In May 2005 I organized a group expedition to the Fish Factory. We rented a boat and spent about 2-3 hours on the island. Let me state right up front that I do not recommend anyone else do this. Kayaking or canoeing is the only safe way to get to the island. There are numerous sandbars and there’s nowhere to safely dock. We came at high tide and when we got back to the boat it was low tide and the boat was now beached around 30 feet from the water. Even with 5 men, it was a pain in the ass to get the boat back in the water. We also had a problem getting the motor started and drifted dangerously close to the burnt pier. Luckily I had hip waders and managed to guide the boat into water deep enough to get the motor started.
The island is full if fleas, ticks, poison ivy as well as greenhead flies. I knew about the green head flies and purposely planned the trip for a time in the year before they would get nasty. We had to bushwhack quite a bit on the island, so bringing a machete is a very good idea. One of my exploration partners suggested bringing a chainsaw. I can just see it now…
“Excuse me sir, but you’re going fishing, right?”
“Then what’s the chainsaw for?”
If you’re curious abut trespassing, here’s the funny part. According to the Dept of Fish and Wildlife, going on the island is permitted; going into the ruins is not, for safety reasons. The state doesn’t want to be liable in case of an injury. We saw evidence of some human traffic but very little garbage or debris, and little graffiti either. I can safely say that few people have ever explored here and few ever will due to the difficulty in getting here. This, for me, is perhaps one of my most memorable experiences exploring, and has one of the most interesting back stories of any place I’ve ever explored.
View all the photos here