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    Suavanao (Suavanau) Santa Isabel Province (Isabel Province) Solomon Islands
Click For Enlargement
September 15, 1942

Click For Enlargement
August 1943

Click For Enlargement
Justin Taylan 2006

Location
Lat 7° 34' 0S Long 158° 43' 60E  Suavanao and Suavanao Point are located on the eastern coast of Santa Isabel Island. Also spelled Suavanao, pronounced "Saw-vano". Borders Rekata Bay. To the east is Papatura Island (Papatura Fa).

American missions against Suvanau Point
August 7, 1942 - August 16, 1943

Rekata Bay (Rakata Bay)
Bay area used by the Japanese as a seaplane base. Located exactly 135 miles to the north-east of Lunga Point (Henderson Field).

Rekata Bay Seaplane Base
Japanese forward seaplane base, located along to the west of Suavanau Point.

Suavanao Airport
Airfield built in the early 1990s by the logging company for operations in the area.

Wartime History
The Japanese referred to the place as Re-ka-ta, using those three katakana characters. Occupied by the Japanese, Kamikawa Maru and Kiyokawa Maru arrived to Rekata Bay to support the landings at Tulagi in early May 1942. Developed into a seaplane base, and ditching point for aircrews returning with damage from Guadalcanal.

R Area Air Force
By September 12, 1942 The "R Area Air Force" has nine E13A1 plus F1M2 and A6M2-N aircraft. By October 8, 1942, The R Area Air Force's strength was then 12 F1M2 Petes from the Kunikawa Maru, Sanuki Maru and Sanyo Maru. Plus, the Chitose Air Group of five A6M2-N Rufes from the Kamikawa Maru Air Group and nine E13A1 Jakes from the Chitose Maru and Sanyo Maru Air Groups. Other ships provide two more F1M2s, two E13A1s and nine E7K2 Alfs.

Abandoned Base
During early September 1943, the remaining Japanese forces evacuated the area. During October 1943, American forces surveyed the Rekata Bay area. Later, around July 1945, RNZAF Catalina of 5 Squadron went up to Rekata bay for a picnic and to inspect the former Japanese base. On this visit, one of the group went missing (attributed to saltwater crocodile). The group took some photos of area. (Thanks to Ewan Stevenson for this information.)

Today
It was abandoned after the war. During the 1990's a logging operation began operations nearby, and developed a Suavanao Airstrip and camp area. Logging ceased during the 1990s and resumed more recently by the company 'Earthmovers' in 2003 and continues to this day.

Contribute Information
Do you have photos or additional information to add?

Last Updated
January 11, 2018

 

Map
August 20, 1943

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