Saturday, April 22, 2017

Abandoned Islands

Abandoned islands are the stuff adventure movies are made up of. We think of "Castaway" or "Swiss Family Robinson," but there are islands that, for various reasons, are abandoned. And what's left behind can be quite intriguing to those of us who are interested in urban exploration.

Hashima Island, Japan

Hashima Island, Japan
From 1887 until 1974, the island of Hashima (Battleship) Island in Japan was used for mining coal. Eventually in the 1970s, the island emptied out and remained that way until recently when they began some limited tours of the site. 

It is hard to fathom the amount of families that fit onto this small acreage at sea. Their lives must have been very rough awaiting supplies and cramped up together, working hard in the dangerous mine.

Hirta St. Kilda, Scotland

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Hirta, St. Kilda, Scotland
This isolated island was always inhabited, by no more than 180 people usually, and in 1930, it was emptied out. Today, the only people to go there are researchers and scientists. 

Spinalonga, Crete, Greece

Spinalonga, Crete, Greece
This island once harvested salt and then was a leper colony. 

Inishmurray, County Sligo, Ireland

Inishmurray, County Sligo, Ireland:
The remains of an Irish monastery remain on this 228 acre island.  Vikings in the ninth century drove the monks to the mainland for safety.  There were 46 people living there but they moved off the island for the coastline in 1948.

Ross Island, Andaman Islands, India

Ross Island, Andaman Islands, India:
It was once headquarters for the series of islands, but after an earthquake in the early 1940s, the seat was moved to another island. It contains many buildings including the old commissioner's home, and tourists enjoy going there, with permission, to view the sights.

Pollepel Island, New York

This island in the Hudson was once considered haunted by the Native People. It was used in defense during the Revolutionary War. A Scottish businessman, David Bannerman, purchased it and began to build a Scottish castle on the island in 1901. While it was still under construction in 1918, Bannerman passed away. The island is now in a trust and under care by the parks service. It had undergone a fire in the 1960s that damaged the castle. It is now considered off-limits.

Movies about abandoned islands 

Swiss Family Robinson
Six Days and Seven Nights
The Blue Lagoon
Lord of the Flies
Mysterious Island
Robinson Crusoe
Swept Away
The Island of Dr. Moreau
The Beach
The Land That Time Forgot
Isle of the Dead
And Then There Were None


  1. I went to Spinalonga last year, to see the remains of the leper colony. It's a great tourist attraction of the island of Crete. Spinalonga is actually an islet. It's uninhabited, but not far and isolated; there are some three villages across the water.

  2. I would love to explore all those places.