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Pearl and Hermes Atoll in the NW Hawaiian Islands

Information about Pearl and Hermes Atoll in the Northwest Hawaiian Islands The atoll includes several flats and sandy islets, usually between five and seven, depending on the tides and the weather.
Pearl and Hermes Atoll Viewed From Space

Photo Credit: National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Quick Facts About Pearl and Hermes
ENGLISH NAME: Pearl and Hermes Atoll
HAWAIIAN NAME: Holoikauaua
NAMED AFTER: Two English warships wrecked there in 1922
LAND: About 80 acres
REEF: 43 miles in circumference and open to the west
CORAL REEF HABITAT: About 200,000 acres
SIZE: About 447 square kilometers
LENGTH: About 32 Kilometers
WIDTH: 20 kilometers
LARGEST ISLAND: Southeast Island (0.1 square kilometer)
LONGITUDE: 175 degrees 50 minutes W
LATITUDE: 27 degrees 50 minutes N
WITHIN: Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument
ISLAND GROUP: Northwest Hawaiian Islands

Islets in the Pearl and Hermes Atoll
- Southeast Island
- Grass Island
- North Island
- Little North Island
- Seal-Kittery Island

Location of the Pearl and Hermes Atoll
The Pearl and Hermes Atoll is located about 87 miles southeast of the Midway Atoll and about 1300 miles northwest of Oahu Island.

History of the Pearl and Hermes Atoll
1822 April 25: Two English ships (Pearl and Hermes) ran aground
1854: King Kamehameha III of Hawaii claimed the atoll
1857: Crew of the Manuokawai surveyed the atoll
1859: U.S. Took possession of the Atoll (Caption Brooks, Gambia ship)
1867: Crew of the Laconda ship produced reliable reef chart
1894: Rabbits released by a canning business devoured all vegetation
1904: Japanese ship Wiji Maru crashed on the atoll
1916: Tangier Expedition vessels killed most rabbits on Southeast Island
1923: Crew of Thetis saw rabbits and Japanese fishing huts on Southeast Island
1927: Captain Greig Anderson discovered beds of black-lip pearl oysters
1929: Oyster harvesting in the atoll made illegal by Territory of Hawaii
1930: US Bureau of Fisheries began a thorough study of the atoll
1952: SS Quartette was heavily damaged after striking the eastern reef
2004: NOAA divers located the wreckage of the sunken Pearl ship
2005: M/V Casitas ran around on the north end of the atoll
2006: Sunken Pearl ship was fully surveyed
2008: Location of the sunken Hermes ship was confirmed

Map of the Pearl and Hermes Atoll
This map of the Pearl and Hermes Atoll was created by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Marine Sanctuary Program.

Articles About the Pearl and Hermes Atoll

April 25, 1822 Shipwreck
- English whaleship Pearl ran aground on the atoll's reefs
- Sister ship Hermes ran aground attempting a rescue
- 57 survivors were marooned on an island for several months
- 46 were rescued by as passing ship, the Earl of Morby - Remaining ailors sailed to Honolulu on the "Deliverance"
- NOAA Sanctuaries "Perl and Hermes Site Survey" Article

Pearl and Hermes Atoll

Photo Credit: Forest and Kim Starr (USGS)

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