AS winter comes upon us spreading chills and sniffles in equal measure it's tempting to think of jetting away from it all.

Rather than the Canaries how about a break somewhere more exotic?

Fancy stretching out on the beaches of Antillia? How about one of those coconut cocktail jobs at a bar on Podesta? Eat some mysterious foreign cuisine at a seafront restaurant on the Aurora Islands?

Well you'll have a job on as none of them exist - but at points in history they were on our maps.

The latest 'phantom island' is Sandy, way out in the Coral Sea off Australia.

Sandy, which appears to measure 15 miles by 3 three miles but actually measures zero inches by zero inches, appears on Google Earth, the Times Atlas of the World and even on seafaring charts despite a wave never breaking upon it's shores.

It was discovered to not be there by a survey ship who went looking for it.

Knowing my luck, that's the sort of cruise I'd book onto. Imagine the looks on the faces of the hordes as they waited to disembark, straw beach bags clutched to their sun-ripened bodies only to be confronted with a turquoise sea as far as the horizon.

So how did Sandy come to 'exist'?

Rather worryingly no-one seems sure.

But Auckland Museum’s Shaun Higgins thinks that a 1908 edition of a Pacific Ocean chart first compiled in 1875 is the first time the island makes an appearance on the charts.

The map says the island was discovered on an 1876 voyage by a vessel called Velocity.

But even back then there appears to have been raised eyebrows about the new landmass.

A short paragraph says: “Caution is necessary while navigating among the low lying islands of the Pacific Ocean. The general details have been collated from the voyages of various navigators extending over a long series of years. The relative position of many dangers may therefore not be exactly given”.

In short, someone's told us it's there but it might not be so don't blame us if you end up dying of thirst as you search for it.

This isn't the first time this has happened either. As well as the places name at the top of this article you could also have tried to take a trip to the Isle of Mam (I kid you not), Jacquet Island or even Bermeja.

Bermeja was supposed to lie off the coast of Mexico and had been appearing on maps since the 16th century until a 1997 survey realised it wasn't there.

Despite the fact that it wasn't there the island was at the centre of a story about oil rights in 2008 and there are some who think something more sinister is afoot.

Explanations for its apparent disappearance include a mistake on the original maps, changes on the ocean floor, rising sea levels swamping it and most fabulously conspiracy theories that claim the CIA destroyed the island to expand the economic zone allotted to the United States.

So where do I get a return flight from Leeds Bradford to Bermeja?