Planning a trip to Alaska can be overwhelming. What are the best places to see bears, elk, or beautiful sunsets? Do you prefer to spend a lot of time in one area exploring wildlife and mountains, or do you want to plan excursions to the various cities of this state?
Because Alaska is so big, it is divided into 5 regions; arctic, interior, southwest, south central zone and the interior passage. All of them reflect the beauty and uniqueness of one of the coldest regions on the planet, with an animal and plant life adapted to the strict conditions due to the northern situation in which this territory is located within the globe.
Alaska and its archipelagos
Alaska is one of the only 2 states that make up the United States, along with Hawaii, which does not border another state in the country; it is also the only non-contiguous state in continental North America. On the other hand, it is the largest state, with a total area of 1,717,854 square kilometers.
This state gets its name from the Aleut word alyeska or alaxsxaq , which means ‘big land’, or more literally, ‘the object against which the action of the sea is directed’.
Beyond the mainland, the Aleutian Islands are one of the volcanic archipelagos, a chain of more than 300 small islands that describe a wide arc of about 1900 km in Alaska.
The islands are located between the Bering Sea to the north and the North Pacific Ocean to the south. Next, we tell you 4 curiosities of these and other curious islands of Alaska.
1. Fox Islands, scene of adventure games
The Fox Islands are a group of islands located in the eastern part of the Aleutian Islands archipelago. Administratively, they belong to the Aleutians East census tract of the state of Alaska.
These islands are the closest Aleutian group to the American continent and are located immediately east of the Four Volcanoes group of islands. With fog most of the year, they are difficult to navigate due to the constant bad weather and the many reefs that surround them.
The largest islands in the Fox group are, from west to east: Umnak, Unalaska, Amaknak, Akutan, Akun, Unimak and Sanak. As a curiosity, the PlayStation Metal Gear Solid game takes place on a fictional island in the Fox archipelago, called Shadow Moses .
2. Islands of the Four Volcanoes, or maybe five …
The islands of the Four Volcanoes are a group of small islands located in the central part of the Aleutian archipelago. Administratively, they belong to the Aleutians West Census Area of the state of Alaska.
This archipelago gets its name from a translation from Russian – Ostrova Chetyre Soposhnye -, which means ‘islands of four volcanoes’. This name was given by Russian explorers who observed 4 prominent volcanoes located on 4 of the islands.
However, there seems to be some confusion with the name of these islands, possibly because only 4 out of 5 appear regularly on maps. Where is the fifth hiding?
3. Kodiak Archipelago, saved by the weather
Kodiak is the largest city on Kodiak Island and home to the largest fishing fleet in Alaska. From 1792 to 1799, the city of Kodiak was the capital of Russian America, and memories of its stay can still be found in the Russian Orthodox Church and the Baranov museum, which used to be a fur warehouse and is one of the wooden structures oldest in Alaska.
Curiously, Kodiak’s famous cloudy weather saved it from a Japanese attack during World War II, but the city was not so lucky during the 1964 Good Friday earthquake, which devastated the downtown area and wiped out its fishing fleet.
4. Diomedes Islands, separated by 21 hours
The Diomede Islands are 2 small rocky cliffs separated by 3.7 kilometers of water in the middle of the Bering Strait. So far everything normal, nothing from another world. However, there are some curious facts regarding these tiny islands, called Diomedes.
For example, one of them belongs to Russia and the other to the United States. When the water between them freezes, it becomes the only place in the world where it is possible – in theory, because passage is prohibited – to cross on foot from the United States to Russia, or vice versa.
In addition, the international date change line passes right between the two islands, so that while in Diómedes Menor -of the United States- it is, say, April 26 at 11.30 am, in Diómedes Mayor -Russia-, only 3, 7 kilometers, it’s April 27 at 7.30 am
Alaska, a very interesting place
Alaska is a wild place, where brown bears roam free, glaciers fill fjords, and mountains scratch the sky. Beyond its main attractions, this earthly paradise is full of secrets.
From its ancient civilizations to the volcanic remains of ancient eruptions, Alaska has many amazing stories to tell. The islands of Alaska are a diverse and wild territory, full of hidden corners and surprises that will take your breath away.