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Chesterfield Reef An Amazing Pacific Pit Stop

On our sail from Vanuatu to Australia, we pulled in to Chesterfield Reef, a remote series of atolls and islets in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. With no inhabitants other than the amazing wildlife, and with the atoll providing shelter from the ocean swells, Chesterfield provides a terrific stop for yachts wishing to break the roughly 1 week passage into a couple of legs.

With a couple of anchorages to choose from depending on the wind direction, we entered the east passage for the 8 mile run south within the lagoon. It was amazing to watch the depth change as we entered, going from nearly 10,000 feet a few miles out, to just over 100 feet within the lagoon. With good waypoints provided by our mates on s/v Maunie, who had visited the previous year, we headed to the east anchorage, just off the beach.

Hard to imagine a more unique anchorage!

Wildlife

As remote as it is, Chesterfield provides a pristine spot for sea birds, turtles, and other wildlife to breed and give birth. During our visit, the island was home to thousands of boobies, sooty terns, noddies, and others. None had any fear of the strange two legged beasts who they allowed to walk around the beach taking photos. We saw turtles breeding in the water close to shore, and found tracks in the sand of females coming up to lay eggs in the large holes they dug, but unfortunately we missed seeing the rascals up on the beach.

In addition to birds, the Reef is home to an assortment of crabs, shellfish, and fish. Sharks were constant visitors to the boat, and we even saw a 3 meter tiger shark patrolling for morsels!!! We opted not to swim, though we met one shell collector, anchored nearby, who had been diving ALONE on the reef every night for the past three months collecting rare shells. To each his own!!!

We spent a total of 9 days at Chesterfield, the last 4 or so waiting for a good weather window for the remainder of our passage to Australia. It was a magical spot to wait ! ! !

Created By
Adam Kerner
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