Copeland Island adventure

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After many times talking about taking a boat trip to Copeland Island, Madame Oui and I finally got our finger out and jumped onboard “The Brothers” on a sunny afternoon.

Not surprisingly for us, immediately we noticed the captain’s dog, who kept himself very satisfied up in the cramped bridge:

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“The Brothers” captain’s dog. It’s a dog’s life.

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There were a couple dozen of us in the boat, and the journey was relatively smooth.

I was glad I had my camera ready as we entered the island harbour, as the first sight was some sunbathing seals. I was hoping we would loiter a bit, as one swam towards us:

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Disembarking, the large signpost instructs all visitors that this is a private island, no dogs allowed (oops, too late of a notice for some), and that we are to stay to the coastline. That last instruction would have been easier to comply with if there were any path markings on the island. Madame Oui and I did our best, but we did manage to wander through someone’s drive at the end. At least we smiled and waved at the home owners as we walked through!

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Evidence of rabbits. Artistically, I like this image.
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Rabbit in action. There is abundant tall scrub for them to hide.

Copeland Island is reputed for its birds, seals and rabbits. For a while, the only evidence of the preponderance of rabbits were their droppings, which were absolutely everywhere. And a few carcasses. But thanks to Madame Oui’s sharp eye, we stumbled upon some living specimens, which I duly captured with a long range camera lens.

One fellow walker told us how much the island had changed since he last visited 40 years ago. First, for him, the rabbits were out of control, far more than before. He also noticed how much the thistle had taken over the island.

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Island graveyard desecrated by rabbits. Not how I want my corpse to go!

Some houses were very secluded. With no mains electricity, this is certainly a sure way to get away from the bourgeois routine. But then the constant bourgeois trekker visitors must get annoying.Madame Oui and I were impressed that there were several occupied houses on this small island. I’ll add that they were loyal British families, with their Union flags withstanding the constant wind.

As is our wont, we examined as much of the island as we could. Madame Oui said that it reminded her of Los Lobos, Fuerteventura, and as such did not want to wander too far lest we miss our boat return. I assured her that if need be we could run across Copeland Island in 5 minutes.

Hidden from view from Donaghadee is the northern side of Copeland Island, which reveals two more islands — Lighthouse Island and Mew Island. Fittingly, Lighthouse Island is the one without the lighthouse; overnight accommodation available via the Bird Observatory (RSPB me thinks).

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All in all worth the journey. We picked a fine day to do it.

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