In this week’s Maphead, Ken Jennings explores the tiny outpost of Alaska that really can see Russia from its backyard.
approximately 19h 34m
The Bering Strait tunnel was estimated to cost between $10 billion and $12 billion, while the entire project was estimated to cost $65 billion. Shortly after, the Russian government approved the construction of the $65 billion Siberia- Alaska rail and tunnel across the Bering Strait.
Cox is perhaps best known for swimming 2 hour 5 minutes in the Bering Strait on 7 August 1987, from the island of Little Diomede in Alaska to Big Diomede, then part of the Soviet Union, where the water temperature averaged around 43 to 44 °F (6 to 7 °C).
IT IS EASY to forget—if you ever knew—that Russia and the United States are less than three miles apart, across the icy waters of the Bering Strait (see map). From America’s Little Diomede Island, which is indeed very little, you can cheerily wave or glower, depending on your attitude, at Russia’s Big Diomede Island.
The shortest distance between mainland Russia and mainland Alaska is approximately 88 kilometers (55 miles), according to the Alaska Public Lands Information Centers. The main route of the Trans-Siberian railway runs from Moscow to Vladivostok and covers 9,258 kilometers.
In contrast, the American island of Little Diomede has no government or military presence. Directly facing Russia is a village with a population of fewer than 80 people, who live in huts clustered up the steep and rocky hillside. It is one of the most remote and isolated settlements in the US.
The purchase of Alaska in 1867 marked the end of Russian efforts to expand trade and settlements to the Pacific coast of North America , and became an important step in the United States rise as a great power in the Asia-Pacific region.
In March 2006, Bushby and French adventurer Dimitri Kieffer crossed the Bering Strait on foot, having to take a roundabout 14-day route across a frozen 150-mile (240 km) section to cross the 58-mile (93 km) wide strait from Alaska to Siberia.
The distance between the two countries is actually much smaller. Just 3.8 kilometers ( 2.4 miles ) separate Big Diomede Island (Russia) and Little Diomede Island (U.S.). The island pair is visible in the detailed image, acquired on June 6, 2017, by the Operational Land Imager (OLI) on Landsat 8.
The Bering sea , near the chain of the Aleutian Islands, is one of the most intense patches of ocean on Earth. Strong winds, freezing temperatures, and icy water are normal conditions. The combination makes for some of the most ferocious waves on the planet, where the water can rise and fall 30 feet on a normal day.
Today, Alaska is, of course, worth much more than that. The state encompasses 586,412 square miles or more than 375 million acres. 2 Even at a cost of just $100 per acre, that would equate to more than $37 billion .
It is still possible for Alaska residents to drive through Canada , however. But to drive through Canada , you must be healthy, with no COVID-19 symptoms, and traveling for a “non-discretionary purpose,” according to Mark Stuart, spokesman for the Canada Border Services Agency.