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The Buoy
Game Dear Esther
Level 2

The Buoy is the second level that appears in Dear Esther.


The buoy floats out to sea, emitting an occasional flash of light as a guide for ships. It sits at the mouth of a bay, which is festooned with ship wrecks and flotsam. Judging from the wrecks, neither the buoy nor the lighthouse were sufficient in preventing several ships from running aground.

Further inland is a cluster of standing stones and a bothy, along with a path that leads down to the beach. Another path will lead the player past a stream, and towards the caves.



Opening Monologues[]

This plays as Chapter 2 opens.

  • Dear Esther. I have now driven the stretch of the M5 between Exeter and Bristol over twenty-one times, but although I have all the reports and all the witnesses and have cross-referenced them within a millimetre using my ordnance survey maps, I simply cannot find the location. You’d think there would be marks, to serve as some evidence. It's somewhere between the turn off for Sandford and the Welcome Break services. But although I can always see it in my rear view mirror, I have as yet been unable to pull ashore.
  • Dear Esther. This will be my last letter. Do they pile up even now on the doormat of our empty house? Why do I still post them home to you? Perhaps I can imagine myself picking them up on the return I will not make, to find you waiting with daytime television and all its comforts. They must form a pile four feet high now, my own little ziggurat; a megalith of foolscap and manila. They will fossilise over the centuries to follow; an uneasy time capsule from a lost island. Postmarked Oban: it must have been sent during the final ascent.
  • Dear Esther. I have found myself to be as featureless as this ocean, as shallow and unoccupied as this bay, a listless wreck without identification. My rocks are these bones and a careful fence to keep the precipice at bay. Shot through me caves, my forehead a mount, this aerial will transmit into me so. All over exposed, the nervous system, where Donnelly’s boots and yours and mine still trample. I will carry a torch for you; I will leave it at the foot of my headstone. You will need it for the tunnels that carry me under.
  • Dear Esther. Whilst they catalogued the damage, I found myself afraid you’d suddenly sit up, stretch, and fail to recognise me, I orbited you like a sullen comet, our history trailing behind me in the solar wind from the fluorescent tubes. Your hair had not been brushed yet, your make-up not reapplied. You were all the world like a beach to me, laid out for investigation, your geography telling one story, but hinting at the geology hidden behind the cuts and bruises.

Ghost sightings[]

  • Before reaching the shipwreck, a ghost can be seen in the distance on the path down to the left, near to where you see the buoy in the distance. Is can only be seen indirectly (not frontally) by positioning the screen so that its model renders fully opaque on the far side(s) of your monitor. A second ghost can occasionally be seen in the cave across the rift from the bothy, walking away with a lamp in its hand.


  • The levels file in the maps folder is named 'Jakobson'.