The Islands That Are a Mere 2 Miles Apart But Separated By the International Date Line



The Diomede Islands are a pair of rocky islands located in the middle of the Bering Strait between mainland Alaska and Siberia. Though the two islands are only 2.4 miles apart and clearly in a single group, they're separated by the International Date line, which makes Big Diomede Island 23 hours ahead of Little Diomede Island. For this reason, they're sometimes referred to as Tomorrow Island and Yesterday Isle. Big Diomede is owned by Russia and Little Diomede is owned by the United States. During the winter, moving chunks of ice clog in the open waters forming an ice bridge connecting the two islands. During those times, it’s possible to walk between the United States and Russia. Of course, that’s not permitted, as crossing the Bering Strait is illegal. When the United States purchased Alaska from Russia in 1867, it included Little Diomede. The new boundary was drawn between the two Diomede Islands and the Big Diomede was left to Russia. While Little Diomede developed into a small community of about 75 individuals, with a church and school, Big Diomede became a Russian military base.