Dave's Mythical Creatures and Places

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Buss Island

This Atlantic island was first "discovered" in 1578 by Frobisher's third Arctic expedition.  He had been attempting to find the legendary Northwest passage, which was believed to be a shortcut to China, and had a fleet of 15 or so ships on this trip.  One of the ships, a large fishing boat called a "busse"  was in poor shape, and turned back to England.  On its way, it came across "a great Ilande...which was neuer yet founde before, and sayled three dayes along the coast, the land seeming to be fruitful, full of woods, and a champion countrie" (Johnson, 1994)

For decades, this island appeared on maps somewhere between Ireland and Frisland.  It was supposedly explored in 1671 by Captain Thomas Shepard (from which the above map was drawn.)

As more and more ships traveled in the North Atlantic, Buss Island was seen less frequently, but it still appeared on many maps.  In 1745, a Dutch map made the suggestion that the island had sunk leaving only a sandbar there, and for the next few decades the island was called the "Sunken Land of Buss."  In 1776, soundings at the location indicated shallows, and 40 years later more soundings indicated a depth of 1080 feet.  This led to the belief that there may actually have been an island there contributing to these stories and myths.

 

 

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