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    C James
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Circumnavigation - 61. Stranger in a Strange Land

Chapter 61: Stranger in a Strange Land

 

When Trevor finally cracked open his eyes, seeing the stripped cabin, it took him a few seconds to remember the events of the previous day. Scared that it had all been a dream and that he was still at sea, he waited to feel the motion of the boat. Feeling almost nothing, hope growing in his heart, Trevor leapt up and looked out a small window, seeing the dock, and then he glanced down at the remains of his dinner on the floor. ‘It’s real... We made it! We’re in Australia and we’re safe!’ he thought, excited and relieved.

Looking around Atlantis, he knew he had a lot to do to get her restored, but he decided that this, his first day in Australia, would be mainly for unwinding, which he badly needed. A glance at the shadows told Trevor that it was mid-morning.

Trevor set to work pumping out the bilges. He counted the strokes, and found that Atlantis had taken on less water than she had been at sea, but he still had to pump out close to sixty gallons. That let Trevor know that he could get by with pumping only twice a day, unless the leaks grew worse, as they had steadily done during his voyage. That thought sobered Trevor; he knew that Atlantis was in urgent need of help.

Shorts in hand, Trevor picked up the two paper clips, unbent then, and shoved the wires through the fabric on both sides of the tear in the seat of his shorts. Twisting the wires closed, he gave the fabric a slight tug and decided that it would do, and then pulled the tattered shorts on.

His next task was to clean up a little, via a wash at his water tank spigot, and then he went to his tiny crew cabin and opened his stash spot. He was concerned about safety; he knew that it was possible his spot could be found while Atlantis was under repair, and that the safety deposit box would be a better option.

Trevor counted out five hundred dollars for his pocket, and put the Ziploc bags of bundled banknotes in the plastic bag his dinner had arrived in. He also took his insurance papers out, and then after putting his gun inside, resealed the hiding place, careful to place some debris on the floor over it.

Trevor put the insurance papers in Joel’s cabin and headed ashore, cash-bag in hand.

He felt the warm pavement beneath his bare feet and smiled, again feeling the thrill of just being on land again.

As he walked towards the customs shack, he kept glancing out at the estuary beyond it – the Fascine – and the low flat scrub beyond.

“G’day, Trevor,” Officer Fowler said, giving Trevor a friendly wave. “Good news. My CO concurs: we need to keep you out of the press for as long as we can manage. Just after you left last night, I went by the hospital on my way home and had a chat with the doctor and nurses, and did my best to impress on them the need to keep this quiet. Now, what have we here?” he said, glancing pointedly at the bag.

“The cash you asked for, to take to the bank,” Trevor replied, setting it on the desk. “It’s about seventeen thousand American dollars, though some of it is in euros.”

Fowler studied the bag for a moment, and then looked inside. “Quite a bulky amount, but it should fit in a safety deposit box,” he observed, but let the issue drop for the moment. He opened the Ziploc bags and thumbed through the stacks of bills. “Looks like your tally is about right, or near enough for our purposes. I’ll take care of the paperwork for it later.”

“I have five hundred of it in my pocket, so I can get Australian cash,” Trevor said.

Fowler stood up and gave Trevor a wry glance. “I see you’ve pinned that tear shut.”

Trevor glanced down at his shorts with a grin. “I’ll buy some new clothes today. Should I do that before going to the bank?”

Fowler shook his head. “You’ll be fine in the bank as you are – Carnarvon is a very casual place.” They walked out to Fowler’s car, and Trevor, out of habit, made a beeline for the right-hand door. “If you don’t mind, I’ll drive,” Fowler said, chuckling.

Trevor looked in the window, seeing the steering wheel on the right-hand side of the car. “Oops...” Trevor replied, and then laughed as he trotted around to the other side, clutching his bag of cash.

They pulled away, off the gravel parking area and onto Small Harbour Road, and Trevor stared out the windows, looking at the scenery. The road was home to a scattering of small businesses interspersed with large open areas. Most of the buildings were painted corrugated metal, set back from the palm-lined road.

After a few hundred yards, a yacht basin appeared on his left, but Trevor’s attention was on the modest single-story building beyond it, ‘That must be the yacht club, I’ll stop there after I’ve been to the bank and the store,’ he thought, feeling on top of the world.

As they pulled into the gravel parking lot, Fowler said, “Looks like we’ve come at a good time; the parking lot is pretty well empty. I bank here myself, and they can be a little busy near lunch hour.”

They walked into the little bank, with Trevor immediately feeling underdressed in just his tattered shorts. There were no other customers present, so Fowler led Trevor up to the single teller window and told the teller, “Hi Grace, I’ve an official favor to ask; could you rent this young man a box and let him exchange some American currency, even though he has no account here?”

“Oh, you’re him,” The matronly teller said, looking at Trevor with a pleasant smile on her face. “The boy who was attacked by pirates and then sailed all the way here alone. That must have been horrible! Yes, we can provide a box and exchange some cash for you, certainly not a problem, under the circumstances.”

Due to still being out of practice talking, and disquieted that his story had leaked so soon, Trevor had to fumble for the words. “It was bad for awhile, but I’m safe now – so I’m feeling pretty good,” he replied, giving Fowler a worried glance.

Fowler leaned in, and in a quiet voice, said, “Grace, we’re trying to keep this quiet for now, for reasons I can’t get into. Please keep this to yourself, okay?”

Grace responded with a puzzled look, and then a nod, before returning to the business at hand. They took care of the box rental first, and once Trevor had stored his cash bag and the box had been secured in the vault, Trevor pocketed the key.

They returned to the desk, where he handed over the five hundred dollars. Five minutes and some paperwork later, he walked out of the bank with six hundred and fifty Australian dollars, plus change, in his pocket. “I guess news about me is out, huh?” Trevor said, glancing back at the bank.

Fowler nodded sadly. “Scientists say there’s nothing faster than the speed of light, but they’re flat-out wrong, because the Carnarvon bush telegraph – what you’d call the grapevine, or gossip – is faster than that. Don’t worry about it too much; we’ll figure something out. There aren’t any reporters in town, so we’ve got a bit of time yet, I hope. Can I offer you a lift back?”

Trevor shook his head. “I need to get some clothes and then visit the yacht club. Thanks for the ride in though, and the help with the bank.”

“See you soon, Trevor, and let me know if there’s anything I can do.”

Trevor turned left on the street, passing a gas station and convenience market as he walked to the sporting goods store. As he reached the sporting goods store’s door and saw the sign, he frowned. ‘Crap, not open Mondays. I’ll have to find somewhere else, or wait until tomorrow.’ Trevor was in too good a mood to let anything get him down, and certainly not a small thing like that, so he stood on the corner, looking at the quiet town of Carnarvon. It had wide streets and a few trees, mainly palms, and single-story buildings, widely spaced. ‘Looks like small towns in Florida, pretty much, except they drive on the wrong side of the road here,’ Trevor thought, looking forward to seeing more of the place.

From time to time, Trevor noticed people in the distance, going about their business in the quiet town. Several of the guys were shirtless, though to Trevor’s disappointment, they were not close enough for him to have a good look.

Looking down at his bare feet, which were getting a little sore due to walking on the hot pavement, Trevor looked at the convenience store he’d passed, and started walking towards it.

Entering, feeling the cool air conditioning on his bare skin, he looked around, finding it similar to ones back home. They didn’t sell clothes, but Trevor spotted flip-flops for sale and snatched up a pair. He grabbed a hand basket and filled it with every item of snack food he’d been thinking about for weeks, starting with pastries and working his way up to chocolate bars – which had unfamiliar names like Chomp, Violet Crumble, and Milo. Next came milk, orange juice, and a six-pack of coke. Then he hit the potato chip section, picking up three bags, one of which was a weird flavor he’d never heard of before: salt and vinegar.

After making a few more selections, including a small flashlight, a disposable razor and shaving cream, a toothbrush and other toiletries, and a comb, Trevor went to the register to pay.

Trevor did a quick double-take on the clerk who appeared from the back room; roughly his own age, dark brown hair, and in Trevor’s opinion, hot. The clerk smiled at Trevor and Trevor gave him a friendly smile and a nod in return.

As Trevor counted out the money, he noticed the strange, plastic feel of the colorful banknotes.

Trevor walked out the door, carrying four plastic bags in his hands, wearing his new flip-flops. He walked back towards Atlantis, intending to check out the yacht club. Glancing down at his tattered shorts and remembering what he’d seen in the customs office mirror, Trevor decided to return to Atlantis, have another breakfast, and clean up before paying the yacht club office a visit.

As he walked along the marina’s fence, Trevor looked out into the yacht basin and blinked, counting over thirty yachts of various sizes. What surprised him wasn’t the number, but the fact that twenty-three of them were large catamarans, many similar to his own. Monohulls are far more common, and Trevor couldn’t remember ever before being in a marina where the majority of the boats were catamarans.

Trevor continued his walk, and to his abject delight he spotted a beach shower in the park beside the Fascine. He raced for it, cracked open his shampoo, and had a cool but very welcome shower, marveling at how good it felt.

Still dripping, he put his flip-flops back on and continued on his way, drying as he walked, and feeling more human than he had in a very long time.

 

Climbing back aboard Atlantis, Trevor carried his bags to the remains of the galley. After munching on candy bars and pastries washed down by orange juice, Trevor had a shave – something he normally only needed to do once a week – and struggled his new comb through his long, matted hair, which proved a painful task.

Trevor set off for the yacht club, enjoying the breeze and sun on his skin, the wind blowing through his clean, combed, long hair.

He entered the yacht club’s small office and approached the single desk. The man behind it glanced at Trevor’s tattered shorts and raised an eyebrow. “Can I help you?” he asked, with a whiff of icy disdain.

Trevor smiled and nodded. “I hope so. First, I wanted to pay to use the phone. I need to call the United States. I’ve got cash for the call. Then, I need to ask who to see about getting my boat fixed. It’s a Lagoon 55 catamaran–”

“I can have the operator meter the call, as long as you can pay for it.” The man gave Trevor a skeptical, appraising glance, and then his eyes opened a little wider. “A Lagoon catamaran? And it needs fixing? You must be the young man who was beset by pirates, am I right?”

Trevor reluctantly nodded. “Unless there is more than one of us in town, yeah. They got everything. Is there a store here at the club? I’d at least like to buy some new clothes.”

The desk clerk shook his head. “All we sell are charts. There’s a sporting goods store just up the road but they won’t be open until tomorrow or Wednesday. There is a clothing store on Robinson Street, though I don’t know if it is open. As for your call, are you aware that it will be the middle of the night in America?”

Trevor glanced at a wall clock. “It’s one in the afternoon here... and you’re eight hours ahead of Greenwich. Florida is five hours behind at this time of year... so they’re thirteen hours behind you... that makes it midnight in Florida...That’s kinda late, but I’d like to let ‘em know I’m alive.”

Trevor was given a seat in a small office and the call was set up. As soon as the operator started ringing Joel’s cell number – which had once been Trevor’s – the clerk left, and Trevor waited, tensing as the phone rang, until the line picked up. “Hello,” Joel mumbled sleepily, a voice from the other side of the world that made Trevor suddenly feel infinitely less alone.

Trevor let out a sigh of relief. “Hi Joel–”

“Trev! Hey there, brother! Where are you?” Joel asked, in a marginally more alert tone.

“Australia, I made it... ” Trevor said, hesitating, not knowing where to start.

“Dude, Lisa and I have been worried about you, you’re a little overdue. I’m so glad you’re okay. Did you have a good trip?”

Trevor blinked, and then cringed, the memories flooding back. Clutching the phone in his hand, he opened his mouth, but no words came out.

“Trev, are you there? Did you have a good trip?” Joel asked.

“Uh... not exactly. I kinda had... a few problems.”

“Are you and Atlantis okay?” Joel asked, now fully awake and very concerned.

Trevor took a deep breath. “I’m fine but Atlantis isn’t. She was stripped by pirates a few days after we left the Seychelles. I’ll tell you and Lisa all about that later, but I jury-rigged Atlantis and she got me here,” Trevor said, knowing that he’d have to tell them the whole story eventually, but preferring later. He knew they’d worry if they knew what had really happened.

“Pirates? I hope you’re shitting me...”

“I really wish I was,” Trevor replied quietly.

“Oh shit... Are you okay, is there anything I can do?” Joel asked, and then added, “uh, where is ‘here’, anyway?”

A faint smile crept across Trevor’s face. “Carnarvon, Western Australia, but don’t tell anyone except Lisa. I’ve got some favors to ask. I’ll need you to go to my insurance agent soon, but there’s something you need to do right away: shut off that phone you gave me. The pirates have it. I’m using one at the yacht club.”

Joel took a moment to think, and then said, “Okay, I’ll chop the phone account. It hasn’t been used: I’ve been checking, hoping to see you using it from somewhere. Did they get a lot, and what about your... uh...”

“Yeah, they didn’t find my... place,” Trevor replied, mindful that it was possible he might be overheard by the clerk. “They got everything, and I mean everything, other than what was in there. They took everything that wasn’t nailed down and a lot that was. The fuckers even ripped out the galley countertops. Atlantis is pretty much an empty shell. Remember those old torn shorts you stuffed in my rag box? They’re now my entire wardrobe. And that watch you busted? It was in the pocket and it saved my life; I used it to figure my longitude. I’m really glad you’re so damn clumsy,” Trevor said, feeling almost euphoric to be talking to Joel again.

“Shit... they really cleaned you out. If you need any help, let me know what I can do. What are you going to do now?” Joel asked.

“I’ve got to get somebody at the yacht services place to look at Atlantis so I can get the repairs underway. Even if they started yesterday, my guess is it’ll take months. Most of the gear is going to need to be ordered, and... She’s in real bad shape, Joel. It’s not just the pirates... I rammed a huge log in the Southern Ocean and her bows are mangled.” Trevor said, fearing anew that Atlantis might be beyond repair. ‘I’ll find a way, no matter what it takes. She saved me, now it’s my turn,’ Trevor thought.

“Trev, just be glad you’re okay. I’ll do what I can here. Maybe I can find parts and have them shipped, anything you need. Uh, Trev, they didn’t hurt you, did they?” Joel asked quietly.

Trevor was silent for several long moments, and he felt goosebumps rising on his arms as he remembered... “They tried to kill me, and almost did...” As soon as the words were out of his mouth, Trevor knew he’d have to tell it all, so for the next fifteen minutes he did, with Joel interrupting to ask a few questions. When he was finally done, Trevor added, “Joel... that’s the second time somebody’s tried to kill me lately, so for now, we need to keep all this between you, me, and Lisa, nobody else, until we’re sure what’s going on. I think they were pirates – they sure looked the part – but I’ve had a lot of time to think, and I just don’t know for sure about anything anymore. I guess I sound kinda paranoid, huh?”

“No man, you don’t... two attempts on your life is sure a lot of coincidence... Trev, you’re a mess, I can tell; you’re talking strange. I know you, man, and you shouldn’t be alone right now, not after what you’ve been through. I’ll talk to my dad, change my ticket, and head out. I can probably be there in a couple of days.”

Trevor’s heart soared for a moment, but then he sobered. “Thanks, but no... You’d miss finals, and you’ll be here in a few weeks anyway. I’ll be fine; I’m just having trouble talking, ‘cause I’ve been alone for so long. And yeah, I’m shook up, but I’ll be fine now I’m here. Anyway, now it’s your turn: I’ve been wondering... did you pop the question yet, or not?”

“Lisa’s wearing the ring, and she said yes, dude! Her dad made us postpone the wedding until next August, but he hasn’t killed me yet... ah, sorry Trev, bad choice of words.”

For the first time in months, Trevor chuckled. “Congratulations, man! That’s awesome! I knew she’d say yes...” Trevor hesitated, and then broached the topic he’d been avoiding. “The customs guys told me my dad is on the run. Any news?” They talked about that for a while, but Joel knew little more than he’d seen on the news. “Thanks Joel. Maybe one thing for now... see what it would take to get a new phone – I’d need an international plan, like the old one – and send it out here. I doubt I could get a plan here because of my age problem.”

“I’ll check in the morning when they open, and have it express-mailed right to you if they’ll do it, or to me if they won’t. Either way, it’ll take a few days to get to you, probably. Got an address? I’ve got a pen and paper,” Joel asked.

“Send it to me, care of the Carnarvon Yacht Club, Carnarvon, Western Australia, Australia. They’ll accept packages for yachters.”

“Okay, got it. It’ll be there as fast as I can get it to you. Don’t worry about it. Just take care of yourself, man, and call me soon, okay?”

“Thanks, Joel. I want to call Lisa too, but I remember how her dad hates late night calls, and she couldn’t even give him the reason in this case.”

“You can call... ah, what’s the time difference?”

“I’m thirteen hours ahead of you, it’s one in the afternoon here, but I’m limited to when the yacht club is open, so... ten PM to six AM, your time.”

“You’d be fine calling her up to ten at night, and I’ll catch her before class in the morning and let her know you’re okay. For me, call anytime at all, don’t even think about it.”

“Thanks man, I’ll try to call Lisa at about ten tomorrow night, your time,” Trevor replied, and then his voice broke slightly for a moment as he said, “It’s been so great talking to you... I’ve missed you so much. Thanks, bro, and I’ll talk to you soon.”

When the call was over, Trevor heard the phone ring, and correctly guessed that it was the operator, calling to tell the yacht club clerk the cost of the call, so Trevor went back to the clerk’s desk to pay.

The call cost over forty Australian dollars, and Trevor hoped he wouldn’t have to make use of that service often.

After Trevor paid, the desk clerk smiled sympathetically and said, “If there is any way we can help, please don’t hesitate to ask.”

Trevor acknowledged with a smile and a nod, and then asked for, and received, directions to the marine services office, which turned out to be just a few dozen yards away.

Finding the door open but no one inside the front office, Trevor walked out to the ramp and docks. He heard a drill, and walked towards the source of the noise; a thirty-foot monohull yacht tied up alongside.

Trevor hopped aboard and when the drilling paused, he called through the open hatchway, “Hello, I’m trying to find Carnarvon Marine Services.”

A balding head popped up through the companionway hatch, and grinned. “That would be me. My name’s Edward Kelly and I’m the owner, but everyone calls me Ned. What can I do for you? I’m not hiring at the moment,” he said, giving the shabby-looking Trevor a skeptical glance.

“I’ve got a Lagoon 55 catamaran; she’s at the customs pier right now–”

“Oh, you’re him then, the bloke who got hit by pirates,” Ned said.

Trevor rolled his eyes and chuckled. “Has everyone in town heard about me? So far, almost everyone I’ve met knows.”

Ned laughed and climbed onto the deck, where he shook Trevor’s hand. “It’s a small town and the marina is even smaller. Yeah, it’s a safe bet most folk you’ll meet will know by now, especially if they have anything to do with boating. Hell, you’d be the talk of the town just for singlehanding your boat across the Indian Ocean, even without pirates and jury rigs. I’ve done a fair amount of work on Lagoons, so I think I can handle most things. How bad are you?”

Trevor sighed. “Real bad, maybe requiring a haul-out and structural work. Atlantis is a dive-equipped charter boat, but she’s been stripped pretty well clean, and she has collision damage to both bows, but I think the forward bulkheads held. Could I take you over when you’re finished here? I need an estimate to give my insurance company. I’d also like to get Atlantis livable again as soon as possible; right now I’m sleeping on the floor.”

Ned nodded, hopping ashore. “You’re here in the offseason, mate. The owners of this boat won’t be back until March and I’m just installing a new stove, so my time’s not an issue. Let’s go give your boat a look.”

Trevor grinned and led the way back to the customs jetty. As they walked, he gave in to Ned’s prodding to tell the whole story. Trevor started with the pirate attack, and had just finished when they reached Atlantis.

“Crap, you sure weren’t kidding about the bullet holes and bows damage. She needs a haul-out, for sure,” Ned said, after climbing aboard and looking under the netting sail’s remains.

Trevor stood by while Ned looked around taking notes, and then followed him into the salon. After a few more minutes, Ned scratched his head and said, “They really did a number on you. I’ll need to check the hulls and wing structure to be sure, but looks like your only major structural damage is the bows and bullet holes. If so, that means she’s fixable. There’s no way I can give you an estimate right now; I can’t even tell what half the missing stuff was. My advice to you is to let me look over your insurance policy and then I can probably give you some options. If you have full replacement, and running her as a charter I suspect you may, then one thing you might want to consider is upgrading your systems. For example, your navigation and radars; a newer system would likely cost less than replacing your old model, so your insurance wouldn’t mind a bit on that. What I’ll need is a detailed list of what you had, and then we can go over it item by item.”

Trevor sighed. “I’ve got a copy of the policy with me. As for the rest, that’s both easy and hard. If you have an e-mail address, I can have my friend Joel send you photos of what Atlantis used to look like, inside and out. For the detailed list, I can come up with something if I sit down and think, but I think there’s a list of some stuff in the policy papers; when I took out the policy, the agent came aboard and wrote down everything, took three hours. One problem will be getting in touch with my insurance company; there’s a thirteen-hour time difference and I’ve been using the phone at the yacht club. They aren’t open when my insurance agent is, so I’ll ask a friend back home to go in when they open.”

Ned smiled and rolled his eyes. “Why make it hard on yourself? I happen to have a phone and a fax machine at home, and I’ve been known to stay up past sundown on occasion. Here’s what we can do: bring your policy to my office and let me make a copy. Then, I’d need signed authorization from you to discuss this with them and get that inventory record and some guidelines from them as to how they want things done. The next bit of business will be moving your boat to my dock.”

“What about me living aboard? Can I do that at your dock? I don’t have anyplace else to go.”

Ned shrugged and glanced around the wrecked, stripped salon. “I can provide electrical and TV hookups when we get some systems installed on your yacht that need ‘em. As long as your sewage-holding tank is operational, or I can make it so, I have no trouble with you living aboard until she’s hauled out, but that wouldn’t be long. I’ll see if I can scrounge up a mattress at least, but it’ll be awhile before I can get your galley working. I have a little portable barbecue grill I can lend you in the meantime, but don’t try using it aboard. The dock is concrete, it’ll be fine there. Now, I’ll need access to your boat; I’ll need keys...” Ned said, glancing towards the salon door.

Trevor smiled sadly. “I don’t have any – they were in my nav desk – so I can’t lock up. That reminds me... Joel has a set, I’ll ask him to send me a copy. Just come aboard whenever, whether I’m here or not,” he said, and then retrieved the policy papers from Joel’s cabin and handed them to Ned.

Ned took a few minutes to read it, and smiled. “Looks very good to me. It’s an all-risks policy, and you’ve got agreed-value coverage for six hundred thousand American dollars, plus some nice riders for navigation waivers and depreciation waivers, and a deductible of two percent of agreed hull value – if you let me do the work, or as much of it as I can, I’ll fudge some of that deductible for ya, no problem. You’re covered for acts of piracy, worldwide. I was kinda worried about a navigation waiver; most American policies I’ve seen require purchase of a special rider for overseas jaunts. Yours doesn’t.”

Trevor breathed a sigh of relief; he’d read the policy but hadn’t been positive that it covered him, and the confirmation was a huge load off his mind. “Yeah, because I run charters in the Caribbean sometimes, my booking agency insisted I be covered for the entire Atlantic Basin. I was interested in taking charters through the Panama Canal at some point, so I checked and found that worldwide coverage was cheaper than riders for the Atlantic, Pacific, and Panama Canal. The charter booking agency I use insists on full coverage on the insurance so I didn’t have much choice for most of it.”

“If I was you, I’d add that booking agency to your Christmas card list.” Ned kept reading, and then tapped the page. “You might want to have a chat with your insurance agent about this: the rental replacement clause. According to my read on this, you’re entitled, when your yacht is unavailable due to a covered loss, to rent an equivalent replacement at their expense. See what they’ll do with that. You could either have them rent a very nice yacht for you to live in while yours is being fixed, or set yourself up at a catering hotel. A hotel doesn’t look to be covered but if your insurance agency knows you’ll exercise your rental rights otherwise, they’ll probably agree to cover your hotel if they’ve got any damn sense; it would save them a packet of money. If not, I can see what I can find you for an equivalent yacht.”

Trevor glanced around Atlantis before saying, “I really don’t want to leave Atlantis... plus, I can’t: she’s taking on a lot of water, so I have to hand-pump her bilges out at least a couple of times a day.”

“As soon as she’s at my dock, I’ll set up some temporary electric bilge pumps that’ll handle that. You won’t want to stay aboard Atlantis for long; the weather will get bloody hot here in a couple of weeks, and your air conditioner was one of the things taken. Once she’s hauled out, there’ll be no choice; the law, plus my own insurance and business zoning, wouldn’t let you live aboard.”

Trevor looked around, and after hesitating for a few moments, replied, “I don’t want to leave her for long, but a hot shower and a real bed sounds pretty good.”

Ned flipped to the last page. “Here’s that inventory list I need. Whoever did it was really thorough. With this, plus what I’ve seen, and an inspection of the hulls and wing, I can do you an estimate for everything. This list covers your yacht and all fixtures and equipment, including your diving gear, stereo, computer, EPIRBs, the works. The policy also covers your personal property and you’ll need to come up with a list of that, plus any additions to the yacht since this list was made. They’ll also most likely need a written statement from you about the attack.”

 

“The customs officer said I could have them contact him, and I’ll see what I can get written up. For personal property, there wasn’t much; four surfboards, my skateboard, a few clothes and my watch, I guess,” Trevor said, scratching his head.

Ned held up a hand. “Hang on there. I’ve had to deal with a lot of insurance companies – including American ones, due to tsunami and debris damage. Some will try to skin you. My suggestion is to see what yours does before you submit that personal property list. That way, if they try to stick it to you, you can return the favor. Can’t hurt to wait and see. Besides, stuff like your galley pots and pans, fuel, clothing, and food is classed as personal property. Absolutely everything aboard was either personal property or part of the boat – all covered – so don’t rush this; if you short yourself on the list, they won’t let you add to it later.”

Trevor smiled. “Thanks for the advice, I’ll do it. Any guess how long the repairs will take?”

Ned glanced around again, and then looked at his clipboard. “You’ll be here for New Year’s and a month or two beyond, that’s for damn sure. I’ll need to rehire a couple of my seasonal employees early for some of this, but I don’t have much other work lined up, so the labor won’t be too much of an issue. What will be the problem is waiting for orders to get filled. For example, it might take weeks to get a voltage regulator if they don’t have the right one in stock anywhere. A few big items will have to wait for a special delivery; your new boom for one. That’ll require either air-shipping or rail delivery, and the nearest railhead is down in Geraldton. There’ll be many things that can’t be done until stuff arrives, so count on around three months at a minimum. I’ll get you a hard estimate once I price all the components, but right now, I’d say you’re looking in the neighborhood of four hundred thousand Australian dollars to do this right, but that’s a guess at this point, nothing more. Like I said, add that booking agency to your Christmas card list; you’re damn lucky to have good insurance.”

Trevor gave a low whistle. “Holy crap, that’s a lot.”

“That’s just a guess at this point, but when I give you a hard number, I can guarantee you I’m offering you the best deal you’ll find for four hundred kilometers in any direction,” Ned said, and then broke into a wicked grin.

“And how many places are there in that area?” Trevor asked, with a grin of his own.

“You’re looking at him,” Ned replied, and then added in a serious tone, “Once I’ve given you a hard estimate, call a few places down in Fremantle if you like. I’ll guarantee you I’ll be, at worst, just a little over their estimates. It’d also cost a packet to tow your yacht there. You’d probably have a hard time getting them to cut you a deal on the deductible too; that’s not legal. I can see why you’d rather not be cooped up in a small, isolated place like Carnarvon, but you don’t need to stay with your yacht if you don’t want to. You can head down to Perth, or anywhere else, for a while if you like; I’m sure your insurance agent won’t care where you ask for a hotel if the alternative is them renting you a yacht. And if they bellyache about it, go ahead and let me find you a nice yacht to cruise around in, and then you can head out and see Australia if you want. Anyway, I’ll take good care of your Atlantis and when I’m done, she’ll be better than she ever was. Check me out with the local yachters; I’ve done work for most of ‘em. I’m not always the cheapest but I do the job right the first time, and my work’s the best.”

“Sounds good to me,” Trevor said, and then he asked, “How do we get started?”

Holding up the insurance policy, Ned replied, “I need a copy of this, and an authorization for your insurance agent to talk to me. I’ll get in touch with them tonight and find out what I can. I’ll sound ‘em out about the hotel or yacht issue for you too; if they know that every day’s delay will cost them, you’ll be surprised how fast they can move. In the meantime, I need to have a close inspection of your hulls and structure so you’ll see me in my skiff this afternoon, poking around between your hulls. Then I’ll need to do a full survey, inside and out, and take photos of everything. I’ll be getting that done by tomorrow at the latest. So, let’s head for my office and make some copies.”

At Ned’s tiny and disorganized office, Ned made the copies and Trevor signed the authorization form. When he was done, Ned said, “The main shopping center here is on the other end of town, about two kilometers away. There’s a Woollies – Woolworths, a big supermarket – and a few other shops. If you need to use the phone outside of yacht club hours, let me know and I’ll come by here and open up for you. Call me if you need anything; there’s also a payphone at the convenience mart, and you have my card; the second number is my home and it’s about ten minutes from here. If my wife or one of the kids answers, tell ‘em to find me.”

Trevor nodded. “When will you be here in the morning, so I can find out what happened with my insurance agent?”

“I roll in between eight and nine most days. I’ll stop by Atlantis when I get here if you like,” Ned asked.

“Knock on the starboard aft cabin door if you don’t see me. I don’t have a clock or an alarm, but I should be up before then,” Trevor replied.

“You should keep a notebook handy, and write down everything you can think of that’s not on this list and missing, right when you think of it. I’ll see you in the morning if you’re not around later. And I meant what I said; check out my work and reputation. I’ve worked on most of the charter yachts here, and a good many of the private yachts, so ask around. I’m sure any of my customers would be happy to show you my work.”

 

~

carnarvon1.jpg

Atlantis' Page (see what Atlantis looks like)

© 2010 C James

feedback.gifPlease let me know what you think; good, bad, or indifferent.

Please give me feedback, and please don’t be shy if you want to criticize! The feedback thread for this story is in my Forum. Please stop by and say "Hi!"

 

 

   

Many thanks to my editor EMoe for editing and for his support, encouragement, beta reading, and suggestions.

Special thanks to Graeme, for beta-reading and advice.

Thanks also to Talonrider and MikeL for beta reading.

A big Thank You to RedA for Beta reading and advice, and to Bondwriter for final Zeta-reading and advice.
A huge "Thank you!" to Orion, for the compass design and other help!
Any remaining errors are mine alone.

Many thanks to my editor EMoe for editing and for his support, encouragement, beta reading, and suggestions.

Special thanks to Graeme, for beta-reading and advice.

Thanks also to Talonrider and MikeL for beta reading.

A big Thank You to RedA for Beta reading and advice, and to Bondwriter for final Zeta-reading and advice.
A huge "Thank you!" to Orion, for the compass design and other help!
Any remaining errors are mine alone.

Copyright © 2013 C James; All Rights Reserved.

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Looks like Atlantis can be fixed and insurance should cover most just just means that trevor will be in Australia longer than he thought. Need to find him a boyfriend to wile away the time hehe.

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No doubt Bridget will soon find out about Trev's miraculous survival :/.

Great job introducing the new characters, thanks.

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