A group of school children cheered enthusiastically from the decks above as Dan sprinted along the quayside, his hastily packed rucksack swinging wildly behind him, sprinting towards the gangway and the ship’s crew waiting patiently to cast off the ropes.
The van hadn’t been parked so much as abandoned. The car park attendant had seemed rather surprised that we were intending to catch the ship moored at the dock and scheduled to leave in approximately thirty six seconds. Rosana had leapt from the van and hurriedly bought the ferry tickets before convincing to the crew to hang on for one more passenger.
But we were onboard the Atlantis, that was the important thing. The memories of being horribly lost in Cuxhaven now beginning to fade, the Bremen Donkey had kept his promise. We got ourselves some coffee and settled in for the journey to a remote lump of rock in the North Sea known as Helgoland.
The first thing that you notice as you approach the island are colourful buildings. These are now a mixture of shops and homes and holiday lets, but they were once the local fishermen’s cottages. Further up you can see the lighthouse and radio masts.
The island has two distinct personalities. On the one side there are the red cliffs, home to immense numbers of seabirds.
As you follow the cliff top path you eventually arrive at Lange Anna, a precarious looking seastack wearing a hat of seabirds.
As you descend from the cliffs on the walk back towards the harbour the islands beaches present themselves. We’d hoped to find seals here, but no joy – we’d used up our luck today just getting to to the boat on time.