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lying 133 miles 278° true (W 14 S mag.) of Gardner Island, is a rectangular coral reef, the center of which is in latitude 25° 26' N, longitude 170° 30' W. The reef is about 9 miles long in a westerly direction and about 5 miles wide. It is awash in places and is generally entirely covered by breakers. The bank surrounding eef on which are 10 to 20 fathoms extends from 5 to 10 miles off. A depth of 16 fathoms is reported to lie 60 miles 72° 30' true from Dowsett Reef.
MARO REEF, lying about 10 miles northwestward of Dowsett Reef, is also rectangular, its center being in latitude 25° 29' N, longitude 170° 35' W. The reef is about 9 miles long in a westerly direction and about 5 miles wide. It is generally covered with breakers, the heaviest being near the northwesterly end. The reef is nearly surrounded by a bar on which are soundings of from 10 to 30 fathoms, extending from 2 to 7 miles off, and deepening gradually from the reef. Both Dowsett and Maro Reefs should be approached with caution, the breakers at times being very light and scarcely distinguishable from whitecaps.
LAYSAN ISLAND is a small, low island lying about 65 miles 280° true (
WYS, mag.) of Maro Reef, in latitude 25° 42' 14" N, longitude 171° 44' 06" W. The island is about 134 miles long, 1 mile wide, 55 feet high, and covered with scrub. Near the center of the island there is a saltwater lagoon about 1 mile long. Water of tolerable quality may be obtained from shallow wells, and sea fowl, eggs, and fish are abundant. The island is surrounded by a fringing reef from 100 to 500 yards in extent, outside of which is a bank about 6 miles wide, with from 14 to 60 fathoms, beyond which the water deepens rapidly. No dangers exist beyond the line of breakers. Inside the fringing reef there is a narrow boat passage nearly around the island, with an opening on the west side large enough to admit the passage of lighters to the landing. Vessels can only visit this island with safety between the months of April and September, when the northeast trades prevail.
ANCHORAGE may be found anywhere on the westerly side of the island, about 2 mile offshore, in 8 to 12 fathoms, rocky bottom. The holding ground is poor.
CURRENT. — The current appears to set northward and westward. Close to the island the current is affected by tidal action. The wind has a strong effect on the current, and with a sudden change the current may shift almost as quickly.
LISIANSKY ISLAND is a small, low coral island lying about 117 miles 279o true (W YS mag.) of Laysan Island, in latitude 26° 00' N, longitude 173° 50' W. The island is about 1 mile long, y mile wide, 44 feet high, and overgrown with bushes. Brackish water, barely drinkable, may be obtained by digging a few feet, and birds, fish, and turtle are abundant. The island is encircled by a reef, which, on the westerly side, forms a lagoon 292 miles wide in which there is good anchorage in from 3 to 6 fathoms. The island should be visited only between the months of April and September, inclusive. The principal entrance to the lagoon is marked by two heavy breakers bearing north and south from each other, 34 mile apart, and about 2 miles westward of the island. Between these two breakers are several small rocks awash, which may be avoided by conning from aloft. Inside the lagoon are a number of scattered rocks, but as the water is smooth they are easily avoided. The best anchorage for vessels drawing 13 feet or less is 14 mile offshore, in 3 fathoms, sandy bottom. The approach should be made from northward. When about 5 miles distant from the island, depths of 18 to 20 fathoms will be found, with large coral bowlders on the bottom distinctly visible. Steer westward skirting the edge of the reef, which at this point is a fairly continuous coral ledge, until the south end of the island bears 96o true (E 42 N mag.), when the entrance, heretofore described as being marked by two heavy breakers, having a depth of 4 fathoms, will be plainly visible.
Neva Shoal is a dangerous reef lying 192 miles east-southeastward of the southeasterly end of the island. A submerged rock, marked by breakers, is reported to lie 272 miles 244° true (SW 34 W mag.) of the southwesterly end of the island. Lisiansky Island is surrounded by the usual bank, with no outlying dangers, to a distance of 5 or 6 miles, except southward and eastward, in which direction a dangerous bank, covered with sand and coral reefs, extends about 30 miles. In 1900 a vessel struck at a point 12 miles southeastward of the island and remained entangled 14 days by the reefs and shoals. Vessels should give the island a wide berth when passing southward of it.
TIDES.-The rise and fall of the tide is about 1.5 feet, much influenced by the winds.
CURRENT.-During the winter months strong northwesterly currents prevail.
PEARL AND. HERMES REEF, lying about 155 miles 315o true (NW by. W mag.) of Lisiansky Island, is an extensive atoll about 40 miles in circumference, 16 miles long in an easterly direction, and 9 miles wide, on which are scattered 12 small, low islands and islets, forming a crescent open northwestward. Southeast Island is in latitude 27° 48' N, longitude 175° 51' W. There is an entrance to the lagoon on the northwesterly side, through which there is 1 to 6 feet with numerous coral heads. Inside the lagoon there is an anchorage in 3 to 15 fathoms, but the islands can not be approached within 2 miles. The largest island bears 119o true (ESE 38 E mag.) from the entrance and is covered with grass and low trees.
. There is a boat entrance to the lagoon, south of Southeast Island. Vessels can anchor outside the reef, on the northwesterly side near the entrance, in 8 to 12 fathoms, or on the easterly side of the reef. There is shoal water 2 mile from the head of the bight on the easterly side, 9 fathoms being the depth reported. On the westerly side the bottom slopes off gradually to 35 fathoms and then deepens very suddenly. There are no known dangers outside the breakers. Turtle and fish are abundant.
CURRENT.—The current appears to set northward between Lisiansky Island and Pearl and Hermes Reef,
GAMBIA BANK, lying about 35 miles 293° true (WNW 7 W mag.) of Pearl and Hermes Reef, in latitude 28° 07' N, longitude 176° 38' W, has 14 fathoms over it and the bottom can be plainly seen.
MIDWAY ISLANDS is a circular atoll about 6 miles in diameter, inclosing two islands. The narrow encircling reef is about 5 feet high in places, and is almost continuous, except on the westerly side from its northwest end to Seward Roads. On this side is a flat, near the westerly edge of which are North Breakers and Middle Ground, which break continually. The whole of the barrier reef is fairly steep-to and should be given a wide berth at night.
Eastern Island, at the southeast end of the reef, is 1/4 miles long, 6 to 12 feet high, and covered with trees, shrubbery, and coarse grass. It has a white sand beach, except its eastern point, which is coral rock. A group of ironwood trees about /4 mile from the east shore of the island is quite prominent.
Sand Island, on the southerly side of the reef, is 134 miles long and composed of white coral sand. It has a greatest elevation of 43 feet in its northerly part. On the north side are the buildings of the cable station, and on the summit of the island is Midway Islands Light, in latitude 28° 13' 15'' N, longitude 177° 21' 30'' W.
Welles Harbor is the gap in the barrier reef on the west side of the atoll, and is safe in the summer, when the northeast trades blow steadily. From October to April gales are of frequent occurrence, with always a rough westerly sea and the bar breaking almost constantly. The entrance and harbor are of coral formation, and there are numerous coral reefs and heads, which rise abruptly a few feet above the surrounding sandy bottom. Inside the reefs there is a bar of rocks and bowiders, with depths of 12 to 17 feet, which is dangerous in westerly and southwesterly weather. The deepest draft entering the harbor is about 17 feet, but a pilot is needed when vessels draw over 15 feet. The northern side of the entrance to Welles Harbor is marked by North Breakers, a reef awash at low water, on which the sea always breaks; 12 mile northward of it is Middle Ground, on which the sea generally breaks. The entrance is 12 mile wide between North Breakers and the cays on the reef forming the southern side, but its navigable width is much reduced by shoals on either side.
RANGES.Seward Roads range beacons, on sand dunes on the southerly part of Sand Island, lead through Sewards Roads on a 142o true (SE 4 E mag.) course to the bar, where the range intersects the Welles Harbor range. The range leads only 100 feet from the end of the shoal surrounding North Breakers, and care should be taken to go nothing northward of it when passing the shoal. It is also well to keep a little southward of the range on approaching the bar until on the Welles Harbor range. The front beacon is a black circular, slatted day mark. The rear beacon is a black pole with two boards crossed windmill fashion. Welles Harbor range beacons, on the northerly part of Sand Island, lead in the best water across the bar and through Welles Harbor to the black and white perpendicularly striped buoy nearly 38 mile inside the bar, course 115° 30' true (ESE 24 E mag.). A spot with 15 feet over it lies in Seward Roads on the range line, with the right tangent of the outer
reef on the south side of the entrance bearing about 200o true (S 7 W mag.), and there are numerous shoal spots and foul ground southward of the range to the reef. The front beacon is a white wooden triangle, apex up, located on the southerly edge of a sand dune. the rear range is Midway Islands Light structure, consisting of a white house with red roof and white mast, located on the summit of Sand Island.
CABLE.—The cable between San Francisco, Honolulu, Guam, and Manila touches at Midway Islands. To avoid following the cables in Seward Roads, vessels should anchor northward and not within 200 yards of the Welles Harbor range line.
ANCHORAGE.—The anchorage with the best swinging room is in the middle of the basin northeast of the striped buoy. This is exposed to westerly weather. The bottom in Welles Harbor is sand, except where otherwise marked on the chart, and is poor holding ground. The best and most convenient anchorage to the landing, which is on the north side of Sand Island, is in the middle of the basin in the eastern part of the harbor, a little over | mile westward from the northwest end of Sand Island, in 434 fathoms. There is scant swinging room for a vessel of
size. OUTSIDE ANCHORAGES.-In Seward Roads, outside the bar of Welles Harbor, there is good anchorage in favorable weather in 442 to 5 fathoms, picking out a sandy spot to drop the anchor. Outside of North Breakers anchorage can be selected in 6 to 12 fathoms, choosing any one of the numerous sandy spots, the bottom anywhere about the island being visible up to io fathoms. To avoid the cables, keep the south end of North Breakers bearing eastward and southward of 90° true (E78 N mag.). A good anchorage is on the entrance range, in 9 or 10 fathoms, when North Breakers is in range with the lighthouse. Anchorage can be had in other places outside the atoll. The best, so far as bottom is concerned, is southward of the west end of Eastern Island, where a good place to drop the anchor can be chosen by inspection of the bottom. With a smooth sea there is a boat passage, with a depth of 5 feet, through the reef westward of Eastern Island, and a depth of 5 to 10 feet, thence to the northeast end of Sand Island.
SUPPLIES.—Water can be had on Sand Island.
WINDS.—During the summer months the winds are generally variable and light, either from northeast, southeast, or southwest until about the middle of July, when fresh to strong northeast trades set in and continue through July and August. Southwest winds are always accompanied with a low barometer and rain and squalls, but rain also occasionally comes with northeast and southeast winds and a high barometer. Northwest winds following southwest storms ger.erally indicate clearing weather. During the winter months, from October to April, gales frequently occur, working around from southeast through southwest to northwest, with occasionally a few days of fine weather, but always a rough westerly sea.
TIDES.—The mean range of tide at Midway Islands is 0.9 foot. CURRENTS.—There is generally little current in Welles Harbor; what little there is usually setting westward. It is reported that during heavy gales the harbor is full of strong currents, caused by the sea being forced over the reefs. The current outside generally sets northward on either side of the atoll, and with the ebb tide it slackens and sometimes reverses.
DIRECTIONS.—The encircling reef is steep-to on all sides, and there are no outlying dangers. There is shoaler water, however, off the northwest side and less to mark it in that locality, and that portion should be approached with caution. The structures on Sand Island may be seen about 12 miles under favorable conditions. The islands should never be approached at night. In Welles Harbor the best guide in general is the coral heads, which, except in cloudy weather, can be easily seen, showing as dark purple against the bright blue or green of the sand, and they are always steep-to.
Approaching the entrance through Seward Roads, be guided by the ranges (see the description preceding), keeping southward of the Seward Roads range to avoid the shoal making off from North Breakers and northward of the Welles Harbor range to clear the 15-foot spot on the range and the broken ground, making off from the reef on the south side of the entrance. Crossing the bar, keep close on the Welles Harbor range, as the channel is less than 200 feet wide between spots with 12 and 16 feet over them.. Continue on the range, course 115° 30' true (ESE 34 E mag.), and when about 14 mile inside the bar pass between two coral heads with 12 and 14 feet and a channel 200 feet wide between them. After passing these heads and up
with the black and white perpendicularly striped can buoy, stand northeastward to the anchorage. Or, when nearly up with the can buoy, turn southward and pass between the Hook (à large coral patch, from which a shoal extends about 200 feet) and the cresent-shaped shoal, which generally shows up as a good mark. Then haul eastward and steer for the rear beacon of the Welles Harbor range, course 109° true (E 34 S mag.). Pass northward of several small coral heads (least depth 11 feet), and anchor near the last range, near the middle of the basin, in 4% fathoms, sandy bottom.
Bank near Midway Islands.-In 1899 a bank with 82 fathoms over it was discovered 35 miles southwestward of Midway Islands, in latitude 27° 58' N., longitude 177° 55' W.
OCEAN (CURE) ISLAND, lying about 56 miles 280o true (W mag.), of Midway Islands, in . latitude 28° 25' N., longitude 178° 25' W., is an atoll closely resembling Midway Islands in both formation and appearance. The atoll is about 15 miles in circumference, is somewhat oval in shape, and incloses a lagoon, the entrance of which is about 1 mile wide. This entrance is on the southwesterly side and is shallow. No dangers have been observed outside the reef.
Green Island, in the southeasterly part of the lagoon, is about 20 feet high, covered with small shrubs, and similar to Eastern Island, of the Midway Islands. Westward of it are two small sand islets. The westerly one is the largest, and is about 10 feet high. with 20 to 30 fathoms surrounds the island and extends offshore about 1 mile. The best anchorage is on the westerly side, near the northwesterly point of the breakers, in 8 to 12 fathoms, rocky bottom. From the appearance of the islands it may be assumed that they are sometimes visited by severe storms, the sand being thrown into numerous cones and pyramids. A bank (position doubtful) is placed on the charts in latitude 30° 55' N., longitude 177° 30' E. The chart gives a depth of 42 fathoms. In 1901 and 1902 this position was sounded over, and no bottom was found at 100 fathoms.