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In Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (or Sorcerer's Stone), Hagrid Tells Harry he "flew" when asked how he'd gotten to the rock, but the two take the boat back to the mainland leaving the Dursleys on the rock in the little shack without transport back to the mainland themselves or Magic to help them get any.

The place is described as being so out of the way that I don't imagine cel service was good - Not that Dursley is ever described in a way that makes you think he had a phone with him to begin with.

So, first, how did they get back off the rock? and second, how is it they didn't kill Harry when he returned to them after his trip to Diagon Alley? After-all their son now has a tail and their experience trapped on the rock must have been harrowing.

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Not a real answer.. but this question has come up before... stepchildofthesun.tumblr.com/post/21282614514/… :) –  KHW Jan 15 '13 at 16:18
    
Related: scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/7712/… –  DVK Jan 15 '13 at 16:20
    
@KeithHWeston Very Funny! Love the answer there. –  balanced mama Jan 15 '13 at 16:27
    
They could have just swam...which would be tiring and embarrassing, but not entirely out of character. One of them might have had to carry Dudley if he couldn't swim. –  Zibbobz Oct 20 at 17:42

2 Answers 2

up vote 6 down vote accepted

The second question is easy: they were terrified of Harry's protector(s), e.g. Hagrid.

A popular theory is that the Ministry memory-flashy-thingied them to forget that, but that doesn't fly as the tail had to be surgically removed much later, and if MoM was involved, they'd have fixed that along with the memories (and see comment from @balanced mama below dispelling that theory completely).

The first question is harder - the answer is "no canon answer". Nothing in the books, nothing in JKR interviews, nothing (IIRC) on Pottermore. Either the island had some other boat, or Coastguard (or whateverthehell Limeys call it) chanced upon them and rescued them.

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Actually, any one that believes the Ministry useda memory-flashy-thingy, missed a detail in Order of the Phoenix, when Vernon is listing grievances he has with Harry in the chapter, "Peck of Owls" and Dursley mentions the tail (pg. 39 in the scholastic edition from 2003). If a memory charm had been used on him, he wouldn't be able to list the tail. –  balanced mama Dec 6 '13 at 23:12
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@DKV we call it the Maritime and Coastguard Agency or Her Majesty's Coastguard –  CyanAngel Oct 20 at 8:52

In Chapter 4 Harry and the Dursleys could see the island and the hut from the coast:

It was very cold outside the car. Uncle Vernon was pointing at what looked like a large rock way out at sea. Perched on top of the rock was the most miserable little shack you could imagine.

So the Dursleys were probably able to wave for help after Harry and Hagrid left. Perhaps they were spotted by the toothless old man with the wicked grin when he came looking for his boat later.

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