I'm sorry but that guy is an idiot....period.
I have been to both Elizabeth and Middleton Reefs. Either this guy was blind, stupid or just totally unaware that these reefs were there.
Elizabeth Reef has a very small anchorage but the reef opening is clear from the deck
of a small boat in light conditions and should never be attempted in fowl weather
as there will be breakers across the entrance, no matter the wind
direction. No sailor should come within 3 miles of either of these places without keeping a very diligent watch. The seas break on the reef, all the way around on Elizabeth, even in the calmest weather
and can be seen from about 2 miles, easily. The only way that you could run up on these reefs is if your were asleep or totally missed seeing them on your chart (easy enough to do, hundreds of vessels have done it, including commercial
My 1st time there ('87), there was about 20kts of breeze and the entrance was impossible to navigate due to strong current
and breakers across the entrance. In '96 I motored into Elizabeth on a clam day. It was clear that a yacht could get in very big trouble in there. There would be barely enough room for 1 vessel, in 20' of water
, with 10:1 scope
. Even then, there are so many coral
heads in there that a wind
shift may put the vessel in peril during a wind shift. It would also be dangerous to impossible to get out, if conditions deteriorated. That place is a death trap IMO.
I sailed up to Middleton Reef on both occasions. There is a great anchorage there with plenty of swinging room for 4-5 vessels. The sandy area is free of coral
heads and protected from all winds (well, really seas & swell)) except NW. If a NW came up (which is extremely rare there) it is easy to get out. I stayed for 10 days on each visit and experienced winds of 30+kts while at anchor
. The holding is extremly good and the anchorage is in 15-20' (all sand), well protected from swell. It never got uncomfortable there. I would highly recommend Middleton. It is the best diving
, snorkeling and fishing
that I have seen in the world.
Both reefs lie exacly 1/4 mile SW from their charted position. I reported that to British Admarilty in '96 (as has the charter fishing captain
that comes up from Lorde Howle Island).
BTW there are over 300 ship wrecks on Middleton Reef alone. I'm not sure where the 38 number came from.