Everything you need to know about Bouvet Island

Devraj Lahiri 17 January 2021 2489 views 5 min. read

I am sure when French Commander Jean-Baptiste Charles Bouvet de Lozier discovered this volcanic island on January 1, 1739, in the middle of nowhere, where the nearest land was more than a thousand miles away, a towering island with no inhabitants was indeed a discovery of the century. The island got named after its discoverer and since then Bouvet Island remains the most remote island in the world. The nearest land point is Queen Maud in Antarctica which is 1750 km away. However, if you have found people, one much have to travel almost 2600 km. That is how far this island is situated, away from the maddening crowd, modern civilisation and its monotonous banter, routine and existence.  If you have to look for it on an atlas, the question you would have to be asking is the geographical coordinates of Bouvet island. What are the geographical coordinates of Bouvet island? The answer is 54.4208° S, 3.3464° E. Now that we know what the geographical coordinates of Bouvet island are let's delve deeper. It is based in the Southern Atlantic Ocean and is frigid all around the year. Bouvet Island, the most remote island in the world, is almost fully covered with ice. It has a volcano in the centre which is filled with ice. It has been estimated that the most remote island in the world has only 7% of its surface area not covered under the ice. That makes it unique. 

Where is Bouvet Island?

bouvet island

Another pertinent question that strikes most travellers other than the geographical coordinates of Bouvet island is Bouvet Island. The island, as mentioned before lies in Southern Atlantic, 1,500 miles (2,400 km) southwest of the Cape of Good Hope of southern Africa and about 1,000 miles (1,600 km) north of the mainland of Antarctica. It covers an area of 23 square miles and has an elevation of 3068 feet. It is uninhabited as previously mentioned.  Bouvet Island has been quite an important find since it kept vanishing from the world trade maps. After the French had discovered it, the Germans rediscovered it in 1898. The Norwegians started expeditions to this island in the 1920s and the first time the Norwegian Flag was fluttered was in 1927. Norway finally annexed it through a royal decree in 1930, who owns Bouvet Island and declared as a natural reserve in 1971.

Who Owns Bouvet Island?

red houses

The country of Norway is the one who owns Bouvet Island. It was done through a royal decree after the unfurling of their flag. Bouvet Island has passed through many hands and finally found Norway as their permanent patrons. 

The Bouvet Island Population

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One of the most interesting facts is the Bouvet Island population. There is none. Being so far from anything in sight, nothing can be called the Bouvet Island population. Being a secured natural reserve, tourism is banned and no one other than scientific research expeditions is allowed to set foot on the island. However, special cases may be considered when amateur ham radio enthusiasts and practitioners were allowed to travel there and set up a radio station and transmit signals all over the world. If a lifeform is considered an inhabitant, then the Chinstrap Penguins and the Macaroni Penguins make up the Bouvet Island population. There are an estimated 4500 Macaroni Penguins. The number of Chinstraps Penguin is at 400. 

Bouvet Island Flag

flag of norwayThe Bouvet Island Flag

is that of Norway's flag since it is a part of the Norwegian administration. There is no separate Bouvet Island flag that exists.

Bouvet Island Map

bouvet Island on the map

The Bovet Island map is available on the internet as well as on atlases. The Bouvet Island map will generally tell us the size of the landmass, its elevation and the percentage of snow covering its land. The Bouvet Island map is also interesting since it also provides us with the idea of its being the most beautiful remote island in the world.

The most beautiful remote island in the world

snowy road

While Bouvet Island might not be a tourist magnet, it remains the most beautiful remote island in the world. With towering ice walls, a permanent glacier and volcano in the middle of the island, this is nothing short of a fantasy island. The Bouvet Island mystery is also something many have been intrigued about for years. The most beautiful remote island has a few mysteries up its sleeves, but the most famous Bouvet Island Mystery involves a lifeboat anchored in April 1964.

The Bouvet Island Mystery

bouvet island

There was this unusual case of a lifeboat anchored in April 1964. It led to a thorough search of the entire island. Alas, no human life was found. There wasn't any trace of anybody coming in or going out. It has remained popular urban folklore ever since. What made it even more interesting was that there was no tell-tale sign of distress. The boat inhabitants could have easily gotten on to the land from the place they had anchored it. There weren't any insignia on the boat to suggest its origin and the Bouvet Island mystery remained unsolved.

Flora and fauna

penguins

The island though is not short of Bouvet Island flora and fauna. Being untouched by the seeds of modernity, mother nature has taken full advantage of it. The island is covered with glacier and thick forest and the water around is filled with a large variety of fish. It is also the haunt of a large number of migratory birds, namely, Snow petrels, black-browed albatrosses and Antarctic prions. The Orcas and the humpback whales come close to the shore to feed on the fish.  Bouvet Island is a bouquet for wildlife enthusiasts. The island is a haven for penguins, seabirds and a wide collection of marine animals. For plant lovers, the island is indeed heaven too. The algae, moss and a unique variety of mushroom can be found all over the place. However, the visit will only be possible if you are allowed to a part of an expedition, heading that way. 

Shooting films

shooting films

The remoteness and the mystery behind the island have also led filmmakers to make it a part of their shooting. The 2004 sci-fi film, Aliens vs Predators was filmed at a location within the vicinity though the writers had decided to name the fictitious island as Bouvetoya, which is the original name of the island. There have also been three books written about the island and the more the world gets to know about its presence, the more intrigued it will be.  There are suggestions that the astrologers and philosophers knew, in the Roman Empire of Bouvet Island. Now that may sound absurd since Bouvet Island is a volcanic island and may not have existed then. The probable case may have been that the astrologers and philosophers who knew in the Roman Empire of Bouvet Island, may have been talking of some other island. There are quite a few uninhabited strewn all across the planet. 

How to visit Bouvet Island?

ship and penguin

As previously mentioned there is no way one can visit Bouvet Island. It is a natural reserve as decreed by the Norwegian Government. Also if you had to visit Bouvet Island, it only had to be through specialised missions since the island is devoid of any human luxuries. There are no airports, ports, hospitals roads, hotels et al. It has an automated weather station set up by the Government of Norway and nothing else. It is a frigid island and travelling solo can prove to be fatal. It is also difficult to find a place to anchor boats and ships with very few landing spots. The Bouvet Island Mystery did show a landing spot but that's just a handful of it there. The towering ice walls and the deep ocean around does not make it a great proposition for travellers. The remoteness to acts as a barrier. Imagine being sick and injured and the nearest medical centre is a few thousand miles away. That is a scary situation, no one wants to be in. So if you have plans to visit Bouvet Island, you would have to drop it and plan for a more reasonable destination. Bouvet Island is the Point Nemo of remote islands. It is the farthest piece of land and hence lovingly called the most beautiful remote island in the world. Its remoteness has always made it a place of mystery especially after a boat landed on its shore and no signs of any human activity were found. For the fervent and intrepid traveller, this island will forever remain a final destination. Something to tick off the bucket list. Till such time, roam the world and discover more such hidden gems.

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