Sandy Island error traced back to 1876 whaling ship

Sandy Island error traced back to 1876 whaling ship

Sandy Island error traced back to 1876 whaling ship

Updated 3 December 2012, 18:55 AEST

A researcher at Auckland Museum in New Zealand has solved the mystery of disappearing Sandy Island, finding evidence that it never actually existed.

A New Zealand researcher has solved the mystery of the disappearing Sandy Island, finding evidence that it never actually existed.

Shaun Higgins, a pictorial librarian at Auckland Museum, has discovered the source of the original error, which dates back to a whaling ship in 1876.

Sandy Island, also known as Sable Island, has appeared on maps for over a hundred years, and could even be seen on Google Maps.

However, a group of Australian researchers who set out for the island last month reported that they could not find it.

"As far as I can tell, the island was recorded by the whaling ship, the Velocity," Mr Higgins told ABC Radio Australia's Pacific Beat program.

Mr Higgins explained that the ship's master reported a series of "heavy breakers" and some "Sandy Islets".