On this waste land there are patches of swamp-grass and fields of sea-meadow grass, which, coarse and short as it is, yet gives sustenance to herds of small wiry cattle.
Hog Island has several hundred acres sliced off its northwest borders by a stream called whose depths vary from five to twenty feet.
The earliest history of the place is in the musty, worn and tattered records of Virginia, in the State capitol.
It is a great pity that this place did not retain its Indian name of Machipongo Island -- which, translated, means 'Fine dust and flies' -- literally, fine sand and mosquitoes, the two inflictions that plague the natives, and made the island uninhabitable to the thin-skinned, thinly clad Indians, who only visited it at certain periods of the year to fish and hunt.
Hog Island is about four miles long and varies from one to two miles in width.
On the south side runs the ',' whose average depth is forty feet.
From this noble sheet of water there branch three deep creeks running through the sand wastes and sea meadows, some three miles in a southerly direction. The creek on the right is called the Buckhorn and empties into the , some twelve miles distant.
The second branch is called Gould's Marsh Channel, and the third is Rogers Hall Channel.
There is a third channel near the island running nowhere in particular.The life-saving station is built on the extreme south of the island, directly on the banks of Machipongo Inlet.On the east the island is bounded by the Atlantic Ocean which for several miles from shore is shoal water.The chart of the Coast and Geodetic Survey shows that at many places the sand-shallows are covered with water at low tide only by two and three feet and it is this fact that makes the vicinity of the island extremely dangerous to those who "go to sea in ships," and mariners give the spot a wide berth.On the north the island is bounded by the , which is traversed by two narrow creeks called Camp and Shooter's Channels.On the west of the island is a great stretch of waste, comprising sea-meadows, shoals, sand dunes, swamps, shallows, and mud-bars extending some four miles to the banks of the Great Machipongo Inlet.