Fascinated by Isolation – Bouvet Island

Today I learned that Hawaii is not the most isolated island in the world.

Whilst trawling through journal after journal looking for information for my university dissertation project, I found an article about polar tourism. Although not 100% relevant to what I’m looking at, the words polar/north/snow/ice/arctic have always resonated within me, so I had to check it out.

Mostly out of desperate procrastination, I actually read the whole paper word for word. None of it was relevant for me, except for the keywords of ‘Iceland’ and ‘tourism’ (if you hadn’t worked it out, that’s the vague skeleton of what my project is going to be about). But reading this paper did teach me something new.

 “Norway is an Antarctic claimant state as well as having two sub-Antarctic territories: Bouvet Island (the world’s most isolated island) …”

An isolated, lonely island in the middle of nothing? Covered in snow and ice, in a polar region? Undisturbed by human (un)civilisation? My mind ran all over the place with romantic thoughts of peace, silence, clean life.

'Bouvet island' by K.H. Johansen/Olav Orheim is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

Bouvetøya (that’s the Norwegian name for the island), is situated on the mid-Atlantic ridge in the South Atlantic Ocean, and it is a volcanic island. It is covered in glaciers and looks a little like something out of a fairy tale (I really am fascinated by snow and ice and everything wintery). Nobody lives on the island, but there is a weather station there. Temperatures here range from +3 to -5 Celsius.

Isolation truly does sound appealing and exciting to me – who wouldn’t want to get away from man-made destruction?! – but I don’t think Bouvet island is the kind of place I’d live. I do love snow and cold, but to survive in such wild spaces, I think I’d have to pick a tropical island.

'Hydrurga leptonyx edit1' by Papa Lima Whiskey is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

One of the island’s inhabitants, the Leopard Seal

Not everyone agrees with me though. Fungi, mosses, and snow algae all thrive here. Other species who seem undeterred by the isolations include macaroni penguins, southern fulmar, varieties of petrel, varieties of albatross, fairy prions, southern elephant seals and Antarctic fur seals. Many of these animals breed on the island. Living in the surrounding waters are humpback whales and killer whales.

There wasn’t a whole lot of point to this article beyond sharing my newfound knowledge about isolated islands of the world. But what would be the point of knowledge if it wasn’t shared? Thanks for reading!


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Image Attribution

Featured Image: ‘Bouvet Island West Coast Glacier‘ by Francious Guerraz is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

Bouvet island‘ by K.H. Johansen/Olav Orheim is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

Hydrurga leptonyx edit1‘ by Papa Lima Whiskey is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0



2 thoughts on “Fascinated by Isolation – Bouvet Island

  1. This is so cool! I am an ‘ice and snow’ kind of person too and the idea of such remoteness seems really peaceful. Your dissertation sounds interesting – what are you studying? Are you going to dedicate a blog post to it? Because I would be interested in reading that 🙂



    • Hi Meg (sorry for the late reply, I’ve been busy moving house this past week!)
      I’m studying anthropology. It’s quite a broad area of study, so I had a lot of room to shape my dissertation to suit my interests. I’m going to be looking at ecotourism in Iceland and how people are interacting with the nature since it’s such a unique country! Yes, I probably will write a blog post about it, once I’ve got a bit more of a solid plan.So stay tuned! 😉


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