|Ferry ride to Inishbofin||We manage to eke out a space in the insanely busy kitchen of our Galway hostel to eat a good breakfast, supplemented a short while later by a chocolate muffin from a nearby bakery. We hop on the coach from Galway to Cleggan, which takes us through the ponds and verge of Connemara National Park. I wish several times that we could stop long enough to jump out and take a few photos, but content myself with admiring the view through the windows.|
The coach stops to let us purchase our ferry tickets and drives us all the way down to the pier where the ferry to Inishbofin Island is about to depart. We ride in the front near the bow for the entire forty minute ride. The skies are clear and bright and the dips and yaws of the boat elicit exhilarated screams from the children among the passengers. One man stands in the bow and gets sprayed from a hole in the bow near his feet. It soaks his khaki trousers to the crotch.
The first image shows the wake behind the first ferry to Inishbofin, which left a few minutes before ours. So much blue. The second and third were both taken as the ferry eased into the docks on the island.
|Lighthouse on Inishbofin||Ruins on Inishbofin|
|View from the hostel|
The ruins of the house in the lower left corner add to the poignancy of this scene.
|The hike to the hostel is an uphill trek that's probably a more pleasant workout when it isn't one of the few hot days these islands experience every year. We toss our stuff into our room and go out to enjoy the afternoon. We pass a cemetery that contains graves as recent as 2001, but that's become wildly overgrown because endangered corncrakes were found nesting here. Becca stands at the gate and plays goth. Kegan befriends a donkey that's clearly hanging out by the fence to wait for passersby to feed him treats from the plants he can't reach by the roadside.|
|Becca at the graveyard||Kegan making friends and influencing donkeys|
|And I thought there were a lot of sheep in Wales|
|We take the right-hand fork in the road. We discover find white beaches, rocky cliffs, clean clear water and small islands to be claimed in the name of the Dread Pirate Becca. I am entranced. I didn't know there were beaches like this in these isles. I take far, far too many pictures. We go as far as we can down the cliffside path until we come to a gate that's actually locked, with a few mournful-looking sheep staring at us from the other side.|
|White sand beach||My shadow in the cold, clear water|
|On our way back to the road, we find a small alcove with a beach made of round flat skipping stones, so we have a contest. Sort of. I'm rubbish at skipping stones and Becca's only slightly less, so Kegan wins easily with six skips.|
|Becca, about to jump||Hail the conquering hero(ine)!|
|We go back to the pier and have tea and chips at the restaurant of the island's only hotel and drag ourselves the astounding distance of a couple hundred yards to the pub for a pint. The pub atmosphere isn't friendly. Fortunately, that's the only instance of unfriendliness that we encounter during our trip. There were other pubs I wouldn't return to, like the one in Derry, but none so openly hostile as that.|
We return to the hostel for dinner. I speak to Marco for 7 minutes 44 seconds – the first time we've spoken since I left and the last time we might speak until he returns from his trip to California in nine days. I miss him a lot.
The sun is setting, but we have time to go for a walk in a different direction. We make friends with two dogs. We discover abandoned docks that are now tens of meters from the shoreline, replete with lobster cages and rusted-out hulls of ships. Their ribs reach up to us on the pier, adding to the ominous atmosphere of twilight and rising wind. We hurriedly attempt to retrace our path, but not before we are caught in a downpour. Becca and I are wearing raincoats, so only our trousers are soaked to the skin, but Kegan isn't waterproof at all and he is drenched on our arrival at the hostel. Of course, five minutes after we return, the rain becomes a drizzle. We change into dry clothes and curl up in the warm dorm room.
|Sunset over a lonely road|
|Abandoned boat above a dry dock|