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).
Bay Seaplane Base
Japanese forward seaplane base, located
along to the west of Suavanau Point.
Airfield built in the early 1990s by the logging company for operations in the area.
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.
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.)
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.
Do you have photos or additional information to add?
June 15, 2019