Gardner Pinnacles was first discovered on June 2, 1820 by the American whalerMaro commanded by Captain Joseph Allen.
The Gardner Pinnacles are home to some species of fish not found anywhere else in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, and have more species of coral than two rocky neighbors to the south, Necker Island and Nihoa. Numerous insects live on the island, and a researcher claims to have found two new species of spiders here.
Since this is part of a wildlife refuge, Gardner Pinnacles is off limits to even the military, who made an unauthorized entrance once to blow off the tip of the outcrop to create an emergency helicopter landing spot. To this day the tip has not been replaced, and debris from the blast can be found scattered throughout the island. In the Hawaiian Archipelago, adjacent islands/reefs are French Frigate Shoals to the southeast, and Maro Reef to the northwest.