They just showed up, one, then another. I thought the third the same. Moira Morton and I were out in Mill Bay, a five minute walk from Rathlin’s harbour. Then there was a fourth, swimming to shore behind me. One popped up in front. That one and I decided we were too close to one another, maybe ten feet away, and took a bit of fright. I let my head bob on the waves, meeting eye level and we all smiled at one another. Yes, it was like whack-a-mole, but without the whacking. Sarah stayed on the shore and tried to grab some footage.
UPDATE: She took some beautiful photos, but not much with videos. Here’s a 6second blink-and-miss it of me swimming, Moira floating, a seal bobbing and a girl with a Tablet device in the water??
Later in McCuaig’s, a woman told me she’d been bitten on the leg. ‘They get very protective of their cubs’, she said. I spent a week out there. Day before leave, we took a trip with Damien McFaul’s ‘Miss B Haven’, which fits about 8-10, starting at 6. Damien offers a £10 trip to the stacks, Jenga chaos like pillars were birds roam with Jurassic Park style. A good spot to see puffins at the right time. He also does a £25 trip, seems expensive, but no. It’s two hours, right around the island and breath-takingly beautiful.
At Rue Point lighthouse, Rathlin East, we met a colony of twenty or so seals. Damien cut the engines. They were spread out, and we drifted in between them. Very friendly, no alarms. A few were but six feet from us.
Sean Duffield, editor of the acclaimed War: High Cost of Living graphic anthology, visits in September. We’ll be spending five days at the Rathlin hostel. It’s situated two minutes walk from the coast, close enough for an excellent view. The hostel is run by Sean and Fergus, and Sean’s wife Patsy. Built a few years ago, its open all year round. Tidy, comfortable and homely, still a bit of an awkward secret. In an unexpected turn of events, I got some drink in me and asked Sean and Patsy to consider me for the job of hostel assistant. Once they sobered up, they accepted. That’s where I’ll be spending August, my first month as a self-employed freelance author.