And lovely they are, with names that no wanderer could resist--St. Agnes and the Gugh, Skellg Michael, The Great Blasket, Caldy, Holy Isle and so on--all formidable driblets off the coast of the British Isles. The author has no scholarly interests, no sportsman's pursuits (he's rather nervous in the more boisterous boats) but is simply a friendly sort who enjoys people and wildly wonderful places isolated and beautiful. Mr. Thomas visited ten widely scattered islands in one year--scaled the ocean mountain of Skellig to the ruins of an ancient monastery where like any ecstatic tourist he shouted ""Hello!""; helped pat a baby seal into the wintry waters of Lindisfarne; abruptly cut short a grass lunch on the haunted and deserted island of Great Blasket. The inhabitants of the island are goodnatured and full of marvelous tales and the views are spectacular.