New Maine News

Island Institute Completes Decades-Long Mission to Raise New Island From the Floor of Penobscot Bay

Rockland — If you look across Penobscot Bay today, you might notice a little something different just off Vinalhaven.

It’s a whole new island.

The as of yet unnamed land mass is the culmination of over 30 years of work by the Island Institute, formed in 1983.

Peter Ralston and Philip Conkling founded the Island Institute with the goal of raising from the sea floor an island of earthly delights, a real-life Xanadu in the center of Maine’s Penobscot Bay.

Under the current leadership of Rob Snyder, the Institute was able to unlock the final clue, whispered to Snyder from the lips of a dying sailor when Snyder was but a boy.

“I’ll never forget the chill that ran down my spine when he told me ‘Follow thee the sisters three,'” Snyder recalls.

He points to an ivory key hanging from a thin strip of leather around his neck.

“This key was recovered from the belly of a might squid,” Snyder told us. “Many island fellows died in the tentacled grasp of the Kraken on that horrible day, but their sacrifices were not in vain.” His eyes glisten with tears.

The new island, teeming with all God’s creatures that crawl, walk, and fly across this Earth, is located between Vinalhaven and Matinicus, and isn’t yet served by a ferry.

“Hopefully now people will stop asking what the Island Institute does,” Snyder said.