Hello everyone, this is a story about an island that moves as if it has legs and knows how to walk. This, combined with a few other factors, has made this island a graveyard of the Atlantic. However, it is now home to a herd of wild horses. Here, horses are kings, horses are number one, and humans are nothing. What is the truth behind this island that moves like a giant ship? Welcome to The Wise Goat.
Information About Sable Island
This island is called Sable Island and it is located in the North Atlantic Ocean, belonging to Canada. Sable Island is about 170 kilometers away from the nearest mainland area and it is quite small, with an area of just over 31 square kilometers. Therefore, it is difficult to see it from a large map and requires zooming in.
The shape of Sable Island is very peculiar, it is not a circular or square-shaped island like any other normal island, but it is shaped like a bow. To me, it looks like a beanstalk. Therefore, although the island stretches nearly 42km, the widest point of the island is only 1.5km. The uniqueness lies not only in the shape of the island, but also in its structure.
This island is not made of rock or soil, but mainly formed by sand. As for the population of the island, if counting only regular settlers, it can be said to be around 0. Because every year, only from under 10 to over 20 people live on the island. They are employees from the Canadian weather agency or conservation agency. They set up camp on the island and these people take turns to reside and live temporarily, rather than staying permanently like ordinary residents of the island.
Sable Island – The Island With The Ability To Self-move
This is a sand island, so it is very strange. It emerges from a large underwater sandbank, surrounded by vast waters, making it difficult to detect. The island is almost submerged with the sea and there is no natural landmark that indicates that the island can be easily observed. Because the island has no mountains and is completely devoid of natural greenery, only low-level vegetation can grow.
The Canadian government once tried to plant 80,000 trees to stabilize the soil and hold the sand, but they all died. They refused to give up and continued to plant trees on the island, but the trees still died. The only surviving tree species on the island that grows relatively well is the pine tree. The pine tree has survived since it was planted in 1960, but now it is only a few meters tall, even after half a century. Fortunately, there are still some freshwater ponds on the island for the animals to drink from, along with a few marshes in the central area of the island.
Why is this island called a mobile island? As we know, sand is easily blown away by the wind and swept away by water, and this island moves mysteriously. Because it is a sand island, every time the wind blows, Sable Island moves like a ship leaving its old position. For about 200 years, the island has moved over a distance of 20 km, and on average, it moves about 100 meters per year. Therefore, the map of Sable Island this year may be in one place, but next year it may be in a different location. Ships passing through this area need to be especially careful.
Nearly 400 Shipwrecks At Sable Island, What Are The Reasons?
While not the largest sand island in the world, this is an extremely dangerous and unpredictable sand island for ships passing through the North Atlantic, and as a result, it is known as the “Graveyard of the Atlantic”.
With its peculiar shape and low-lying location, combined with excessive sandbars and frequent fog in the area, the sand on this island is constantly shifting, exacerbated by sudden, increasing storms. As a result, ships passing through the island area may lose their bearings, collide with obstacles, and sink to the bottom of the ocean.
This island acts as a barrier, making ships more likely to collide with it. It has a recorded history of nearly 400 shipwrecks. Thus, people have given it an unpleasant nickname: “The Graveyard of the Atlantic.”
The first recorded shipwreck at the island was in 1583 by the English. It’s unknown whether any ships had sunk at the island prior to that. The last recorded shipwreck occurred in 1947. Clearly, with technological advancements and improved warning devices since 1947, shipwrecks at the island have become almost non-existent. Furthermore, a series of rescue stations were established on the island since the 19th century. The presence of these rescue stations also brought continuous human presence to the island, which previously had only been visited by shipwrecked individuals or those left on the island for inhumane reasons. The rescue stations at Sable Island have helped numerous ships escape the jaws of death.
More than 10 years after no shipwrecks occurred since the last one in 1947, the rescue station on Sable Island was closed. Survivors of the shipwrecks on Sable Island have published their stories about their experiences on the island. From then on, the island became even more famous and inspired fictional works, stories, and films.
This is a land of danger for humans, but a haven for wild horses. When ships carrying horses passed through Sable Island and sank, humans tried to leave the island and abandoned the horses. Now, it is home to around 400 wild horses. The horses living on the island are descendants of those that were on board the sunken ships that passed through the island, and they are bound to stay here. The horses on the island are usually quite small, only about 1.3 to 1.4 meters tall. The males weigh about 350 kg, while the females weigh about 300 kg. Food sources on the island are very limited, so the horses cannot grow very large. People have tried to take these horses to other places with better growing conditions, and they have grown taller there.
In addition, Sable Island is also home to the grey seal as well as many other bird species, such as the Arctic tern for example. All these animals live freely on the island without any human interference, making it a very friendly place for them. It is one of the destinations that is not visited by many tourists. However, most of those who have the opportunity to visit the island are enchanted by its natural beauty and take many beautiful pictures.
Fortunately for this island, the horses and other animal species on Sable Island are strictly protected by the Canadian government. As a national park, only a small number of scientists currently live on the island to study the animal and plant life. As mentioned above, this number is usually no more than 20 people. But Sable is not the only island in the world where animals have the privilege instead of humans.
Some Islands Where Animals Are Highly Valued
Cat Island, Tashirojima Island, Japan
Let’s take a look at some other famous islands known for their animals. One of them is Cat Island in Japan, also known as Tashirojima Island. It is an island that tourists all over the world know with the interesting name, Cat Island, which only has about 100 inhabitants, mainly retirees. The real owners on the island are the cute cats, living freely in very large numbers.
The cats were brought to the island from the 18th to the 19th century to chase mice from silk farms. When this industry no longer prospered, the locals left the island, and since then, the cat population has started to grow rapidly. Mice are no longer abundant on the island, but there is still a fishing industry. Therefore, the cats living on the island are not at risk of starvation and consider it lucky because fish is still a favorite food of cats. Tourists visiting here will be welcomed and can stay in small rooms with cat-shaped decorations. However, they are not allowed to bring their dogs when visiting Tashirojima Island, as dogs and cats are known to hate each other.
Rabbit Island – Ōkunoshima Island, Japan
In Japan, there is also Rabbit Island, which is called Ōkunoshima or Usagi Jima, the friendly home of wild rabbits, although the large population of rabbits living here is not necessarily a good thing. During World War II, this island was used by the Japanese fascists as a chemical weapons production site. During this time, the Japanese military secretly produced tons of toxic gases here.
Also during that time, a group of rabbits were brought to the island for experimentation with the remaining toxins on the island. Some have hypothesized that the current rabbit population is descended from those rabbits. Others believe they are the offspring of rabbits brought to the island by schoolchildren in the 1970s. Regardless, there are still many rabbits on the island today. It is now a popular resort area with a small golf course, camping area, and a beautiful beach.
Crab Island – Christmas Island, Australia
Next, we have the Christmas Island or Crab Island. Christmas Island is an Australian overseas territory located in the Indian Ocean. The island has a modest area and was discovered on Christmas Day in 1643, hence its name. Over half of the island’s area is an Australian national park and a perfect forest ecosystem for the red crab species to inhabit. Christmas Island witnesses the migration journey of about 120 million crabs every year. It takes them a month to reach the ocean and they have to endure many other dangers along the way such as dehydration, rugged terrain, and especially aggressive yellow crazy ants that can blind them. However, humans do not touch them. The red crab is a hallmark of Christmas Island.
Snake Island – Ilha da Queimada Grande, Brazil
And finally, there’s Snake Island – Ilha da Queimada Grande, which is also an extremely famous island. This island is located off the coast of Brazil and is one of the most dangerous places on the planet. It is quite large and is nicknamed the island with an average density of one venomous snake per square meter. This area is a horror for fishermen whenever they have to get close. And what makes this island particularly dangerous is the presence of bothrops insularis – one of the most venomous snakes in the world, and the deadliest. An estimated 2,000 to 4,000 bothrops insularis live on the island. The venom of this species is five times stronger than that of mainland snakes and can quickly cause death.
According to legend, the snakes first appeared here because of pirates. In order to protect the safety of the treasures they buried on the island, the pirates released many snakes here. And so the snakes proliferated. Due to the level of danger, the Brazilian government has banned people from setting foot on this island, and they closely monitor visits to the snake island. Only the navy of this country and special researchers or filmmakers are allowed to come here to maintain the lighthouse and learn about the unique and highly toxic ecosystem on the most dangerous island on the planet.
Thank you for following the story of Sable Island and the other islands in this article. If you find it interesting or want to share your opinions, please leave a comment in the box below. Goodbye and see you again.