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Saturday, April 24, 2010

Diomede





I was fortunate enough to get into Diomede this past week.  Diomede is an island in the Bering Strait about 2 miles from Russia.  And no I have no idea if Palin really went there ever.  In any case you can only fly here on a regular basis when there is an ice runway between the two islands.  Last year there was none but this year was good.  I even took a video of the landing and approach.  The juttering of the camera is turbulence jostling around from the wind currents coming off the island.  Bering air is the only commercial airline that will land there. They are awesome and the safest and the only airline I will fly around here.
                                                                                                 
  

Facing Russia, Big Diomede



Diomede landing, Bering Air from Philip Hofstetter on Vimeo.




While I was there I asked if anyone biked across between the islands, it’s only 2 miles but as far as a few folks knew no one has.  Might be a fun thing to do next year if I get permission, and someone tags along behind with a snow machine to scout for polar bears.  I have thought about kayaking there in the summer also but it’s a volatile stretch of ocean. Because it is the shortest distance between mainland Russia and the US a lot of expeditions and such have attempted crossing of all kinds.  "Attempted" being the key word. Most don’t realize how powerful the currents are and think it is chock full of solid ice but it’s not.  While, between the islands the ice is solid, the current from Diomede to Wales can be faster than some rivers.  The whole Bering sea gets squeezed between 50 miles of land.  Some find out the hard way.

In any case, as usual, it was a cool trip and was only stuck a short time extra. 




2 comments:

Jim said...

Your camera work inside the airplane makes it look terrifying! Ha!

Phil said...

I was thinking about screaming for effect but don't think any one would've thought it was funny. Though it really was one of my more harrowing windshear turbulent plane rides or maybe it's the thought of landing on ice...