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Old 28-11-2008, 18:21   #1
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New Caledonia -> Aus : Uncharted Reef

Hi Guys,

FYI a yacht hit a uncharted reef about 29nm South of Bellona Reef.

The coords are at : 22'22"00 S and 159'22"00 E

If you are sailing around these waters watch out for it. Full news article is at : Yacht wrecked during reef rescue - 23 Nov 2008 - NZ Herald: New Zealand National news

and also at : Dream home smashed on uncharted reef - New Zealand's source for World News on Stuff.co.nz

Regards

-Al
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Old 28-11-2008, 18:56   #2
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With the entire planet being photographed by satellites probably many times over, how can there be unknown reefs? I'm not disputing what you say at all, but how can this be?
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Old 28-11-2008, 19:24   #3
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According to another thread on this forum the reef is apparently quite well charted, Chesterfield Reef. Never been in that part of the ocean but according to members from Down Under it is a huge, very well known reef but I guess not to the gentlemen on this particular boat.
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Old 28-11-2008, 21:35   #4
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not on chart int 602

Quote:
Originally Posted by skipmac View Post
According to another thread on this forum the reef is apparently quite well charted, Chesterfield Reef.
So, being that I often sail on this route, I re-checked and find that in fact there are no reefs shown on the appropriate oceanic chart at the quoted coordinates. The area is known as the Nova Bank, and shows a minimum depth of 22 metres. It is not beyond possibility that there is an isolated small bommie that has escaped notice, but it is a bit surprising considering the fishing activity that has covered this area for years.

The Chesterfield reef system is at approximately 20 S and 158d 20m E, some 170 miles NNW of the "uncharted" reef.
(We have enjoyed stopping at Chesterfield and can verify that it is at its charted position!).

One hopes that the hydrographic folks check this one out!

Jim and Ann, s/v Insatiable II lying Gladstone Qld Oz
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Old 29-11-2008, 12:12   #5
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Arrow

I surprised me too at the thought of a uncharted reef. But as mentioned it is actually a charted one.

I just got the exact coords from a very reliable source and they are:

21"22.258 S
159"22.560 E

They plot on a small part of Bellona Reef (Southern Part of Chesterfield).

Jim I have ALWAYS wanted to go to Chesterfield. If ever you need crew let me know. I will happily pay my way.

In fact while we are on the subject have you got any photos?

-Al
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Old 29-11-2008, 13:08   #6
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uncharted reef id'ed

Big Al:

Thanks for the new coordinates -- I feel much better now! If they are accurate, the reef in question is called Recief Desmazure, and clearly appears on BA chart 4634, and, I am sure, on the French chart of the Bellona reef complex.
There are quite a few other reefs in the area -- a place to be avoided or approached VERY carefully!

This is just one of a series of groundings on "uncharted" reefs that have happened over the past few months (and years). My guess is that cruisers are relying on some manner of electronic charting, and either do not have detailed charts of the reef systems, or don't bother to zoom in along their proposed route. As you have likely noticed, one difficulty with vector charts is that you loose detail as you zoom out, and small features (like isolated small reefs) just disappear. I think we may be seeing a form of marine Darwinism in action...

As to Chesterfield, it is a delightful spot in tradewind conditions: a well protected (if windy) anchorage, very clear water, bazillions of birds (three sorts of Boobies, noddies, crested terns, frigates large and small, and others that I couldn't identify. Many are nesting, so care is required to not disturb them, but the chicks are soooo cute!

The little sand cays that you anchor behind look just like all the other sand cays in the Pacific, so that most of the photos we took were of birds.

Cheers, and thanks again for setting us straight on the location.

Jim and Ann, s/v Insatiable II lying Gladstone Qld Oz
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Old 29-11-2008, 13:17   #7
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...My guess is that cruisers are relying on some manner of electronic charting...

That opinion may be supported by this news item on Noonsite, wherein C-Map are giving a warning of some shortcomings in their coverage of the region.

Noonsite: C-MAP MAX Chart Products – Alert for NE Australia
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Old 21-10-2010, 22:22   #8
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I met the gentlemen whose yacht was lost in Bundaberg in 2008. The story they told me was that the reef was indeed present on the paper charts but not on the electronic chart they were using.

Jim Cate is correct in that electronic vector charts lose their focus when viewed at a small scale. I always follow the route at as large a scale as is supported, from beginning to end, just in case I have missed something when plotting the route at a small scale.

I do think the "evolution in action" comment was uncalled for. These men lost a beautiful and expensive yacht and yes, it's a tough lesson from them, and one we can learn from; but a little sympathy might also be in order. It's easy to crack wise from a distance.

Jeff
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