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Islands with holes in them

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I was wondering how annoying it must sailing past somewhere in the old days and thinking, is that an island, or what?

Cos, you then have to sail around the island to make sure it is an island and not just a peninsular.

So, my first thought was taller ships, but realised the the tall bit on the island would be much taller than any feasible mast. Next was lower islands, so someone on the ship could climb the mast, see over the purported island and say "it's an island" or not.

This might go some way to explain Atlantis, as the population got so bored of saying "Yes, it's a blummin' island" twice or more times a day they rather overdid it on the island lowering maneuver.

Finally, I decided that just putting a big hole at the bottom of the tall bit of the island, so passing ships can just see the sea on the other side.

not_morrison_rm, Oct 11 2013

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       Baked by Nature eons ago, but you have to be in the right spot for it to do any good. Does anyone know what the right name is for a natural land bridge that spans a bit of sea? 'Sea bridge' doesn't sound quite right to me. The closest one to my current location is in Nova Scotia, or 'Nover Skosher' as we call it 'round here. Not that it does a blind bit of good, because if you're on a ship and in a position to peep through it, you've already run up on the rocks and you'll be looking at trees and perhaps a few idle Canadians, if such a thing exists. So perhaps there is room for improvement after all...
Alterother, Oct 11 2013
  

       // looking at trees and perhaps a few idle Canadians, if such a thing exists //   

       Canadians are Widely Known To Exist (unfortunately). We agree that the difference between a tree and an idle Canadian is not, however, readily apparent.   

       <Michael Palin>   

       "I wanted to be a lumberjack ! Leaping from tree to tree as they float down the mighty rivers of British Columbia . . . The giant redwood, the larch, the fir, the mighty scots pine...The smell of fresh-cut timber! The crash of mighty trees !"   

       </Michael Palin>
8th of 7, Oct 11 2013
  

       There is an easy way to tell if a piece of land is connected to the mainland. In the northern hemisphere, you need to count the number of seabirds flying east or north, and the number flying west or south. When you get bored of doing that you go and find a map.
MaxwellBuchanan, Oct 11 2013
  

       Don't bias the hole too far on one side, it might capsize.   

       God bless that congressman for that. SNL was getting so boring.
RayfordSteele, Oct 11 2013
  

       Perhaps a better way to accomplish this goal would be to elevate the entire island on stout pylons, so that one can simply peer underneath it to see what is on the other side. In this configuration the hole would be in the center of the island, so that when one is sailing underneath one can stave off the inevitable anxiety caused when sailing beneath a land mass by looking up at the sky and noting the number and direction of seabirds on the wing.
Alterother, Oct 11 2013
  

       We think this is an excellent idea, and insist that the author tries it out immediately.   

       We nominate the island to be experimentaly perforated as Anak Krakatau, in the Sunda strait between Java and Sumatra.   

       We intend to observe the outcome from a safe distance, known to your species as a Geostationary orbit.
8th of 7, Oct 11 2013
  

       Ah, the Sunda Strait. Beautiful spot. Hebthorn ("Dinky") Buchanan was last known to have lived there in the early 1880s, developing what he claimed would be the world's most effective hydrothermal telegraphy system. The family records for him are blank from about 1882-3 onwards - one of the lost threads of the Buchanan tapestry.
MaxwellBuchanan, Oct 11 2013
  

       Perhaps an alternative solution would be for ships to carry large hula hoops stored vertically Sidle up to a possible island, tilt down the hoop over the landmass and if the hoop goes fully horizontal it is an island but if it hangs up on some unseen object on the far side it's not.   

       On an unrelated topic, when Anak Krakatau (meaning son of Krakatoa) blows up and a new volcanic island forms do you think it will be known as Anak Anak Krakatau or perhaps just GrandAnak Krakatau?   

       And as for [8th]'s impression of Micheal Palin, I'd like to say "he's okay"
AusCan531, Oct 11 2013
  

       // The family records for him are blank from about 1882-3 onwards - one of the lost threads of the Buchanan tapestry.//   

       Let us consider the known facts.   

       1. While the relevant pages of the family history are indeed blank, there is compelling evidence to indicate that this was not always the case. Close examination of the paper indicates that a highly sophisticated chemical agent has been used to entirely remove the ink, without affecting the underling structure of the paper. This bespeaks a considerable scientific skill verging on alchemy, a trait for which the Buchanan line is well known; and the related phenomenon of "disappearance" in this context is far from unique*. The conclusion is that the records have been intentionally erased for the usual reasons.**   

       2. The extant log of the Charles Bal, a cargo carrying barque on a voyage from Belfast to Hong Kong, in which Captain W.J. Watson records the events of 26th - 27th August 1884 ***, referring to "my brother's dear friend" and the invaluable assistance he rendered in dealing with "an unexpected and most unwelcome guest from the Matilda Briggs, who was discovered to be accompanied by that which travelers in these lands have from ancient times dreaded above all else, such that it is not spoken of, for the world is not yet prepared for such horrors"****   

       3. A plethora of new and somewhat oddly-phrased Customs and Quarantine regulations promulgated by all major maritime trading nations in September to December 1884.   

       4. A peculiar nervousness which descends on all representatives of the Buchanan family whenever the word "rat" or "rats" are mentioned, often accompanied by furtive peering into dark corners and involuntary grasping of any nearby heavy, blunt objects.   

       * We refer of course to the infamous, nay notorious, Disappearance of the Fourth Earl of Buchanan, along with the shed in which he was wont to seclude himself, which was suspiciously coincident with the disappearance of all the fixed glass on the South frontage of Buchanan Towers, the appearance of a large, shallow depression in the ground where the shed used to be, an outbreak of sudden deafness in nearby estate workers, and the unexplained phenomenon still referred to in the area as "that funny sticky pink rain with bits in".   

       ** Avoidance of writs for damages, the usual suits for Breach of Promise and Paternity, actions for Libel, Slander and Defamation of Character, Wrongful and Constructive Dismissal, Assault, Piracy on the High Seas, Piracy on the Dead Sea, High Treason, Blasphemy, prosecutions under the various Witchcraft Acts, repeated and wilfull violations of Air Navigation Orders, failure to report an accident, operating an electric toothbrush without due care and attention, setting fire to His or Her Majesty's Dockyards (numerous charges brought during the reigns of several monarchs), aiding and abetting a goat while under the influence of drink or drugs, Dancing with Wolves, and attempting to import a fumarole without a proper licence.   

       *** This document now resides in the Public Record Office at Kew, London, and is available for public consultation on request. Really, it does. You can go and check if you like.   

       *** Interestingly, in Dr J.M. Watson's notes of "The Adventure Of The Sussex Vampire", Sherlock Holmes refers to this event, saying "Matilda Briggs was not the name of a young woman, Watson, ... It was a ship which is associated with the giant rat of Sumatra, a story for which the world is not yet prepared." From this it may be deduced that neither Holmes nor Watson's brother felt able to further enlighten him on the events of those terrible few days. The remarkable similarity of phraseology in the two widely-separated accounts is particularly noteworthy.
8th of 7, Oct 12 2013
  

       [8th], by dint of some deep and probing research, some ingenious and clever inferences, and by the connection of several strands of superficially unrelated evidence, you appear to unearthed information which is, in fact, widely known and publicly available.   

       The association between the Buchanan Estate, the fourth and fifth Earls, and the Giant (which it isn't, really; just rather large) Rat (which it isn't; more a gerbil, in fact) of (which it is) Sumatra (ditto) has been extensively recorded in Sturton's five volume history of the Buchanans. The matter was also outlined, more or less accurately, in Desmond Moines' biography of the fifth Earl.   

       As for the "suspicious" blank pages in the family history, these are in fact quite mundanically explicable. From about 1882 to 1914, it fell to Adenine Ffoulkes-Buchanan to act as the family historian and archivist. You will, no doubt, be aware of Lady Adenine's role as an agent acting on behalf of the British government in the mid 1800s.   

       Lady Adenine maintained an obsession with secrecy even in later life. This obsession extended to writing everything with a quite remarkable invisible ink of her own devising.   

       It was only some years after her death that it was discovered that her "invisible ink" was, in fact, water. This led not only to the irrecoverable loss of Buchanan family records, but also to the revelation that British Intelligence had been receiving her sensitive information from 1842 to 1852 but had been too embarrassed to admit that it could not render her secret ink visible. Only the stains on some of the otherwise blank pages which she sent by pigeon from Russia, Siam and Van Diemen's Land (including motor oil, blood, palm oil and, inexplicably, tequila) gave any clue as to what she was up to.
MaxwellBuchanan, Oct 12 2013
  
      
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