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.
Image: 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.