Sunday, March 6, 2011

Answer: What islands are those?

While these are magical islands, as I suggested, the first part of the challenge isn't that hard.  The obvious first query: 

[ California islands

immediately leads you to the Wikipedia page for Channel Islands with a map that looks an awful lot like the one I posted.  The islands are:  Anacapa (the smallest), San Miguel, Santa Cruz, Santa Rosa, San Clemente, San Nicolas, Santa Barbara, and Santa Catalina.  

Once you know these the Channel Islands off the California coast (and not to be confused with the Channel islands in the UK!), then it's pretty simple to just look down the Wikipedia page and find the area of each island, with Santa Cruz (at 250 square kilometers) beating out Santa Rosa (215) and Santa Catalina (at 194 km^2).  

However, the second part of the challenge was a bit tricky.  As both gasstationwithoutpumps and Michael showed, when looking for a quotation, you sometimes need to go to the source directly.  In this case, picking any particular fragment of that text, then searching in Google Books reveals that the source is Last of the Blue Water Hunters by Carlos Eyles.  Using Amazon as a way to look for the full page (which is exactly what I did) manages to skirt around the full-page view restrictions on Google Books.  (Why Amazon can search inside of the book while Google can't is beyond my understanding.  Go figure.) 

As Michael suggested, looking for "Doctor's Cove" and verifying that the quotation (and the book) are correct is a very good move.  

Search lessons:  To find a quotation, you sometimes have to go to the source directly.  In this case, go to Google Books to search for a unique string (I used "amber and rusts take" -- I figured that was a REALLY unlikely sequence of words to put into the text of a book... I was right).  Checking on Amazon is a good move, but since you can see that snippet directly in the scanned text of the book.  

Oddly, this search [ "amber and rusts take" ] doesn't produce a useful hit on regular Google Web search.  I'm not sure why... I'll check into it and see what's up.  But a useful take-away is that extending your search into other search corpora (e.g., Books or Images) often will get you additional hits that are incredibly useful. 

Northern Channel Islands with Anacapa in the foreground.   

Search on!  

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