Island Of The Week (3)

One of four islands that make up the Pitcairn Islands, Henderson’s main claim to fame is that it is “the world’s most polluted island”, the currents of the Pacific Ocean dumping masses of debris on to it each day.

The remote, uninhabited island has now another claim to fame – it is not where it was thought to be. Charts of the area were created by the Royal Navy in 1937 using photographs taken from the air, but there is now an exercise underway to check and update charts regarding British Overseas Territories around the world.  

Sailors use radar and GPS satellites to get new images of an area and superimpose them over the existing charts. Members of the crew of HMS Spey were surprised to find that the radar overlay was a mile away from the island of Henderson, leading to the inevitable conclusion that the island was plotted in the wrong position.

It does not seem to have mattered as no one noticed for so long, but it is best to get these things just right. It might just be better to follow the trail of rubbish and debris to find out exactly where Henderson Island is.

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