Fernando de Noronha

Smaller Islands of the Archipelago of Noronha

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Small Islands

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The archipelago of Noronha comprises a total of 21 islands; below, information about all of the islands.

1. Fernando de Noronha. Main island, the only one inhabited, the only one open for tourism.

2. Rata Island
The name is controverted. It seems to be the "Rapta" of the antique books, the "Rat Island" mentioned by Fr. André Thevet (in 1556). It's the second largest island in area, with 6,8 km² of dark rocks and steep cliffs.
Lighthouse keepers and their families inhabited the island in the past. The death of children due to the delay of the water supply to the Rata Island, caused by access difficulties, triggered the installation of an automatic lighthouse.
The island was also the base of the commercial experience of the "Guano Company", which explored the "guano" (calcium phosphate), very abundant in its whole surface as a result of the accumulation of solidified seafowl excrements and considered "the biggest storage yard of zoogenic phosphates of Brazil".
The Pontal da Macaxeira and the Lucena Island can be distinguished, whereby this one forms another island at the high tide. Iron ladders fastened to the rocks allow the access of scientists and Marine supervisors.

3. Meio Island
"Island of the Middle", because it is situated between the Rata Island and Sela Gineta cliff. Its base is narrower than its top, so the breaking of the waves at its steep walls form cavities, which are very appreciated when sailing around.

map island of Noronha
Map of the islands. Source: Government of Noronha

4. Rasa Island
Shallow Island.
This island is situated near the Sela Gineta cliff and by the side of the Air France point, at the main island, has a sandstone constitution and a smooth top. It's the lowest secondary island and its top has an eroded soil full of pointy spaces. It's supposed that this island was already linked to the body of the main island in a period of lower sea level.

5. São José Island
Island of Saint Joseph (the most popular Saint in Brazil).
It's composed by basaltic rocks, has a dark colour and is binded to the beach in the Air France area, in the main island, by a black pebble bed, similar to a reef (one of the evidences that the islands were linked together in the past), which allows the access by foot at the low tide.
At the top there is the São José do Morro Fort, built in the XVIII century, the only one of the defensive system out of the main island and which purpose was to defend the Santo Antônio bay, situated in its front.

6. Cuscuz Island
Island of the Cuscuz; cuscuz is a regional food, made basically of corn flour and milk.
Phonolitic rock situated near the São José Mount, its name was originated by the similarity to the form of the "northeastern cuscuz", a corn food.

Noronha aerial view

Arriving in Noronha. The island closer to the airplane is Rata Island.

7. Lucena Island
It's a point of the Rata Island, which is slowly separating from it by the sea activity. At the low tide It's still possible to see the connection with this island.

8. Chapéu do Nordeste Island
Island of the Hat of the Northeast.
Small structure near the access rocks to the São José Mount.

9. Cabeluda Island
Hairy Island.
Similar to the Sela Gineta Cliff, It's also a phonolitic rock and is situated at the exit of the Southeast Bay in the outside sea.

10. Chapéu do Sueste Island
Hat of Sueste Island.
Similar to the Meio and Rasa Islands in its formation, this island is like a small mushroom. Its top is enlarged and its base, near the sea waves, is narrower, forming a plateau right below, where different crabs can be seen.

11. Ovos Island
Eggs Island
. Situated in front of the Abreu creek, between the Southeast Bay and the Atalaia Beach, is also phonolitic.

12. Trinta-Réis Island
Thirty Reis Island. Réis is an old Brazilian currency.
Small whitish phonolitic elevation due to the abundance of guano, situated near the "Chapéu do Sueste" in the outside sea.

13. Conceição or Morro de Fora Islet
Phonolitic like most of the islands of the archipelago, this islet undergoes more erosion than the remaining islands and is the darkest of them. From the distance, the big block is similar to a laid down dog, which "tail" is the PIÃO, a compact rock block, considered by its balance over a smaller basis than its body as a proof that there are no earthquakes on the archipelago.

14. Sela Gineta Cliff
It's constituted by a phonolitic rock and is situated between the Rasa and Meio islands. It calls the attention due to its imponent topography. Its name is due to the similarity to a cowboy saddle.

15. Dois Irmãos Cliff
Two Brothers Cliff.
Two very similar islands formed by dark colour volcanic rocks, over which the guano deposits grant them a whitish aspect of seldom beauty. It's the most significant shape of volcanic emergence of the archipelago and inspired one of the most famous folk tales of Fernando de Noronha, that is, the SIN FOLK TALE, which consider this emergence as the "breasts of a gigantic woman, which were petrified as a punishment for her sins".

16. Ilha do Frade Cliff
Island of the Priest Cliff.
Emergence of phonolitic rock, It's possible to see fractures in its composition. It's similar to a seated monk with a cowl in a prayer position. It was already called "Bell Island" due to the noise of the waves striking against the rocks.

17. Unnamed cliff near the Ovos Island, in the outside sea

18. Unnamed cliff situated near the Caracas Point and the Southeast Bay

19. Morro do Leão Cliff
Hill of the Lion Cliff.
Phonolitic rock similar to the Sela Gineta cliff, is situated in the outside sea, near the Leão Beach and is similar to a laid down sea lion, hence the name.

20. Morro da Viuvinha Cliff
Hill of the Little Widow Cliff.
It's also a phonolitic rock situated near the Leão Cliff, in the same beach at the outside sea. It's a place of fowl nesting.

21. Pedras Secas Cliff
Dry Rocks Cliff.
Three small phonolitic formations situated in the outside sea, far away from the archipelago, in the direction of the Atalaia beach and the Caeira creek. Called as "reefs" by Américo Vespúcio in his descriptive boarding letter of 1503, due to the shipwreck occurred in the neighbourhood, is the place whre the official history of Fernando de Noronha begins.



In Portuguese: Leia mais sobre as principais cidades nas proximidades de Noronha:
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