Hopefully I have adequately conveyed the numerous things there are to do and see around Midway Atoll, if you ever get a chance to go. However, some of you may be wondering what you can do on such a tiny speck of land when you just want to unwind.
If birdwatching, hanging out with dolphins, exploring the beaches and searching for old WWII remains isn’t enough to keep you busy, then you will be glad to hear that the Atoll offers a few other luxuries and functional amenities around Sand Island. The shipstore/giftshop is open every weekday at 6:30pm for 30min. At the store you can find an assortment of snacks, drinks, toiletries, movies and souvenirs. I would pass by the library everyday, but it never looked open. Although I did not have time to check out every hidden gem around the island, I also found tennis courts, a gymnasium which had a functioning sauna. I was told there were volleyball courts, but never found them (perhaps they just set them up in the gymnasium). There were two movie theaters on island: one looked like it could seat about 50-70 people, the other looked like it could have fit around 200 people. Unfortunately, neither theater was functional and both were in a rather sad state of disrepair (which made them super spooky to explore at night).
Not many people know this, but Midway Atoll has its very own 24 hour fitness. The doors are always unlocked. This was my getaway during our two week stent on the Atoll.
The Tower of Power, the Church of Iron, Gainsville, the Swoly Temple, the Lead Mine, the Victory Factory, the Sweat Pit, the Hard Yard, the Pain Train, the Dude Ranch, the Coliseum, the slaughterhouse, the Meat Garden, the Brodeo, the Thunderdome, the Power Plant, the Gain Station, the Bulk Farm, the Home of Funk Masster Flex, Broscience University are just a few of the names used to refer to the gym, but for me it was more of a Sanctuary. You could find me going on a weight-date every night after dinner.
I saw at least three bars while I was on Midway. Captain brooks, in the above photo, was nice and could be used if we agreed to hire one of the residents to function as bartender. The other two bars had a dance floor and games.
We could play pool, shuffleboard, ping pong, darts and foosball at the All Hands Club. This was probably our groups favorite hangout in the evening (when we weren’t too tired from work).
Most people would go to bed early on Midway, as there is not much nightlife (and breakfast was served early, at 6am). But for a very special occasion, you might see a pile of bicycles gathered around one of the buildings.
Once a month, the staff will open up the bowling alley and nearly everyone on the island will show up to play.
Nothing like some friendly rivalry between the NOAA and US Fish and Wildlife teams.
As it was free, we just kept playing game after game after game. The point at which I decided to retire my ridiculous loosing streak was when my fingers started bleeding… I though I would get better as the night progressed, but I guess bowling just isn’t my game.
After I was done playing, some of the staff were kind enough to give several of us a behind the scenes tour of the bowling alley. I could hardly believe they had kept a 12 lane bowling alley functioning on this tiny sand patch out in the middle of the Pacific ocean for decades. With a loud crack, the bowling balls would strike the pins, after which the belts and wheels of the machine would collect and reorganize each element with the most deafening of metallic sounds. You had to be extremely vigilant when you were behind the lanes as pins would occasionally shoot out through the back and hit the wall with tremendous force. We were all very impressed with the engineering of this contraption, but our inclination towards self-preservation lead us back to the safety of the front the lanes.
If you still could not find something to entertain yourself on this island, you could always be comforted by the most gorgeous sunsets at the end of every day. I had so much fun on this island. However, I was only there for a couple weeks. I would love to someday return there and explore all the areas I didn’t have time to check out on this last trip. Midway truly is a special place.