Little Diomede Island (Inupiat: Ignaluk; formerly known as Krusenstern Island, which can also refer to other places) is an island of Alaska, United States. It is the smaller of the two Diomede Islands located in the middle of the Bering Strait between the Alaska mainland and Siberia. Its neighboring island Big Diomede is less than 2.4 mi (3.9 km) to the west, but is part of Russia and west of the International Date Line. Little Diomede has an estimated population of 82.

The entirety of the island is in the city of Diomede (Inupiat: Inalik). The island is not part of any organized borough, so some services are provided directly by the state. For census purposes, it is included in the Nome Census Area.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the island has a total area of 2.8 square miles (7.3 km2), all of it land. On the western shore of the island is the village of Diomede, also known as Inalik.

Little Diomede Island is located about 25 kilometres (16 mi) west from the mainland, in the middle of the Bering Strait. It is only 0.6 kilometres (0.37 mi) from the International Date Line and about 2.4 miles (3.9 km) from the Russian island of Big Diomede.

The highest point on Little Diomede Island is 494m (about halfway along the west coast, about 1.5 km southeast of the village, facing the southern tip of Big Diomede).

There is a heliport, the Diomede Heliport, with regular helicopter flights. During the winter, the town villagers carve a runway into the thick ice sheet so that bush planes can deliver vital products, such as medicine. Due to annual variations of the ice sheet, the runway changes position every year.


The Little Diomede island is composed of Cretaceous age granite or quartz monzonite. The location of the city is the only area which does not have near-vertical cliffs to the water. Behind the city and around the entire island rocky slopes rise at about 40° up to the relatively flattened top in 1,148–1,191 feet (350–363 m). The island has very scant vegetation.

Flora and Fauna

While there are thousands of birds in the fall (puffins, murres, hawks, Canadian geese, tayuks, fuzzies, etc.), there are also a number of other critters sharing the island with the scant human inhabitants. Year round there are arctic, red, and blue foxes along with arctic hares. From the spring to the fall, walruses, belugas, and other whales migrate through the tiny gap between the islands. Winter brings the ugruk (bearded seal) as well as a number of other seal species. And with the sea ice comes the majestic polar bear!

As far as vegetation, there are sour greens, Eskimo cabbage, Eskimo potatoes, cloud berries, stink weed (medicinal), and an abundance of sea weed. These can all be gathered in the fall and preserved in seal oil for the long winters.


Interested in traveling to Little Diomede? We love visitors, but between contacting Pathfinder Aviation and the local tribal council, it can be quite difficult to get a hold of the correct people in a timely fashion. If you would like some help, hints, or tricks, please contact Rob Michaud (robert.j.michaud@gmail.com) for more information.

Some general travel tips:

  • Pathfinder only flies passengers to Diomede 3 times a month (at times they will fly passengers on Wednesdays depending on the mail load). You can charter a Pathfinder helicopter, but it is quite expensive. Boats only come to Diomede once or twice a year. Pathfinder can be reached by phone at (907) 443-5334.
  • Although it is not required to get permission from the tribal council to travel to Diomede, it is highly recommended. Once here, you can secure a local guide. Contact Frances Ozenna at the tribal council: tc.dio@kawerak.org for more information.
  • There are no hotels, hostels, motels, couch surfers (during the summer), or bed and breakfasts on the island, so either secure a place to stay with a local or with the school ($70.00 a night, bed, sheets, dishes, towels, and safe drinking water provided).
  • The local store might not have the foods you're looking for or it might not be open, so make sure to bring some essential staples with you (especially if you have a restrictive diet).
Source: Wikipedia, edited by Mr. Rob


  1. Is it possible to travel to Little Diomede Island during the winter months?

    1. It is actually much easier to travel to Diomede during the winter months because you can easily stay at the school. Erickson Aviation flies every month (mail weekly on Wednesdays, and passengers about three Mondays a week).

  2. Thanks for this! I just happen to be doing a school project on the Diomede Islands! Very cool and interesting place...

  3. Diomede is a very fascinating little town! I'm wondering how internet access is over there is like. I'm interested to know more about this place and how it functions.

    1. It is indeed. I've wanted to travel here since the 4th grade, so it's pretty exciting that I am here teaching 4th grade.

      Internet is beamed over via microwave dish from Wales. We have to share our bandwidth with them, so streaming can sometimes be limited. We also experience several internet/phone/power outages every year.

      If you have any other questions, I'd love to answer them (robert.j.michaud@gmail.com). I've been here for 3 years, and I've signed up for my 4th.


  4. Hello Robert, This past weekend I found a book at St Marguerite's Retreat House in Mendham, NJ entitled TWO ON THE ROCKS by Gerald F. Carlson. Published in 1966, the book relays "the adventures of a Young American and his wife among the Eskimos on little Diomede Island" during the 1953-1954 school year. I'm wondering if there are any elders who might remember Gerald and his wife Donna.
    From what I have read on your site and others, the topography of Little Diomede is still strikingly similar to how it was in 1953. The town has upgraded considerably but still has roughly the same population.
    When I finish with the book, I will gladly forward it if there is any interest.
    Colleen Cosgrove
    Astoria, NY

    1. Hello Colleen,
      I haven't read Two on the Rocks yet, but I'd love to! I have read Drums of Diomede (which I highly recommend) and Strait Gate (read it if you're really into it, but it's not nearly as well done as Drums). There are very few elders left out here, but I'll ask around when next I see them.

  5. Hello to you from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania! We found your site quite by accident while looking at the Bering Strait online.

    Noah (9) loves the picture of the ulu made by one of the kids. He thinks it is very cool. He also likes to ride his ATV and fish.

    Miriam (7) would like to know what the girls favorite activities are? She likes to paint, do crafts and ride her pony.

    If any children would like to correspond regularly with mine please let me know. They attend Farmdale Elementary school in Mount Joy, PA.

    Vicky Martin

  6. Down south and back east! Ahoy!

    Many of our students wish they could have an ATV. There are about two working snow mobiles (locally called "SnowGo's," no matter the make or model). We don't have enough flat land for four wheelers (except for up top, and it would be a logistical nightmare to get one up that high.

    Out here, most kids love to "play out." When they're not playing out (usually in the snow during winter, and in the rocks during summer), they are playing on their tablets, playing Minecraft on their home consoles. At the school, we host a number of crafting/art nights, and those are always popular among the students as well. I haven't noticed a real difference in preference among the boys and girls.

    Let Noah know if he ever comes out here, I'll teach a special class on ulu making just for him (I'm sure lots of others will attend, because they're always asking me when the next class will be).


    1. I got a laugh out of the Minecraft interest. Miriam loves Minecraft and Roblox!

      Noah would definitely love to learn anything to do with ulus or any other kind of tool. We have a lot of craftsmanship expertise around here because of the Amish community, but we have never seen an ulu of course.

      Visiting where you live would be an adventure indeed even by our standards (most of North America and Europe...especially Scotland where we used to live).

      Thank you for the interesting website, and for your reply. Keep up the good work!

      The Martins