Friday, January 23, 2015

Bassas de India

Bassas da India, a tiny, submerged, volcanic coral atoll about 35 kilometres long and something in the order of 3 kilometres deep, situated between Madagascar and Mozambique. A country? No. Inhabited? No. Can you even see it? Well yes, by satellite, as the photograph below proves, though it does look rather like the inside of a coconut under psychedelic lighting. And even satellites can only see it at low tide; for the rest it remains underwater. Why is it on this list? Because it is owned by the French and has an exclusion zone around it, which means the French are using it to establish their base for Antarctic exploration, as the British are using the Falklands, and so on - yes, even invisible, underwater, uninhabited and unihabitable territory can have a flag stuck on it, and be counted thereby as your nation's right to war and explore there.  As global warming changes world geography, and as oil resources dry up, Antarctic exploration is going to be the next major zone of conflict and the most likely cause of World War Three. So you need to know about Bassas da India.

For a wonderful account of a diving expedition off the island, click here.

Marks For: 1

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