On this peaceful, private island, friendly ‘hellos’ are the only things breaking the sound barrier.

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I WAS SURPRISED — and fascinated — to hear about Washington’s private residential islands. I had many questions. How do you get there? Who lives there? Do they have electricity? Is that where people in the Witness Protection Program go to hide?

These aren’t the single-owner islands, where rock stars go to party. Hat is the kind of island that a bunch of property owners share. No one else is welcome, except invited guests of the owners, no matter how rich and famous they might be. Starbucks and Amazon aren’t allowed, and there’s no such thing as “mixed-use.” As a matter of fact, the Witness Protection Program folks might want to look into Hat Island.

Along with the rampant friendliness, another surprising thing about Hat is how quiet it is. I took some cellphone video of the marina — at midday on a very pleasant Saturday — and the only sound is of a giant bug flying past. Owners have to reserve space on a barge to get vehicles to the island, and there are some heavily loved cars and trucks there, but most people walk or use ATVs to get around. You don’t realize how noisy our combustion-engine-oriented society is — until you get away from it.

Thank you to my gracious hosts and sources for showing me Hat Island, and its beauty and its quirks. I hope your neighbors aren’t mad.