Any survivor dreads this walk. I turn to Emelia, “Please go into the Post Office with the children and send word to the mainland. John, Iain and I, will find those in charge and inform them.”
“Captain MacDonald is the Harbourmaster.”, said Emelia, pointing to a figure at the end of the pier.
We walk through the families gathered, who are all praying to see the Osprey steam into the harbour. They are all clutching to vain hope the boat is late rather than lost.
We find Captain MacDonald preparing a search party, and his weathered skin with dark eyes show the veteran sailor beneath.
“What say you, Sir?” asks the Harbourmaster.
“It would be wise if we could talk privately.”, I said.
We step away from the prying eyes. However, murmurings pass through the apprehensive crowd.
“There are no words for this. We were on the Osprey and ran into hurricane winds off the Mull of Kintyre, and we are the only survivors. All others were lost.”
These are the only words I could muster as the exhaustion of last night’s events take its final toll.
The Harbourmaster removes his hat, “The sea provides for life and takes it away. These people have been here since the first light. Brace yourselves. This memory will stay with you forever.”