We think we found the real Gilligan's Island thanks to the Professor

If only Google Maps had been around, the castaways could have been rescued.

Google Maps / The Everett Collection

Just, where is Gilligan's Island, you wonder? Well, it's hard to pinpoint for a couple of reasons. For starters, two different sets of coordinates are given in season one.

In "X Marks the Spot," the Pentagon announces missile tests that put the castaways at ground zero. A radio report explains that their remote island lies at 140º latitude, 10º longitude. Geography nerds will spot a problem right away. Latitude, the measure of distance from the equator in the northern or southern hemisphere, can only range from 0º–90º. Longitude, on the other hand, ranges from 0º–180º, zeroed at Greenwich, England.

These initial Gilligan's Island coordinates are impossible. But let's assume the latitude and longitude are merely flipped, and the isle sits at 10º latitude, 140º longitude. 

Well, maybe.

A few episodes later, when a surfer lands on the island in "Big Man on a Little Stick," the Professor gets the latitude and longitude in the correct order. The Professor tells the dude to remember the island is located at 10º latitude, 110º longitude.

Well, that raises another problem. He does not specify North / South nor East / West. Not only did the brainiac fail to fix the boat, he was rather vague with geographic coordinates.

Considering the Skipper sets out on a "three-hour tour" from Honolulu, we assume it to be North and West. Let's look at where those two points lie.

10ºN, 140ºW is much closer to Hawaii and is a plausible landing site for the Minnow to reach in a few hours.

Google Maps

However, there is nothing there.

It gets much more interesting when you look at 10ºN, 110ºW. That brings the castaways close to Mexico, admittedly a long voyage.

Google Maps

But if we can suspend disbelief and imagine that the tiny boat is significantly "tossed," well, there is something to these coordinates. 

Let's switch to satellite.

Google Maps

See that tiny speck in the upper right? Could that be…?

This remote isle is remarkably similar to the setting of Gilligan's Island. It sits at 10°18'14.3"N, 109°13'00.2"W — quiet close to the Professor's coordinates.

Turns out, he was a smart guy, even if he couldn't fix the Minnow. Or, perhaps we should say, the writers were the smart ones. They discovered this speck without Google Maps.

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21 Comments

FlipStream 2 months ago
In one episode the castaways found a volcano on the island. The article notes the island is at 10°18'N, 109°13'W (+10lat; -110lon) which has a rather obvious caldera...so that's another datapoint that tends to favor this island as being "Gilligan's Island" though it would take them quite a bit longer to get to it.
The "uncharted" island mentioned as being at 10N lat; 140W lon one would have to [b]assume[/b] has a volcano so is not as strong a candidate, though many islands in the Pacific are volcanic in nature.
Some more info:
BOTH islands are generally in the wrong direction (East) for a "typical" storm to have carried the boat from Honolulu (21N; 158W). Both islands are east of Honolulu (although there is the occasional unusual mid-North Pacific storm that does move east for awhile).
The assumed island closer to Hawaii at approx 140W is ABOUT 1400mi E of Honolulu, and the "volcano" island approx 30 deg further east at 110W lon is ABOUT an additional 2000mi E of Honolulu (total distance Honolulu to "volcano" island at 10N 140W is over 3000 miles).
FlipStream 2 months ago
Article said,
"Turns out, he was a smart guy, even if he couldn't fix the Minnow."

Didn't the Professor formulate a glue to fix the Minnow once, fairly early in the series, but Gilligan screwed up the glue or something? (and they used the now faulty glue to fix or strengthen the entire boat, not just the damaged section, so the boat basically fell almost entirely apart?)
Kelley1 42 months ago
Well no wonder they got lost LOL! But let's remember there would never have been a story if they hadn't got lost. Could there have been an argument between the men at some point? The world will never know. The bigger mystery is how they got all those supplies on that tiny little boat, especially without it sinking. Surely that weight figured against them in the storm! :)
Lacey 42 months ago
Of COURSE "there is nothing there."
It is an UNCHARTED island.
Listen to the song.
(Oh, and Merry Christmas)
jbwphoto1 Lacey 42 months ago
Exactly!
JustSomeone Lacey 37 months ago
Uncharted doesn't mean it doesn't exist. It just means it hasn't been found yet.
Nina 51 months ago
Does the island/atoll have a name?
JDnHuntsvilleAL Nina 38 months ago
Google Earth labels it, or at least one of the islands in the group, as "Clipperton Island."
HerbF 51 months ago
The Professor could be a little off, but it's safe to assume he had some knowledge of Astronomy so he could figure the island's location by the stars. The Skipper might have even had a sextant on the Minnow, being an old navy many.
JDnHuntsvilleAL HerbF 46 months ago
You can easily determine latitude by the stars by just seeing how far the North Star is about the horizon, but for longitude you need to know the time difference between where you are and Greenwich, England.
They had a radio so comparing the time that was broadcast and a sundial would tell them roughly what timezone they were in.
It's a lot easier than that.
All they need to do is provide the date and time for a local sunrise or sunset.
Given the latitude is known, just about any potential rescuer could determine the longitude from that information.

(note: To avoid error due to watch/clock errors accumulating over time, they could (if they'd thought of it) have noted and saved the datum the first day they got stranded, when their watches/clocks were presumably most accurate, and someone could back-track the data to obtain the longitude.)
JimmyD 51 months ago
I think the main reason the coordinates weren't very accurate is because the show was shot in CA.
FlipStream JimmyD 2 months ago
I actually saw the "beach" part of the "island" on the studio lot some years after the series ended (but I think before that movie where they "house"-rafted to safety). At the time it was a pretty grungy looking large pond.
madmark1 51 months ago
Well we could go on and on about the inaccuracies of Gilligans island even though it was an entertaining and fun show to watch look at all the stuff the Howl’s and Ginger and Maryanne brought and the professor when they were only going on a three hour tour.And supposedly the island was only around 400 to 500 miles south east of Hawaii. They were ship wrecked by a typhoon supposedly well I lived in Hawaii and in that region of the world tropical cyclones are known as hurricanes. but I could go on but nevertheless it was a fun and entertaining show because of that we forget all the technicalities.
madmark1 51 months ago
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texasluva 51 months ago
The way I see it using 10°18'14.3"N, 109°13'00.2"W location. I am about 2,000 miles from Gilligan's Island. Hey I do not see an island. Did it sink?
texasluva 51 months ago
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texasluva texasluva 51 months ago
I just got bushwacked by a no good spammer, scammer hacker 😡. Geez even in MeTV. 🧨🤪
RobCertSDSCascap texasluva 51 months ago
We flag them, when we'd rather flog them!
texasluva RobCertSDSCascap 42 months ago
Where have you been 🤔
harlow1313 51 months ago
The professor was such a great scientist; fused nuclei in coconut milk, fashioned a condom from banana peel (necessity being the mother of invention).
Accidentally discovered saltpeter...
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