Vatu Vara Fiji Island

Posted: September 24, 2010 in Places
Tags: , , , ,

Vatu Vara Island lies in the northwest sector of Fiji’s northern Lau Group of islands, 32km west of Mago Island and some 60 km south-west of Vanua Balavu at Lat: 17° 26’00 S Long: 179° 31’00 W.

The island is 3km in diameter at the base of its 305 m high summit and is also referred to as “Hat Island” due to the summit’s shape. The limestone cliffs, some 60 meters in height, of the guyot and the rest of the island are covered in dense tropical jungle.

vatu vara fiji island01 Vatu Vara Fiji Island

The volcanic and limestone island is nearly 2 miles (3.2 km) in diameter at its base. Its 305 meter summit, the highest in Lau, is a massive truncated pyramid bounded on all sides by almost perpendicular cliffs up to 200 feet (61 m) in height. The crest of the pyramid is some 40 acres (160,000 m2) in extent, and is generally flat, although pitted with holes and depressions from 6-30 feet deep, some of them filled with water. At its base there is in most places a wide belt of gently sloping land, standing not more than 25 feet (7.5m) above sea level, and forming the brim of the hat suggesting the island’s profile. On the northern and eastern edges of the island the sea breaks against the limestone cliffs, which are deeply undercut; but elsewhere the island is circled by a broad fringing reef, which, off the western coast swings sharply away from the shore to enclose the lagoon. The precipitous sides of the central mass are scored by three shallow terraces, marking pauses in the uplift of the island; but these are not readily observed, being smothered under the dense vegetation that clothes the whole towering structure.

vatu vara fiji island02 Vatu Vara Fiji Island

It is a former atoll, specifically called a “Guyot”. This is an extinct volcano that has become overgrown by coral reefs to form an atoll. The flat top was once at sea level, which is why the summit is flat. Its unmistakable shape, and its massive peak like that of a vast stone hat, dominates the surrounding skyline and is recognizable over a radius of thirty-five miles (56km) from nearby islands such as Kaibu, Yacata, and Vanua Balavu.

vatu vara fiji island03 Vatu Vara Fiji Island

The island is privately owned, and is currently uninhabited.

vatu vara fiji island04 Vatu Vara Fiji Island

vatu vara fiji island05 Vatu Vara Fiji Island

vatu vara fiji island06 Vatu Vara Fiji Island

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