Island Collector Seeks to Bag Rockall

May 13th, 2010


A Scot known as Islandman has gained permission to visit, and sleep on, Rockall.

Rockall is the most isolated outpost of the British Isles, and is well northwest of Ireland. It strains the definition of island, as it is only 80 by 100 feet, and has almost no vegetation or even flat surfaces. No visits to the crag are recorded before 1810, and only four people are known to have slept there.

Islandman, also called Andy Strangeway, is an extreme island collector, and has slept on all Scottish islands of more than 40 hectares, and some 168 Scottish islands in all. On 94 of them, he was the only person sleeping on the island.


Disaster on Isla Orrego, Chile

March 3rd, 2010

A tiny river island in Chile may have been the site of 35% of Chile’s earthquake casualties, if reports are accurate.

As many as 300 people may have been camped on Isla Orrego at the mouth of the Maule River at the town of Constitucion, as part of a holiday celebration. The island is low-lying, partly forested, and only about 50 acres / 20 hectares.


View Larger Map

Waves of up to 30 feet / 10 meters swept over the island. While some had left after the quake, many remained, and all but a few who managed to climb trees were carried away.


The Loch Islands of Islay

March 1st, 2010

Islay_ifyr_FlickrIslayblog.com, which covers the Inner Hebridean island of Islay, in Scotland, is doing a series of pictures of islands on the island. Here’s the first post about it.

Islay has some interesting double islands, including Eilean Mor and Eilean na Comhairle (Council Island) in Loch Finlaggan, which served as administrative centers for the Lords of the Isles and Clan Donald.

Image courtesy ifyr, Flick
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A Real Shutter Island?

February 20th, 2010

Shutter-island
In the new movie “Shutter Island,” US marshals go to a precipitous island off the coast of Massachusetts to investigate a mystery in a huge, gothic insane asylum.

Shutter Island does not exist; there are no Shutter Islands in the entire United States, nor am I aware of any insane asylums that have ever existed on isolated American islands. There have been a number of prison or detention islands, though none quite resembled the fictional Shutter Island physically.

The last unbridged prison island in the US is McNeil Island, Washington. It houses both a large state prison complex, and a program of civil detention for sexual predators, who are essentially being confined as mentally ill.

Steep-sided, flat-topped, gloomy islands like the one in the movie are relatively rare. For physical similarity, one might go with Anacapa, in the Channel Islands of California:

Anacapa_scubacayman88_Flickr

(Anacapa image courtesy Scubacayman88, Flickr)

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More on Islands on Islands on Islands

January 29th, 2010

Boing Boing is having another discussion of triple islands — islands on an island on an island.

They restate Volcan Point’s claim inaccurately; it is not the largest (as I’ve noted), but is the largest — and only — volcanic triple. We should also note that Taal is regularly active, and will destroy this whole geographic construction some day, possibly soon.

My (very) small claim to fame in this regard is that I have probably been to more triple islands than anyone, on Glover Island, the large island in Grand Lake, Newfoundland. I carried an inflatable boat with which to explore the islands on it, and camped on one of the 17 or so in that lake. (I’ve never heard of another person actually sleeping on an island on an island on an island; the one in the Philippines is unsuitable, and the other Canadian ones are even more isolated.)

People like to say that Ryan Island on Isle Royale is the “largest island on the largest lake on the largest island on the largest lake in the world.” With all those qualifiers, this statement seems to be true.


Perhaps a Dingo Ate My Geographical Sense

November 22nd, 2009

Oceanic geography
Usually I am derided by Canadians who mistakenly think I’ve called Vancouver Island “Victoria Island.” Here’s a refreshing bit of abuse from the world’s smallest continent. Or is it the world’s second-largest island, after Antarctica? Who can say…

What a moronic website – please – Australia IS an ISLAND to display the logic of it is also a continent does not preclude it from being an Island – quite retarded. Secondly your presumption that the continent is Austalia and not even consider the reality that the continent is more aptly termed OCEANIA or AUSTRALASIA – but not even mention these facts as they contrast with your preconceived opinions. So under any definition Australia is an Island – is also a rock, a country, MAYBE a continent, a former colony, part of the commonwealth etc,etc,etc but NONE of these preclude it from being an ISLAND. Moron.

Incidentally, “Oceania” and “Australasia” are terms for regions that include Australia, not the continent of Australia itself.

In any case, thank you for the funny comment.


Exiling Congressmen to Pacific Islands

November 9th, 2009

Marshall Islands beach
An American Congressman recently spent a week alone on an island in the Marshall Islands.

Rep. Jeff Flake had himself marooned on Jabonwod, an islet in an atoll in the Marshall Islands. It was not exactly high adventure: he swam and fished, got lonely, and watched the sunsets.

My favorite aspect: he wrote numbers on crabs that passed through his campsite, till he had 126 trackable companions.

Flake was fairly well-equipped:

No food, just mask, fins and a pole-spear to obtain it. No water, only a manual desalination pump to create fresh water. No matches, only a magnifying glass. And a hammock, knife, hatchet, sunscreen, cooking pot and salt and pepper. Oh, and a satellite phone and Coast Guard beacon should I eat the wrong fish

I once spent a week alone on an uninhabited island. I brought food with me, but my island was big enough that people would not have known where I was, and I didn’t have a satellite phone; if I’d been injured, I was on my own with the bears and moose.

(Image courtesy mrlins, Flickr)


The Islands of Washington DC

September 16th, 2009

Graffiti, Kingman IslandWorld Island Info now has comprehensive coverage of the islands of Washington DC (admittedly an obscure topic).

These includes the largest islands of DC – all the islands of DC, actually – and pages for all named islands, including Columbia Island, East Potomac Park, Heritage Island, Kingman Island, Little Island, Theodore Roosevelt Island, and the Three Sisters Islands.

(Picture copyright WorldIslandInfo.com — usable with attribution and link.)


Donde Esta Mi Isla?

August 21st, 2009

water_mamamusings_FlickrMexico has been searching hard for an island that likely never existed.

Isla Bermeja was depicted on 17th and 18th century maps as lying off the Yucatan, but extensive investigations have failed to show any sign of it.

Were the island to exist, it would extend Mexico’s rights to energy extraction further into the Gulf of Mexico, so its failure to be could be worth billions of dollars.

Mexicans have theorized that the island might have been submerged by rising sea levels, or been blown up by the CIA to extend American drilling rights in the Gulf. Neither is plausible. Mexican fantacists go as far as claiming mysterious murders of officials who opposed this island-snatching Yankee perfidy.

It is most likely that the island was one of many phantom islands that appeared on maps during the early years of oceanic cartography; some stuck around, on maps at least, for a very long time.

(Image courtesy mamamusing, Flickr)


Disaster in Tonga

August 12th, 2009

Tongan flagThe sinking of a ferry last week in Tonga is a tragedy for the small country.

With only 121,000 inhabitants, Tonga is quite small. Ninety-five people died on the ferry, nearly all of them Tongans — nearly 1 in every 1,000 people in the country. In the US, this would be the equivalent of about 300,000 people.

The ferry was traveling from the capital to Ha’afeva in the Nomuka Group. These small islands are likely to be particularly devastated, as they seem to have a tiny population, perhaps even less than 1,000 people.