Please select your home edition
Edition
Zhik Dinghy Wetsuits

Whatever happened to Sandy Island?

by Nancy Knudsen on 29 Nov 2012
Sandy Island on an old chart .. .
Where did Sandy Island go? Captain James Cook is a revered seaman with an unparalleled record of surveying the countries and islands that he visited. He surveyed Sandy Island as between Australia and New Caledonia in the Coral Sea back in 1772. It was also mapped by a British whaler, the Velocity, in 1876. It's been on world charts ever since. But last week, another vessel went to the location and found only deep water.

The island appears on many world maps spanning several hundred years and was supposedly located at 19° 13' 12? S, 159° 55' 48? E. Even Google Maps displayed the island until 26 November 2012, when it was removed.

It was removed because of the reports by some Australian scientists aboard the RV Southern Surveyor who were studying plate tectonics in the area. During the voyage, they noticed a discrepancy between different maps and decided to sail to the supposed location to investigate. The crew found no island and stated their nautical charts showed depths of 1,400 metres (4,600 ft). They found that 'The ocean floor actually didn't ever get shallower than 1,300 meters below the wave base…'

So how could this island, which has been on official charts, not only British, but also German, French, Italian, Japanese, US and Russion charts, have simply disappeared? The short answer, is, of course, that it couldn't.

While no explanation as to why Captain James Cook surveyed an island that is not, and never could have been there, many other islands have also been charted in the past, from such clues as 'a long cloud' or 'breaking waves' indicating the existence of an island. Such islands have been charted, as a precautionary measure, but later found to be non-existent.

What is amazing is that, while the island persisted on charts until this month, this is not the first time that Sandy Island was proclaimed not to exist.

In 2000 a group of radio amateurs headed to the Chesterfield Islands on a so-called DXpedition, hoping to find the remotest dry land possible from which to send a ham radio message.

In order for the Chesterfields to qualify, they scoured its surroundings for land, found Sandy Island on the map, but not where it should be in the ocean. Nobody took much notice of them.

The original report of their expedition does mention that Sandy Island is marked on some maps, but not on others, and quotes a Senior Editor of National Geographic Maps as saying that their cartography is 'hopelessly outdated for this area', and would be updated ‘soon’.

Just in case there are any adventurous cruising sailors out there who would like to test the existence or otherwise of Sandy Island for themselves, be warned. The Chesterfield Islands are an uninhabited archipelago in French territorial waters, west of Sandy Island’s supposed location.

They are a collection of about a dozen islets, some still shifting, and numerous reefs, spread out over an area 75 by 45 miles, but totalling less than 6 sq miles in dry land, and thought to be charted vicariously. These are significant hazards for the cruising sailor, and very likely to be inaccurately charted.

PredictWind.com 2014Mackay BoatsSouthern Spars - 100

Related Articles

Coast Guard joins Arctic stakeholders in historic forum
U.S. Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Paul Zukunft joined leaders representing eight coast guards of Arctic nations U.S. Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Paul Zukunft joined leaders representing eight coast guards of Arctic nations in signing a joint statement Friday. The statement adopts doctrine, tactics, procedures and information-sharing protocols for emergency maritime response and combined operations in the Arctic. The Arctic Coast Guard Forum is an operationally-focused, consensus-based organisation...
Posted on 24 Mar
Coast Guard Foundation announces tribute in New Orleans
Coast Guard Foundation announced that its Tribute to the Coast Guard District will be held at the National WW II Museum The Coast Guard Foundation, a non-profit organization committed to the education and welfare of all Coast Guard members and their families, announced today that its annual Tribute to the Eighth Coast Guard District will be held at the National World War II Museum in New Orleans, Louisiana on Friday, March 10, 2017.
Posted on 7 Mar
Coast Guard Foundation announces Scholarship Season now open
The Coast Guard Foundation, a non-profit organization, announced that it has kicked off its 2017 scholarship season. he Coast Guard Foundation, a non-profit organization committed to the education and welfare of all Coast Guard members and their families, announced today that it has kicked off its 2017 scholarship season. Accepting applications from March 1st through April 15th, children of enlisted Coast Guard members may apply for annual scholarships ranging from $1,000 to $5,000.
Posted on 28 Feb
Coast Guard Foundation receives donation from Ice Hockey Team
Coast Guard Foundation announced today that it received a donation from the Guilford High School Ice Hockey Booster Club The Coast Guard Foundation, a non-profit organization committed to the education and welfare of all Coast Guard members and their families, announced today that it has received a donation from the Guilford High School Ice Hockey Booster Club for $2,568, to benefit the Coast Guard Foundation’s Fallen Heroes Fund and Scholarship Fund.
Posted on 25 Feb
Bavaria Yachts to introduce Cruiser 34 and Nautitech 46
The Cruiser 34 will be on show at the Bavaria Yachts display at the Strictly Sail boat show at Bayside’s Miamarina The Cruiser 34 will be on show at the Bavaria Yachts display at the Strictly Sail boat show at Bayside’s Miamarina, from February 16th to 20th.
Posted on 13 Feb
Unique Transatlantic Sailing Event - Building friendship across oceans
Rendez-Vous 2017 Tall Ships Regatta, organised to celebrate Canada 150, 150th anniversary of the Canadian Confederation. Sailing in the wake of the great explorers, international friendship and understanding is at the core of this once in a lifetime adventure - The Rendez-Vous 2017 Tall Ships Regatta, organised to celebrate Canada 150, the 150th anniversary of the Canadian Confederation.
Posted on 10 Feb
Frigid flying – Coast Guard aircrews take on New England Winter
Freezing rain? Teeth-chattering temperatures? Limited visibility? Coast Guard aircrews are still ready to fly. Freezing rain? Teeth-chattering temperatures? Limited visibility? Coast Guard aircrews are still ready to fly. At Air Station Cape Cod, aviation maintenance and electronic technicians work around the clock to ensure the MH-60 Jayhawk helicopters are prepared and ready to launch. There is one thing the maintenance crews and pilots cannot control: winter weather.
Posted on 9 Feb
On board interview with Lisa Blair - solo Antartica circumnavigation
So far, Lisa is tracking very well in her attempt to become the first woman to sail solo around Antartica. So far, Lisa is tracking very well in her attempt to become the first woman to sail solo around Antartica. After the setbacks of a delayed departure due to gremlins in the electronics, we are delighted to have these answers from her on board. She is well and enjoying her time. Climate Action Now, her Hick 50, left Albany in Western Australia on January 22, 2017.
Posted on 8 Feb
Yachting cartoonist Mike Peyton dies at 96
“The World’s Greatest Yachting Cartoonist” died on January 25, 2017 just five days after his 96th birthday. Mike Peyton, dubbed “The World’s Greatest Yachting Cartoonist”, died on January 25, 2017 just five days after his 96th birthday. A modest, shy man, he eschewed the spotlight and seemed unaware of the esteem which in sailors all around the world held him.
Posted on 27 Jan
Zhik Xeflex® - your shield against cold environments
This radiant barrier mid-layer nearly defies description. This radiant barrier mid-layer nearly defies description. How do you make a water resistant garment that really breathes, yet reflects your own body heat back to you? Where do you find a compression resistant and extremely insulating filling that is nowhere near as bulky as the Michelin Man, yet gives you that kind of warmth and comfort?
Posted on 17 Jan