World’s Strangest

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The Mystery Boat of Bouvet Island

Bouvet Island is 1,700 miles from Antarctica, and further away from anywhere else. The island is a volcano covered with a glacier. The few expeditions to explore it were many years apart, and some of those explorers never set foot on Bouvet Island, since there is no safe place to land. But in 1964, a South African expedition spent less than an hour on the island and found …an abandoned boat.

It was a mystery worthy of a Sherlock Holmes adventure. The boat, which Crawford described as “a whaler or ship’s lifeboat,” must have come from some larger ship. But no trade route ran within a thousand miles of Bouvet. If it really was a lifeboat, then, what ship had it come from? What spectacular feat of navigation had brought it across many miles of sea? How could it have survived a crossing of the Southern Ocean? There was no sign it had ever borne a mast and sail, or engine, but the solitary pair of oars that Crawford found would barely have been adequate to steer a heavy, 20-foot boat. Most unnervingly of all, what had become of the crew?

It was another two years before anyone else went to the island, and the boat was never recorded to have been seen again. Mike Dash set out to research what the boat was doing on such an isolated island, and came up with some interesting theories. However, a definitive answer has yet to be found. Read the whole story at A Blast from the Past. Link -via Dark Roasted Blend

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February 18th, 2011

Stranger to the World


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