Exploring 3 Of The Most Amazing Arctic Islands In The World
When we talk about islands it is inevitable to imagine beaches, white sands, blue waters and beautiful landscapes that urge you to go on holiday and soak in the sun; but when we mention arctic islands we are not referring to those tropical paradises, but instead to places with white and cold landscapes, ideal for skiing and observing the wide variety of animals that are not common to other ecosystems due to their specific adaptation to cold weather.
On this specific article, here at Royal Holiday Cruises, we want to talk about some islands that most people are completely unaware of their existence due to their faraway location, however these places are beautiful and wonderful to rest and get away, where you will find very few inhabitants that ensure the safety and wellbeing of the area.
Ellesmere is considered one of the coldest and largest islands in Canada and the whole world. It belongs to the group of Queen Elizabeth Islands in the Arctic Ocean and is divided by the Arctic mountain range, which makes it the most mountainous island out of the whole group. The wildlife in this place is very rare to find elsewhere, such as the arctic wolf, the muskox, caribou and polar bears. Ellesmere spans for 196,235 Km² and has a population of around 168 inhabitants mostly living in Grise Fiord, the capital.
The waters surrounding Ellesmere remain frozen for most of the year, but during the summer, the river thaws and most of the waters because negotiable on a ship. Paleo-eskimos were the first inhabitants of this wild land; they were highly skilled hunters that lived of walruses. Later the Vikings came followed by the first Europeans in the year 1616 represented by William Baffin. The island was subject to many discoveries and investigation by scientists that found here many species of animals that were considered unusual at the time, like a large camel long extinct as well as many species of plants and vegetables like the Mammoth Tree. In 2004, a fish names Tiktaalik was discovered. This specimen had gills and scales but it also showed extremities that seemed to have been functional like elbows and wrists. Near Ellesmere, you can find a remote place were the most northern people in the world live. The place is called Alert and it’s just a few hours away from the North Pole, only five people live here and they are in charge of running this meteorological and scientific station. Nearby you can also find the Quttinirpaaq National Park and the Ellesmere Island National Park.
Located in Russia and considered a natural sanctuary protected by the federal government and the Russian ministry of natural resources. The island sits between the Chukchi Sea and the East Siberian Sea. The tallest point on the island is Sovétskaya Mountain topping at 1093 meters. Many valleys, lakes, rivers and ravines accompany the mountains in this island. Wrangel island is very famous for being the last place in earth mammoths lived. Today you may find the lairs of many polar bears, arctic foxes and muskox as well as walruses and arctic owls.
The island is located in the western part of the Barents Sea, it was discovered the 10th of June of 1596 by Willem Barentsz and Jacob Van Heemskerk, a couple of Dutch traders that were traveling to China. The island is named Bear Island due to the large amount of polar bears living there. The island is also full of seagulls that use it to lay their eggs and nest their young. The island is very remotely located and only nine people live there, they are all workers of the Herwig Hamna meteorological weather station. This is a land that is completely cold and lonely but it’s also home to someone of the most beautiful landscapes and unmatched vistas in the world, filled with pines and all kinds of trees as far as the eye can see. There are also rivers, creeks and frozen waterfalls that find their way to the foot of the mountains and reflect moss covered rocks on their crystal clear waters. Fishing is the main occupation for those who live around the island and there is plenty of fish to go around. Just 175 km from Bear Island, you can find the Bear Island Natural Reserve, here you can find the tallest peak of the island with a height of 536 m.
These islands are beautiful in their own way, and discovering them is a way to look upon a different type of landscape most people aren’t used to. The amazing magic of the arctic is something that you will never forget if you are ever so lucky and adventurous as to find yourself traveling near these breathtaking places.