Medvezhy 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.
Medvezhy Island
Остров Медвежий
Map of the Shantar Islands. Medvezhy is the long, narrow island in the far left corner.
Map of the Shantar Islands. Medvezhy is the long, narrow island in the far left corner.
Medvezhy Island is located in Khabarovsk Krai
Medvezhy Island
Medvezhy 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)

Medvezhy Island (Russian: Медвежий остров Ostrov Medvezhy) is a long, narrow island in the northwestern Sea of Okhotsk, the westernmost of the Shantar Islands. It is 12.9 km (8 mi) long.[1] It is separated from the mainland by Shevchenko Straight.


Between 1855 and 1874, American whaleships anchored under Medvezhy to obtain shelter from storms and retrieve wood. They also used it as a staging point to send out smaller whaleboats to capture bowhead whales in Uda and Tugur Bays. They called it Elbow Island.[2] Two ships were wrecked on the island, both during a gale in October 1858. They were the bark Ocean Wave (380 tons), of New Bedford, and the bark Phoenix (323-325 tons), of Nantucket. The entire crew of the former vessel were lost, while six of the wrecked crew of the latter one, including the captain, were retrieved by whaleboats from the ship Florida, of Fairhaven, on 13 June 1859. They had been living at a nearby settlement; seventeen other crewmembers had spent the winter on Medvezhy.[3][4][5]


  1. ^ United States. (1918). Asiatic Pilot, Volume 1: East coast of Siberia, Sakhalin Island and Chosen. Washington: Hydrographic Office.
  2. ^ Lexington, of Nantucket, Aug. 23 and 31, 1855, Nantucket Historical Association; Louisa, of New Bedford, July 13, 1858, Sep. 18, 1859, Nicholson Whaling Collection (NWC); Mary Frazier, Aug. 25–26, 1858, NWC; Cicero, of New Bedford, Aug. 15–18, Aug. 31, Sep. 5, 1861, July 14, 1862, Kendall Whaling Museum; Java, of New Bedford, July 27, 1865, NWC; Sea Breeze, of New Bedford, July 27-28, 1874, George Blunt White Library.
  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. 
  5. ^ Chatfield, T. The Reminiscences of Captain Thomas Chatfield