HK3JJH/0B Serrana Bank [NA-133]
by Wolfgang Schippke, DC3MF


<== Serrana Bank (South part)

It was a long way by HK3JJH/0B to stay on NA-133, one of the most wanted IOTA numbers. The last activity was in the start of the 1980's.
The Serrana Bank, located about 360 km east of the shores of Nicaragua, are oin a mean position on 14N24 and 80W16. The Bank is a wide mostly underwater reef, about 50km long and 13 km wide. Several cays and small islets are located on the wide reef. The most prominent cay is Southwest Cay (14N16, 80W24) about 1.2 km by 0.8 km in area, with several ruines of a former military base, used by the US Mariners during the Cuba Conflict. The islets are all covered with spare vegetation, bushes and some trees. On Southwest as on Narrow Cays stands lighthouses, operating to day and adminstered by Columbia. The South West Cay light is a 82 ft high tower, constructed by a combination of a concree dwelling and a white iron framework tower with a light on its top.
The reefs were first shown on a Dutch map in 1545 and named with the presend used name. In 1660 the British Glover mapped most of the cays. The US claimbed islets were returned to Columbia in March 1981. Today the cays are frequently visited by lobster fishers. The newest Mariner Pilot reports, that North Cay is permanent inhabited by turtle fishers, and several new wooden huts are standing on the cay. Serrana Bank is owned today by the military and any stay and landing needs a special permit.
To the area of Serrana Bank, belongs too the area of Roncador Bank, also a part of NA-133. The Roncador Bank, with its several sandy cays, is located about 220 km north-east of St.Andreas Isl., and is a 14 by 6 km wide reef-area, runing from 13N29 up to 13N35. Most of the reef is underwater, so it is known as a ships-cemetery.
In the northern area lies Roncador Cay (13N35, 08W04), about 600 m by 300 m in area, and rising to 4 m elevation. There are several houses on it, partly ruined, build up during the Cuba problem, by American troups. An old disused light is shown from its north end.
The reef was shown first on a Dutch map, dated to 1601 as Arecife Roncadore. Later on the British J.Glover maped the area. In 1949 the USA annexed the reef, and returned it in 1982 to Columbia. Today the cays are frequently visited by lobster fishers. A new lighttower, 79 ft high, stands on the northern most end of the reef (13N35, 80W05), errected in 1978. In 1991 the 'Pamir Sound', a Panama vessel, run on the southern end of Ronkador Bank and is now a conspicous landmark on the south approach to the bank. Roncador Bank is owned today by the military and any stay and landing needs a special permit.