Kure Reef, the outernmost of the Hawaii Group
by Wolfgang Schippke, DC3MF
(updated on the 12th of June 1997)
Kure is the farest
offlaying island in the Hawaiian chain. It is seperated from Hawaii main
islands by 2300 km of water. The mostly circular reef has an diameter of
about 5 miles and several islands stands on the reef.
The three largest islands are Green Island in the south,
Sand Island in the mid of the eastern reef, and Core
Island in the north. There is a deep and wide opening into the
reef on the south west side, and the lagoon is also deep and mostly free
of dangers. The major island is Green, composited by sand and coral, rising
to an elevation of about 20 ft (6 meters). Green is about 1.5 miles from
north-east to south-west and about 0.75 miles wide. There are several houses,
abandoned today, and a disused radio base, frequently visited by the Hawaiian
Coast-Guard. A 56 m high tower stands in the north-west corner of the island,
and these tower is a part of a special astronomical observation station.
The second largest island is Sand Island, about 0.9 by 0.5 miles in area,
and up to 9 ft high. A tower, 195 m high is situated on the island.
A small airport is situated on Green Island, used time-by-time by the coast-guard,
and also by the scientific workers on the base.
Several wrecks are located in the vicinity to the mostly drying reef. The
largest wreck is located in the northwest corner of the reef. It is of
a Taiwanese vessel of 10.000 tonnes, running on the reef in 1980.
Photo of Sand Island, Kure Atol (copyright
by Ted Brattstrom (prepared by DC3MF)
Kure Atoll was discovered in 1827 by Stanikowitch
captain of the Russian vessel 'Moller', and named. Between 1876 and 1936
the Australian Copra & Guano Ltd mined guano from the islands. During
WW II several military bases were built on the islands, and later on a
Loran C station with two 158 m high masts, operated, till 1989, when the
station was abandoned. Till today the island is owned by the US Navy. There
is a scientific station on Sand Island, used by the University of California,
but no permanent population. Landing is only possible by a special permit,
while most of the islands are a bird sanctuary.
The Kure Atoll is today completely closed for public, in order they became
one of the major bases for the extremely rare Hawaii Monk Seal (monachus
schauinslandi), a kind of seals living only on some of the outlaying
Report of Ted Brattstrom
Ted send me an e-mail, some days ago,
that the radio-towers, former a wide visible part of the Loran C station,
did not longer exist on the island. Ted spend some time on Kure Island
in 1992, and in 1996 N7NTL was on the island again (but did not work radio)
and he reports that the airfields are in a very bad matter. So it is today
only possible to come to here via boat. (visit also Ted's very interesing
report page about Midway
& Kure Islands with several interesting pictures of both
My special thank to Ted, and his excellent e-mailing to me. (Updated
on the 12th of June 1997)