Undiscovered Country

New Island Off France
Sets Off Old Arguments

It’s not on any map or chart yet. It has no name. At high tide, it’s about the size of two and a half football fields, but it’s at least 10 times larger when the tide is low. And it’s 20 minutes off the French coast, near the mouth of the Gironde estuary. That’s pretty much all everybody can agree about it.
To some, “L’île Mystérieuse” is not even an island, but a sandbank. There are those who believe it’s only 18 months old, while others swear they’ve been going there for 15 years. Environmentalists, geologists and naturalists say the island is likely to expand, rather than disappear, and therefore, should be protected from the human presence.
Partygoers and regular visitors wish such buzzkillers would just go away and let them do as they please on the new land. They even congregate under the “île Mystérieuse Liberation Front.” For them, it should be declared a semi-independent territory of the people, and all this talk about regulation is just too much.
Oh, but there’s something else everyone seems to agree about the Mysterious Island: it’s very, very beautiful. And it’s French, of course.