Rusty Bucket

There’s a magical spot on the north west shoreline of Sand Island (the main island of Midway Atoll), called Rusty Bucket, featuring the remnants of a refuelling pier.

It’s a perfect place to watch the sunset, and is a magnet for the photographers among us.

It’s an easy walk along the beach, but often one’s path is blocked by a monk seal or several (which we are not supposed to approach or pass within 150 ft), so an alternative is to bicycle along the trails past Henderson Hill, through a forested area, and out to a disused runaway, before dismounting and walking through a pathway among the naupaka to the shoreline…a longer but very pleasant route, passing acres of albatross by day and buzzed by countless Bonin petrels on the return trip after dusk.

Usually there is a monk seal, sometimes two, hauled out on the sand nearby; always there is a large group of noddies perched on the old iron pilings emerging from the edge of the turquoise ocean.


As we gaze out to sea, there’s the constant background sound of Black-footed albatross, whose display antics are even more raucous and entertaining than the Laysan! (Sadly, bandwidth prevents me from sharing video while still on the island.) — Dec 2017: Added some video, see below.


Not much can beat sitting in this one spot for an hour or so at the end of the day, watching and listening to the birds, and seeing the sky turn all kinds of wonderful, as the albatross dip and glide above the ocean.

Dec 2017: Here’s a sample of the black-footed antics at Rusty Bucket:

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