The Terrible History Of Disappointment Island

Samuel Reason - May 8th, 2020

Deep in the subantarctic Auckland Islands of New Zealand, you will find an island that is seldom visited and has a tragic past. It is aptly named Disappointment Island, and apart from being visited by research teams for bird watching missions it is seldom ever visited. There are many hidden bird species on the island that have remained very secretive which is why it is a hotspot for research, mostly because it has over 65,000 pairs of white-capped albatross, but for others, it is part of the dark tourism routes.

tepapa.govt.nz

Few places on earth have such inappropriate names, Disappointment Island from a biological point of view is far from being a disappointment. The island is rich in wildlife and was named during an era of time when seafarers were always on the lookout for islands that had fresh water, safe harbors, and seal fur. The island has many biological riches so the name doesn’t make any sense. Just 6 km west of the main Auckland Island, it is rarely visited at all as it is less sheltered than other islands in the region. They even found the Auckland railbird there which was once a bird thought to be extinct.

However it does have a bit of a dark past, and that was due to the famous wreck of the Dundonald. In 1907 the vessel went down killing nearly all of its crew, but a couple of survivors made it out onto the island. And here starts an epic tale of survival, the island never sees over ships go past it, so the survivors had to live off the land. They camped out on the island and survived in some of the wildest conditions known to humans. Eventually, they made a tiny boat out of seal skins that they twisted around the few shrubs they found on the island. On this makeshift boat, they were able to paddle to the main island where they found a supplies depot. Here they lived for 7 months before being rescued, only 10 members survived the ordeal out of a crew of 28.

But that is not the only tragedy that happened on Disappointment Island, in 1868 a steel tanker crashed directly into the island due to poor vision. This immediately killed over 68 people and left only 15 survivors, they were stranded on the island for over 18 months before finally being rescued. So as you can see this island has caused its fair share of problems during the annals of seafaring history of the Auckland Islands.

Next Article
  • Great Depression Started Dance Marathons For Food

    Events that offered the promise of food and money during the Great Depression attracted people like flies. As a result, huge dance marathons would happen where the winners would get food. The problem was everyone was starving with no solution in sight, they were all determined to win. This caused many dancers to suffer from...

    Read More
  • France’s Deadly WWI Red Zone

    The Zone Rouge, or Red Zone as it is known in English, is a quarantine area throughout Northeastern France that the government decided was inhabitable after World War I. Though the area is non-contiguous, it was deemed unfit for life. Originally, the land covered over 1,200 square kilometers. All of it was considered too damaged...

    Read More
  • Sally Ride First American Women In Space

    On June 18, 1983, NASA Astronaut Sally Ride became the first American woman to enter space. She launched with her four crewmates on the Shuttle Challenger, on mission STS-7. The ride had been selected with five other women to be part of NASA’s space program back in 1978. With the advances of the space shuttles...

    Read More
  • Reindeer In A WW2 Submarine

    One of the more unusual moments of World War II was when a British submarine transported around a reindeer it had been given by the Russians as a gift. In 1941, the crew of the HMS Trident was given a reindeer by the USSR navy. The reindeer then spent the next 6 weeks living with...

    Read More
  • Archduke Franz Ferdinand Killed Over 300,000 Animals While Hunting

    Over one hundred years ago, the heir to the Astro Hungarian throne was a crazy guy called Franz. Well Archduke Franz Ferdinand to be exact, his assassination led to the turn of events that caused the start of World War I. Pulling in the Russian Empire, Germany, France, Italy, China, and the U.S. into one...

    Read More
  • The Legend Of Snake Rock In Naka Cave

    Naka Cave is found in Phu Langka National Park in Thailand, and in Thai it means snake. There is a real reason for this, the cave looks like a giant snake. The texture of the stones appears to resemble the scaled skin of a snake. Over the years there have been hundreds of articles publishing...

    Read More
  • Wife Carrying Is An Extreme Sport In Finland

    Over fifty men happily sling their wives or partners over their shoulders and run off into the race. An hour-long gruel through the Finnish town of Sonkajarvi and thousands of fans will be cheering them on. This is the extreme sport of wife-carrying in Finland. The World Wife Carrying Championships is now well into its...

    Read More