Just when I was prepared to finish off my Christmas shopping with a shrewd purchase of a delightful little getaway called Sandy Island, the “scientific” community up and takes it off the map!
I tell ya, is there no certainty in the world at all?
Sandy Island, once off the coast of Australia, in the Coral Sea, is, err was never, no more. Sandy has been defined as a phantom island which is “an island (not really of course) once believed to exist, and accordingly depicted on maps, but of which the existence was later disproved, and its cartographic representation removed.”
Whether twas the phantom of someone’s boozily induced imagination, or a fly stuck fast to the “ahoy matey” lens of the telescope of some long-forgotten captain of a ship sailin’ the oceans fair, we do not know. But Sandy as I said, was never, and is no longer the object of my affections and Christmas present list.
The map makers call them “infestations” into their pristine world of exactitude, and relish removing them from charts about as much as some scientists enjoyed removing Pluto from the rank of planet to mere “gob of rock” hanging around.
So eager are some young poop deckers to yell out “land ho” or some wanna-be Mr. Christian to name a new land, that you can be sure to waste a lot of time traveling to places that aren’t really there. I would certainly be asking for a refund of my cruise ship ride I can tell ya.
A ship, the Southern Surveyor, went out to take a look, and well, couldn’t find Sandy. Now if you think it was a few feet by a few feet, you would be wrong. It was claimed to be some 45 miles square, so it was a goodly estate of ground. Nobody seems to know how Sandy came to be, when she was never. Some haul out the old fly trick, only this time putting it on the lens of some scanner. It all sounds a bit fishy to me.
Fishy since the island was marked on maps going back to 1876.
Puzzling? Nefarious? Foul play?
In 2000, a bunch of silly ham radio operators gathered to play some game of remotest location to send a signal from (one must make allowances for ham radio operators. Their “hobby” is rather outdated and frankly most anybody under thirty wouldn’t even know what they are talking about anyway), and discovered that there was NO Sandy, if that is one can be said to “discover” a “not there”. Nobody paid them no mind for as you might expect, the are after all, just “ham radio nerds”.
Oh look, I DISCOVERED THAT THERE ARE NO DIAMONDS IN MY TOILET! You see my point?
Who first discovered that which was not real? Nobody is really sure, given lack of surety is the point here isn’t it? But hey, even Captain Cook figures in the mystery.
Which all raises the specter of a new and exciting pastime–the hobby of undiscovery!
There is a whole universe out there guys, and no doubt it is full of things that aren’t really there and are waiting just for you to find them not out.
Come to think of it, I think I’ll put in a call to Glenn Beck. This looks like just the sort of grifter scheme he and I can collaborate on to make a few bucks. If you want in, just send me $200 to get in on the ground floor of this new and exciting adventure. Yeah, don’t delay, spots are filling up fast. Be the first on your block. You can un-name your own island and be recorded in history books as the undiscoverer of something of no importance. You will receive a certificate of undiscovery and a commemorative coin, with a very limited printing. Only two to a customer. While supplies last of course. Seriously, send me the money!
- Not a Google error? ‘Phantom’ Pacific island Sandy found on 136-year-old maps (telegraph.co.uk)
- The phantom island: Scientists go on 25-day voyage to study island only to find it doesn’t exist (mirror.co.uk)
- ‘Undiscovered’ island twist (smh.com.au)
- Paradise Losst: Island On Google Maps Isn’t Really There (huffingtonpost.com)
- Imaginary island (southofheaven.typepad.com)