Harvie turned away from Moore and stepped outside the bridge. Though the weather had improved, it was still icy cold. The Captain turned up the collar of his coat and looked out on the foredeck of his ship. Several sailors were busy with the daily routine of ships maintenance, under the supervision of his second mate.
"Mr. MacDonald," Harvie called out, addressing the mate. "Secure the detail and prepare the launch for going ashore. Then report to me on the bridge."
The reply was immediate. "Aye Captain, who will be in the landing party?"
"Never mind that now", was the answer, "Carry on with the orders."
Harvie stepped back inside the bridge, and observed Moore still staring straight ahead, as if in a trance. "No", thought Harvie, "Moore won't be a problem. Nothing on Gods green earth could keep him off the launch, with his comrades missing."
However, choosing the right men to accompany him might be a problem. Sailors, by nature, were a superstitious lot. Given the situation and history of the island, proper selection was a must. He couldn't risk sending someone ashore who believed that the supernatural was behind the disappearances, without considering alternative explanations.
Eilean Mor is the largest of the Flannan Isles, which are part of the Outer Hebrides that lies off the western coast of Scotland. Uninhabited for much of its history, it does contain a chapel dedicated to St Flannan which pre-dates the Lighthouse by hundreds of years. Built in the late nineteenth century, the Lighthouse became operational in 1899. Attempts to settle the island never lasted very long, and it was considered to be inhabited by spirits who did not like visitors, even for a short time.
Both Harvie and Moore were aware of the islands history, but nothing from the past had ever occurred that mirrored the present day mystery. James Ducat, Thomas Marshall and Donald Macarthur seemed to have disappeared from the face of the earth.
The first sign of trouble was reported on Dec. 15. A passing ship, the Archtor, reported that when it passed the island in foul weather that the light was not operating. Other ships had reported the same, so there was little doubt that there was something dreadfully wrong on the island. Neglecting the light was a serious offense, and it was inconceivable that all three men would allow such a thing to happen if it was in their power to prevent it.
End of PT 2.