Chapter 176 – Sound of Jura

The lifeboat gently pitches in the Sound of Jura. Emelia stands at the bow, scanning Islay for life from her makeshift crow’s nest. John Falcon and Iain Hudson rest after last night’s trauma while I tend the children, keeping their spirits high. Suddenly, Emelia starts shouting at the top of her voice.

The two sleeping crewmen jump up, joining Emelia, waving their arms, shouting towards the island’s coast, where two young men walk.

“Come on, men”, shouts Emelia, “Use your whistles.”

They obey her orders, and two boatswain calls amplify the noise. The two men on the beach finally hear the distress signal and throw their small boat into the surf to make the half-mile journey out to our position.

I look down at the children, “Remember Kilnaughton Beach?”

Lewis, my practical seven-year-old, looks up, “Are we building sandcastles?”

The three grown-ups burst out laughing. Children’s ability to forget the past is welcomed this time, “Yes, we are going to build the biggest sandcastle.”

The small boat comes alongside, with the men shouting, “Feasgar math.”

“Tapadh Leibh, Tapadh Leibh, Tabadh Leibh.”, said Emelia.

The two young men look in blind astonishment when they recognise Emelia under her wet hair. With no more words required, they fetch a rope, lash the boats together, and begin the long tow to Port Ellen.

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