By Leilani

LifeBuzz Staff

When This Boat Crew Realized What They Were Seeing They Had To Act FAST.

In 2006, Fredrik Fransson and the rest of the crew members aboard the Maiken yacht had every scientist green with envy. The group had departed the northern Tongan islands group of Vava’u in mid-August and soon witnessed the emergence of an island, which made rich grounds for new research.

“We looked out, and in front of us it was as if there was no more sea,” Fransson described in one account. “It was like the Sahara, with rolling hills of sand as far as the eye could see.”

They later learned that they had been sailing through a “vast many-miles-wide belt of densely packed pumice.” Fortunately, when they were far enough away, they saw Home Reef, which was initially an under-water seamount, growing into an island one volcanic explosion at a time.

Island formations are quite common, especially in parts of the Ring of Fire, but they often occur underwater and other hard-to-reach places. Scroll below to see an incredibly rare photographic account of this phenomenon.

In August 2006, Fredrik Fransson and his crew boarded the Maiken yacht and soon spotted land in the middle of the ocean.

As seasoned sailors who know the water well, they knew they’d come across something bizzare.

With not much time, they sped through what turned out to be a massive pumice raft.

When they reached an open space, they watched a submarine volcano spew up smoke and material for land. They could have been caught in the middle of a volcanic eruption.

Unfortunately for scientists and adventurers, the island only lasted for a few months, which is common for new lands undergoing wave action. However, Home Reef is believed to have a lasting biological impact.

Its pumice rafts have been adapted as new homes for a number of sea creatures such as algae, corals, oysters, and more. Some of the pumice has even drifted as far as Queensland, Australia, where they also serve as new abodes for local organisms.

Sources: Discover Magazine, Yacht Maiken