These Two Islands Are Just 2.4 Miles Apart, But Have a 21-Hour Time Difference

The Diomedes, two small islands in the Bearing Sea are famous as one of the few places where you can travel back in time, sort of…

The international date line is an imaginary line that runs through the middle of the Pacific Ocean, marking the difference between calendar dates. Crossing the line from east to west, you would need to set your clock forward by a day, while crossing from west to east, you would set it back by a day. The international dateline runs from the North to the South pole, but it isn’t straight; instead it zig-zags, taking into account various political borders. It just so happens to pass right between the Diomedes Islands, in the Bering Sea, making it possible to (sort of) travel through time just by traversing a distance of only 2.4 miles (3.8 km).

Not only are these two islands two miles apart in two different countries but also that they are 21 hours apart in time. When it’s noon on a Thursday in the American Little Diomede it’s 9 a.m. on Friday on Big Diomede

Because they’re only a few miles apart, you can actually see one of the Diomedes from the other one, which technically means you can look into the future, or the past, too. Normally, you’d have to sail or swim between the two Diomedes, but during the winter an ice bridge allegedly forms between them, allowing you to walk from one to the other. Unfortunately, that’s easier said than done.


The two Diomedes are separated by a 21-hour time difference, but the international date line passing between them also acts as the border between Russia and the United States. The Big Diomede, or “Tomorrow Island”, belongs to Russia, while Little Diomede, or “Yesterday Island”, is a US territory.


Travel between the two islands is forbidden, and foreign fishing boats getting too close to either side sometimes get some warning shots from the soldiers patrolling them.

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