Best Place You Can't Get to Without Risking Arrest
Coast Guard Island
You'd expect anything this locked-down to have some pretty cool stuff.
The century-old man-made island is legally part of Alameda, but is
accessible by land only by one well-guarded bridge in Oakland. You
can't pass the guards without a government ID card and a good reason
for being there. But wait. With an island, there's another way, and
occasionally someone tries it, unwittingly or otherwise. There was the
guy who arrived soaking wet after swimming from the mainland. When
confronted, he got belligerent, made some inept kung-fu moves, and
ended up getting arrested. Boaters sometimes cluelessly land. One guy
landed and sauntered across the island looking for a store and
restaurant. He was questioned, found harmless, and launched back into
the estuary. So what's on this Xanadu that's kept so tightly protected?
Well, we'd like to tell you it's an island of delight and intrigue,
worth the risk of sneaking aboard. But unless you like military
architecture and outdoor art of the anchor-and-cannon sort, you'll be
disappointed. Lots of office buildings, a gym, a junior-college-grade
cafeteria, a small PX, a ship repair station, a rarely used helipad,
and a 1.2-mile running track around the circumference of the island are
among the high points. If you're lucky you might see a dog running the
canine training obstacle course, but you can probably safely see that
just fine with binoculars from the MarineMax docks, 300 yards away
along 880 in Oakland.