Oeno Island

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Satellite photo of Oeno Island
LocationSouthern Pacific Ocean
Coordinates23°55′36″S 130°44′14″W / 23.92667°S 130.73722°W / -23.92667; -130.73722Coordinates: 23°55′36″S 130°44′14″W / 23.92667°S 130.73722°W / -23.92667; -130.73722
Total islands2–3
Area20 km2 (7.7 sq mi)

Oeno Island (/ˈn/ oh-EE-noh)[1] or Holiday Island is a coral atoll in the South Pacific Ocean, part of the Pitcairn Islands overseas territory.


Map of Oeno Island
Oeno is located in Pacific Ocean
Location of Oeno Island in the Pacific Ocean
Map of Pitcairn Islands

Located 143 kilometres (89 mi) northwest of Pitcairn Island, at 23°55′26″S 130°44′03″W / 23.92389°S 130.73417°W / -23.92389; -130.73417. Oeno Atoll measures about 5 kilometres (3.1 mi) in diameter, including the central lagoon, with a total area exceeding 20 square kilometres (7.7 sq mi). There are two larger and three smaller islets on or within the rim of the atoll. Their aggregate land area is only 0.69 square kilometres (170 acres). Oeno Island serves as a private holiday site for the few residents of Pitcairn Island, who travel there and stay for two weeks in January.[2]

The main island (Oeno), about 0.5 square kilometres (120 acres) in area, has forest and scrub with pandanus and palm trees. It is located in the southwest part of the atoll's lagoon. There is a water tap installed on the island.[3] The maximum elevation is less than 5 metres (16 ft). Sandy Island (or Islands) is to the northeast and may be an ephemeral island. Three smaller islets are to the south and west of the main island.

Important Bird Area[edit]

The island has been identified by BirdLife International as an Important Bird Area (IBA) principally for its colony of Murphy's petrels, which, at some 12,500 pairs, is estimated to be the second largest colony of these birds in the world.[4]


June 1819
Captain James Henderson of the British East India Company ship Hercules sights Oeno Island.
26 January 1824
Captain George Worth aboard the American whaler Oeno names the atoll after his ship.
5 March 1858
The Wild Wave, a 1500-ton clipper ship sailing from San Francisco, is wrecked on Oeno's reef.[5]
The Khandeish is wrecked on Oeno.[6]
23 August 1883
The Oregon is wrecked on Oeno.
April 1893
The Bowdon is wrecked on Oeno.
10 July 1902
Oeno annexed by the United Kingdom.
Incorporated into the Pitcairn Islands colony.
Polynesian rats exterminated.


  1. ^ The name is not Polynesian but Greek. The island was named after the whaling ship Œno /ˈn/. However, the islanders pronounce as if each vowel letter were a syllable, as in Polynesian names.
  2. ^ South Pacific & Micronesia. Lonely Planet. 2006. p. 427. ISBN 1-74104-304-2. Unless you've got your own yacht, your only chance of getting to Oeno is in January, when Pitcairners fit out two of their longboats with essential supplies and swap everyday life on Pitcairn for a fortnight's summer holiday on Oeno.
  3. ^ Fresh water is pumped out of a well dug in the sand – library.puc.edu
  4. ^ BirdLife International. "Oeno Island". Sites - Important Bird Areas (IBAs). Retrieved 3 November 2012.
  5. ^ Wreck of The "Wildwave," the Diary of Capt. Josiah N. Knowles
  6. ^ Silverman, David (1967). Pitcairn Island. Cleveland, Ohio: World Publishing Company. p. 125. Retrieved 11 August 2012.

External links[edit]