Medvezhiy Island

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This article is about the island in the Sea of Okhotsk. For the island group in the East Siberian Sea, see Medvezhyi Islands.
Medvezhiy Island
Остров Медве́жьи
Map of the Shantar Islands. Medvezhiy is the long, narrow island in the far left corner.
Map of the Shantar Islands. Medvezhiy is the long, narrow island in the far left corner.
Medvezhiy Island is located in Khabarovsk Krai
Medvezhiy Island
Medvezhiy Island
Coordinates: 54°38′N 136°20′E / 54.633°N 136.333°E / 54.633; 136.333
Country Russian Federation
Federal subject Far Eastern Federal District
Krai Khabarovsk Krai
Elevation 174 m (571 ft)

Medvezhiy Island (Russian: Медвежий остров Ostrov Medvezhiy) is a long, narrow island in the northwestern Sea of Okhotsk, the westernmost of the Shantar Islands. It is separated from the mainland by Shevchenko Straight.


Between 1855 and 1865, American whaleships anchored under Medvezhiy to obtain shelter from storms and retrieve wood. They also used it as a staging point to send out smaller whaleboats to capture whales in the Shantar Sea. These whales, in turn, would be towed back to the ship to be flensed and tried out into valuable oil. They called it Elbow Island.[1] The bark Phoenix (323 tons), of Nantucket, was wrecked on the island during a gale in the fall of 1858.[2] Six of the wrecked crew, including the captain, was retrieved by whaleboats from the ship Florida, of Fairhaven, on 13 June 1859. They had been living at a nearby settlement — seventeen other crew members had spent the winter on Medvezhiy.[3] The bark Ocean Wave (380 tons), of New Bedford, was also wrecked on the island on 12 October of the same year.[4]


  1. ^ Lexington, of Nantucket, Aug. 23 and 31, 1855, G.W. Blunt White Library; Louisa, of New Bedford, July 13, 1858, September 18, 1859, Nicholson Whaling Collection (NWC); Mary Frazier, August 25–26, 1858, NWC; Cicero, of New Bedford, August 15–18, August 31, September 5, 1861, July 14, 1862, Kendall Whaling Museum; Java, of New Bedford, July 27, 1865, NWC.
  2. ^ CHATFIELD, T. The Reminiscences of Captain Thomas Chatfield
  3. ^ WILLIAMS, H. (1964). One whaling family. Boston, Houghton Mifflin, p. 64.
  4. ^ Starbuck, Alexander (1878). History of the American Whale Fishery from Its Earliest Inception to the year 1876. Castle. ISBN 1-55521-537-8.