Archive for the ‘Island’ Category


A South Pacific island, shown on marine charts and world maps as well as on Google Earth and Google Maps, does not exist, Australian scientists say.

The supposedly sizeable strip of land, named Sandy Island on Google maps, was positioned midway between Australia and French-governed New Caledonia.

But when scientists from the University of Sydney went to the area, they found only the blue ocean of the Coral Sea.

The phantom island has featured in publications for at least a decade.

Scientist Maria Seton, who was on the ship, said that the team was expecting land, not 1,400m (4,620ft) of deep ocean.

“We wanted to check it out because the navigation charts on board the ship showed a water depth of 1,400m in that area – very deep,” Dr Seton, from the University of Sydney, told the AFP news agency after the 25-day voyage.

“It’s on Google Earth and other maps so we went to check and there was no island. We’re really puzzled. It’s quite bizarre.

“How did it find its way onto the maps? We just don’t know, but we plan to follow up and find out.”

Australian newspapers have reported that the invisible island would sit within French territorial waters if it existed – but does not feature on French government maps.

Australia’s Hydrographic Service, which produces the country’s nautical charts, says its appearance on some scientific maps and Google Earth could just be the result of human error, repeated down the years.

A spokesman from the service told Australian newspapers that while some map makers intentionally include phantom streets to prevent copyright infringements, that was was not usually the case with nautical charts because it would reduce confidence in them.

A spokesman for Google said they consult a variety of authoritative sources when making their maps.

“The world is a constantly changing place, the Google spokesman told AFP, “and keeping on top of these changes is a never-ending endeavour’.’

The BBC’s Duncan Kennedy in Sydney says that while most explorers dream of discovering uncharted territory, the Australian team appears to have done the opposite – and cartographers everywhere are now rushing to undiscover Sandy Island for ever.


Robert Williford’s one-and-a-half acre property has gotten a lot of attention since it was put on the market in December. That is probably because it’s not just a home, it’s also an island – East Sister Rock Island.

“Not too many houses are built on a coral reef. I don’t think you can do that” anymore, Williford said, laughing.

Williford bought the island near Marathon 20 years ago. He lives in Coral Gables full time, and when he isn’t using it as a vacation home he rents it out, along with a boat, for $5,000 a week.

In 1992, the property cost Williford $1 million. Today, it’ll cost you $12 million – and Realtor Marvin Arrieta says people from all over the world are showing interest.

“It’s a really unique property,” Arrieta said. “You can have your own helicopter. It’s not all islands (that) have that all together – green, location.”

Adding to its uniqueness is something Williford did himself – making the entire home solar and wind powered.

“You don’t need any support from the utilities. We get all of our water from the rain,” he said.

The 3-bedroom, 2-bath home comes with a guest house and two boat docks – not to mention a full view of the Atlantic.

Williford says that after 20 years and tons of weekend trips there, his kids are grown and he feels it’s just time to sell.

Arrieta says that out of the 1,700 islands that make up the Keys, a mere fraction is like this one.

“Just nine islands have one house, so it’s really unique if someone wants privacy there,” she said.