A half-hour later, Captain Harvie was in his cabin, located just off the bridge.
The Hesperus was anchored securely just off the coast of Eilean Mor, and the east -side landing was easily visible under the uncharacteristically cloudless sky.
There were actually two landing sites, the other was located on the west side of the island. However, the east-side landing was preferred because it offered shelter against the turbulent North Atlantic.
Harvie was seated at his desk, and was carefully studying a schedule that rested on it. Even though he had read it many times in the past few days, Harvie kept returning to it, as if he was missing something.
The schedule was the official document that broke down the Duties, Safety Procedures, Maintenance Instructions and Dates for the landing of new supplies, that every Lighthouse Keeper serving the tower on Eilean Mor had to learn. Even more important, it broke down the appointed personnel then serving on the island.
Joseph Moore was part of a four-man crew that ran the day to day operations responsible for keeping the light operating 24 hrs a day, 7 days a week. The Manifest of Personnel consisted of :
- James Ducat- Principal Keeper.
- William Ross- 1st Assistant Keeper.
- Thomas Marshall- 2nd Assistant Keeper.
- Joseph Moore- Relief Keeper. However, Ross had become ill several months before, and Donald Macarthur had been sent in to replace him as an occasional.
The four men worked on a rotating basis. Three men on duty at any one time, with the fourth man given shore leave that lasted two weeks. At the end of the two weeks the Hesperus would leave the mainland with supplies necessary for the proper operation of the Lighthouse, and to meet the needs of those who were there to keep it running. The ship would also transport the Keeper on shore at the time to the island to resume his duties. After depositing its' cargo ashore, the Hesperus would depart, taking a different Keeper for a Fortnights time off.
Harvie put the schedule in his shirt pocket, and sat back thinking about any possible circumstances that may have been overlooked that could explain the disappearances. He recalled the conversation he had with Moore just before they cast off for Eilean Mor, regarding the strange and possibly tragic situation. The Hesperus had been scheduled to return to the island on Dec 21, but foul weather had forced a delay.
"I can't understand it," Moore had said to Harvie, while they were standing on the dock as the Hesperus was made ready to sail for the return to Eilean Mor.
Moore had continued, "Jim runs a tight ship. If he could draw a breath, there is no way the light would be allowed to go out." Harvie knew that "Jim" was a reference to James Ducat, the Principal who was in charge of operations on the island.
"Well," Harvie replied, "could one of the others have snapped, and ... you know..."
Moore cut him off. "Tommy is as reliable and stable a Lighthouse man as you'll ever meet. I know Macarthur is an occasional, and was there because of Ross being sick and all, but he knows the business and volunteered as a replacement.
Nope, I'd sooner believe they were taken by a Kraken, then one of them turning on the other two."
End of PT 3.