Bajo Nuevo Bank

Travel Guide Caribbean Bajo Nuevo Bank



Bajo Nuevo Bank, also known as the Petrel Islands, is a small, uninhabited reef with some small islets, covered with grass, located in the western Caribbean Sea at 15°53′N 78°38′WCoordinates: 15°53′N 78°38′W, with a lighthouse on Low Cay at 15°51′N 78°38′W. The closest neighbouring land feature is Serranilla Bank, located 110 kilometres to the west.

The reef was first shown on Dutch maps dating to 1634 but was given its present name in 1654. Bajo Nuevo was rediscovered by the English pirate John Glover in 1660. Although the bank is currently controlled by Colombia, it is subject to a sovereignty dispute involving Jamaica, Nicaragua and the United States.




Bajo Nuevo Bank is about 26 kilometres long and 9 kilometres wide. The satellite image shows two distinct atoll-like structures separated by a deep channel 1.4 kilometres wide at its narrowest point. The larger southwestern reef complex measures 15.4 kilometres northeast-southwest, and is up to 9.4 kilometres wide, covering an area of about 100 km2. The reef partially dries on the southern and eastern sides. The smaller northeastern reef complex measures 10.5 kilometres east-west and is up to 5.5 kilometres wide, covering an area of 45 km2. The land area is minuscule by comparison.

The most prominent cay is Low Cay, in the southwestern atoll. It is 300 metres long and 40 metres wide, no more than 2 metres high, and barren. It is composed of broken coral, driftwood, and sand. The light beacon on Low Cay is a 21 metres metal tower, painted white with a red top. It emits a focal plane beam of light as two white flashes of light every 15 seconds. The beacon was erected in 1982, and reconstructed by the Colombian Ministry of Defence in February 2008. It is currently maintained by the Colombian Navy, and overseen by the state's Maritime Authority.


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This is version 2. Last edited at 11:49 on Jan 23, 15 by Utrecht. 2 articles link to this page.

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