Vatoa (pronounced [βaˈtoa]) (known as Turtle Island after Cook's
visit) is an outlier of Fiji's Lau Group.
Vatoa was the only island of present-day
Fiji visited by James Cook.
The island was sighted on 2 July 1774. The next day, a Sunday, the
Master and some of Cook's crew went ashore, "thinking to speak with
the people not more than 20 in number who were Arm'd with Clubs and
Spears, but the moment he set foot on Shore they retired, he left
ashore some Medals, Nails and a Knife ..... Near the Reef were seen
several Turtle which occasioned my giving that name to the Isle."
Cook's chart shows the name Turtle Isle.
Vatoa has varied rainfall and is usually cool because of trade winds.
The island has an area of 4.45 square kilometres (1.72 square miles)
and rises to more than 50 metres (160 feet) above sea level. It is
composed wholly of limestone (Koroqara Limestone, Tokalau Limestone
Group), probably Late
Miocene in age. There is one village, with
population around 300. Interesting old fortifications occupy the
highest part of the island.
A noted son of
Vatoa is current Commander of the Republic of Fiji
Military Forces, Viliame Naupoto who once served as Director of
Immigration and Deputy Commander of the
Fiji Naval Forces.
Coordinates: 19°49′S 178°15′W / 19.817°S 178.250°W /
Northern Lau Islands
Southern Lau Islands
Islands of Fiji
Vanua Levu Group
Viti Levu Group
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