Bouvet Island: Wikis


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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Bouvet Island
Government Dependent territory
 -  Monarch of Norway Harald V
 -  Administration Polar Affairs Department
Norwegian dependency
 -  Claimed 1 December, 1927 
 -  Annexed 23 January, 1928 
 -  Dependency 27 February, 1930 
 -  Nature reserve 17 December, 1971 
 -  Total 49 km2 
19 sq mi 
 -  Glaciated 93%
 -   census uninhabited 
Internet TLD .bv¹
1 Currently not in use.

Bouvet Island (Norwegian: Bouvetøya) is an uninhabited Antarctic volcanic island in the South Atlantic Ocean, 2,525 km[1] south-southwest of South Africa. It is a dependent territory (Norwegian: biland) of Norway and, lying north of 60°S latitude, is not subject to the Antarctic Treaty. The centre of the Island is an ice-filled crater of an inactive volcano, known as the Wilhelm II Plateau.[2] According to some data[3] there is a lake of molten lava within the caldera.

It is the most remote island in the world.



Map of Bouvet Island

Bouvet Island is located at 54°26′S 3°24′E / 54.433°S 3.4°E / -54.433; 3.4. It is 49 km² in area, 93% of which is covered by glaciers, which block the south and east coasts.[4] A number of rocks and very small satellite islands lie offshore, including Lars Island to the southwest.

Bouvet Island is the most remote island in the world. The nearest land is Queen Maud Land, Antarctica, over 1,750 kilometres (1,090 mi) away to the south, which does not have a permanent population but is the site of a Norwegian all-year research station. To the northeast, it is about 2,500 kilometres (1,600 mi) to Cape Town.[2]

Bouvet Island has no ports or harbours, only offshore anchorages, and is therefore difficult to approach. Wave action has created a very steep coast. The easiest way to access the island is with a helicopter from a ship. The glaciers form a thick ice layer falling in high cliffs into the sea or onto the black beaches of volcanic sand. The 29.6 km (18.4 miles) of coastline are often surrounded by pack ice. The highest point on the island is called Olavtoppen, whose peak is 780 m (2,559 ft) above sea level. A lava shelf on the island's west coast formed between 1955 and 1958 and provides a nesting site for birds.

Because of the harsh climate and ice-bound terrain, vegetation is limited to lichens and mosses. Seals, seabirds and penguins are the only fauna. As such the island is part of the Scotia Sea Islands tundra ecoregion, along with South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, the South Shetland Islands and the South Orkney Islands.

Despite being uninhabited, Bouvet Island has the unused Internet country code top-level domain (ccTLD) .bv.[5] It also has an amateur radio prefix, 3Y, and a few amateur radio expeditions have travelled to the island to use it. There is no telephone country code or area code, no telephone connection (except through satellite) and no postal code nor postal distribution. Bouvet Island is according to Norwegian law in the UTC+01 time zone.


Southeast coast of Bouvet Island, 1898
Aerial photo

Bouvet Island was probably discovered on January 1, 1739, by Jean-Baptiste Charles Bouvet de Lozier, who commanded the French ships Aigle and Marie. However, the island's position was not fixed accurately, having been placed eight degrees to the east, and Bouvet did not circumnavigate his discovery, so it remained unknown whether it was an island or part of a continent.[6]

In 1772, Captain James Cook left South Africa on a mission to find the island. However, when arriving at 54°S 11°E / 54°S 11°E / -54; 11, where Bouvet had said he sighted the island, nothing was to be seen. Captain Cook assumed that Bouvet had taken an iceberg for an island, and he abandoned the search.[7]

The island was not sighted again until 1808, when it was seen by James Lindsay, the captain of the Samuel Enderby & Sons whaler Snow Swan. Though he did not land, he was the first to fix the island's position correctly. Since this deviated greatly from the (incorrect) position previously recorded for Bouvet, it was initially assumed to be a different island and was named Lindsay Island. Only later was it established that Bouvet and Lindsay must be the same.

Captain Benjamin Morrell of the sealer Wasp claimed to have landed on Bouvet in December 1822 to hunt for seals, but his account is disputed.[8]

On December 10, 1825, Captain Norris, master of the Samuel Enderby & Sons whalers Sprightly and Lively, landed on the island, named it Liverpool Island, and claimed it for the British Crown. Again, it was not known with certainty at the time that this was the same island found previously. He also reported sighting a second island nearby, which he named Thompson Island. No trace of this island now remains.

In 1898, the German Valdivia expedition of Carl Chun visited the island but did not land.

The first extended stay on the island was in 1927, when the Norwegian crew of the ship Norvegia stayed for about a month. The island was claimed for Norway by expedition leader Lars Christensen on 1 December 1927.[9] By a Royal Norwegian Decree of January 23, 1928, Bouvet Island (Bouvetøya in Norwegian) became a Norwegian Territory. The United Kingdom waived its claim in favour of Norway the following year. In 1930 a Norwegian act was passed that made the island a dependent area subject to the sovereignty of the Kingdom (but not a part of the Kingdom).

In 1964, an abandoned boat was discovered on the island, along with various supplies; however, the boat's passengers were never found.[10]

In 1971, Bouvet Island and the adjacent territorial waters were designated a nature reserve. During the 1950s and 1960s, there was some interest from South Africa to establish a weather station, but conditions were deemed to be too hostile. An automated weather station was, however, set up in 1977 by the Norwegians.

On September 22, 1979, a satellite recorded a flash of light (which was later interpreted as having been caused by a nuclear bomb explosion or natural event such as a meteor) in a stretch of the southern Indian Ocean between Bouvet Island and Prince Edward Islands. This flash, since dubbed the Vela Incident, is still not completely resolved.[11]

In 1994, the Norwegians constructed a field station – a container building of 36 square metres. On October 19, 2007, the Norwegian Polar Institute announced that the station was no longer visible on satellite photographs. Later investigations indicated that a landslide or ice avalanche swept the building off its foundations. A replacement station is being planned (2009). An unmanned weather station on the island is reportedly still intact.[12]

Bouvet Island in fiction

  • Bouvet is the setting of the 2004 movie Alien vs. Predator, in which it is referred to using its Norwegian name "Bouvetøya" even though in the unrated edition of the film, a satellite focuses in on the island which is geographically situated in the approximate location of Peter I Island.
  • The island figures prominently in the book A Grue of Ice (also published as "The Disappearing Island") by Geoffrey Jenkins. It also features in "Warhead" by Andy Remic.

See also


  • LeMasurier, W. E.; Thomson, J. W. (eds.) (1990). Volcanoes of the Antarctic Plate and Southern Oceans. American Geophysical Union. pp. 512 pp. ISBN 0-87590-172-7. 

External links

Coordinates: 54°26′S 3°24′E / 54.433°S 3.4°E / -54.433; 3.4


Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Quick Facts
Capital administered by the Polar Department of the Ministry of Justice and Police from Oslo
Government territory of Norway
Area 58.5 sq km
Population uninhabited
Electricity NA
Calling Code NA
Internet TLD .bv
Time Zone UTC

Bouvet Island is an uninhabited 58.5 sq km volcanic, mostly inaccessible, island in the Southern Ocean, south-southwest of the Cape Town.

This uninhabited volcanic was discovered in 1739 by a French naval officer after whom the island was named. No claim was made until 1825 when the British flag was raised. In 1928, the UK waived its claim in favor of Norway, which had occupied the island the previous year. In 1971, Bouvet Island and the adjacent territorial waters were designated a nature reserve. Since 1977, Norway has run an automated meteorological station on the island.

It's not too hard to get a lot of search-engine-hits for airports, hotels, rental cars, or even airport limousines at Bouvet Island, even though there never has, and never will be such a thing.


It is small (58.5 km^2) volcanic island that rises sharply from the ocean, with cliffs up to 500 meters high. Almost all of the island is covered by a thick glacier. The highest point is Olav Peak at 935 meters.

Get in

Since the entire island is a nature reserve, it's likely that you will be denied permission, if the purpose of entering is just tourism, although usually you won't find anybody of the Norwegian immigration office in the island to refuse your entry. But if you absolutely have to get there anyway, your best bet is to try to find out when the next research expedition is scheduled to get there, and ask if you can join them. If you have a useful occupation or skill, such as arctic research biologist, research geologist, helicopter pilot, or physician, you will probably be welcome. There's been at least one case of this happening in the past, when a bunch of radio amateurs were allowed to enter the Island for a DXpedition (setting up an amateur radio station there to communicate with people across the world so they can send each other postcards afterwards).

By boat

There is nothing even remotely usable as harbor, although it is possible to anchor outside of it. If you are willing to put your life at risk, you might try using a light boat with outboard engine to enter. It has been known to work, but plenty of people have tried and decided it was not worth the risk.

By plane

A safer way is to use a helicopter starting from a ship.

Get around

The interior of the island is inaccessible.


There is no economic activity on Bouvet Island.


There is no accommodation on Bouvet Island nor is there any economic activity on the island.


For some obscure reason the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority gave it its own top-level domain .bv (even though it is very unlikely that anyone will ever actually live there). Because of this, Norway - the country that administers the domain - has decided that the .bv domain will remain unused.

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Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

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Proper noun

Bouvet Island

  1. A Norwegian uninhabited volcanic island in the South Atlantic Ocean, south-southwest of the South African Cape of Good Hope.



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