Point Nemo: The Point in the Ocean Farthest From Land

If you’ve ever traveled by ship, sailboat, or even surfboard, you know you don’t have to get too far out from shore to feel completely isolated. If that’s not good enough for you, you might try checking out Point Nemo, which is literally located in the middle of the ocean. This spot in the Pacific, also known as the Oceanic Pole of Inaccessibility, is farther from land than anywhere else on Earth.

How far? About 1450 nautical miles. The point lies at the exact center of a triangle formed by three tracts of dry land: Ducie Island, in the Pitcairns; Moto Nui, in the Easter Islands; and Antarctica’s Maher Island. The designation of the spot itself is relatively new; we didn’t have the mapping and geotargeting technology to locate it until 1992.

The point was named after Jules Verne’s submarine Captain Nemo—a Latin name that also happens to mean “no one.” Which is exactly what you’ll find there. On the surface, anyway.

But were you to board Captain Nemo’s (fictional) Nautilus and sink to the sea floor, you’d find a different (fictional) landscape altogether—a “nightmare corpse-city,” in fact. For the Oceanic Pole of Inaccessibility is also the home of H.P. Lovecraft’s eldritch god Cthulhu.

Image Credit: Nojhan via Wikimedia Commons // CC BY-SA 3.0

Lovecraft placed the dread city of R’lyeh on the map long before Point Nemo was identified, yet he managed to throw his cartographic dart spookily close to the future landmark. On this map, you can see Lovecraft’s point at 47°9'S 126°43'W. His publisher August Derleth had his own ideas, and located the green, slimy vaults of R’lyeh at 49°51'S 128°34'W. Lovecraft’s approximation was closer, but there’s no reason to quibble. There are monsters and terrible deities enough to go around.

And sure, maybe there aren’t really Lovecraftian beasts smearing their prey across the sand. But there’s something down there. Five years after Point Nemo was identified, oceanographers in the region recorded one of the most puzzling sounds in the history of natural science: the Bloop. This ultra-low-frequency sound was too big and low to be made by the biggest known creature in the ocean, the blue whale. Lovecraft fans were gleeful: the Old Gods were stirring. Unfortunately for them (and fortunately for the rest of us), the Bloop was eventually identified as the sound of a continent coming apart, as an ice shelf cracked and split from Antarctica. 

Afternoon Map
The Literal Translation of Every Country's Name In One World Map

What's in a name? Some pretty illuminating insights into the history and culture of a place, it turns out. Credit Card Compare, an Australia-based website that offers its users assistance with choosing the credit card that's right for them, recently dug into the etymology of place names for a new blog post to create a world map that highlights the literal translation of the world's countries, including the United States of Amerigo (which one can only assume is a reference to Amerigo Vespucci, the Italian explorer who realized that North America was its own landmass).

"We live in a time of air travel and global exploration," the company writes in the blog. "We’re free to roam the planet and discover new countries and cultures. But how much do you know about the people who lived and explored these destinations in times past? Learning the etymology—the origin of words—of countries around the world offers us fascinating insight into the origins of some of our favorite travel destinations and the people who first lived there."

In other words: there's probably a lot you don't know about the world around you. But the above map (which is broken down into smaller bits below) should help.

For more detailed information on the background of each of these country names, click here. Happy travels!

Dan Bell
A Cartographer Is Mapping All of the UK’s National Parks, J.R.R. Tolkien-Style
Peak District National Park
Peak District National Park
Dan Bell

Cartographer Dan Bell makes national parks into fantasy lands. Bell, who lives near Lake District National Park in England, is currently on a mission to draw every national park in the UK in the style of the maps in J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, reports.

The project began in September 2017, when Bell posted his own hand-drawn version of a Middle Earth map online. He received such a positive response that he decided to apply the fantasy style to real world locations. He has completed 11 out of the UK’s 15 parks so far. Once he finishes, he hopes to tackle the U.S. National Park system, too. (He already has Yellowstone National Park down.)

Bell has done various other maps in the same style, including ones for London and Game of Thrones’s Westeros, and he commissions, in case you have your own special locale that could use the Tolkien treatment. Check out a few of his park maps below.

A close-up of a map for Peak District National Park
Peak District National Park in central England
Dan Bell

A black-and-white illustration of Cairngorms National Park in the style of a 'Lord of the Rings' map.
Cairngorms National Park in Scotland
Dan Bell

A black-and-white illustration of Lake District National Park in the style of a 'Lord of the Rings' map.
Lake District National Park in England
Dan Bell

You can buy prints of the maps here.


All images by Dan Bell


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