A Trip to The Island of The Death

Located in the West Rhodope mountain in Bulgaria, Batak Dam used to be frequent playground during my childhood. Ever since i have been wondering what is there to see on its only island. Because of security reasons I wasn't allowed to visit it at that time. So last weekend i've decided to satisfy my curiosity. Finally! 

Fishermen in Batak Dam

Fishermen in Batak Dam

Early morning i went at Batak Dam and was surprised to see that there are several fishermen already enjoying what they love most. Since the Island was relatively near, I've decided to use a kayak instead of renting a boat.

Camping owner & Georgi

Camping owner & Georgi

From the near located "Eco Camping Batak" I've managed to rent a kayak...

On the way to the "Island of the Dead"

On the way to the "Island of the Dead"

Only 15 min easy rawing and i was almost ready to set foot on the mysterious Island.

The "Island of the Dead" North shore

The "Island of the Dead" North shore

Before finding a good spot to stop and disembark, I've decided to make a full round of the island. For some reason, there were so many dead trees and huge colony of cormorant birds nesting on the trees.

The "Island of the Dead" South shore

The "Island of the Dead" South shore

"Island of the Dead" East shore 

"Island of the Dead" East shore 

On the southern part of the "Island of the Dead" you can see grass that was growing thru the water...I must admit that the sensation was just like flying over the grass...not that I've experienced such before, but this is how I imagine it...

Disembark sport on the "Island of the Dead"

Disembark sport on the "Island of the Dead"

Finally i've found good spot where I can leave my kayak and start my land exploration.

Ex-military caravan

Ex-military caravan

Once set foot on the island my attention was attracted by the 3 caravans. Later i understood that they used to be used by the military during the Cold War. Probably on the "Island of the Dead" was stationed some ratio locator since Bulgaria was the frontier btw. East & West block. 

Georgi exploring the "Island of the Dead"

Georgi exploring the "Island of the Dead"

ex-military caravans

ex-military caravans

man made target

man made target

All military caravans had the marks of many bullets. Seems somebody was using them as targets...

Under the cormorant nest

Under the cormorant nest

Going under the trees accommodating the cormorant nests wasn't easy. Not because the ground was covered by obstacles, just the opposite. The grass was missing and was perfectly flat; It wasn't that the cormorants were dropping excrement or trying to attack me while i was there. The exploration of this part of the "Island of the Dead" was difficult because of the extreme intense smell coming from the cormorants. Since their colony was huge, and on the island there wasn't any natural predator to limit their expansion, the cormorants were covering absolutely everything with excrement which turned out to be toxic. This explains why most of the trees were dead and the grass was missing.

Grave plate hanging on the tree

Grave plate hanging on the tree

Few steps down and i came across the grave plate with the following text .

"Vanko, we miss you! Love you! from the friends"

It remains unclear for me what exactly happened, but Batak Dam is notorious for drowning. Hence, everywhere were signboards warning visitors to avoid swimming at any cost.

Georgi's kayak

Georgi's kayak

The sound of the birds became very annoying. Might be strange but there was a lot of negative energy on this island...and because already have seen everything on this small island, the time to leave has come.  
I was happy to find my kayak where I left it...

Georgi Kayaking on Batak Dam

Georgi Kayaking on Batak Dam

Set sail to the horizon...or just...few km down...

PS: in case you wonder, here is the map of my kayak trip. And the name "Island of the Dead" I gave it because i think it suits very well the overall feeling you will get, if you are there...

The map of my kayak trip

The map of my kayak trip