#3. Izu Islands
So there's this chain of islands, in some far-off magical world (called Japan), and on these islands is contained unimaginable horror.
You know how right now you're breathing air? Well depending on where you are, odds are it's fairly standard stuff: mostly full of oxygen, carbon dioxide, nitrogen and a bunch of other shit. Ideally, it's probably lacking in sulfur.
Not so on the Izu Islands! Thanks to some nasty volcano-related incidents, the island's air is pumped full of delicious sulfur! The highest concentration of the gas on the entire fucking planet no less. It's OK though because nobody lives there.
Oh wait, they totally still live there
For some reason, the island has retained most of its pre-volcano population, and since the volcano never stopped spewing eggy gas, now they live day and night with a gas mask either on their face, or at their side. In the middle of the night, air raid sirens go off because the gas levels are dangerously high and people would start to die. People live their entire lives like this.
It's not all bad though--the residents are at least getting paid to stay there. By whom you ask? Why, science of course! Residents get a very small amount of money on the basis that science wants to see what happens to them if they spend their lives wearing gas masks and breathing in trace amounts of sulfur.
Translation: Current Sulphur Levels = Shitloads.
Also, the island's kind of shaped like an old woman's head, and if King Kong taught us anything, it's that islands that look like stuff are never a good thing. Hey, speaking of nightmarish terror, that island also marks the exact point where 3 massive tectonic plates converge. Last time the pressure got too much, the ensuing earthquake removed Tokyo from the map. Completely.
Good news though! Its only five years overdue for another one!
#2. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch
Did you ever see that Futurama episode where they launched all their trash into space? Well this is sort of like that, only with more trash and less rockets, and it's in the middle of the sea, and it's not funny because it's real life and happening right now.
See, every time America or China dumps plastics in the water, it ends up in the ocean, and the currents drag it all to the same place--an area called the North Pacific Gyre. Over time, the garbage added up and now it's basically an island the size of Texas (although there is plastic covering an area the size of America).
See, that looks like a perfectly good rib cage, now who would throw that out?
An island made of trash is bad, but don't worry it gets worse. Plastic doesn't biodegrade, but it does break down into smaller and smaller pieces. Pieces the size of plankton in fact. Now, fish aren't the smartest of creatures, and so they see something plankton-sized and they think dinner time. What that means is the fish are filling themselves with the stuff.
Who cares right? Well you will next time you have fish for dinner. Still, on the plus side, at least it's a form of recycling--garbage gets thrown out, fish eat garbage, we eat fish, we shit out fish/plastic. It's the circle of life! "But," you cry, "there can't be that many of the tiny plastic shards!" Guess again. In the average sample taken from the water, there is six times more plastic than plankton. That's because it doesn't sink, it just hangs there below the surface looking totally fucking delicious to fish and plotting its revenge on you for throwing it out in the first place.
As for the actual "island," if you were to try to step on it, you would soon regret it. You would immediately fall through the layer of trash, and then, kind of like ice diving, it would almost instantly fill in the hole leaving you trapped, and drowning, under the surface. Assuming you didn't get trapped under the surface, you would instead be left to stew in a trash and dead fish marinate whilst the sharks circle you.
Oh, right, also there are sharks. We should've opened with that before we told you to go stand on the garbage island.
If you thought Fiji was some beautiful island paradise, you'd be wrong. Dead wrong. Dead-as-partially-devoured-children wrong. (That simile will become appropriate later, we promise.)
Fiji has something of a history behind it, history including such favorites as cannibal children, murder of children, torture of children and death-by-seasickness for children. Yes, Fiji apparently didn't like kids that much.
Immediately after this picture was taken they ate the camera man, who was a baby.
A missionary who visited the island during the1840s was treated to all these things. He writes:
"October 31st, 1839, Thursday. This morning we witnessed a shocking spectacle. Twenty (20) dead bodies of men, women and children were brought to Rewa as a present from Tanoa. They were distributed among the people to be cooked and eaten. They were dragged about in the water and on the beach. The children amused themselves by sporting with and mutilating the body of a little girl. A crowd of men and women maltreated the body of a gray-haired old man and that of a young woman. Human entrails were floating down the river in front of the mission premises."
OK, that's kind of gross, but that's just how cannibals were right? Everyone was doing it back then, right? Well yes, but not everyone was doing this:
"About 30 living children were hoisted up to the mastheads as flags of triumph. The motion of the canoes while sailing soon killed the helpless creatures and silenced their piercing cries."
Just to be clear, what he is describing there is small children being used as decorative flags, and dying as a result of sea sickness. Got it? Good, we can move on.
Man, this sucks, all the pictures of Fiji we can find make it look awesome.
"Other children were taken, alive, to Bau that the boys there might learn the art of Feegeean warfare by firing arrows at them and beating them with clubs. For days they have been tearing and devouring like wolves and hyenas."
We're actually about done here, but you're welcome to find pages of other delights here while we go vomit for a while.
Planning a honeymoon or family get away? Cracked has some great travel ideas and we invite you to check out The 6 Worst "Vacations" People Actually Pay For and Fun Size Countries: The Insane Histories of the World's 6 Tiniest Nations.
And if you can't afford any of those lovely getaways, we invite you to check out our Top Picks and take a vacation to the Internet.