Disappointment Island. Terrible Name. Real Island.

I love puzzles. They are time-consuming and back-breaking and I particularly love the ones that do not come with an instruction manual. So this is a beauty to behold.


It’s a 540-piece 3D world map puzzle. It’s accurate. I spent two days on it with Google Map and Wikipedia open on my browser. And the best part is, it spins. #itsafreakingglobe


Each piece curves a little and is made from good quality material that can withstand drops and the tension from the curvature. I don’t know if that makes sense to you but basically, you can kick this globe around and it won’t fall apart unless you really want it to. It’s good quality stuff.

While putting together the oceans, I came across a lot of islands. Like a heck-load of them. The most interesting of them all, to me, is this one.


Yes, that’s the puzzle piece of where Desappointement Island is. Here’s where you can find Disappointment island on Google Maps (50°36.25′S 165°58.38′E).

Where Is Disappointment Island Exactly?

Disappointment Island is one of seven islands grouped under the Auckland Islands archipelago. It belongs to New Zealand and is part of what’s known as the New Zealand Subantarctic Islands. This group of island has been designated as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

Compared to Auckland Island, Disappointment Island is small (284 ha) but it’s home to pretty much the world’s population of the white-capped albatross/mollymawk; no humans though.

The other islands are Adams Island (bottom of the map), Enderby Island, Ewing Island, Rose Island, Dundas Island, and Green Island (top right corner).

Department of Conservation, New Zealand

And that would be the end of this post if not for the late discovery that I got the wrong island!

Google Map

Yes, there are two places in the world where sailors came to an island, felt disappointed with what they found and decided to warn future sailors to not go there by officiating the islands with the title “DISAPPOINTMENT”. (I kid. I have no idea why they gave these island that name but I’m pretty sure the true story is pretty close.)


So the second Disappointment islands (plural), also known as Îles du Désappointement is in French Polynesia. Here’s the rough location on Google Map, although to be honest, there isn’t really much to see.

Then I found this map, created by Holger Behr (released into the public domain) which made things a lot clearer.

Wikipedia Commons

See, the majority of the Disappointment Islands consists of coral islands, which is why you can’t see any land mass in that area on the Google Map satellite view.

There are however three islands that are populated (yes, by humans), namely Napuka (an atoll which is a ring-shaped land mass), Puka-Puka and Tepoto.

Napuka (around 360 inhabitants) and Puka-puka (around 100 inhabitants) have an airport each. Tepoto is a much smaller island with around 60 inhabitants. (Figures are from 2012; I’m not sure how often they update the census in remote islands.)

While Disappointment Island 1 is pretty near New Zealand, Disappointment Islands 2 is in the middle of the Pacific ocean, nowhere near large masses or other civilisations. And yet, 2 has islands that are populated while 1 doesn’t. Isn’t that just insane?

Yes, it is.

One Last Thing

Since it’s always fun to end posts with a question, the question I chose for this title was: How far is Disappointment Island 1 from Disappointment Islands 2?

Google Maps

The answer? Pretty darn far!