The Atlas of Remote Islands revisited, post 4 of 4

The final journey into those remote islands: part 1, part 2 and 3. Starting with the Alaskan island of St. George, one of the Pribilof Islands and a habitat of the threatened Northern fur seal. Travel to the islands (and marvel at how the Anchorage Daily News is somehow unable to be GDPR compliant). Hopefully they’ve got their grocery deliveries by now as lateness earlier in the summer brought forward the seal harvest // Napoleon’s place of exile, Saint Helena. The dictator died in 1821, but not before he’d raved about the island’s coffee. Starbucks sold it for a while and it was also sold in Harrods. Here is a photo essay at Rosemary Gate Coffee, by Paul Tyson, whose Two Years in the Atlantic blog is a comprehensive portrait of the island // St Kilda lies off the coast of Scotland. It is a home to a mouse that travelled with the Vikings and grudgingly succumbed to organised religion in the 18th and 19th centuries. From Wikipedia: ‘One visitor noted in 1875 that: “The Sabbath was a day of intolerable gloom. At the clink of the bell the whole flock hurry to Church with sorrowful looks and eyes bent upon the ground. It is considered sinful to look to the right or to the left.” Time spent in religious gatherings interfered seriously with the practical routines of the island. Old ladies and children who made noise in church were lectured at length and warned of dire punishments in the afterworld.’ 29 August 1930 was the date of the island’s evacuation; the last original islander died in 2016. Visiting St Kilda on a very wet day.

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You can moor in the Île Saint-Paul’s submerged volcanic caldera, but there’s not a lot to see apart from seals and seabirds. This is another place where rat eradication became a thing, eventually solved by using a helicopter to drop poison. All the rats are now dead, but rabbits are still hopping around. There are some images down this page // Semisopochnoi Island, the island of the seven mountains – Cerberus, Sugarloaf Peak, Lakeshore Cone, Anvil Peak, Pochnoi, Ragged Top, and Three-quarter Cone. ‘In other words, Semisopochnoi and the dozen or so Aleutian islands lying beyond it are so far west that they’re actually east! Politically and even geologically, they’re part of North America, but by this strict geographic definition, they’re thousands of miles east of North America’s Atlantic coast.’ // Socorro Island is where the giant Manta Ray can be found // Southern Thule was occupied by Argentinian forces in the early 80s, a fact kept secret at the time // Takuu Atoll looks set to become one of the first places on the planet to be wiped out by climate change, a grim fate.

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Tikopia in Polynesia. A piece of writing by James Baldwin, and here are some people visiting the island, which has been the subject of many anthropological studies over the years // Trindade and Martin Vaz has had an eventful history for a largely uninhabited island, once heavily forested but denuded of its trees by non-native animals, the site of shipwrecks, expedition stopovers, failed treasure hunts, home to turtles humped back whales, and alleged UFOs, although the self-proclaimed Prince of Trinidad, James Harden-Hickey, never actually visited // Tristan da Cunha will spend three and a half minutes in darkness during the total solar eclipse of 5 December 2048. Here’s hoping we’re all around to see that // Tromelin Island has a weather station and little else, a low desert island to the east of Madagascar. In 1761, a French slave ship was wrecked on the island and a result, a small community of former slaves spent 15 years marooned on the island before being rescued. Their story is told in a recent graphic novel // Uyedineniya Island is cold and uninhabited, with an abandoned polar station. Sometimes known as Solitude Island, Silversea Expeditions’ cruise liner Silver Explorer passes by a couple of times a year. And that concludes our tour. Admittedly most of these links are culled from wikipedia and its environs, and probably what everyone would really like to see is another atlas of 50 more, even remoter, islands that none of us are ever likely to visit. Another time…

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