I left the good ketch Silverheels anchored in 9 feet of invisible water over white sand, just a stone’s throw from a shattered pier, and dinghied ashore to explore the abandoned oceanographic research station and the lovely island that is slowly reclaiming the structures. An ambitious complex for such a remote place, the center must have employed dozens of people in its heyday. The infrastructure was — is — substantial yet comfortably casual, exuding an out-island charm. Wood docks, concrete ramps and fish pens, sandy roads, a dozen or so residences of various sizes and styles, a score of assorted research and maintenance buildings, and a large tarmac airstrip lie scattered across the north end of the island, separated by natural terrain but all connected by roads and paths. The main avenue out of town is lined with coconut trees laden with ripe drinking nuts. Wildflowers abound, and native birds, now the only visible inhabitants, make fleeting appearances.