With a school course we know that Russia is separated from Alaska by the Bering Strait. At the narrowest point it is only 86 miles. And we a priori believe these 86 kilometers distance from us to the Americans, like the author of the channel “Compare-ka” on “Yandex.Zen”. But it is not.
In the middle of the Strait there are Islands, which reduce the distance between the countries 20 times. Today we get acquainted with the island of Ratmanov (aka Big Diomede) and little Diomede.
Source: GoogleMaps. The distance between the Islands — 3.8 km
The view from afar and family tragedy
Before both Islands were Russian. As Alaska. But in 1867, Alaska was sold, the deal includes the island of little Diomede. Look where they are.
So. The Islands were owned by different countries, but inhabiting them Eskimos continued to visit their neighbors regularly. Many families lived on one part of the island, some on another. However, in 1948 the border was closed, the Ratmanov island (Big Diomede in the West) became the border base and its population was moved to Siberia. Unfortunately, it separated families.
Of course, given how close are to each other the island was a way to get families on little Diomede, not to separate. But the difficulty was that the inhabitants of the island of Ratmanov were citizens of the Soviet Union.
The eskimo population of the village – 135. They have a store and even a school. In a centuries-old tradition they ply fishing. Police or military on the island there, the community resolves conflicts independently.
To get to the island of little Diomede is only possible by helicopter or boat. For the delivery of goods arrives only a few boats a year. The airport in fact is not, but when the weather allows, planes can still land on the ice runway.
What is it with trying to cross the border?
Tell three cases. Successful, not very successful, and almost ended in jail.
In August 1987, the American Lin Cox crossed those same 4 miles in 2 hours 6 minutes. The water was about 6 degrees, so that the achievement is certainly amazing. But why would you swim if in the winter you can just go on the ice? Maybe it’s not so simple?
In 1988, the Soviet and Russian traveler Dmitry Shparo and his son Matvey decided to cross the Bering Strait on skis. No sooner said than done. But instead of having to go 86 miles, how it can be done in a straight line, they passed 310. All because the ice is constantly drifting, sometimes at a speed of about 8 km/h. The journey lasted 20 days, 20 days in harsh conditions. But the Guinness Book of records hit.
Moved to 2006. Briton Carl Bushby and Dmitry Kiefer began his journey in Wales (the Western most point of America) and wanted to finish in Anadyr. Their journey lasted 14 days, was about 170 miles, the ice floes brought them to Whalen.
When they are satisfied, arrived in Russia, they were detained and nearly deported. The problem was that legally on the territory of Russia, if the traveler arrived by sea, can only be accessed from three cities – Providence, Pevek and Anadyr. The British also brought in Whalen, and consent to this action they had. After the proceedings, the English traveller managed to avoid deportation. She was especially sad for Carla Busby, after all, to the Bering Strait he was 8 years old, starting your journey in the South of Chile.
Here’s a story in these harsh territories.
The original column published in the blog “Compare-ka” on “Yandex.Zen”
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