Once a peninsula connected to mainland St. Thomas, Hassel Island became an island when the Danish government, the colonial power running things in the Virgin Islands at the time, separated the two, the better to improve water circulation through St. Thomas harbor and stop the spread of cholera and malaria. These uncommon beginnings to its status as an “island” are par to the course of Hassel Island’s entire history, though. For a small landmass (135 acres), Hassel has seen more than its fair share of wars, pirates, one rather infamous murder, and various other notable historic events. History buff that I am, of course, I’m fascinated by Hassel Island, especially since it wasn’t until about 10 years ago that any effort was ever made to make its historical treasures accessible to the public! The National Park Service administers Hassel Island these days, so you’ll want to get with them to gain access to the island, as well as info/maps on hiking trails to the various historic points of interest. Active excursions combining kayaking, hiking, and snorkeling in and around Hassel Island can also be arranged via Virgin Islands Ecotours.