Abrolhos Archipelago

The Abrolhos Archipelago (Portuguese: Arquipélago de Abrolhos) are a group of 5 small islands with coral reefs off the southern coast of Bahia state in the northeast of Brazil, between 17º25’—18º09’ S and 38º33’—39º05’ W. Caravelas is the nearest town.[3] Their name comes from the Portuguese: abrolho ("Abre Olhos" meaning: Open your eyes),[4] a rock awash or submerged sandbank that is a danger to ships. There is a conspicuous shipwreck in the group.

Abrolhos Archipelago
Native name:
Arquipélago de Abrolhos
Archipel de Abrolhos1.jpg
Sueste Island
Abrolhos Archipelago is located in Brazil
Abrolhos Archipelago
Abrolhos Archipelago
Abrolhos Archipelago is located in Atlantic Ocean
Abrolhos Archipelago
Abrolhos Archipelago
LocationAtlantic Ocean
Coordinates17°55′34″S 38°56′07″W / 17.92611°S 38.93528°W / -17.92611; -38.93528Coordinates: 17°55′34″S 38°56′07″W / 17.92611°S 38.93528°W / -17.92611; -38.93528
ArchipelagoArquipélago de Abrolhos
Total islands5
Major islandsSanta Bárbara
Area50.0 km2 (19.3 sq mi)
Administration1st Naval District of the Brazilian Navy
Additional information
Official websiteAbrolhos website
Abrolhos Light
Abrolhos Lighthouse
LocationIlha de Santa Bárbara
Abrolhos Archipelago
Coordinates17°57′53″S 38°41′39″W / 17.964737°S 38.694086°W / -17.964737; -38.694086
Foundationconcrete base
Constructioncast iron tower
Tower height22 feet (6.7 m)
Tower shapecylindrical tower with double balcony and lantern
Markingswhite and black horizontal bands tower
Focal height60 metres (200 ft)
Lenstwo meso-radial lenses
Range51 nautical miles (94 km; 59 mi)[1]
CharacteristicFl W 6s.
Admiralty no.G0306
NGA no.18200
Brazil no.BR-1848[2]
RaconEdit this on Wikidata
ARLHS no.BRA-001


These islets were surveyed by Baron Roussin. As part of the instructions for the second survey voyage of HMS Beagle, the Admiralty noted "the great importance of knowing the true position of the Abrolhos Banks, and the certainty that they extend much further out than the limits assigned to them by Baron Roussin", and asked Captain Robert FitzRoy to take soundings and establish the position of the reefs.[5] The work was carried out from 27 to 30 March 1832, giving Charles Darwin the opportunity to examine the wildlife and geology of the islands.[6]

Known to the Royal Navy in the First World War as the Abrolhos Rocks, the area was used as a refuelling point (coal) during Doveton Sturdee's operations against the German cruisers of Admiral Von Spee in late 1914. This operation ended with the Battle of the Falklands and the subsequent sinking of the only survivor, SMS Dresden.[citation needed]



  • Ilha de Santa Bárbara, the largest island. There is a Brazilian Navy military outpost and a lighthouse.
  • Ilha Siriba, the only island open to visitors
  • Ilha Redonda
  • Ilha Guarita
  • Ilha Sueste

Submerged banksEdit

  • Parcel dos Abrolhos, a large submerged reef extending from north to south east of the archipelago. Located 5 kilometres (3.1 miles) to the east of Santa Barbara Island, its limits are not well defined.[7]
  • Parcel das Paredes, located to the northwest of the archipelago and the largest feature of the wider Abrolhos.[8]
  • Sebastiao Gomes Reef, Coroa Vermelha Reef and Viçosa Reef, located to the southwest of the Parcel das Paredes.
  • Timbebas Reef, located to the north near the coast.


The extensive reefs of the island group are an area of rich marine fauna. The uninhabited islets are a breeding ground for pelagic birds.[9]

The Abrolhos Marine National Park (Portuguese: Parque Nacional Marinho dos Abrolhos) is a Marine Park located in the Abrolhos Archipelago since 1983. It is strictly forbidden to disembark on Ilha Guarita and Ilha Suest.[10]


View of Ilha de Santa Barbara.
View of Ilha Redonda in the Abrolhos Archipelago.
A humpback whale in the waters of the Abrolhos area.
Southern right whales are recovering and visiting Abrolhos in small numbers.[11]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ List of Lights, Pub. 110: Greenland, The East Coasts of North and South America (Excluding Continental U.S.A. Except the East Coast of Florida) and the West Indies (PDF). List of Lights. United States National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency.
  2. ^ Rowlett, Russ. "Lighthouses of Brazil: Bahia". The Lighthouse Directory. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
  3. ^ O Arquipélago dos Abrolhos Archived 2011-09-10 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ Daehnhardt, Rainer. (1998) Segredos de História Luso-Alemã, (Portuguese/German), Publicações Quipu, p. 77
  5. ^ FitzRoy 1839, pp. 24–26
  6. ^ Keynes 2001, pp. 48–61.
  7. ^ Enroute Prostar Sailing Directions 2004 East Coast of South America, p. 63
  8. ^ Coral community structure and sedimentation at different distances from the coast of the Abrolhos Bank, Brazil, Brazilian Journal of Oceanography, ISSN 1982-436X, vol.59 no.2, São Paulo 2011
  9. ^ Parque Nacional Marinho dos Abrolhos[permanent dead link]
  10. ^ Brazil Govt. - Parque Nacional Marinho dos Abrolhos
  11. ^ Baleia jubarte


External linksEdit