(c) Niall Griffiths

OPINION Niall Griffiths

NWR Issue 106

Last Day on St Helena

This is the best way to cure a hangover…. And, my God, the Saints can drink, and the blow-ins – from all over Africa, Australia, Britain, Holland, from America – have picked up the habit, understandably, given the gimcrack flavour of a life spent clinging to a rock in an immensity of bad-tempered sea. The four bars of the capital, Jamestown, had throbbed last night until dawn, turning the island into one pinprick of pulsing life in the wet wilderness around, and my head feels stuffed with the glabrous spikes of flax that cover most of the island, but this is the best cure, to sit on the prow of this boat with my feet skimming the water in a sleekly leaping frenzy of pantropical dolphins, several hundred of them, from housecat-sized babies to adults the length of a man, the stripes of their flanks zipping beneath the surface before they launched themselves into the air, abandoned, to corkscrew and somersault then slap back into the sea again. The giant life of them, the intensity of their existing…. I feel the smears of alcohol being scoured from my head...

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