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Where is this island, and why is the title of this question "Giraffe Necked Island?"

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Does [no-computers] mean no one is allowed to use mapping programs? How are people supposed to know every random island without something like an atlas? $\endgroup$
    – bobble
    Apr 22 at 17:41
  • $\begingroup$ that's the point $\endgroup$ Apr 22 at 17:45
  • $\begingroup$ It is still visible when Google Maps it is zoomed out to minimum size, so I reckoned that it would be big enough. $\endgroup$ Apr 22 at 18:13
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    $\begingroup$ I have found it but am not allowed to post. I am even using a computer to type this comment. You mention Google maps, I have it on that, and on Google Earth. Not yet figured the moniker. $\endgroup$ Apr 22 at 18:18
  • $\begingroup$ Rot13(Gur bayl grahbhf pbaarpgvba V pna znxr jvgu tvenssr zvtug or gb qb jvgu bire-cbchyngvba bs gur [navznyf] gung jrer vagebqhprq urer naq gur rkgrag gb juvpu gurl pbhyq svaq sbbq. Nygubhtu V qvq svaq bar jrofvgr gung zragvbaf obgu guvf ybpngvba naq tvenssrf (jurer gurl qb abg rkvfg), vg qbrf abg gvr gurz qverpgyl.) $\endgroup$ Apr 22 at 18:40

1 Answer 1


Identifying an island so obscure and small (only about 30 miles long, judging by the scale key in the bottom-right of the image) without using Google Maps (since I figure that's what the tag is here for) is a pretty tricky (if not nearly impossible) task. However, I thought it might be an interesting exercise to attempt this using an old trusty friend: my 'Special Edition' Family World Atlas, published by Insight Atlas in 2009 (the last physical atlas I think I ever bought, and which still sits beside my bookshelf rather than on it, as a result of it being too tall... One reason the physical atlas has fallen out of favour with many...).

I was able to identify the island by shape, and fortuitously quickly thanks to one assumption that (luckily for me) turned out to be true...

I noted that the OP's region - shown in grey at the bottom of the image, to the right of the copyright notice - was set to 'United States'. (The fact that the OP is US-based could also have been corroborated by a quick check of their SE profile page, but I somehow neglected to do that until just now...) I then chose to assume that this island might have some kind of trivia-worthy feature of significance to somebody based in the US, and therefore (another big assumption) it may well be an island in North America. So I planned to look up these pages in my atlas first and foremost, in the hope that I might find something there.

I got very lucky in that an island that looked about the right shape (albeit pretty tiny) could be seen on one of the first pages in this section:

St. Matthew Island on a map

St. Matthew Island in the Bering Sea - a place that turns out to be notable for its remoteness, completely uninhabited by humans at present.

In fact, overleaf on the next page there was a more zoomed-in image in which it could be seen a little more clearly:

St. Matthew Island, more zoomed-in

This definitely matched the shape of the island in question, although it had been oriented differently in my atlas - and it was this change of orientation that made me realise why the OP had chosen the title for this puzzle:

Because when rotated a little, the shape of the island looks very much like the head, neck and front leg of a giraffe:

Island is shaped like a giraffe

Feedback: I would say this question felt more like a 'treasure hunt' than a 'puzzle', per se. If the island in question had been much smaller I suspect it would have been almost impossible to identify computer-less without an awful lot of manual searching, which would likely be tedious rather than fun. I definitely got lucky with my starting point - it could have taken me a lot longer if I'd started looking in a different part of the world first! Still, it gave me an excuse to dig out my old atlas and spend some time with it, and for that I am grateful...

  • $\begingroup$ Yes, you are correct $\endgroup$ Apr 23 at 1:15
  • $\begingroup$ Not having a sense of scale ... the scale is shown at the bottom right, but I had to download the image and use an image viewer to read it. I made it about 35 miles in length. I used Google Lens to find it (after cropping), which presented a selection of various islands, of which this was one. Of course, I could not post it as an answer Good find!. $\endgroup$ Apr 23 at 8:08
  • $\begingroup$ @WeatherVane Ha, you're absolutely right in that there was the literal map scale (both on the image and in the atlas itself!) - I more meant that it's quite hard to judge small sizes on a zoomed-out atlas page, so 'sense of scale' a bit more colloquially (poor choice of words on my part). I have not worded this well in my answer! Perhaps I shall alter it to remove what must seem a strange way to have worded it... (In my defence, it was 12:30am when I was writing...!) $\endgroup$
    – Stiv
    Apr 23 at 8:23
  • $\begingroup$ @WeatherVane By no-computers, I meant that you could not use something like Google Lens to find it for you. $\endgroup$ Apr 25 at 17:30
  • $\begingroup$ @RonchenLuo, I am sorry if I did not make it clear that was why I didn't post my find as an answer, or identify it in comment, not even in my 'rot13' comment. However, I am free to solve puzzles in any way I wish, and I didn't say how until after you accepted this answer. $\endgroup$ Apr 25 at 17:56

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