My final week on Ramsey was a short one. This was intentional but was also eventually shorter than planned. I would have usually left on the Saturday but I planned a trip to Sweden to stay with family and also to have enough time at home on my return to settle in properly before going back to work. My plan was to leave on the Thursday but the weather for that day looked poor so I left on the Wednesday evening instead; this gave me a night in St. David’s, softening the blow slightly of leaving the island.
The tasks this week were limited to introductory talks to the arrivals on the visitor boats, more bruising bracken and my final weighing session for the Manx shearwater chicks – all tasks I really enjoy for my last week. We also went swimming again a few times and attracted some interest from the grey seals; I even had one come right up to me, which inspected my fins – a pretty special experience.
My hope that the heathland flowers would be out in full bloom before I left was not met – well much of the heather was out but the sunsets and sunrises weren’t sufficiently nice to provide the light I needed for good photography – maybe next time! ‘Maybe next time’ was a thought that passed through my head a lot this last week across a whole range of activities – and I concluded that there certainly would be more ‘next times’! At the beginning of a stay on Ramsey, I often this that each stay would be my last, at least for a while, but usually during the course of a stay this changes to coming back for a shorter than usual period, and eventually, changes to returning properly. This happened again this time, despite the much longer stay.
Leaving the island was quite painful really. After 13 weeks on Ramsey it felt like home even more than usual and I had totally settled into the way of life. I was given a lovely send off with even a round of applause for my last introductory talk and being waved off by Greg and Alys, as well as the two current short-term volunteers., Ali and Vicky. Lisa, and her friends who were visiting the island for the day, helped me with all my kit but at least it was all a little lighter than on my arrival with all the food gone (or left behind).
After a night in St David’s, I couldn’t help myself but head down to St Justinian’s, the quay from which the boats to Ramsey sail, for one last look at the island before making my long, hot drive home.