Passage to South Africa 2017 - Other Anchorages


6.1  Juan de Nova Island (17°03.3S, 042°43.6E)

Juan De Nova -  (also Saint-Christophe, French: locally Île Juan de Nova or officially Île Juan da Nova) is a 4.4 km² low, flat, tropical island in the narrowest part of the Mozambique Channel, about one-third of the way between Madagascar and Mozambique. Anchorage is possible off the northeast of the island which also has a 1,300-metre-long airstrip.

Administratively, the island is one of the Scattered islands in the Indian Ocean, a district of the French Southern and Antarctic Lands.

Juan de Nova, about six kilometres long and 1.6km at its widest, is a nature reserve surrounded by reefs which enclose an area (not a true lagoon like in an atoll) of roughly 40 km². Forests, mainly of Casuarinaceae, cover about half the island. Large numbers of terns (Sterna fuscata) breed there from November to March. Turtles nest in the beaches around the island.

The island is named after João da Nova, a Galician admiral in the service of Portugal who came across the island in 1501. It has been a French possession since 1897. Guano (phosphate) deposits were exploited from the start of the 20th century until 1970. The island was abandoned during World War II and was visited by German submariners. Installations, including a hangar, rail lines, houses and a jetty are in ruins.

Juan de Nova, with an Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of 61,050 km², is claimed by Madagascar. The island is garrisoned by French troops from Reunion and has a meteorological station (Saint-Christophe).

Juan de Nova, in the sea route between South Africa and the northern tip of Madagascar, is affected by strong currents, and has become the site of numerous wrecks. Most visible are the remains of the SS Tottenham which ran onto the southern fringing reef in 1911. 

6.2  Bassas Da India (21 26.70S 039 42.50E)

Bassas Da India

2017 Blue Sky - Anchored here for a SW blow at 21 26.70S 039 42.50E.  Good anchorage, good snorkelling.  Strong currents. - The enclosed lagoon is full of coral heads and the small coral atoll at the north end (that covers at high tide) is the most prominant section of the reef and has a very old, large anchor on it. A narrow boat passage leads into the lagoon around 1M south of the northernmost point of the reef. The outer edge of Bassas da India has a very steep drop-off - a diver's paradise.

It is possible to anchor off the easternmost point of the atoll in calm conditions but, be aware that the tide sets at about 1 knot across this side of the reef.

Bassas da India is a small submerged atoll-like reef, located almost in the centre of the Mozambique Channel, situated around 110 km northwest from Île Europa and 385 km west from the eastern coast of Madagascar.

The reef is largely submerged, but at low tide emerges from the water to a height of 1-2 m. In addition there are a few rocks that are usually above water at all times — these being the only emergent parts of this reef-capped seamount that rises steeply from the seabed 3,000 m below. The reef rim averages around 100 m across and completley encloses a shallow lagoon that has a maximum depth of 15 m.

6.3  Europa Island (22°22.0S 40°21.8E)

Ile Europa - a 28 km² low-lying tropical island in the Mozambique Channel, about a third of the way from southern Madagascar to southern Mozambique. It has 22.2 kilometres of coastline, but no ports or harbours. Anchorage is possible offshore. The airstrip is 1,500 metres long.

The island is surrounded by coral beaches and a fringing reef and encloses a mangrove lagoon of around 9 km². Its vegetation also consists of dry forest, scrub, euphorbia and the remains of a sisal plantation.

Europa Island is a nature reserve and host to migratory seabirds. It is one of the world's largest nesting sites for green turtles (Chelonia mydas). It is also home to goats introduced by settlers in the late 18th century.

The island takes its name from the British ship Europa, which visited it in 1774. It has been a possession of France since 1897, but is also claimed by Madagascar. Ruins and graves on Europa island attest to several attempts at settlement from the 1860s to the 1920s.

Its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) is contiguous with that of Bassas da India, is 127,300 km². The island, garrisoned by a detachment from Réunion, has a meteorological station and is visited by scientists. Europa though uninhabited is formally part of the "Îles Eparses" district (Scattered Islands) of the TAAF (Terres Australes et Antarctiques Françaises) administrative region.

You are welcome to go ashore to the met station (with passports in hand) on the strict understanding that you cannot be supplied with water, food or medicines.

There is anchorage with shelter from the southerly winds north of the island, off the only visible building ashore (meteoroligical station). Anchor beyond the fringing reef in 5 to 6 meters on sand, among patches of coral. The anchorage is only really comfortable in calm weather