ABOUT

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.

Geography

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.

Geology

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.

Travel

Interested in traveling to Little Diomede? We love visitors, but between contacting Erickson 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:

  • Erickson only flies passengers to Diomede 2 to 3 times a month (at times they will fly passengers on Wednesdays depending on the mail load). You can charter an Erickson helicopter, but it is quite expensive. Boats only come to Diomede once or twice a year. Erickson Aviation 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.
  • 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 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

8 comments:

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

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    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).

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

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  4. 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.

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    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.

      Cheers!

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  5. 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.
    Sincerely,
    Colleen Cosgrove
    Astoria, NY

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    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.
      Cheers,
      Rob

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