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Desert island

Desert island

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A desert island or uninhabited island is an island
Island
An island or isle is any piece of sub-continental land that is surrounded by water. Very small islands such as emergent land features on atolls can be called islets, cays or keys. An island in a river or lake may be called an eyot , or holm...

 that has yet to be (or is not currently) populated by human
Human
Humans are the only living species in the Homo genus...

s. Uninhabited islands are often used in movies or stories about shipwreck
Shipwreck
A shipwreck is what remains of a ship that has wrecked, either sunk or beached. Whatever the cause, a sunken ship or a wrecked ship is a physical example of the event: this explains why the two concepts are often overlapping in English....

ed people, and are also used as stereotypes for the idea of "paradise
Paradise
Paradise is a place in which existence is positive, harmonious and timeless. It is conceptually a counter-image of the miseries of human civilization, and in paradise there is only peace, prosperity, and happiness. Paradise is a place of contentment, but it is not necessarily a land of luxury and...

". Some uninhabited islands are protected as nature reserve
Nature reserve
A nature reserve is a protected area of importance for wildlife, flora, fauna or features of geological or other special interest, which is reserved and managed for conservation and to provide special opportunities for study or research...

s and some are privately owned. Devon Island
Devon Island
Devon Island , claimed to be the largest uninhabited island on Earth, is located in Baffin Bay, Qikiqtaaluk Region, Nunavut, Canada. It is one of the larger members of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago, the second-largest of the Queen Elizabeth Islands, Canada's sixth largest island, and the 27th...

 in Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

 is claimed to be the largest uninhabited island in the world. Pirates were known to bury stashes of rum on random islands, in case they were left there to die by their mutinous mates.

Small coral atolls or islands usually have no source of fresh water
Fresh Water
Fresh Water is the debut album by Australian rock and blues singer Alison McCallum, released in 1972. Rare for an Australian artist at the time, it came in a gatefold sleeve...

, but at times a fresh water
Fresh Water
Fresh Water is the debut album by Australian rock and blues singer Alison McCallum, released in 1972. Rare for an Australian artist at the time, it came in a gatefold sleeve...

 lens (Ghyben-Herzberg lens) can be reached with a well.

Terminology



In the phrase "desert island," the adjective "desert" connotes a "desolate and sparsely occupied or unoccupied" area and does not imply that the island was previously inhabited and later deserted. The term "desert island" therefore typically refers to an undiscovered island.

List of some currently uninhabited islands

  • Kermadec Islands
    Kermadec Islands
    The Kermadec Islands are a subtropical island arc in the South Pacific Ocean northeast of New Zealand's North Island, and a similar distance southwest of Tonga...

     in South Pacific , part of New Zealand
    New Zealand
    New Zealand is an island country in the south-western Pacific Ocean comprising two main landmasses and numerous smaller islands. The country is situated some east of Australia across the Tasman Sea, and roughly south of the Pacific island nations of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga...

  • Many small islands off the coast of Greece
    Greece
    Greece , officially the Hellenic Republic , and historically Hellas or the Republic of Greece in English, is a country in southeastern Europe....

    .
  • Chacachacare
    Chacachacare
    Chacachacare is an abandoned island in the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago located at 10° 41' north latitude and 61° 45' west longitude. The island is 3.642 km² in area. It is one of the "Bocas Islands", which lie in the Bocas del Dragón between Trinidad and Venezuela...

  • De Long Islands
    De Long Islands
    The De Long Islands are an uninhabited archipelago often included as part of the New Siberian Islands, lying north east of Novaya Sibir. This archipelago consists of Jeannette Island, Henrietta Island, Bennett Island, Vilkitsky Island and Zhokhov Island. These five islands have a total area of...

     in Arctic Ocean
    Arctic Ocean
    The Arctic Ocean, located in the Northern Hemisphere and mostly in the Arctic north polar region, is the smallest and shallowest of the world's five major oceanic divisions...

     , part of Russia
    Russia
    Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

  • Blasket Islands
    Blasket Islands
    The Blasket Islands are a group of islands off the west coast of Ireland, forming part of County Kerry. They were inhabited until 1953 by a completely Irish-speaking population. The inhabitants were evacuated to the mainland on 17 November 1953...

  • Navassa Island
    Navassa Island
    Navassa Island is a small, uninhabited island in the Caribbean Sea, claimed as an unorganized unincorporated territory of the United States, which administers it through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Haiti, which claims to have had sovereignty over Navassa since 1801, also claims the island...

  • Bouvet Island
    Bouvet Island
    Bouvet Island is an uninhabited Antarctic volcanic island in the South Atlantic Ocean, 2,525 km south-southwest of South Africa. It is a dependent territory of Norway and, lying north of 60°S latitude, is not subject to the Antarctic Treaty. The centre of the island is an ice-filled crater of an...

  • Most of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago
    Canadian Arctic Archipelago
    The Canadian Arctic Archipelago, also known as the Arctic Archipelago, is a Canadian archipelago north of the Canadian mainland in the Arctic...

  • Clipperton Island
    Clipperton Island
    Clipperton Island is an uninhabited nine-square-kilometre coral atoll in the eastern Pacific Ocean, southwest of Mexico and west of Central America, at...

  • Many islands in the Maldives
    Maldives
    The Maldives , , officially Republic of Maldives , also referred to as the Maldive Islands, is an island nation in the Indian Ocean formed by a double chain of twenty-six atolls oriented north-south off India's Lakshadweep islands, between Minicoy Island and...

  • Most of the Phoenix Islands
    Phoenix Islands
    The Phoenix Islands are a group of eight atolls and two submerged coral reefs, lying in the central Pacific Ocean east of the Gilbert Islands and west of the Line Islands. They are a part of the Republic of Kiribati. During the late 1930s they became the site of the last attempted colonial...

     , part of Kiribati
    Kiribati
    Kiribati , officially the Republic of Kiribati, is an island nation located in the central tropical Pacific Ocean. The permanent population exceeds just over 100,000 , and is composed of 32 atolls and one raised coral island, dispersed over 3.5 million square kilometres, straddling the...

  • Heard Island and McDonald Islands
    Heard Island and McDonald Islands
    The Heard Island and McDonald Islands are an Australian external territory and volcanic group of barren Antarctic islands, about two-thirds of the way from Madagascar to Antarctica. The group's overall size is in area and it has of coastline...

  • Some of the Orkney Islands.
  • Most of the San Juan Islands
    San Juan Islands
    The San Juan Islands are an archipelago in the northwest corner of the contiguous United States between the US mainland and Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada. The San Juan Islands are part of the U.S...

  • Santa Luzia, Cape Verde
    Santa Luzia, Cape Verde
    Santa Luzia is an island of the Barlavento archipelago in Cape Verde located between São Nicolau and São Vicente. The area is 35 km² . The highest point is Monte Grande elevating 395 m...

  • Skellig Michael
    Skellig Michael
    Skellig Michael , also known as Great Skellig, is a steep rocky island in the Atlantic Ocean about 9 miles from the coast of County Kerry, Ireland. It is the larger of the two Skellig Islands...

  • Kaffeklubben Island
    Kaffeklubben Island
    Kaffeklubben Island or The Coffee Club Island is a small island lying off the northern tip of Greenland. It is the northernmost point of land on Earth....

    , Greenland
    Greenland
    Greenland is an autonomous country within the Kingdom of Denmark, located between the Arctic and Atlantic Oceans, east of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. Though physiographically a part of the continent of North America, Greenland has been politically and culturally associated with Europe for...

  • Surtsey
    Surtsey
    Surtsey is a volcanic island off the southern coast of Iceland. At it is also the southernmost point of Iceland. It was formed in a volcanic eruption which began 130 metres below sea level, and reached the surface on 15 November 1963. The eruption lasted until 5 June 1967, when the island...

  • Tetepare Island
    Tetepare Island
    Tetepare Island is the largest uninhabited island in the South Pacific, located at . It is a part of Western Province of the Solomon Islands. It covers approximately 118 square kilometres. Tetepare supports pristine lowland rainforest and a rich inshore marine area...

  • Groais Island
    Groais Island
    Groais Island is one of the Grey Islands, Bell Island being the other. It has an area of 41 km² and is located off Newfoundland's Great Northern Peninsula to the east in the Atlantic Ocean in Canada. The island is uninhabited, but was used earlier by fishermen.The island is hilly, rising to...

    , Newfoundland
  • Some cays of the Turks and Caicos Islands
    Turks and Caicos Islands
    The Turks and Caicos Islands are a British Overseas Territory and overseas territory of the European Union consisting of two groups of tropical islands in the Caribbean, the larger Caicos Islands and the smaller Turks Islands, known for tourism and as an offshore financial centre.The Turks and...

  • Most of the United States Minor Outlying Islands
    United States Minor Outlying Islands
    The United States Minor Outlying Islands, a statistical designation defined by the International Organization for Standardization's ISO 3166-1 code, consists of nine United States insular areas in the Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Sea: Baker Island, Howland Island, Jarvis Island, Johnston Atoll,...

  • Several entire atoll
    Atoll
    An atoll is a coral island that encircles a lagoon partially or completely.- Usage :The word atoll comes from the Dhivehi word atholhu OED...

    s of The Marshall Islands
    Marshall Islands
    The Republic of the Marshall Islands , , is a Micronesian nation of atolls and islands in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, just west of the International Date Line and just north of the Equator. As of July 2011 the population was 67,182...

  • Many small islands in Georgian Bay
    Georgian Bay
    Georgian Bay is a large bay of Lake Huron, located entirely within Ontario, Canada...

    , Lake Huron
    Lake Huron
    Lake Huron is one of the five Great Lakes of North America. Hydrologically, it comprises the larger portion of Lake Michigan-Huron. It is bounded on the east by the Canadian province of Ontario and on the west by the state of Michigan in the United States...

    , Canada
    Canada
    Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

  • Michipicoten Island
    Michipicoten Island
    Michipicoten Island is an island in Ontario, Canada, in the northeastern part of Lake Superior, approximately 175 km northwest of Sault Ste. Marie and 65 km southwest of Wawa, Ontario...

    , Lake Superior
    Lake Superior
    Lake Superior is the largest of the five traditionally-demarcated Great Lakes of North America. It is bounded to the north by the Canadian province of Ontario and the U.S. state of Minnesota, and to the south by the U.S. states of Wisconsin and Michigan. It is the largest freshwater lake in the...

    , Canada
    Canada
    Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

  • Several Alaska
    Alaska
    Alaska is the largest state in the United States by area. It is situated in the northwest extremity of the North American continent, with Canada to the east, the Arctic Ocean to the north, and the Pacific Ocean to the west and south, with Russia further west across the Bering Strait...

    n islands
  • Isle Royale
    Isle Royale
    Isle Royale is an island of the Great Lakes, located in the northwest of Lake Superior, and part of the state of Michigan. The island and the 450 surrounding smaller islands and waters make up Isle Royale National Park....

  • Many islands within the waters of Hong Kong

In literature and popular culture


The first known novels
Novel
A novel is a book of long narrative in literary prose. The genre has historical roots both in the fields of the medieval and early modern romance and in the tradition of the novella. The latter supplied the present generic term in the late 18th century....

 to be set on a desert island were Philosophus Autodidactus
Hayy ibn Yaqdhan
Ḥayy ibn Yaqẓān is an Arabic philosophical novel and allegorical tale written by Ibn Tufail in the early 12th century.- Translations :* from Wikisource* English translations of Hayy bin Yaqzan...

written by Ibn Tufail
Ibn Tufail
Ibn Tufail was an Andalusian Muslim polymath: an Arabic writer, novelist, Islamic philosopher, Islamic theologian, physician, vizier,...

 (1105–1185), followed by Theologus Autodidactus written by Ibn al-Nafis (1213–1288). The protagonist
Protagonist
A protagonist is the main character of a literary, theatrical, cinematic, or musical narrative, around whom the events of the narrative's plot revolve and with whom the audience is intended to most identify...

s in both (Hayy in Philosophus Autodidactus and Kamil in Theologus Autodidactus) are feral child
Feral child
A feral child is a human child who has lived isolated from human contact from a very young age, and has no experience of human care, loving or social behavior, and, crucially, of human language...

ren living in seclusion on a deserted island, until they eventually come in contact with castaway
Castaway
A castaway is a person who is cast adrift or ashore. While the situation usually happens after a shipwreck, some people voluntarily stay behind on a deserted island, either to evade their captors or the world in general. Alternatively, a person or item can be cast away, meaning rejected or discarded...

s from the outside world who are stranded on the island. The story of Theologus Autodidactus, however, extends beyond the deserted island setting when the castaways take Kamil back to civilization
Civilization
Civilization is a sometimes controversial term that has been used in several related ways. Primarily, the term has been used to refer to the material and instrumental side of human cultures that are complex in terms of technology, science, and division of labor. Such civilizations are generally...

 with them.

William Shakespeare
William Shakespeare
William Shakespeare was an English poet and playwright, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's pre-eminent dramatist. He is often called England's national poet and the "Bard of Avon"...

's 1610-11 play, The Tempest
The Tempest
The Tempest is a play by William Shakespeare, believed to have been written in 1610–11, and thought by many critics to be the last play that Shakespeare wrote alone. It is set on a remote island, where Prospero, the exiled Duke of Milan, plots to restore his daughter Miranda to her rightful place,...

, uses the idea of being stranded on a desert island as a pretext for the action of the play. Prospero
Prospero
Prospero is the protagonist in The Tempest, a play by William Shakespeare.- The Tempest :Prospero is the rightful Duke of Milan, who was put to sea on "a rotten carcass of a butt [boat]" to die by his usurping brother, Antonio, twelve years before the play begins. Prospero and Miranda survived,...

 and his daughter Miranda are set adrift by Prospero's treacherous brother Antonio, seeking to become Duke of Milan, and Prospero in turn shipwrecks his brother and other men of sin onto the island.

A Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

 translation of Ibn Tufail's Philosophus Autodidactus appeared in 1671, prepared by Edward Pococke
Edward Pococke
Edward Pococke was an English Orientalist and biblical scholar.-Early life:He was the son of clergyman from Chieveley in Berkshire, and was educated at Lord Williams's School of Thame in Oxfordshire and at Corpus Christi College, Oxford...

 the Younger, followed by an English
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

 translation by Simon Ockley
Simon Ockley
Simon Ockley was a British Orientalist.-Biography:Ockley was born at Exeter. He was educated at Queens' College, Cambridge, and graduated B.A. in 1697, MA. in 1701, and B.D. in 1710. He became fellow of Jesus College and vicar of Swavesey, and in 1711 was chosen Adams Professor of Arabic in the...

 in 1708, as well as German
German language
German is a West Germanic language, related to and classified alongside English and Dutch. With an estimated 90 – 98 million native speakers, German is one of the world's major languages and is the most widely-spoken first language in the European Union....

 and Dutch
Dutch language
Dutch is a West Germanic language and the native language of the majority of the population of the Netherlands, Belgium, and Suriname, the three member states of the Dutch Language Union. Most speakers live in the European Union, where it is a first language for about 23 million and a second...

 translations. In the late 17th century, Philosophus Autodidactus inspired Robert Boyle
Robert Boyle
Robert Boyle FRS was a 17th century natural philosopher, chemist, physicist, and inventor, also noted for his writings in theology. He has been variously described as English, Irish, or Anglo-Irish, his father having come to Ireland from England during the time of the English plantations of...

, an acquaintance of Pococke, to write his own philosophical novel set on a deserted island, The Aspiring Naturalist. Ibn al-Nafis' Theologus Autodidactus was also eventually translated into English in the early 20th century.

The quintessential deserted island novel, however, was Daniel Defoe
Daniel Defoe
Daniel Defoe , born Daniel Foe, was an English trader, writer, journalist, and pamphleteer, who gained fame for his novel Robinson Crusoe. Defoe is notable for being one of the earliest proponents of the novel, as he helped to popularise the form in Britain and along with others such as Richardson,...

's 1719 novel Robinson Crusoe
Robinson Crusoe
Robinson Crusoe is a novel by Daniel Defoe that was first published in 1719. Epistolary, confessional, and didactic in form, the book is a fictional autobiography of the title character—a castaway who spends 28 years on a remote tropical island near Trinidad, encountering cannibals, captives, and...

. It is likely that Defoe took inspiration for Crusoe from a Scottish
Scotland
Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Occupying the northern third of the island of Great Britain, it shares a border with England to the south and is bounded by the North Sea to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, and the North Channel and Irish Sea to the...

 sailor named Alexander Selkirk
Alexander Selkirk
Alexander Selkirk was a Scottish sailor who spent four years as a castaway when he was marooned on an uninhabited island. It is probable that his travels provided the inspiration for Daniel Defoe's novel Robinson Crusoe....

, who was rescued in 1709 after four years on the uninhabited Juan Fernández Islands
Juan Fernández Islands
The Juan Fernández Islands are a sparsely inhabited island group reliant on tourism and fishing in the South Pacific Ocean, situated about off the coast of Chile, and is composed of three main volcanic islands; Robinson Crusoe Island, Alejandro Selkirk Island and Santa Clara Island, the first...

; Defoe usually made use of current events for his plots. It is also likely that he was inspired by the Latin or English translations of Ibn Tufail's Philosophus Autodidactus.

Tom Neale
Tom Neale
Tom Neale was a New Zealander who spent much of his life in the Cook Islands and 16 years in three sessions living alone on the island of Anchorage in the Suwarrow atoll, which was the basis of his popular autobiography.-Early life:Thomas Francis Neale was born in Wellington, New Zealand, but...

 was a New Zealander who voluntarily spent 16 years in three sessions in the 1950s and 1960s living alone on the island of Suwarrow
Suwarrow
Suwarrow is a low coral atoll in the Cook Islands in the Pacific Ocean. It is about 1,300 km south of the equator and 930 km NNW of Rarotonga, from which it is administered....

 in the northern Cook Islands
Cook Islands
The Cook Islands is a self-governing parliamentary democracy in the South Pacific Ocean in free association with New Zealand...

 group. His time there is documented in his autobiography, An Island To Oneself. Significant novels set on deserted islands include The Swiss Family Robinson
The Swiss Family Robinson
-History:Written by Swiss pastor Johann David Wyss and edited by his son Johann Rudolf Wyss, the novel was intended to teach his four sons about family values, good husbandry, the uses of the natural world and self-reliance...

, The Coral Island
The Coral Island
The Coral Island is a novel written by Scottish juvenile fiction author R. M. Ballantyne during the peak of the British Empire. It was voted as one of the top twenty Scottish novels in the 2006 15th International World Wide Web Conference....

, The Mysterious Island
The Mysterious Island
The Mysterious Island is a novel by Jules Verne, published in 1874. The original edition, published by Hetzel, contains a number of illustrations by Jules Férat. The novel is a sequel to Verne's famous Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea and In Search of the Castaways, though thematically it is...

, Lord of the Flies
Lord of the Flies
Lord of the Flies is a novel by Nobel Prize-winning author William Golding about a group of British boys stuck on a deserted island who try to govern themselves, with disastrous results...

, The Cay
The Cay (novel)
The Cay is a children's novel written by Theodore Taylor. It was first published in 1969.The Cay took only three weeks to complete. Taylor based the character of the boy in his book on a childhood playmate. The novel was published in 1969 and dedicated to Martin Luther King, Jr.-Plot:When World War...

and The Beach
The Beach (novel)
The Beach is a novel by Alex Garland about backpackers in Thailand. Influenced by such literary works as Heart of Darkness and Lord of the Flies, it describes the adventures of a young Englishman in search of and on a legendary, idyllic beach untouched by tourism.-Plot summary:In a cheap hostel on...

.

The theme of being stranded on a desert island has inspired films, such as Cast Away
Cast Away
Cast Away is a 2000 drama film directed by Robert Zemeckis and starring Tom Hanks as a FedEx employee stranded on an uninhabited island after his plane crashes in the South Pacific. The film depicts his successful attempts to survive on the island using remnants of his plane's cargo, as well as his...

, and TV series, like Lost
Lost (TV series)
Lost is an American television series that originally aired on ABC from September 22, 2004 to May 23, 2010, consisting of six seasons. Lost is a drama series that follows the survivors of the crash of a commercial passenger jet flying between Sydney and Los Angeles, on a mysterious tropical island...

and the comedy Gilligan's Island
Gilligan's Island
Gilligan's Island is an American television series created and produced by Sherwood Schwartz and originally produced by United Artists Television. The situation comedy series featured Bob Denver; Alan Hale, Jr.; Jim Backus; Natalie Schafer; Tina Louise; Russell Johnson; and Dawn Wells. It aired for...

. It is also the driving force behind reality shows like Survivor
Survivor (TV series)
Survivor is a reality television game show format produced in many countries throughout the world. In the show, contestants are isolated in the wilderness and compete for cash and other prizes. The show uses a system of progressive elimination, allowing the contestants to vote off other tribe...

and the Discovery Kids
Discovery Kids
Discovery Kids is an American website owned by Discovery Communications, Inc. created for children. Until October 10, 2010, it was an American digital cable specialty channel, owned by Discovery Communications with television programming for education of children. It was launched in October 1996...

 show Flight 29 Down
Flight 29 Down
Flight 29 Down is a television series about a group of teenagers who are stranded on an island. It was produced by Discovery Kids. The show was created by Stan Rogow and D. J. MacHale . The executive producers are Rogow, MacHale, Shauna Shapiro Jackson, and Gina & Rann Watumull...

.

In the popular conception, such islands are often located in the Pacific, tropical, uninhabited and usually uncharted. They are remote locales that offer escape and force people marooned or stranded as castaway
Castaway
A castaway is a person who is cast adrift or ashore. While the situation usually happens after a shipwreck, some people voluntarily stay behind on a deserted island, either to evade their captors or the world in general. Alternatively, a person or item can be cast away, meaning rejected or discarded...

s to become self-sufficient and essentially create a new society. This society can either be utopian, based on an ingenious re-creation of society's comforts (as in Swiss Family Robinson and, in a humorous form, Gilligan's Island
Gilligan's Island
Gilligan's Island is an American television series created and produced by Sherwood Schwartz and originally produced by United Artists Television. The situation comedy series featured Bob Denver; Alan Hale, Jr.; Jim Backus; Natalie Schafer; Tina Louise; Russell Johnson; and Dawn Wells. It aired for...

) or a regression into savagery (the major theme of both Lord of the Flies
Lord of the Flies
Lord of the Flies is a novel by Nobel Prize-winning author William Golding about a group of British boys stuck on a deserted island who try to govern themselves, with disastrous results...

and The Beach
The Beach (novel)
The Beach is a novel by Alex Garland about backpackers in Thailand. Influenced by such literary works as Heart of Darkness and Lord of the Flies, it describes the adventures of a young Englishman in search of and on a legendary, idyllic beach untouched by tourism.-Plot summary:In a cheap hostel on...

). In reality, small coral atolls or islands usually have no source of fresh water
Fresh Water
Fresh Water is the debut album by Australian rock and blues singer Alison McCallum, released in 1972. Rare for an Australian artist at the time, it came in a gatefold sleeve...

 (thus precluding any long-term human survival), but at times a fresh water
Fresh Water
Fresh Water is the debut album by Australian rock and blues singer Alison McCallum, released in 1972. Rare for an Australian artist at the time, it came in a gatefold sleeve...

 lens (Ghyben-Herzberg lens) can be reached with a well.
  • The BBC
    BBC
    The British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters is at Broadcasting House in the City of Westminster, London. It is the largest broadcaster in the world, with about 23,000 staff...

     Radio 4 program Desert Island Discs
    Desert Island Discs
    Desert Island Discs is a BBC Radio 4 programme first broadcast on 29 January 1942. It is the second longest-running radio programme , and is the longest-running factual programme in the history of radio...

    asks well-known people what items they would take with them to a deserted island. The program has inspired many similar articles, contests, and projects, including "desert island books," "desert island movies," and so on.
  • A message in a bottle
    Message in a bottle
    A message in a bottle is a form of communication whereby a message is sealed in a container and released into the sea or ocean...

     is a form of communication often associated with people stranded on a deserted island attempting to be rescued.
  • Desert islands also figure largely in sexual fantasies
    Sexual fantasy
    A sexual fantasy, also called an erotic fantasy, is a fantasy or pattern of thoughts with the effect of creating or enhancing sexual feelings; in short, it is "almost any mental imagery that is sexually arousing or erotic to [an] individual"...

    , with the top "dream vacation" for heterosexual men surveyed by Psychology Today
    Psychology Today
    Psychology Today is a bi-monthly magazine published in the United States. It is a psychology-based magazine about relationships, health, and related topics written for a mass audience of non-psychologists. Psychology Today was founded in 1967 and features articles on such topics as love,...

    being "marooned on a tropical island with several members of the opposite sex."
  • A man on a deserted island is also a hugely popular image for gag cartoon
    Gag cartoon
    A gag cartoon is most often a single-panel cartoon, usually including a hand-lettered or typeset caption beneath the drawing. A pantomime cartoon carries no caption...

    s, the island being conventionally depicted as just a few yards across with a single palm tree.

Historical castaways



One report describes a Frenchman
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 who went mad after two years of solitude on Mauritius
Mauritius
Mauritius , officially the Republic of Mauritius is an island nation off the southeast coast of the African continent in the southwest Indian Ocean, about east of Madagascar...

. He tore his clothing to pieces in a fit of madness brought on by a diet of nothing but raw turtle
Turtle
Turtles are reptiles of the order Testudines , characterised by a special bony or cartilaginous shell developed from their ribs that acts as a shield...

s. Another story has to do with a Dutch
Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

 seaman who was left alone on the island of Saint Helena
Saint Helena
Saint Helena , named after St Helena of Constantinople, is an island of volcanic origin in the South Atlantic Ocean. It is part of the British overseas territory of Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha which also includes Ascension Island and the islands of Tristan da Cunha...

 as punishment. He fell into such despair that he disinterred the body of a buried comrade and set out to sea in the coffin. Another castaway, the Spaniard Pedro Serrano
Pedro Serrano
Pedro Luis Serrano was a Spanish sailor who was supposed to have been marooned for seven or eight years in the sixteenth century on a small desert island. Details of the story differ, but the most common version has him shipwrecked on a small island in the Caribbean off the coast of Nicaragua in...

, was rescued after seven and a half years of solitude. In 1820, the crew of the whaleship, Essex, spent time on uninhabited Henderson Island
Henderson Island (Pitcairn Islands)
Henderson Island is an uninhabited raised coral atoll in the south Pacific Ocean, that in 1902 was annexed to the Pitcairn Islands colony, a South Pacific Dependent Territory of the United Kingdom. Measuring long and wide, it has an area of and is located northeast of Pitcairn Island at . The...

 where they gorged on birds, fish, and vegetation and found a small freshwater spring. After they depleted the island's resources most of the crew left on three whaleboats, while three of the men decided to remain on the island and ended up living there.

See also



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    Desert Island Discs
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  • List of uninhabited regions
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    Islomania
    Islomania is a craze for or a strong attraction to islands. The condition was first identified by British writer Lawrence Durrell in his book Reflections on a Marine Venus :...

  • Marooning
    Marooning
    Marooning is the intentional leaving of someone in a remote area, such as an uninhabited island. The word appears in writing in approximately 1709, and is derived from the term maroon, a word for a fugitive slave, which could be a corruption of Spanish cimarrón, meaning a household animal who has...

  • Shipwreck
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    A shipwreck is what remains of a ship that has wrecked, either sunk or beached. Whatever the cause, a sunken ship or a wrecked ship is a physical example of the event: this explains why the two concepts are often overlapping in English....

  • Stowaway
    Stowaway
    A stowaway is a person who secretly boards a vehicle, such as an aircraft, bus, ship, cargo truck or train, to travel without paying and without being detected....

  • Saltwater intrusion
    Saltwater intrusion
    Saltwater intrusion is the movement of saline water into freshwater aquifers. Most often, it is caused by ground-water pumping from coastal wells, or from construction of navigation channels or oil field canals. The channels and canals provide conduits for salt water to be brought into fresh...


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