Uedineniya Island - Lonely Island

Situated in the middle of the Kara Sea on the northern coast of Russia you’ll find the Uedineniya Island. The island actually has several names. In Norwegian it is called Ensomheden, in German it is known as Einsamkeit Insel, in English it is known as Lonely Island, and in Russian the name can be spelt ‘Uyedineniya’ or ‘Ujeninenije’. Most commonly, however, it is known as Uedineniya Island and it is located roughly halfway between Novaya Zemlya and Severnaya Zemlya.

This cold and blustery island was first discovered by Captain E. Johannesen, a Norwegian explorer from Tromso, on 26 August 1878. It was Johannesen who gave the island the name ‘Ensomheden’, which basically means ‘solitude’ in Norwegian. No doubt, Johannesen thought that the name was appropriate since the island seemed completely isolated from other islands and landmasses in these Arctic waters. Indeed, the nearest landmasses are the Arkticheskiy Institut Islands which are located about 150 kilometers away! Nevertheless, the island has been found to be teeming with life such as bears, seals, walruses and even a variety of birds making their home on the island. It is therefore quite appropriate that Uedineniya is part of the Great Arctic State Nature Reserve, which is the largest nature reserve in the entire country. The island falls under Russia’s Krasnoyarsk Krai administrative region and it is a protected area that seldom sees human visitors.

In the past, under the direction of the USSR government, the island served as a small polar observatory. Later it was visited by a German Submarine which managed to destroy the weather station’s building with grenades. The observatory has since been rebuilt, but it is now completely abandoned. It is interesting to note that the cervical vertebra of a plesiosaur was discovered on this island during the 1930s. This makes one wonder what sort of other archaeological treasures lie hidden beneath the icy surface of this unusual landmass. If you are ever able to visit Uedineniya Island in Russia, you will find that it is flat and low-lying with swamps, small lakes and, of course, plenty of ice and snow. During the summer months you may be fortunate enough to see some tundra vegetation. However, by and large the weather is very severe and even during the summer months the island is full of ice floes. But this is to be expected of an island with such a northerly location.


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