If you are looking to get away from it all, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better venue than Bouvet Island. Located at the southern end of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, approximately 1,600 miles (2,600 km) south-southwest of the coast of South Africa and approximately 1,100 miles (1,700 km) north of the Princess Astrid Coast of Queen Maud Land, Antarctica, it is officially the most remote island in the world. Bouvet Island is uninhabited and is classified as a dependency of Norway. Consisting of 19 square miles (49 sq km), 93 percent of its surface is covered by a glacier. The center of the island is an ice-filled crater of an inactive volcano.
A few skerries and one smaller island, Larsøya, lie along the coast. Nyrøysa, created by a rock slide in the late 1950’s, is the only easy place for aircraft to land; it is the location of a weather station.
Jean-Baptiste Charles Bouvet de Lozier discovered the island on January 1, 1739. Unfortunately, he failed to correctly record the coordinates, so the island remained unvisited until 1808, when the British whaler captain James Lindsay named it Lindsay Island. The first Norvegia expedition landed on the island in 1927 and claimed it for Norway. At this time the island was named Bouvet Island, or “Bouvetøya” in Norwegian. After a dispute with the United Kingdom, it was declared a Norwegian dependency in 1930. It became a nature reserve in 1971.
Although remote in the extreme, the island has at least one claim to fame. Bouvet Island is the setting of the 2004 movie Alien vs. Predator, although 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.
Bouvet Island became the focus of the intelligence community’s attention on September 22, 1979. A bright, unidentifiable double flash of light was picked up by a US satellite designed to detect nuclear detonations. The phenomenon occurred in the vicinity of Bouvet Island.
Because of the utter remoteness of the place, immediate confirmation of the unusual occurrence could not take place. While the US government said that one of the explanations could be a meteor strike, the general consensus is that it was an above-ground nuclear test conducted jointly by the governments of South Africa and Israel. To this day, the official explanation remains clouded in mystery.