8 of the Remotest Islands in the World
There are parts of the world where few people travel, even in the twenty-first century. The first distant locations that spring to mind are lonesome mountain peaks, desert interiors, Arctic ice floes, or the enormous frozen ice sheets of Antarctica. How about the exotic islands of adventure? Are any still around in this day and age? Some of the world’s most remote locations are islands that are so distant from other landmasses (or that are off the usual path of air routes and sea lanes) that the rest of the world may sometimes easily forget about them. This selection of eight such locations is just a small portion of the many that may be named. All of the islands (or island groups, in some cases) are dependent on or distant areas of bigger countries, and they are all interesting isolated locations that continue to capture the minds of both adventurers and explorers.
The Kerguelen Islands
The Kerguelen Islands are a collection of rocky outcrops, glaciers, mountains, and extensive plains covered in tussock grasses and mosses that are scattered throughout the Indian Ocean. The Kerguelen Islands are not the ideal location for human habitation, with a daily mean temperature varying from 2.1 to 8.2 0C (35.8 to 46.8 0F), yet the islands offer a home for seals, albatrosses, terns, and four kinds of penguins.
Spitsbergen, the biggest island in the Svalbard archipelago and the largest island in Norway, with a total size of 39,044 square kilometers (15,075 square miles). It should come as no surprise that the island is covered in snow and ice and has a big population of polar bears given its location some 950 km (about 590 miles) north of the coast of Europe and some 830 km (about 516 miles) east of the coast of Greenland. Long-year city, or Long-year-ben, the largest village on the island, is located less than 3.2 kilometers (miles) from the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, a secure location carved out of a mountainside to store the seeds of the world’s food plants in case of a planetary emergency.
The sole inhabited island in the British overseas territory of Pitcairn, Henderson, Ducie, and Oeno islands, this tiny volcanic island in the South Pacific is arguably best known for being the refuge of the British ship HMS Bounty’s mutineers, who landed there in 1790. Pitcairn Island is now the focal point of one of the biggest marine reserves in the world, a massive 830,000 square kilometers (322,000 square miles) of open ocean, greater than the state of Texas in the United States.
Novaya Zemlya (“New Land”), a Russian-managed archipelago between the Barents and Kara seas along Russia’s northwest coast, consists of two sizable Arctic islands and a few smaller ones. The two main islands, Severny (northern) and Yuzhny (southern), are divided by the narrow Matochkin Shar, which is barely one to one and a half miles (1.6 to 2.4 km) wide. The two islands are aligned for 600 miles (1,000 km) in a southwest-northeast direction. Novaya Zemlya hosted more than 100 nuclear tests between 1954 and 1990 during the Cold War.
Tristan da Cunha
St. Helena, Ascension, and Tristan da Cunha are three unconnected islands that make up the British overseas territory. Tristan da Cunha, the most southerly inhabited island in the region, is situated 2,100 kilometers (1,300 miles) south of St. Helena, the closest inhabited continent, together with a natural reserve made up of the Inaccessible, Nightingale, Middle, Gough, and Stoltenhoff islands. Tristan da Cunha is generally spherical in shape, with a shoreline of 21 miles (34 km) and a 2,060 meter ( 6,760 foot) high volcanic cone in the center that is frequently shrouded in clouds.
A tiny, triangular, volcanic island in the South Pacific is known by the titles Easter Island, Rapa Nui (also known as “Great Rapa”), and Te Pito te Henua (also known as “Navel of the World”). Easter Island could be the most remote spot on earth. It is situated 3,767 kilometres (2,340 miles) from Santiago, Chile, where it is administered, and 2,088 km (approximately 1,300 miles) from Pitcairn Island. More than 600 enormous stone sculptures known as the mysterious moai can be found on this 163 square kilometer (63 square mile) island. There are also the remnants of enormous stone platforms known as ahus, some of which display expert workmanship.
The island of South Georgia, which is a component of the British overseas territory of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, is located in the Southern Ocean’s Atlantic region around 1,450 kilometers (900 miles) east of the Falkland Islands and 2,976 kilometers (2,790 miles) west of Cape Town, South Africa. Despite the abundance of animal life on the island and in the neighboring waterways, there aren’t many people living there. The sole occupants of the island are a small group of scientists and support staff who run the British Antarctic Survey stations at Grytviken on King Edward Point and at Bird Island, off the island’s northwest point. Throughout the 19th century, the island occasionally served as a base for scientific and whaling expeditions, but it is best known as the location of the arduous journey made by British explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton. Shackleton first crossed South Georgia Island in 1916 while looking for support for his tragic trans-Antarctic expedition.