Emmeline Wilson

The Age of Un-Discovery

This weekend I read a National Geographic interview with Malachy Tallak, author of a new book, The Un-Discovered Islands


Mythical islands on fancy maps covered with sea monsters, mermen, and sirens? Cool. 

The concept that "the 20th century is a 'time of un-discovery'"? Even cooler.


Because what does that even mean? Tallak uses the example of Sandy Island. 

Sandy Island is the most recent island to be un-discovered, in late 2012. An Australian research vessel noticed discrepancies between the navigational chart and the systems they had on board, some of which showed Sandy Island in the region between Australia and New Caledonia, and some of which did not. They decided to have a look for themselves but found there was no such island, neither above nor beneath the surface. But Sandy Island still appeared on all kinds of charts and even Google Maps and Google Earth.

We assume digital navigation is perfect, that there are no mistakes, but there can be and this is the most famous example. It was widely reported around the world and people became quite excited about the idea of an island that both did and did not exist.

The reason, I think, is that, as the Age of Discovery came to a close, we lost some of the sense of mystery about the world that we had always had. To find a place that broke all the rules, which appeared on a map, yet wasn’t actually there, was an exciting idea. Sandy Island seems to speak to our deep desire for there to still be mysterious places out there. 

The last paragraph is my favorite. Reread it if you ended up skimming (as I did the first time, so no judgement there).


In the Age of Discovery, those yearning for adventure and a stab at solving the world's mysteries had their chance. The Age of Un-Discovery leaves us nostalgic for a time we were never a part of. So, although I love the phrase and idea of "The Age of Un-Discovery", I am glad to have found, in SlideBelts, a place that embodies the Age of Discovery. This Monday, let's go forth and discover. New friends, new stories, new ways to excel in whatever we put our minds to. Let's break all the rules and add our island to the map.


Slide Isle

Clearly I'm not the creative one in the family.


Interested in what Tallak has to say about mythical isles? Read the interview for yourself HERE.

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