Wednesday, 18 February 2009


Image Left: Common Seal Pup

Sunday 15th February

Much like myself the day had so far struggled to get going, the sun limped weakly between fog and low cloud never really fulfilling its promise of good day’s sunshine. I decided to take advantage of the light breeze and flat water out in the sound with a boat trip. The boat in question Ella was named after the medium Ella Horsey, who had it built when she lived on the island in the 1950`s. Whether any of her former owner’s powers have rubbed off is hard to say, she at least gives me a sense of confidence beyond my normal competence. The only problem with Ella is that someone has fitted a 5hp two stroke engine to her , having spent two days of the week taking a two-stroke chainsaw to be repaired, I have little faith in anything that requires an oil and petrol mixture for fuel. Today surprisingly the engine started first time and I headed out into the sound towards Iona and then half a mile out made a turn to the left heading for Tinker’s Hole. I stopped into the small lagoon where our resident population of common seals hauls out and cut the engine. A single adult and pup which looked to be one or two months old lay perched on their sides and doing their best to ignore me. I drifted past on a light breeze and out of curiosity the pup decided to follow me watching as I failed to restart the engine and began to fumble with some impossibly large oars. I rowed back into the lagoon passing Seal Island with my companion in tow and sheltered in the stillness of tidal pool. The engine eventually restarted and I made it out into the main channel that leads to Tinker’s hole, a fog descended briefly obscuring the world beyond Easter Island and rather than push on into the unknown I turned round and headed for home. The engine took this opportunity to go on strike again, I tried as best as I could to restart negotiations and then opted to sneak up on it before descending into words or encouragement that are generally offered by fish wives and Dockers. In the end I rowed back hugging the shoreline past Otter Island and picking a course between the shallow reefs. To the north, Iona’s cliff tops emerged from the fog creating the illusion of an island in the sky, and I drifted a little peering through the turquoise water to the white sandy bed of bay.

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