The Atlas of Remote Islands revisited, post 1 of 4

Judith Schalansky’s Atlas of Remote Islands, ‘Fifty Islands I Have Never Set Foot On and Never Will’, remains a bit of an obsession. We decided to use it to do some armchair traveling, courtesy of the book’s expansive Wikipedia page which lists all fifty locations chronicled in the book. Here we go:

Île Amsterdam in the southern Indian Ocean. First reached in 1522, here is an archived account of recent life on Île Amsterdam, with plenty of links, as well as a NASA satellite image and not one but two French blogs about time spent on the island // Annobón, in the Gulf of Guinea, discovered on New Year’s Day 1473, hence its name. Here is a flickr album of the island’s airport. Presumably that’s a new stadium, alongside the new school // Antipodes Islands, part of the Antipodes Subantarctic Islands tundra ecoregion. Read The mysterious disappearance of the Totorore for an insight into the landscape and climate. Also, arriving at the Antipodes Islands from the Million Dollar Mouse blog, charting the (successful!) project to eradicate mice from the islands. It also links to the documentary, the Island of Strange Noises.


Ascension Island, an important waypoint in the mid-Atlantic. Read the sad story of Leendert Hasenbosch: Sodomy Punish’d: Being a True and Exact Relation of what Befel to One Leondert Hussenlosch, a Dutch Man, who by Command of the Dutch Fleet, was Put on Shore on the Desolate Island of Ascention. Faithfully Translated from a Journal Wrote by Himself // Atlasov Island, ‘the northernmost island and volcano and also the highest volcano of the Kuril islands’, with crunchy beaches of volcanic ash. The island is uninhabited: a visit to Atlasova Island // Banaba Island in the Pacific, decimated by Guano mining” Modern buccaneers in the West Pacific from 1913 chronicles the extent of the exploitation of the island.


Norway’s Bear Island (Bjørnøya), the ‘southernmost island of the Svalbard archipelago’. A Visit to Bear Island (via Polar Quest). The naked swimmer club (‘Bjørnøya nakenbadeforening’) of the Bjørnøya Meteorological Station // Bokak Atoll, in the Marshalls Islands. A map from 1897. Related, Marshalls Islands wrecks. See also the work of Julian Charrière, chronicled in his new book, Second Suns: First Light depicts the ‘atomic landscape and post-colonial ecology of Bikini Atoll’ // back to Norway, although this time on the other side of the world: Bouvet Island is an ‘uninhabited subantarctic high island’. The phantom island of Thompson was allegedly nearby. The island was also close to the purported Vela Incident, or South Atlantic Flash, a satellite-detected burst of light in September 1979 that was subsequently believed to be a secret Israeli-South African nuclear test.


Brava, Cape Verde, ‘the smallest inhabited island of the Cape Verde archipelago’. Lots of excellent photos of Brava at the Adventurous Travels blog / Campbell Island, uninhabited subantarctic island off the coast New Zealand. A place of extremes, home to the world’s loneliest tree (and suggested Anthropocene marker point), the Southern Hemisphere’s largest recorded wave, the world’s largest (successful) rat eradication programme, and the world’s rarest duck. There are also Great White Shark attacks and unique ‘megaherbs’. Island gallery. Visits ashore: one and two // and finally for this first jaunt, Christmas Island, an Australian territory in the Indian Ocean. The island is site of the notorious Christmas Island Immigration Detention Centre, which is due for imminent closure. And here’s a jaunty video about the annual migration of red cabs across the island.

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