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