The night was pitch black, the skies were clear, and the water was calm and tranquil... we glided across the bay, paddling in silent unison towards a black mass on the horizon. I couldn't distinguish much other than the one break in the natural skyline of trees - a thin cylindrical silhouette of a smoke stack with a jagged crown adorning the top. We landed on the island's shore within 20 minutes and without difficulty; there we no sounds except for the gentle lapping of water on the rocky beach. Even the dark forest that stretched upward in front of us was eerily silent. As we hauled the kayak up the boulders that led to the wilderness, the cool sea breeze vanished and the humid, mosquito filled air was our companion for the rest of the trip. I was unphased as I wandered through the jungle-like hospital landscape in awe - it was like exploring a long lost hospital-city.
Many windows were broken, and most of the equipment had been scrapped or removed a long time ago, but other than that it looked like the place hadn't been touched since it closed in 1963. We explored one of the newest buildings on the island first, which was a 1940s era tuberculosis pavilion. We then trudged through the overgrowth towards the older structures - most looked like residences and utility, but a gymnasium / theater building was a really nice surprise.
Walking back outside, we found a small boat next to a few gallons of fresh water and a tank of gasoline in a shed, nothing there looked like it had any dust on it. We proceeded carefully to a small but curious building that rested right on the water near the powerhouse. I had only taken a few photos when I looked out an open door and noticed something different about the large, stained-black dock that was nearby. Another structure seemed to rise from behind the dark rotting wood... I walked out along the shore until I saw the bow of an enormous coast guard patrol boat docked there for who knows how long... what a surprise that was! We packed up super fast and took a long way back, avoiding the ship as much as we could, not sure how often the footpaths we were taking were patrolled.
Luckily we were able to launch without being in direct line of sight of the patrol ship until we were about a quarter mile from the shore. Little did we know how strong the current would be at that time of day - with the full force of the tide working against us we actually started to get sucked toward the ship! After about five minutes of paddling with all our might, and almost capsizing the boat in the process, we were able to free ourselves from the current and float towards shore. Once back at our original departure point, we noticed a small radar spinning around on top of a nearby building - something we couldn't see in the darkness of the night. I don't know if it contributed to the reason why the patrol boat was docked at the island, but we sure didn't stick around to find out.