 9 islands in the Andaman Islands group are open for tourists.

The sandy beaches form as nesting homes to turtles, animals such as spotted deer, wild boar, gecko, crab-eating macaque and python can be spotted in the 86% area still covered by dense forests.

In Andaman and Nicobar Islands, rains are usually on and off while the other days are mostly sunny. You can visit the Beladaru beach at Batarang Island, if it is sunny. There are many indoor activities to indulge you as well, when it rains.

Other places to visit here are Radhanagar, dolphin resort, Cellular jail and Phoenix Bay Jetty which is quite a sight in the rains.

Summer ( April July ) Summer temperatures range between 24 to 37 degrees Celsius. During this time, all the water sports are open to visitors and it is an excellent time to visit the islands.

Monsoon (July September ) During this time, the temperatures range between 22 to 35 degrees Celsius. July and August witness the maximum visits to the islands. However, in case of heavy rainfall and unpredictable seas, water sports may not be an option.

Winter (October March ) Winters are not severe at all. Weather stays mild and pleasant. Temperatures range between 20 to 30 degrees Celsius.

How To Reach

Andamans can be reached via air and water only, since these are an isolated cluster of islands in the Bay of Bengal along the Eastern coast of India.

Veer Savarkar International Airport in Port Blair is connected via flights to Kolkata and Chennai. Only domestic operators offer flight service to Andaman Islands.

Nearest Airport: Veer Savarkar International Airport (IXZ)

You can reach Port Blair via water from Kolkata, Chennai and Vishakhapatnam only. It takes about 4 days to reach Andamans via cruise.

There are auto-rickshaws and taxis available in Port Blair and on Havelock Island and are the best means to move around. On Havelock Island, you can also rent scooters and motorbikes.

1) Havelock Island

Havelock is one of the most popular islands among the 600 in the region and is the most developed when it comes to tourism. It is a 2-4 hour ferry ride away from Port Blair.

Named after a British general, Havelock Island is the largest island that comprises of Ritchies Archipelago. Havelock is located 57 km north-east of the capital city Port Blair. It consists of 5 villages which are Shyam Nagar, Vijay Nagar, Radha Nagar, Krishna Nagar and Govinda Nagar.

2) Scuba Diving

Andaman and Nicobar Islands is a popular spot for scuba diving among tourists. Most popular island among all the islands for the dives, however, is Havelock. It is an ideal diving destination for everyone, right from a novice to an experienced diver. For non-certified amateur divers, charges start from about INR 3,500 for a 30-minute dive.

Scuba Diving is the most sought after activity on Havelock island. The top agencies which are certified by SSI and PADI and provide scuba facilities are Barefoot Scuba, Doongi Dives, DiveIndia, Andaman Dive Club and Andaman Bubbles. Smaller Dive schools include OceanTribe, Gold India and ScubaLuv.

Andamans, with its clear waters and rich coral reserves, offers a large number of spots for shallow as well as deep dives (up to 55m). The major dive spots are: Pilot Reef (6-18m), Lighthouse (6-20m), Aquarium (12-15m), Elephant Beach (6-25m), Jacksons Bar (20-35m), The Wall (10-55m), Johnnys Gorge (25-30m), Dixons Pinnacle (18-40m), Minerva Ledge (10-18m).

3) Cellular Jail

The Cellular Jail constructed by the Britishers is the old colonial prison situated in Port Blair. The jail complex is now owned by the Government of India and it is recognized as the national memorial monument showcasing the life of prisoners during theBritish period.

The jail narrates the horrifying and darkest period in the history of India. Soon after the Sepoy Mutiny in the year 1857, Britishers began to use the islands of Andaman and Nicobar as the jails to put the independence leaders behind the bars. The secluded islands were chosen due to their distant location from the main parts of the country where the prisoners would be kept in the dark depriving them of the situation in the country and excluding them from the society.

Many of the prisoners died due to inhumane conditions, many were hanged till death and many simply perished.

Open Time: National Memorial: 9:00 AM 12:00 PM, 1:00 PM 4:15 PM (Closed on Mondays)

4) Snorkeling in Andamans

Snorkeling is another popular water sport among tourists. Sea around Havelock Island serves as one of the best sites for snorkeling.

You can see a kaleidoscope of colors underwater with a variety of reef, fishes, turtles, sharks and rays. Snorkeling costs around INR 400-500, and is much cheaper compared to Scuba diving.

5) Ross Island

Ross Island is one of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, about 2 km east of Port Blair. One can see remnants of an opulent past in the ruins of the church, swimming pool and the chief commissioners residence with its huge gardens and grand ballrooms. Managed by the Indian Navy, there is also a cemetery and a small museum.

Ross Island, a few km from Aberdeen jetty at Port Blair, is yet another member of the Andaman group of islands.

6) Neil Island

Neil Island is apparently named after a British soldier, James George Smith Neill, who had sternly dealt with the insurgents during the suppression of the 1857 Mutiny.

The island is located 40 kilometres north-east of Port Blair, the capital of Andaman and Nicobar Islands. It is the southernmost island of Ritchies Archipelago.

Neil quite small compared to Havelock is a place to chill out after the bustle of Havelock Island. You can walk the whole island in about an hour or two.

In Neil there have three good sand beaches. The color of sea water is light blue, dark blue and green. Neil Island is a peaceful island. You can go around to see the natural bridge, beach #8, sitapur beach, ramnagar beach and lakshmanpur beach.

7) Water Sports In Andamans

The Andamans, while great for the peaceful, undisturbed soul-searching vacation that you need, also happen to be a hub for indulging in some killer water sports. Come, soak in the fun!

Activities offered : Water-skiing, Sail boats, Windsurfing, Speed Boats, Snorkeling, Scuba Diving, Para sailing, Water scooters, Row boats, kayaks, paddle boats

Cost of Activity : Starts at Rs. 2000 including equipment, depending upon the kind of activity.

Currents : 55 64 cm/sec

Difficulty Level : Easy-Medium

Nearest Airport : Port Blair

Nearest Port : Port Blair

Region : Bay of Bengal

Time required : 4-5 days if you want to try out all the different sports

Water Temperature : 26-30 degrees Centigrade

Air: It is most convenient to travel to Andaman Islands by air. The airport is situated at the capital city of Port Blair. Regular flights are available to the islands from Chennai, Kolkata and Delhi. One can also get flight from Bhubaneshwar on certain days.

Sea: Another way of reaching these exotic groups of islands is through sea. The regular passenger ship services to Port Blair commence from Chennai, Visakhapatnam and Kolkata with usually 3-4 sailings per months both sides. The complete voyage takes around 50 to 60 hours approximately to reach the final destination.

Things to carry

1) Sunblock

2) Flip Flops

3) Hats

4) Bathing Suits

5) Sunglasses

6) Energy Bars

7) Waterproof camera bags, lenses and battery packs

Safety Tips

Carry a small bottle of water during the day for emergencies. Stretch before participating in water sports. Make sure you choose operators that offer up-to-date safety gear.

General tips

The best time to visit the Andamans is from October to May. It is during this time that the Emerald Isle is at its prettiest, balmiest best. Choose good adventure operators who will provide good equipment.

8) Wandur National Park

Located in the south-western coast of the Andaman Islands, Wandur National Park is a marine life conservation area situated at a distance of 25 km from the capital city of Port Blair. The wildlife sanctuary which is also known as the Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park consists of a group of 12 islands which are situated geographically in a labyrinthine shape and are home to some of the most exquisite marine wildlife in the world.

The national park is a great place to try some snorkeling and diving in the crystal clear water of the islands. The coral reefs are the highlight of the park exhibiting their glorious forms.

The famous islands to visit are Jolly buoy Islands, Redskin Island, Grub Island, Rangat Island, Neil Island and Long Island. The national park can amaze and dazzle everyone visiting especially those who hold wildlife close to their hearts.

Open Time: The first boat trip starts at 8:30am and continues till 10:30am at an interval of 30 minutes. The National Park has only 150 permits for tourist entries distributed on the basis of first-cum-first-serve.

9) Chatham Saw Mill

Chatham Saw Mill is the biggest and the oldest mill across Asia owned by the Forest Department. The mill is also a storehouse for a variety of woods cut into different shapes and sizes.

Open Time: All days of the week except Sunday: 8:30 AM 2:30 PM

10) Corbyns Cove

Corbyns Cove is the nearest beach to Port Blair. It is quite popular among tourists as well as locals.

It serves as an ideal place to just get a good sunset view and laze around. There are quite a few water sports which draw many adventure enthusiasts here.

Open Time: All days of the week: 12:00 AM 12:00 PM

11) Barren Island

Barren Island is located at a distance of 35 kms of Port Blair, the capital city of the Andaman and Nicobar islands. The island is famous as a rare and interesting scuba-diving destination.

12) Viper Island

Years before Cellular Jail was constructed, Viper Island was used by the British to keep the freedom fighters in exile. You can still see the remains of the jail which was built in 1867 by the British.

13) Wandoor Beach

A small village in the southern part of South Andaman, Wandoor is most recognized for its Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park.

The village also has some beaches which are relatively less crowded and offers mesmerizing views. You can combine your trip with a visit to Jolly Buoy or Red Skin Island, where you get to see beautiful corals. Wandoor is easily accessible and is only 1-2 hour bus ride away from Port Blair.

14) Baratang Island

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Minerva Reefs | Prometheism Transhumanism Post Humanism

Minerva | MicroWiki | FANDOM powered by Wikia

The Republic of Minerva was one of the few modern attempts at creating a sovereign micronation on the reclaimed land of an artificial island in 1972.

Landing on Minerva, years after the confrontation.

More people walking on Minerva.

It is not known when the reefs were first discovered but had been marked on charts as "Nicholson's Shoal" since the late 1820s. Capt H. M. Denham of the HMS Herald surveyed the reefs in 1854 and renamed them after the Australian whaler Minerva which collided with South Minerva Reef on 9 September 1829.

In 1971, barges loaded with sand arrived from Australia, bringing the reef level above the water and allowing construction of a small tower and flag. The Republic of Minerva issued a declaration of independence on 19 January 1972, in letters to neighboring countries and even created their own currency. In February 1972, Morris C. Davis was elected as Provisional President of the Republic of Minerva.

The declaration of independence, however, was greeted with great suspicion by other countries in the area. A conference of the neighboring countries (Australia, New Zealand, Tonga, Fiji, Nauru, Samoa, and territory of Cook Islands) met on 24 February 1972 at which Tonga made a claim over the Minerva Reefs and the rest of the states recognized its claim.

On 15 June 1972, the following proclamation was published in a Tongan government gazette:

A Tongan expedition was sent to enforce the claim. Tongas claim was recognized by the South Pacific Forum in September 1972. Meanwhile, Provisional President Davis was fired by founder Michael Oliver and the project collapsed in confusion. Nevertheless, Minerva was referred to in O. T. Nelson's post-apocalyptic children's novel The Girl Who Owned a City, published in 1975, as an example of an invented utopia that the book's protagonists could try to emulate.

In 1982, a group of Americans led again by Morris C. Bud Davis tried to occupy the reefs, but were forced off by Tongan troops after three weeks.

In recent years several groups have allegedly sought to re-establish Minerva.No claimant group has to date made any attempt to take possession of the Minerva Reefs territory.

In November 2005, Fiji lodged a complaint with the International Seabed Authority concerning territorial claim over Minerva.

Tonga has lodged a counter claim. The Minerva "principality" group also claims to have lodged a counter claim.

Minerva Reefs

Area: North Reef diameter about 5.6km, South Reef diameter of about 4.8km.Cities: CapitalPort Victoria.Terrain: 2 island atollsmainly raised coral complexes on dormant volcanic islands.

Both Minerva Reefs are about 435km southwest of the Tongatapu Group.The atolls are on a common submarine platform from 549to1097meters (1800to3600feet) below the surface of the sea. Cardea is circular in shape and has a diameter of about 5.6km. There is a small island around the atoll, with a small entrance into the flat lagoon with a somewhat deep harbor. Aurora is parted into The East Reef and the West Reef, both circular with a diameter of about 4.8km. Around both atolls are two small sandy cays, vegetated by low scrub and some trees. Several iron towers and platforms are reported to stand near the atolls, along with an unused light tower on Aurora, erected by the Americans during World War II. Geologically the Minervan islands are of a limestone base formed from uplifted coral formations elevated by now-dormant volcanic activity.

The climate is basically subtropical with a distinct warm period (DecemberApril), during which the temperatures rise above 32C (90F), and a cooler period (MayNovember), with temperatures rarely rising above 27C (80F). The temperature increases from 23C to 27C (74F to 80F), and the annual rainfall is from 170 to 297 centimeters (67-117 in.) as one moves from Cardea in the south to the more northerly islands closer to the Equator. The mean daily humidity is 80%.

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nzmargarita | South Pacific cruise by catamaran

We arrived at Opua yesterday at 12.30 pm. 5 days from Fiji. Yeah! ( and 23.5 hours). On our way to Auckland now. Just caught the first fush of the trup. A kahawai and a trevally. We have re-stocked the potatoes you know whats for dinner.

Thanks for following this blog. It now goes into recess for its summer vacation. Just like politicians only longer.

Talk to you again next year.

Bruce & Dinah

We are about 100 miles north east of the Bay of Islands and should arrive tomorrow morning. Margarita is rolling along, all possible sail set, in a light northerly. The seas are calm, the moon is full but the water is cold after the spa pool temperatures of Fiji and the tenants are having toilet trouble again. Life is never perfect. Even so we all agree the sailing is rather pleasant. And we will beat that cold front to Opua.

Alls satisfactory onboard.

Da crew

Late on Sunday the wind will switch to the southwest so the race is on to reach Opua before the souwester. The cloud band ahead of the front is slowly advancing and getting lower bringing sense of gloom that could settle over us like a wet blanket if we let it.

Only 296 miles to go and still too fast for fishing.

Alls alright onboard

For the avoidance of doubt we have passed the half way point between Vuda Point and Opua and are due north of Opua. Its all down hill from here folks! The weather continues to be favourable if a little sporty. The days run to noon was 218 miles. Close to our pb of 225. The wind eased and backed a little in the pm and for a while we hoisted the screecher. The crew have their sea legs. Washing has been entertained (or even attempted) and a few rounds of Rummikub have been played. Sadly our speed prevents any fishing. Life is hard! ETA Opua is some time on Sunday.

The situation onboard? Well theres nothing wrong with it.

Within minutes of posting last night the long promised and long anticipated easterly arrived and looks set to speed us South for two more days. The wind has steadily increased to about 25 kts with occasional squalls. With the wind on the beam Margarita is honking along revelling in the fresh conditions and averaging 10 kts for much of today. In the interests of a good nights sleep have just put in the third reef. We are now abeam of the Minerva Reefs and If the forecast holds we will be in Opua on Sunday.

Alls well onboard

Bruce, Shaaron, Martin & Adrian

We continue to motor roughly in the direction of New Zealand snatching the occasional passing zephyr to help out. The promised wind seems to be retreating faster than we advance and our attempts to engage have so far come to nothing. Its still uncomfortably hot. Like the wind the temperature isnt as forecast. Oh well mustnt grumble. Better too little wind and too much heat than the other way round.

Alls well onboard

Da crew

We continue to motor roughly in the direction of New Zealand snatching the occasional passing zephyr to help out. The promised wind seems to be retreating faster than we advance and our attempts to engage have so far come to nothing. Its still uncomfortably hot. Like the wind the temperature isnt as forecast. Oh well mustnt grumble. Better too little wind and too much heat than the other way round.

Alls well onboard

Da crew

With all Fijian bureaucrats and reefs safely navigated we leave our shore crew (Dinah and Alan) to recover our tools from a Chinese interpreter who apparently doesnt understand lend and I must have them back tomorrow morning. Its keeping them from further liver damage while we head south.

We are now 23 miles south of the pass motoring slowly southward into a very gentle south westerly breeze on a calm sea. Tonight, once we are clear of Viti Levu, the wind should swing to the east and we can get moving

Alls well onboard

Martin, Shaaron, Adrian & Bruce

We have left Fiji for New Zealand. Onboard we have Adrian, Martin, Shaaron and me (Bruce). Dinahs flying. The weather is looking good for a quick passage, easterlies most of the way. Heres hoping! Its about 33 C and we are all hanging out for just slightly cooler conditions.

Alls well onboard.

On 30 September Bruces parents, Mary and Leon, were in a crash at their forest farm at Mercer, near Auckland. So sadly, Mary died and Leon was helicoptered to Auckland Hospital. He hung in there for four days, long enough for him to talk to all his children and grandchildren.So on Monday 9 October their joint funeral was held in Auckland. A fitting ceremony full of love and respect for Mary and Leon. We will miss them.Margarita was in Saweni Bay while we waited to get into Vuda Point Marina to fix the broken port engine. To pass the time Bruce had just pulled out the whole wiring system and was was reconfiguring it much more tidily and logically. He managed a temporary repair to get us going again. We worked until midnight to get it done. It was good to have a distraction from the terrible news.Vuda was very helpful when they heard our news. They found us a berth and we tied up there. We were back in Auckland by Sunday afternoon.Still reeling from what had happened we returned to the boat after two weeks.Engine fixed, wiring restored oh so neatly and we headed out to the Yasawas. First stop Navadra where we had a fire on the beach. Grilled crayfish, no less. Hand caught. Locals hand over crayfish, we hand over $25.We met up with Joao from Zazoo and his girlfriend, Kirsty. Good company as usual.On to Somo Somo where we did the walk over the island to snorkel on the sunken Spitfire. The highlight of this trip is always meeting the elderly couple with their traditional thatched hut. We had come to know them well and they used to greet us with warmth. The huts were all locked up and had been for some time. We wish them well.The weather looked a bit dodgy so we are now safely tucked up at Blue Lagoon.Tomorrow Martin arrives to sail with us. On Thursday Shaaron and her husband Allan arrive for the trip back to Vuda. Adrian, the remaining crew member will meet us in Vuda.The weather is definitely turning to summer here. Hot, windy and rain threatening. Time to head home.

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nzmargarita | South Pacific cruise by catamaran

Minerva Reefs – Surfer’s Path

Lat: 23 deg 38S

Long: 178 deg 39W

We are sitting in the middle of the largest contrast any of us have ever experienced. There is no land in sight from horizon to horizon. In fact we had our last sight of land 3 days ago as we sailed away from Tongpatapu, the southernmost port in the kingdom on Tonga. The cabin of Khulula is filled with the sound of wavelets gently lapping against her side, juxtaposed against the muted roar of the Pacific Swell crashing on the reef around us. 3 miles in diameter, Minerva Reef is one of the most remarkable and stunningly beautiful places I have ever seen.

We are 25% of the way to New Zealand, partway through a passage that does not act kindly towards those who dawdle. We had no intention to stop at this place, but are compelled to as gales rage below us (further south). We have 780 miles to go, a mere hop skip and a jump compared to our distance traveled so far (over 6000miles), but this passage demands attention to detail weather and timing details. A daily analysis of the weather systems moving around us, and the careful positioning of our boat in relation to these systems will be the difference between a windy, stormy passage and a cruisy sunny one. Well take the latter, please!

Yesterday morning saw all four of us in the cockpit, watching the distance to Minerva field on the GPS slowly clock down. With nine miles to go, all we could see was deep blue Pacific Ocean. At seven miles to go, we could make out the mast of a boat seemingly sitting among the waves, but with no sail to be seen. At three miles to go we could make out the breakers around the reef and could see a slightly smaller mast next to the original one, also seemingly bobbing up and down on the waves with no sail up. At one mile to go we could see the turquoise center of Minerva Reef, as its associated flat water and perfect sandbank anchorage. The colour of the water was so vivid it looked like it had been Photoshopped.

Approaching a navigational hazard such as Minerva, we are reminded of a realization that we have had on multiple occasions during this voyage. We are WIMPS compared to the seafarers of old. Historically, during the days of wooden ships iron men there were no charts, no weather outlooks, and the sailor were in a boat that does not sail upwind. On many occasions we have adjusted our course in the middle of the night to avoid a reef or shoal, who to us only exists on a paper and electronic chart. We know exactly where we are, and know EXACLTY where the shoal is, as well as how large the shoal is and the best course of action to avoid it. The iron men on those wooden ships would have no idea! Spare a thought for the watch boy, sitting high up in the Crows Nest of a wooden galleon, trying to stay awake on night shift as strains his eyes searching and searching for breakers in the night. If he spots them (assuming no rain, no mist), the captain would have no idea whether it was a small reef, a 50-mile long reef (like Fakarava), or the lee shore of another continent for that matter! Had he come across Minerva Reef, and seen it in time, Captain Cook would not have known whether it was one of hundreds of atolls (like the Tuamotus) or the reality that is is just one of a pair of tiny reefs in the middle of millions of square miles of featureless Pacific Ocean. It is incredible.

We have decided that the seafarers of old were completely and utterly nuts! Here we were, glancing over the bow with trepidation, searching for a reef that we know is directly ahead, and less than 5 miles away! Our GPS gives us our position to within 3 feet, and there is no confusion as to what it what. The historical captain would maybe know his position to within 150 miles, and that is if the sun had been shining recently.

At two miles to go, everything happened at once: We were furling in our headsail (the forwardmost sail on the boat) to slow down and prepare for the transit of the reef pass. In the middle of this job there are sheets and lines (ropes) everywhere, a NZ airforce plane buzzes the atoll and starts demanding that everyone check in over the radio: This is the New Zealand Air Force, please state the name of your vessel, your intended destination, your ETA (if NZ), name of your skipper, number and names of crew, and declare any firearms or pets aboard. Just as other boats started answering, our fishing line got hit by a 30lb yellow fin Tuna WHAM! So here we are, trying to reduce sail, shoot a reef pass in the middle of nowhere, steer the boat, reel in a fantastic Tuna, and answer the call from a large aircraft doing passes just above our head demanding our attention on the VHF radio! Um, sorry for the delay, but we are a LITTLE busy here!! Needless to say, they did not hear a response back from s/v Khulula. All the other boats did check in though, I emailed NZ customs in the evening to file our report!

So, Minerva! Wow, anyone that gets a chance to visit this place should NOT miss out on it. Granted, it is a little out of the way, being 400 miles away from anything with an airport, having no dry land and all that, but IF you find yourself in a sailboat in this area, STOP, it is incredible. With no continents and associated alluvial runoff around, the water is completely absent of fines translation, CRYSTAL CLEAR! Looking over the bow of Khulula, we can see a giant sandbank all around us, 12m down. Sitting in the lagoon in flat water, watching waves explode on the reef around us, with not a scrap of land in sight is an experience none of us will ever forget. Also, as you can imagine, the reef is teeming with life such is the nature of a reef inaccessible to significant amounts of human population.

In the evening we went for a snorkel and scored a wonderful Minerva lobster. Last night we watched an amazing sunset while feasting on Yellow Fin sashimi and garlic steamed lobster tail. We are planning on leaving Minerva tomorrow morning (14th November 2007), and beeline it for NZ. It is time to take the jump. As wonderful as this place is, there are harrowing reminders in the lagoon (in the form of a couple of wrecked sailboats) of the perils of being anchored inside a submerged atoll during a storm. This ocean us unpredictable, and it is prudent to briefly enjoy the wonders of this remote place, and then move on. So, after a weather check in the early am, we begin out 780 mile passage to New Zealand and the end of the 1st year of the OceanGybe expedition. We have a HUGE amount of data to compile, and presentations to prepare, in line with our quest to continue to bring awareness to oceanic garbage.

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Minerva Reefs - Surfer's Path

Can China Be Taken Seriously on its ‘Word’ to Negotiate Disputed Territory? – The Diplomat

Beijing has a habit of signing, and then ignoring, guiding principles on maintaining the status quo in disputed areas.

As the world witnesses the growing threat of a nuclear war on the Korean peninsula, China, which many hope can influence North Korea, is engaged elsewhere in an escalating crisis. China has been embroiled in a border standoff since June 16 in the Doklam area of Bhutan. The conflict started when Peoples Liberation Army (PLA) engineers crossed into Bhutan on June 16, and began construction of a motorable road from Dokola to Jampheri, which houses a Bhutan army camp. In a press release issued by the Bhutan Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the country asserted that such Chinese activities amounted to a direct violation of the agreements and affects the process of demarcating the boundary between our two countries. Bhutan hopes that the status quo in the Doklam area will be maintained as before 16 June 2017.

Significantly, China and Bhutan have no official diplomatic relations; yet both have held several rounds of talks on boundary demarcation and have pledged to resolve their border differences peacefully. In 1988, China and Bhutan signed an agreement on the Guiding Principles and in 1998 they signed an agreement on Maintenance of Peace and Tranquility in the Bhutan-China Border Areas. As per these agreements, both countries committed to resolve the border dispute peacefully through dialogue and consultation, and restrain from any activity that would threaten the peace. Both committed to uphold the status quo and not change either their borders or establish physical presence. In essence, both agreed to uphold their respective border positions established prior to March 1959.

China now asserts that the pledge for peaceful resolution of the boundary dispute with Bhutan is not valid for the Doklam area, as it has historically belonged to China. Chinas foreign Ministry spokesperson, Lu Kang asserted in a press conference in Beijing on June 28 that

Doklam has been a part of China since ancient times. It does not belong to Bhutan, still less India. That is an indisputable fact supported by historical and jurisprudential evidence, and the ground situation. It is utterly unjustifiable if the Indian side wants to make an issue of it. Chinas construction of road in Doklam is an act of sovereignty on its own territory. It is completely justified and lawful, and others have no right to interfere. I would like to stress once again that Bhutan is a world-recognized, independent sovereign state. We hope that all countries can respect Bhutans sovereignty. Although the boundary between China and Bhutan is yet to be demarcated, the two sides have been working on that through peaceful negotiation. Any third party must not and does not have the right to interfere, still less make irresponsible moves or remarks that violate the fact.

While most appear surprised at this sudden Chinese move into Bhutanese territory, an analysis of Chinas past behavior regarding negotiations on disputed territory reveals a clear systematic pattern of engagement.

In its active border and territorial disputes, be it with India over Arunachal Pradesh, or the South China Sea (SCS), or Bhutan, China has favored the signing of guiding principles or agreements to maintain peace and tranquility with the state it is in dispute with. Such a framework, by establishing clear guidelines constrains the negotiating power of the fellow signatory state, blindsiding it to Chinas future plans of sudden aggressive broadcasting of territorial claims.

For example, China and India signed a 2005 agreement on Political Parameters and Guiding Principles for the Settlement of the India-China Boundary Question. The agreements Article IX stated that [p]ending an ultimate settlement of the boundary question, the two sides should strictly respect and observe the line of actual control and work together to maintain peace and tranquillity in the border areas.

Yet, despite this agreement ,which establishes both China and Indias commitment to maintain the status quo and peace at the border, in 2006, the Chinese ambassador to India, Sun Yuxi stated categorically,In our position, the whole of the state of Arunachal Pradesh is Chinese territory. And Tawang is only one of the places in it. We are claiming all of that. That is our position.

This was followed by frequent PLA incursions into the Indian side of the LAC on several occasions, as well as an attempt to set up permanent camps and settlements. These intrusions have been augmented by the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs publishing maps in Chinese passports depicting Arunachal Pradesh and other disputed areas like the South China Sea as Chinese sovereign territory.

A similar pattern of PLA incursions is registered in the China-Bhutan border despite the 1988 and 1998 agreement that commits each side to maintain the status quo pending final resolution. PLA soldiers came up to a Royal Bhutan Army (RBA) outpost at Lharigang in the Charithang valley in 2004 and 2009. Usually the pattern that is followed by China is to construct a version of territorial claim plausibly based on ancient Chinese history, followed by incursions and road building activities. These developments occur despite agreements signed by China to maintain status quo and its commitment to peaceful negotiations.

A similar pattern of Chinese behavior emerges with regard to the South China Sea (SCS) as well. Significantly, China and ASEAN agreed to a framework on a Code of Conduct (CoC) in the SCS in May. The draft CoC commits the parties to resolve the crisis peacefully and avoid placing offensive weapons in the seas islands. In 2002, a Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea was adopted by China and ASEAN. Interestingly, part of the declaration states:

The Parties undertake to exercise self-restraint in the conduct of activities that would complicate or escalate disputes and affect peace and stability including, among others, refraining from action of inhabiting on the presently uninhabited islands, reefs, shoals, cays, and other features and to handle their differences in a constructive manner.

Yet, China is using early presence and facts on the ground to alter territorial claims despite its adoption of the 2002 declaration and establish exclusion zones and zones of military coercion in the SCS. In January 2014, it was discovered that Chinese vessels were dredging white sand onto corals at seven points in the disputed Spratlys, namely; Fiery Cross Reef, Mischief Reef, Gaven Reef, Cuarteron Reef, Subi Reef, South Johnson Reef, and Hughes Reef. Once the artificial islands were built, China followed up with erecting buildings, harbors and airstrips, deploying radar and surveillance, as well as stationing its troops: all activities geared towards establishing ownership and sovereign control over disputed territory.

The Chinese claims SCS on the ground that Chinese ancient mariners discovered the Nansha Islands (now the South China Sea Islands) in the 2nd century B.C., renamed Changsha islandsduring the Tang and Song dynasties (618 A.D to 1279 A.D.). Quoting sources such as the Guangzhou Records by the Jin-dynastys Pei Yuan, China asserts that Chinese fishermen continuously traversed the South China Sea during the Ming and Qing dynasties (1368A.D-1911A.D).

China has strategically preferred to act in ways that go contrary to its signed commitments in the framework agreements. Its act of sending in PLA soldiers and engineers to build roads inside disputed territory in Bhutan, its intrusions across the LAC in India, its building of artificial islands in the SCS, registers a direct violation of its signed commitments in the framework agreements or in its adoption of the 2002 SCS declaration that records its commitment to maintain status quo.

The critical question that emerges is: why does China sign guiding principles and framework agreements with countries with which it has territorial disputes and then violates the commitment to the status quo enshrined therein? It may be an attempt to constrain the behavior of other states, while Beijing nevertheless intends to act contrary to the agreements signed, trotting out ancient history to blindside their counterparts across the undefined borders. The jury may still be out, but the pattern in these three cases reflects Chinas inability to meet its framework agreement commitments, thereby throwing in doubt its seriousness as a reliable negotiator.

Dr. Namrata Goswami is a MINERVA Grantee of the Minerva Initiative awarded by the Office of the U.S. Secretary of Defense. She is also a senior analyst for Wikistrat. She was formerly a research fellow at the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, New Delhi and a senior fellow at the United States Institute of Peace (USIP), Washington, D.C. Dr. Goswami is a recipient of the Fulbright-Nehru Senior Fellowship, 2012-2103. The views expressed here are solely her own.

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Can China Be Taken Seriously on its 'Word' to Negotiate Disputed Territory? - The Diplomat

Andaman And Nicobar Islands – Blue Seas, Virgin Islands And Colonial Past – Andhrawishesh (blog)

August 03, 2017 19:11

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Andaman And Nicobar Islands - Blue Seas, Virgin Islands And Colonial Past:- Andaman and Nicobar Islands, located in the Bay of Bengal are known for their scenic beaches, dense forests and adventurous water sports.

Out of the 600 islands in the Bay of Bengal, only around 36 islands are inhabited. The archipelago is divided into two groups of islands - the Andaman Islands and the Nicobar Islands. Of these, only 9 islands in the Andaman Islands group are open for tourists.

The sandy beaches form as nesting homes to turtles, animals such as spotted deer, wild boar, gecko, crab-eating macaque and python can be spotted in the 86% area still covered by dense forests.

In Andaman and Nicobar Islands, rains are usually on and off while the other days are mostly sunny. You can visit the Beladaru beach at Batarang Island, if it is sunny. There are many indoor activities to indulge you as well, when it rains.

Other places to visit here are Radhanagar, dolphin resort, Cellular jail and Phoenix Bay Jetty which is quite a sight in the rains.

- Summer ( April - July ) Summer temperatures range between 24 to 37 degrees Celsius. During this time, all the water sports are open to visitors and it is an excellent time to visit the islands.

- Monsoon (July - September ) During this time, the temperatures range between 22 to 35 degrees Celsius. July and August witness the maximum visits to the islands. However, in case of heavy rainfall and unpredictable seas, water sports may not be an option.

- Winter (October - March ) Winters are not severe at all. Weather stays mild and pleasant. Temperatures range between 20 to 30 degrees Celsius.

- How To Reach

Andamans can be reached via air and water only, since these are an isolated cluster of islands in the Bay of Bengal along the Eastern coast of India.

Veer Savarkar International Airport in Port Blair is connected via flights to Kolkata and Chennai. Only domestic operators offer flight service to Andaman Islands.

Nearest Airport: Veer Savarkar International Airport (IXZ)

You can reach Port Blair via water from Kolkata, Chennai and Vishakhapatnam only. It takes about 4 days to reach Andamans via cruise.

There are auto-rickshaws and taxis available in Port Blair and on Havelock Island and are the best means to move around. On Havelock Island, you can also rent scooters and motorbikes.

1) Havelock Island

Havelock is one of the most popular islands among the 600 in the region and is the most developed when it comes to tourism. It is a 2-4 hour ferry ride away from Port Blair.

Named after a British general, Havelock Island is the largest island that comprises of Ritchies Archipelago. Havelock is located 57 km north-east of the capital city Port Blair. It consists of 5 villages which are Shyam Nagar, Vijay Nagar, Radha Nagar, Krishna Nagar and Govinda Nagar.

2) Scuba Diving

Andaman and Nicobar Islands is a popular spot for scuba diving among tourists. Most popular island among all the islands for the dives, however, is Havelock. It is an ideal diving destination for everyone, right from a novice to an experienced diver. For non-certified amateur divers, charges start from about INR 3,500 for a 30-minute dive.

Scuba Diving is the most sought after activity on Havelock island. The top agencies which are certified by SSI and PADI and provide scuba facilities are Barefoot Scuba, Doongi Dives, DiveIndia, Andaman Dive Club and Andaman Bubbles. Smaller Dive schools include OceanTribe, Gold India and ScubaLuv.

Andamans, with its clear waters and rich coral reserves, offers a large number of spots for shallow as well as deep dives (up to 55m). The major dive spots are: Pilot Reef (6-18m), Lighthouse (6-20m), Aquarium (12-15m), Elephant Beach (6-25m), Jacksons Bar (20-35m), The Wall (10-55m), Johnnys Gorge (25-30m), Dixon's Pinnacle (18-40m), Minerva Ledge (10-18m).

3) Cellular Jail

The Cellular Jail constructed by the Britishers is the old colonial prison situated in Port Blair. The jail complex is now owned by the Government of India and it is recognized as the national memorial monument showcasing the life of prisoners during theBritish period.

The jail narrates the horrifying and darkest period in the history of India. Soon after the Sepoy Mutiny in the year 1857, Britishers began to use the islands of Andaman and Nicobar as the jails to put the independence leaders behind the bars. The secluded islands were chosen due to their distant location from the main parts of the country where the prisoners would be kept in the dark depriving them of the situation in the country and excluding them from the society.

Many of the prisoners died due to inhumane conditions, many were hanged till death and many simply perished.

- Open Time: National Memorial: 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM, 1:00 PM - 4:15 PM (Closed on Mondays)

4) Snorkeling in Andamans

Snorkeling is another popular water sport among tourists. Sea around Havelock Island serves as one of the best sites for snorkeling.

You can see a kaleidoscope of colors underwater with a variety of reef, fishes, turtles, sharks and rays. Snorkeling costs around INR 400-500, and is much cheaper compared to Scuba diving.

5) Ross Island

Ross Island is one of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, about 2 km east of Port Blair. One can see remnants of an opulent past in the ruins of the church, swimming pool and the chief commissioners residence with its huge gardens and grand ballrooms. Managed by the Indian Navy, there is also a cemetery and a small museum.

Ross Island, a few km from Aberdeen jetty at Port Blair, is yet another member of the Andaman group of islands.

6) Neil Island

Neil Island is apparently named after a British soldier, James George Smith Neill, who had sternly dealt with the insurgents during the suppression of the 1857 Mutiny.

The island is located 40 kilometres north-east of Port Blair, the capital of Andaman and Nicobar Islands. It is the southernmost island of Ritchies Archipelago.

Neil quite small compared to Havelock is a place to chill out after the bustle of Havelock Island. You can walk the whole island in about an hour or two.

In Neil there have three good sand beaches. The color of sea water is light blue, dark blue and green. Neil Island is a peaceful island. You can go around to see the natural bridge, beach #8, sitapur beach, ramnagar beach and lakshmanpur beach.

7) Water Sports In Andamans

The Andamans, while great for the peaceful, undisturbed soul-searching vacation that you need, also happen to be a hub for indulging in some killer water sports. Come, soak in the fun!

Activities offered : Water-skiing, Sail boats, Windsurfing, Speed Boats, Snorkeling, Scuba Diving, Para sailing, Water scooters, Row boats, kayaks, paddle boats

Cost of Activity : Starts at Rs. 2000 including equipment, depending upon the kind of activity.

Currents : 55 - 64 cm/sec

Difficulty Level : Easy-Medium

Nearest Airport : Port Blair

Nearest Port : Port Blair

Region : Bay of Bengal

Time required : 4-5 days if you want to try out all the different sports

Water Temperature : 26-30 degrees Centigrade

Air: It is most convenient to travel to Andaman Islands by air. The airport is situated at the capital city of Port Blair. Regular flights are available to the islands from Chennai, Kolkata and Delhi. One can also get flight from Bhubaneshwar on certain days.

Sea: Another way of reaching these exotic groups of islands is through sea. The regular passenger ship services to Port Blair commence from Chennai, Visakhapatnam and Kolkata with usually 3-4 sailings per months both sides. The complete voyage takes around 50 to 60 hours approximately to reach the final destination.

Things to carry

1) Sunblock

2) Flip Flops

3) Hats

4) Bathing Suits

5) Sunglasses

6) Energy Bars

7) Waterproof camera bags, lenses and battery packs

Safety Tips

Carry a small bottle of water during the day for emergencies. Stretch before participating in water sports. Make sure you choose operators that offer up-to-date safety gear.

General tips

The best time to visit the Andamans is from October to May. It is during this time that the Emerald Isle is at it's prettiest, balmiest best. Choose good adventure operators who will provide good equipment.

8) Wandur National Park

Located in the south-western coast of the Andaman Islands, Wandur National Park is a marine life conservation area situated at a distance of 25 km from the capital city of Port Blair. The wildlife sanctuary which is also known as the Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park consists of a group of 12 islands which are situated geographically in a labyrinthine shape and are home to some of the most exquisite marine wildlife in the world.

The national park is a great place to try some snorkeling and diving in the crystal clear water of the islands. The coral reefs are the highlight of the park exhibiting their glorious forms.

The famous islands to visit are Jolly buoy Islands, Redskin Island, Grub Island, Rangat Island, Neil Island and Long Island. The national park can amaze and dazzle everyone visiting especially those who hold wildlife close to their hearts.

- Open Time: The first boat trip starts at 8:30am and continues till 10:30am at an interval of 30 minutes. The National Park has only 150 permits for tourist entries distributed on the basis of first-cum-first-serve.

9) Chatham Saw Mill

Chatham Saw Mill is the biggest and the oldest mill across Asia owned by the Forest Department. The mill is also a storehouse for a variety of woods cut into different shapes and sizes.

- Open Time: All days of the week except Sunday: 8:30 AM - 2:30 PM

10) Corbyns Cove

Corbyns Cove is the nearest beach to Port Blair. It is quite popular among tourists as well as locals.

It serves as an ideal place to just get a good sunset view and laze around. There are quite a few water sports which draw many adventure enthusiasts here.

- Open Time: All days of the week: 12:00 AM - 12:00 PM

11) Barren Island

Barren Island is located at a distance of 35 kms of Port Blair, the capital city of the Andaman and Nicobar islands. The island is famous as a rare and interesting scuba-diving destination.

12) Viper Island

Years before Cellular Jail was constructed, Viper Island was used by the British to keep the freedom fighters in exile. You can still see the remains of the jail which was built in 1867 by the British.

13) Wandoor Beach

A small village in the southern part of South Andaman, Wandoor is most recognized for its Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park.

The village also has some beaches which are relatively less crowded and offers mesmerizing views. You can combine your trip with a visit to Jolly Buoy or Red Skin Island, where you get to see beautiful corals. Wandoor is easily accessible and is only 1-2 hour bus ride away from Port Blair.

14) Baratang Island

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Andaman And Nicobar Islands - Blue Seas, Virgin Islands And Colonial Past - Andhrawishesh (blog)

Republic of Minerva Tonga – Atlas Obscura

Although many utopian societies seem doomed from the outset, the Republic of Minerva was up against a unique challenge: Creating a libertarian micronation on reclaimed reefs in the Pacific Ocean, when the land already had an owner.

Situated 250 miles from Tonga, the Republic of Minerva was conceived by wealthy Nevada real estate mogul Michael Oliver. According to Oliver, his organization the Ocean Life Research Foundation had raised $100 million to create a utopian society on Pacific reefs. Olivers plan was to create a micro-nation without taxes, welfare or economic intervention, that lived chiefly off of tourism and fishing.

In 1971, Minervas construction began by bringing barges of sand to the reefs to raise them out of the ocean. Oliver then led a conference of neighboring states in which he delcared his intentions, only to find out that Tonga had issued a claim over the land. At that point, Oliver and his organization jumped the gun a little bit. Ignoring other claims to Minerva, Oliver issued a declaration of independence and created a coin currency for his new nation and was all set to launch into his experiment in nation building.

Unfortunately, the King of Tonga did not accept the new countrys legitimacy, and issued a document laying official claim to the reefs. Within months, representatives from Tonga made it clear they were in control of the reefs, and Oliver and his followers left without a fight.

Since that time, a few other groups have tried to set up shop on the islands of Minerva, only to be rebuffed once again by the Tongan government. Almost all of the land brought to the reefs has since been reclaimed by the Pacific Ocean.

See the article here:

Republic of Minerva Tonga - Atlas Obscura

No threat from 6.6 earthquake south of Tonga | Matangi Tonga – Matangi Tonga

Earthquake location near Minerva Reefs in Tonga. 25 February 2017. Source: USGS

An earthquake magnitude 6.6 or 6.9 was felt as a short shake in the Tongan capital at 6:29 am today, February25.

The quake wobbled furniture very briefly in the Matangi Tongaoffice.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center advised that there is no tsunami warning advisory or threat, from the 6.6 earthquake due to the depth at 259 miles. The earthquake was located 439.8 kms south of Nuku'alofa, Tonga at 23.4 south 178.5 west. The area is in Tongan waters near the Minerva Reefs, on the Lau Ridge close to the Tropic ofCapricorn.

Tonga Meteorological Service at 6:46am advised that "Based on information above from the Tonga Geology Seismic Unit and Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre (PTWC), this event is unlikely to affectTonga."

Tonga Met stated that the earthquake was magnitude 6.9 - but appeared to be unsure of thedate:

"Tsunami Advisory: Tsunami No Threat Advice for Tonga No: 1 Issued at 6:46pm on 22 January, 2017 An Earthquake has occurred with these parameters: Origin time: 6:28AM local time on 25 Jan 2017 Coordinates: Lat: 23.38S Lon: 178.63W Depth 436km/266 Miles Magnitude: 6.9 Location: 428KM /266 MILE SOUTHWEST OF NUKUALOFA

The above magnitude is provisional and may be increased or decreased as more seismic data becomesavailable.

Based on information above from the Tonga Geology Seismic Unit and Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre (PTWC), this event is unlikely to affectTonga.

This is the final message for this event unless significant changesoccur.

NEOC Status: The National Emergency Operation Centre (NEOC) is not activated. Normal NEOC contact details apply: General Enquiries: (676) 26340 Issued by: Message authorized by the Tonga Meteorological Service General Enquiries: (676) 35355 Duty Officer: SV/ML"

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No threat from 6.6 earthquake south of Tonga | Matangi Tonga - Matangi Tonga

Balvenie: Magical Moments at Minerva Reef.. November 2016

09 19 November 2016: North Minerva Reef ~ 23 37S 178 54W

Our Passage South from Tonga

There was a mass exodus from Big Mamas anchorage off Pangaimotu Island, Tongatapu on this partly cloudy Wednesday morning in November. Several of us had gathered at Big Mamas the previous evening for the last supper (whoops! we were an hour late as we hadnt changed our clocks to Tongan Summer time, didnt seem worth it for 2 days)

The consensus was unchanged Wednesday and Thursday were the best days to sail to Minerva Reef, 270 miles south. The winds would be out of the south-south-east but light, the swell under a metre, the skies partly cloudy, the moon waxing in the final quarter- ah perfect!

When we got up at 7am the first 3 boats had already left and we could see them slipping out of the pass to the east. A couple more left soon after, they exited via the north pass. When we left at 9.30am we had Randivag in front of us and Windance III behind us, we all went out the western pass. Funny how we all have different tactics to get to the same place! 3 more left in the afternoon, the mass exodus was underway.

Day One was somewhat more lively than expected, funny that, we really should know better by now. The winds were 15 18 knots in front of the beam so we sailed as close to the wind as we could without becoming a submarine, the waves crashed over the bow frequently ~ on a positive note the teak deck got a very thorough water blasting, but the clean stainless steel got thoroughly covered in salt yet again!

Day Two conditions were far more favourable, the wind eased to around 12 knots, much more comfortable and lovely sailing on the wind.

North Minerva Gets Invaded

Just after dawn on Day Three we were amongst the leaders in the procession of yachts arriving, not just the 12 we knew about but more floated in directly from Vavau and the Haapai, it was party time in this very remote paradise. The clouds parted, and daylight exposed this mid ocean masterpiece. North Minerva Reef is like a donut with a little piece nibbled out of the west side to allow entry into the inside ring. You can anchor almost anywhere in here but we all headed up to the Northern end for the best protection for the next few days.

Boats just kept arriving, we peaked at 26, one of the busiest anchorages we had been in for a while. The promised weather window to migrate south was still developing and no one wanted to miss out !! Meanwhile the weather was perfect here while we listened to the reports of gales buffeting northern New Zealand and temperatures of 10c in our homeland. No one was in a hurry to leave this last slice of the tropics!

The Water Has Got Cold!

We dinghied in company with Confidence and Gypsy Heart to the reef entry to snorkel the pass. Definitely something to do in company as you dont want to break down out here alone with the closest land 270 miles away! Jumping overboard took our breath away, the water temperature felt freezing initially but it wasnt so bad once we adjusted to it. We saw live colourful coral, thousands of Sergent-Majors, several white tipped sharks, a brown puffer fish (with a happy looking face on top if you look at the photo again) and several dinner sized fish down in the depths.

One afternoon there was a buzz of activity as we were overflown by the New Zealand Air Force Orion. VHF Channel 16 burst into (official) life as we were all asked to provide our boat names for them. They circled a couple of times, were very friendly and professional, wished us all a safe sail then flew off into the sun. It was reassuring to know we were being watched!

Pizza Delivery in Paradise

The days passed by, a couple of boats left but were replaced by late runners from Tonga. There were 7 boats with children onboard so there was a holiday atmosphere as endless activities were planned to keep them all amused. Michelle on Jade risked total chaos in her galley when she had 8 children making pizza dough one afternoon. Early the next evening Pizza on the Reef delivered piping hot pizzas to the yachts that had pre-ordered, unfortunately we had moved anchorage so missed out. All proceeds were donated to a Kiwi Sanctuary in Whangarei, well done to all the budding pizza chefs!

The snorkelling inside the reef edge was very good and walks on the reef were popular at low tide, especially on the eastern and southern reefs which dried completely. The reef was vast, about 400 metres deep and in places flat and even enough to run along or even ride a bike ~ no we didnt take our bikes ashore!

On the seaward side there were hundreds of indentations along the edge, full of hidey holes for dinner sized fish and lobsters. Those with spear guns would catch enough to feed everyone in a matter of minutes, and were happy to share them around. We had a very good diet of fresh fish and lobster during our stay.

We moved around the inside of the reef as the winds changed direction and ended up enjoying 3 anchorages, it was surprising how different the reef was at low tide in the various spots, great to have time to see it all. We even found the sand cay inside the southern curve, you had to be quick though, it only dried for about 2 hours each low tide.

Is It Really Time To Go?

The promised weather window of a big slow moving high continued to develop although shortened slightly by a mild low that was to follow.

The slower boats in the fleet started to eye up a departure a day before the rest of us so they could arrive into Opua in New Zealands Bay of Islands before the low, this meant however that they would leave Minerva and beat into a 20 knot souwester and 3 metre swell for the first day, the remnants of the big low we were waiting to pass ~ yuk. One boat left and soon after there was a steady trickle heading for the pass. Half the fleet did go and reported a bouncy first night and little gain of their distance to Opua. The rest of us enjoyed another peaceful and calm night in our remote Pacific paradise, the last night at anchor on our amazing voyage ~ what a spot to end it all.

All good things do have to come to an end, this was a major ending for us and 3 other kiwi boats though, we were all on the last leg of our circumnavigation of this huge planet.

Next morning we completed our final preparations for our passage home and lifted anchor at 7.30am. We were the second yacht to exit the pass out of North Minerva that morning, by 11.30am the last had left, peace returned to this outstanding tiny speck in the South Pacific.

There Is Nowhere Else To Stop We Are Going Home

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Balvenie: Magical Moments at Minerva Reef.. November 2016