MANUAE is an uninhabited atoll in the southern group of the Cook Islands 100 kilometres south-east of Aitutaki. It comprises two horseshoe-shaped islets, Manuae and Te Au O Tu with a total area of 6 square kilometres on either side of a lagoon about 7 km x 4 km. Highest point on the island is 5 metres above sea level. Manuae is a true atoll sitting on the peak of a submerged volcano which descends 4000 metres to the ocean bed. The lagoon is shallow and subject to large shifting sand banks.
The island is a marine park and is an important breeding ground for seabirds and marine turtles in the Central Pacific. The offshore waters of Manuae are good fishing grounds. The research vessel Bounty Bay carries visitors from Rarotonga to Manuae as part of its Pacific Expeditions venture and specialises in diving, eco-tourism and filming.
Captain James Cook sighted Manuae on September 23 1773, the first of the Cook Islands he voyaged to. Initially he named it Sandwich Island but changed it to Hervey Island. This was corrupted later to Hervey's Island, in fact, the entire southern group was known as the Hervey Islands for many years before being re-named the Cook Islands in the early 19th century by the Russians.
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