Update 5/19/14: Please check out the comments below this post and read the comment from Kirby (posted on 5/16/14). He informed me that this island is actually known as “Cedar Island”. He grew up visiting the island and provides some great context for these photos.
I’ve always been fascinated by abandoned structures and “urban exploration”, so when my friends and I found three abandoned homes and a large commercial fishing boat on Parramore Island off the coast of Virginia, I was ecstatic. Luckily, I had my camera with me.
Back in 2008, I started going on a yearly fishing trip to Wachapreague, VA with a bunch of college friends. My friend Jamie rallies us all together every Memorial Day weekend, as he’s been going on this same yearly trip with his Uncle since he was a wee lad, and now it’s a yearly tradition.
Wachapreague is a tiny little town on the eastern seaboard with around 250 full-time residents. It’s very quiet there, and cell phone reception is almost nonexistent, so it’s an excellent place to disconnect and relax.
On a typical day in Wachapreague, we wake up in the wee hours of the morning, pack the coolers full of bait (and beverages), rent a couple of 16 foot Carolina Skiffs, and fish in the eastern shore for fluke (summer flounder) for a few hours.
Then everyone heads east to one of the barrier islands (here’s a Google Maps link) to dock for lunch, drinks and other various shenanigans. Sometimes there’s a potato cannon.
I’ve seen remnants lying around on this particular island in the past that led me to believe that people used to live there… Like an old rusted undercarriage from a car.
We decided to do a little bit of exploring on the island, and we came across a rickety old house that was clearly abandoned long ago.
It looks pretty inviting, right? Naturally, we had to see what was going on inside.
Some other explorers had obviously arrived before us and made a mess of the place.
The front deck had been washed away completely. Stepping out the front door would place you directly into the ocean.
After poking around for a few minutes, we decided that one of us was probably going to fall through the floor if we stayed much longer.
We continued to make our way around the island. On the eastern side of the island, we found some more abandoned stuff… Two more old houses and a large commercial fishing boat!
I was pretty fascinated by all of this, as I felt like we’d found something that not many people had seen. Sure, this island gets its fair share of visitors in the summer months, but it seems like most of them dock on the west side for lunch. I doubt many of them go exploring or have much interest in abandoned houses and rusty old boats.
As you can see in the photo above, we weren’t able to easily reach the house on the right, as it was pretty far out in the water, and our boats were anchored on the other side of the island.
We wandered over toward the house on the left first… Or what was left of it.
My guess is that this house was on stilts at one point, and was likely displaced by the waves.
Stepping inside was a bit disorienting.
There were old boards with rusty nails everywhere, so we didn’t stay inside for very long…
We decided to take a closer look at the boat.
We were able to board the ship pretty easily.
For maximum safety, we all wore flip flops. After all, no one wants to end up with tetanus.
It didn’t seem like many people had been on the boat since it ran aground. There was a little bit of (poorly done) graffiti, but a lot of the stuff inside the various rooms looked like it hadn’t been touched since the ship was still in use. If I recall correctly, there was still a bunch of tupperware and some old sodas inside of the fridge.
This room still had a TV/VCR and some old stereo equipment in it.
Here’s where the ship’s captain sat.
The captain’s chair has seen better days.
I’m sure that at one time this boat was part of a viable business, but sadly it got pwnt.
The boat was pretty fascinating, but after exploring for a bit, we decided to head back to our little fishing boats and continue on our way.
Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to go on the fishing trip this year. I’m told that the island is no longer there, as it was wiped out by storms – most likely Hurricane Irene. The boat is now much more difficult to reach, as it’s surrounded by water on a sand bar. I can only guess that the homes are in pieces scattered all over the place.
It’s all a bit sad, but I’m glad I got to experience all of this while it was still somewhat intact. I wonder how many homes were originally on this island?
By the way… Some fish are actually caught from time to time on these trips. I have proof!
Edit: Here’s a news story about the boat, Laura J, which apparently ran aground in 2010.