New Caledonia Barrier Reef Around the Island of Grand Terre – September 17th, 200922.2S 166.4E
New Caledonia is an island territory of France located in the region of Melanesia in the southwest Pacific. It comprises a main island called Grande Terre (center), the Loyalty Islands (top), and several smaller islands. Approximately half the size of Taiwan, it has a land area of 18,575.5 square kilometres (7,172 sq mi).
The Grande Terre is by far the largest of the islands, and the only mountainous island. It has an area of 16,372 square kilometres (6,321 sq mi), and is elongated northwest-southeast, 350 kilometres (217 mi) in length and 50 to 70 kilometres (31–44 mi) wide.
A mountain range runs the length of the island, with five peaks over 1,500 meters (4,900 ft). The highest point is Mont Panié at 1,628 meters (5,341 ft) elevation.
The island of Grande Terre is surrounded by the New Caledonia Barrier Reef, the second-longest coral reef in the world, after Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, with a length of 1,500 kilometers (930 mi).
The reef encloses a lagoon of 24,000 square kilometers (9,300 sq mi), best viewed in the full-size image, which has an average depth of 25 meters (82 ft). The reefs lie up to 30 kilometers (19 mi) from the shore, but extend almost 200 kilometers (124 mi) to the Entrecasteaux reefs in the northwest. This northwestern extension encloses the Belep Islands and other sand cays.