Surtsey secession spawns Survivor sequel

By Richard Thatch

The tiny North Atlantic island of Surtsey has once again put itself on the map this week. On Tuesday, His Majesty King Thor Heyerdahl of Surtsey proclaimed the island’s independence from Iceland.

"Surtsey has been under the oppressive thumb of the Althingi [Icelandic Parliament] far too long," reads the declaration of independence. The document also cites environmental concerns regarding Surtsey’s pristine ecosystem.

Icelandic officials disagreed.

"I find it absurd that these yahoos are questioning the work of my department," said Icelandic Minister for the Environment and Nordic Co-operation Siv Fridleifsdottir. "We set the entire island aside as a nature preserve back when it rose up out of the ocean."

Surtsey, which is located off the southwest coast of Iceland, is the newest piece of land on earth. The island–volcanic in nature–rose above sea level during a 1963 eruption, and continued to grow sporadically until 1967. The territory came under Icelandic control by default because it is within Iceland’s territorial waters.

Icelandic Prime Minister David Oddsson also voiced dissatisfaction with the Surtsey secession.

"That Heyerdahl character is always pulling stunts to get his name in the news," said Oddson. "He’s a real piece of work."

Foreign Affairs Minister Halldor Asgrimsson refused to comment directly on the Surtsey situation.

"We are treating this as a domestic matter," he said. "We do not recognize the sovereignty claims of this rogue [Heyerdahl]."

The self-proclaimed King of Surtsey is no stranger to the media: Heyerdahl was famed for his daring maritime voyages of the 1960s. He generated much controversy over his unorthodox ideas regarding the first old-world explorers to reach the Americas. To give his theories credibility, Heyerdahl sailed replicas of ancient ships, first taking a Viking longboat from Iceland to North America, and later sailing a papyrus raft from Egypt to North America.

According to Dory McClipper, curator of the Maritime Museum of Halifax, Heyerdahl is fortunate to be alive.

"[Heyerdahl] has got to be seriously off his chum. The man sailed across the Atlantic Ocean on a boat constructed entirely out of reeds! Twice!"

While many question Heyerdahl’s sanity, he was never diagnosed with any nervous or mental disorders.

"Thor has a clean bill of health," claims his physician, Dr. Nick Riviera. "Sure, he doesn’t have any fear or self-preservation instincts, but other than that, he’s pretty normal."

The often reclusive Heyerdahl declined all requests for interviews, but sources inside CBS indicate that he is currently in negotiations with Mark Burnett regarding a filming permit. Burnett, producer of the popular Survivor television series, has not yet confirmed rumours he is planning to shoot the fourth installment of the series on Surtsey. Sources close to Heyerdahl also refused comment, but were seen wearing Survivor: Surtsey apparel.

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