It is rated as one of the world’s premier diving locations offering a great diversity and spectacle in coral structures and marine life.
The reef adopted its name in 1827 following French explorer Dumont d’Urville’s collision with the reef in his vessel “The Astrolabe“.
There are three major passes into the Great Astrolabe Reef, classified as anoceanic ribbon reef.
The outer reef falls steeply 100ft/30m, followed by gentle sediment and rubble covered slopes to a depth of over 200ft/60m.
In some areas parts of the reef have separated from the broad crest and formed pinnacles with valleys in between them. Depths in these valleys are as shallow as 15-30ft/5-10m. There are numerous caverns and caves at all depths. Beyond this the reef wall drops more than 1600m to the ocean floor.
The North Astrolabe, a circular atoll barrier reef, was recommended for development as a marine reserve and park, and although no action has yet been taken, Mad Fish Dive Centre andMatava are actively supporting the effort.
The reefs of this atoll barrier reef fall steeply to 120ft/35m before the first bench, although the northeast corner has numerous pinnacles with shallow passes between them into the lagoon. An automated lighthouse sits atop the Solo Island in the middle of the lagoon.
Fiji has the world’s most beautiful coral reefs. That’s why we made the IMAX® film, Coral Reef Adventure, here.
Howard & Michele Hall, underwater filmmakers and photographers