For the 50+ Traveler

There’s a place on this planet where you could legitimately say you feel a thousand miles from anywhere. That place is Point Nemo, a spot in the ocean that’s literally 1,000 miles from land in any direction. It is the most remote location on earth.

Point Nemo is located equally distant from the three nearest islands -- Ducie Island, part of the Pitcairn Island chain; Motu Nui, part of the Easter Islands; and Maher Island off the coast of Antarctica. For most of us, that provides little point of reference, except that we know Antarctica is a heck of a long way away.

A map of Point Nemo's location.

Welcome To The Oceanic Pole Of Inaccessibility

This distant point in the ocean is officially known as the Oceanic Pole of Inaccessibility, but the long name doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue. In favor of a more palatable name, this most remote place on the planet has been named Point Nemo in honor of Jules Verne’s famous antihero, Captain Nemo, whose name means no one in Latin. Since the place isn’t exactly a tourist hot spot, the name is pretty fitting.

Experts have talked about locating the middle of the ocean for decades -- possibly centuries or millennia -- but in 1992, technology finally made it possible. Survey engineer Hrvoje Lukatela managed to calculate the point’s location using specialized computer software.

Interestingly, because this point on earth is so distant from the nearest landmass, astronauts are often the nearest humans to Point Nemo. The region is known to space agencies as the South Pacific Ocean Uninhabited Area, and numerous agencies use the area as a dumping ground because the area has zero human inhabitants and quiet shipping lanes that won’t be disrupted by space junk.

There are over 100 decommissioned spacecraft in the area -- ranging from satellites to cargo ships and the defunct space station Mir. In fact, Point Nemo has become known as the “spacecraft cemetery” because of the dumping.

H.P. Lovecraft's Cthulhu creature.

Lovers of sci-fi and fantasy may not find it surprising that science fiction author H. P. Lovecraft chose a site remarkably near Point Nemo as the home of his Cthulhu creature. This, of course, doesn’t hurt the rumors of strange creatures possibly living at the Point.

When oceanographers recorded a mysterious sound less than 1,240 miles east of Point Nemo, the sense of wonder around the lifeforms in the area’s waters rose. This “bloop,” as the sound was dubbed, was louder than a blue whale, and led some to conjecture that a sea monster was lurking below, waiting for the right moment to surface. The bloop was later confirmed to be icebergs breaking up thanks to the comparison of the sound to icequakes previously recorded elsewhere in the world.

While scientists still don’t have definite answers about what may or may not live in these strange, deep waters, professor and oceanographer Steven D'Hondt of the University of Rhode Island doesn’t believe there’s much living out there.

Point Nemo has an extreme environment because of its situation in the South Pacific Gyre, a massive swirling ocean current. So, bacteria can thrive there, but not much else. It’s no wonder D’Hondt has been quoted as saying that Point Nemo is “the least biologically active region of the world ocean.” And since the gyre steers away any nutrients that might feed critters down in the deep, that sounds like a pretty accurate assessment.

Fascinated by unusual, remote, and forgotten about locations? Meet Hoia-Baciu Forest, the Bermuda Triangle of Romania.