Is Google Maps Hiding a Ghost Island from Us?

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Did you know that there’s a phantom island that just exists on Google Maps? It’s like it is a ghost, and everyone keeps asking the same questions: “how?”

The island is called Sandy Island and had been on the map since 1774 as being located in the South Pacific, in New Caledonia, however, if you’re looking for it on Google Maps now, you won’t be able to find it. It appears as a faint outline, that looks like a long island, but there’s no landmass in sight.

How it all started

This Sandy Island has a long story, that started on the 15th of September, 1774, when Captain James Cook listed a certain “Sandy I.” in the Coral Sea, somewhere north of Australia. It was seen in Cook’s “Chart of Discoveries made in the South Pacific Ocean”.

From a historical point of view, the island is believed to be 14.9 miles long and 3.1 miles wide, so it’s quite big for someone not to see it.

In 1908, the UK Hydrographic Office nautical chart showed Sandy Island. In 1876 (one hundred years later), we see a ship called Velocity that also reports the Sandy Island. It was also noted on more than two maps from 19th-century Britain and Germany.

At some point, sea charts started to adjust maps with the letters ED (that stands for “existence doubtful”), after some voyages failed to see the island on the place it was supposed to be.

The French Hydrographic Service eventually removed the island from their charts. But we’ve seen the “true” story on November 22, in 2012, when some Australian scientists failed to find the island. The crew monitored the ocean depths, which weren’t less than 4,300 feet. This suggested that there was no way that an island could’ve been there just below the waves.

As our second lead editor, Anna C. Mackinno provides guidance on the stories Great Lakes Ledger reporters cover. She has been instrumental in making sure the content on the site is clear and accurate for our readers. If you see a particularly clever title, you can likely thank Anna. Anna received a BA and and MA from Fordham University.