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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental. Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 

Never walk alone - 27. Chapter 27

They sailed into Arniston just as the sun touched the horizon, and found the berth that they had reserved in a peaceful corner of the small harbour with three other monohulls, all but one deserted. Andrew and Darren had to leap ashore to tie them up, side on with inflatable rubber buffers to protect the hull from chafing on the quayside.

Prior to arrival, Andrew, Kerry and Darren had been feverishly cleaning and preparing the crayfish and had a large tray piled high ready to be put on the grill.
After a long day at sea, they were all sticky and sweaty so their guests headed for their cabins to shower and change while Ryan took the twins and Rascal for a short walk and Andrew got busy in the galley.

Andrew put a pot of rice onto the burner and when it started to boil he turned it off, covered it with a lid to let it steam to fluffy perfection and when his family returned from their walk, went to have a shower, taking Cameron and Elizabeth with him to bath them, but Ryan decided to get the grill lines on the crayfish first and then have a quick shower while they were finishing in the covered grill.

Andrew left the twins playing on the bed and watching 'Despicable Me 2' while Ryan was in the shower, and went out to check the crayfish, which were steaming nicely . He made bowls of plain melted butter, garlic butter and lemon butter and kept them warm while making a big green salad, and Kerry arrived back to chop parsley and stir it into the rice with a bit of butter.

They had dinner as soon as everyone was present. Andrew and Kerry plated the crayfish on a bed of rice,
each person getting one and a half tails. He removed the heads, keeping them to make crayfish bisque for dinner one night, but added the legs, a sprinkling of chopped parsley and served it to the table for them to help themselves to salad and whichever butter they preferred. They were encouraged to just eat with their fingers and Kerry delivered finger bowls and a pile of disposable serviettes to clean their fingers, although all of them licked the buttery juices off their fingers first while popping the succulent white flesh in their mouths. Tessa and Julie showed their offspring how to crack the legs and remove the flesh and before long all that was left was a small pile of empty crayfish legs and tails.
While Kerry cleared the table, Andrew got busy in the galley, whipping up a triple batch of choc chip brownies that he baked and then served warm with ice cream and custard, producing more smiles all round.

When the table was cleared, they broke up into three teams and played Charades until late, which resulted in much laughter and more than a few tears of mirth. They retired to bed just before midnight , the parents having to carry their sleeping children to their cabins.

Cameron and Elizabeth woke them just after 6am and as they seemed to be happy playing in their beds, Andrew and Ryan tried to ignore the constant chatter from the two toddlers. That was until their eyes flew open when they heard a very distinct "Dada. Dada".
They sat up and looked at the twins who were both standing in their cribs looking intently at the big bed. When the toddlers saw their dads were awake they got very animated, chattering away and bouncing on the mattresses. Elizabeth held out her arms and said "Dada", followed almost immediately by Cameron who said "Dad" although it actually sounded like "dahd".
Andrew and Ryan stared at their babies and then looked at one another in amazement.

"Oh my god", Andrew breathed, "They're talking. Our babies just called us dad".

He scrambled out of bed, picked them up and put them on the bed, and reclined against the headboard. The little ones crawled to their dad's looking for cuddles which they both quickly got. It always amazed Andrew how Elizabeth automatically gravitated to Ryan and Cameron came to him. The adorable little boy pulled out of his hug and looked at Andrew with a very serious expression on his face. He gently reached out a fat little finger and touched Andrew's mouth.

"Dahd", he said.

Tears welled up in Andrew's eyes and he swept the tot into a hug resulting in a squeal and a gurgle of laughter.

"Oh god, I love you my baby boy. Thank you. You're so clever."
Andrew pointed at Ryan and said,

"There's your dad as well".
Cameron turned his head to look at Ryan and broke out in a huge smile. He pointed and said,

Andrew stared at his son and then at Ryan

"He knows the difference, or am I just reading what I want to"

Ryan passed Elizabeth to Andrew and sat his son on his midriff.
Cameron leaned forward until his nose was almost touching Ryan's and stared at his dad intently. It was so cute and Ryan fought to stay serious as well, but it was obvious he was amused by Cameron's antics. His breath caught when Cameron again said "Dada", sitting up and pointing at Ryan, looking very pleased himself.
Ryan pointed at Andrew and asked,

"Cam, who is that?".
Cameron looked at Andrew and paused his brow furrowing as though he was thinking. Then he pointed at Andrew and said,

"Dahd", then looked back at Ryan with an expression that seemed to say "See I know what I'm talking about"

Elizabeth had been quiet during her brothers display, but suddenly started to chatter away waving her arms, but the words "Dada" and "Dahd" were quite discernible amongst the excited chatter. The munchkins were cuddled a bit longer by their dads and when Andrew had to get up to shower they both went and snuggled on either side of Ryan as he turned on a video for them to watch.

Andrew was dressed and sitting with the twins, when he heard a vehicle on the quayside followed by a short hoot. He peered through the porthole and saw the minivan he had reserved. Behind was a small sedan that was obviously the drivers ride back to the rental office. He called to Ryan who was in the shower.

"Babe, the van is here. I need to sign for it. Will you keep an eye on Cam and Elizabeth?"

"Yeah, no problem. I'm almost done anyway"

Andrew went up the stairs, deactivating the alarm as he passed the keypad, slid open the door and unlocked the security gate to step into the cockpit and onto the side deck.

The agent moved closer and handed Andrew the rental documents to sign and then handed over the keys.
Andrew stepped onto the quay and walked around the vehicle, checking it's condition and making a note of a small dent on the one side on the rental documents as well as a tiny chip on one corner of the windscreen. He signed the documents and handed the rental agent his copy, advising him that the vehicle could be collected late that evening or no later than 9am the next morning as they would going to sea at that time, and stepped back on board.

The excursuion for the day would take them to Cape Agulhas, the southernmost point of Africa and where the Indian Ocean and Atlantic Ocean met. Andrew would not travel with them, but had decided to remain on the yacht with the twins and Rascal for the day to get some work done.

Ryan was in the saloon with the twins and after checking that the gates were all closed, let them run around the saloon and cockpit, while they got on with breakfast. Ryan started setting out the cereals, fruit juice and fresh fruit, preserves and condiments while Andrew grilled bacon and pieces of boerewors in the oven. Kerry arrived to help, having been alerted by the sound of their voices in the saloon, and halved tomatoes to grill as well and made some hash potatoes with left overs from the fridge, adding chopped onions and sliced mushrooms as well. Andrew cracked and beat eggs and began making a pot of scrambled egg, stirring it on a low burner so that it would be soft and creamy. Kerry opened two small tins of baked beans for anyone who wanted, and started making toast when the Kinleys began making their appearance. The excursion group all had big breakfasts, then piled into the minivan and drove away with Ryan at the wheel.

Andrew tidied up and packed the dishwasher, keeping an eye on the twins who were watching 'Cars' on the TV and then sat down with them to have breakfast at leisure and feed them off his plate at the same time. He had a bit of a tough time as they were determined to help themselves and he eventually got up and cut up some sausage and bacon, adding some egg, and put it in separate bowls for them to eat. Rascal also got some left-overs. When they were all finished, he made them all some tea, including Rascal and while the twins continued to watch the movie, he turned on his laptop to check emails .

He cleared all the spam mail, read a handful of mails requesting reservations on 'Belle Catherine' or wanting further details and then opened emails from Paul and Claude with the December financials for the two lodges and projected figures for January.

Blue Bay had done very well over the festive season, having exceeded budget by a significant amount but the surprise was how well The Cameron had done in what was effectively only an 12 day month. The projected figures for the new month looked very good and Andrew was very satisfied with the results. The bookkeeper who did the books for 'Belle Catherine' had not yet sent the December results, but Andrew knew he would have them by the time they arrived back home.

It had got very quiet while he was busy with his laptop and glanced down to see both the toddlers had fallen asleep, as had Rascal who was snuggled between them. He stood up, shut the security gate to secure the saloon and went down into the guest cabins to do some dusting, general cleaning and tidying up, mopped the floors and companion ways and checked that the bathrooms were fully equipped with guest amenities. He pulled all the linen off the beds and tossed it all in a locker they used for the purpose and remade the beds with fresh linen. He opened all the overhead hatches and left the doors open to allow fresh air to circulate. He crossed over to the starboard hull, checking on the twins as he passed, and did the same with the master cabin. He didn't do anything in Darren and Kerry's cabin, except to remove the bed linen and open the overhead hatches, as they were aware that it was their responsibility to ensure the cabin was neat and tidy. All that took most of the morning and when he heard the gate above the stairs down into the hull rattle, he found two forlorn looking, baby faces and one canine face staring at him through the bars. When they saw him the twins faces transformed into huge smiles and Elizabeth began chattering away as though scolding him for leaving them alone. Andrew carefully opened the gate and stepped through, closing it behind him. Cameron and Elizabeth immediately latched onto his pants with Cameron bouncing up and down saying "Dahd! Dahd".

Andrew's heart swelled at the words and he knelt down on one knee to cuddle them and to stroke Rascal who was scampering around them. He picked the babies up and carried them to the galley counter where he sat them down and started preparing lunch, keeping a watchful eye on the two imps. He just made himself two cheese, ham and tomato rolls, and diced up ham, cheese and tomato into small blocks for them. Rascal got two slices of ham as well. He sat them on the seating at the saloon table, found another movie for them to watch, this time 'Monsters University', and sat down next to them to eat. He ate quickly and left them to watch the movie, going to the galley to start with the bisque he wanted to serve for dinner that night using the heads from the crayfish and wondered how the excursion was going.

Well, it was going just fine, thank you very much! They had driven on a road that mostly hugged the coast, only heading inland when they got close to Cape Agulhas to get to the entrance of the national park, following the narrow winding route up the side of the headland on which the marker stood. Ryan parked in the visitors parking area at the bottom of a small hill and they climbed the long flight of stone stairs to the top where a carved granite block on a concrete plinth proclaimed them to be at the most southern point of Africa. A line down the centre of the concrete plinth indicated the divide between the Indian and Atlantic Oceans and they all took photographs of them straddling the line with one foot on the Indian Ocean side and the other on the Atlantic Ocean side. They were all amazed to realise that, as they stood staring out to sea, the entire continent of Africa was behind them and that there was nothing except empty ocean between them and Antarctica. They spent almost an hour at the windblown site, the Kinleys awed by the vista to the south and the thought of what lay at their backs. They took a drive through the park and saw ostrich, some small buck, and a troop of baboons and then drove to the visitors centre where they viewed some relics from shipwrecks around the point, had burgers for lunch, then retraced their steps for the drive back to Arniston.

When they got back, Andrew was sitting at the saloon navigation desk tapping away on his laptop as the replied to Paul and Claude's emails and adding his comments, observations and thanks. The galley was redolent with the aroma of the simmering bisque and Joan sniffed appreciatively when she stepped into the room.

"Hmmm, something smells good. I hope that's for dinner tonight?"
Andrew closed his laptop and stood up, smiling.

"Hi guys, welcome back". He looked at Joan and said, "Yeah, it's crayfish bisque for the starter tonight".

"Well, if it tastes as good as it smells, it's going to be amazing"

"How did you enjoy the excursion? "

"In one word, mindblowing", Joan told him. "The view up there is incredible and the thought of the whole of Africa being behind you, just awesome. But right now, even more awesome would be a mug of your gorgeous coffee and something sweet".

"I'll do it Andrew", Kerry interjected.

She got the beverage order from everyone and set about getting it all together. Andrew pulled out some muffins, cookies, rusks and other bits and pieces for them to nibble on and Ryan picked up the twins and sat at the saloon table to spend some time with them. Rascal also got into the action by jumping up and sitting next to him.

When they had all had something to drink and to eat, they did there own thing for the rest of the afternoon. Joan and Dan went for a siesta, while the younger Kinleys all went for a walk to explore the town.
Darren and Kerry went for a short nap as well and the boys sat in the saloon drinking tea and coffee and Andrew went through the financials with Ryan while the twins napped as well. When they wrapped up, Ryan put on the TV to watch some SkyNews and Andrew started the remainder of the dinner prep.

The bisque, which was now ready, had two tots of sherry added to it. It had already had brandy added right at the beginning when Andrew flambéed the roasted crayfish heads before adding the flavouring and stock. It would be served with some chopped crayfish tail and fresh cream.

The entrée was the simplest one he would prepare during the entire trip and was more homely. Crumbed chicken breasts with a creamy mushroom sauce, saute potatoes, glazed butternut and creamed spinach.
Dessert was a large malva pudding which would be served with ice cream or custard, or in Ryan's case, with both.
Kerry got busy on the vegetables when she came up after her nap, and Andrew put the malva together, puting it into the oven to bake and then made the sauce to pour over as soon as it came out of the oven. He waited until he was sure everyone was up and about before flattening the Chicken breasts so that they were evenly thick, and then crumbed them and put them into the refrigerator until it was time to cook them. He prepared the sauce as well.

With just the meat to cook, he had time on hand to spend time with Ryan and the twins , so they also took a short stroll, taking Rascal with them on his leash leaving Darren and Kerry to look after their guests.
The got back just before sunset to find Darren and Kerry had organised sundowner cocktails and small canapés for everyone to snack on. They were simple but tasty and just what was needed to tide them over to dinner. They all sat or lounged on the foredeck, sipping the cocktails, nibbling at the canapés, chatting and enjoying the waning sun is it sank below the horizon. The evening was very quiet, the small harbour being virtually empty as most of the fishing boats had sailed earlier in the afternoon. There were faint children's voices in the distance and the slap of the swell against the quay and the hull accompanied by a muted clink, clink from one of the remaining monohulls as a line touched the mast as the boat rocked on the swell. They were briefly interrupted by the rental agency coming to collect the minivan, which Ryan attended to, and once the sun had disappeared, the Kinleys starting heading for their cabins to shower and change. Ryan turned on the underwater lights and the deck lights and Andrew turned on the saloon and cockpit lights when he went in with the twins to start their bath.
Kerry set the table in the cockpit for dinner, dropping the quayside mesh screens for privacy and then went down to freshen up herself.

Andrew and Ryan came back into the saloon after their showers and while Ryan occupied the twins, Andrew fried off two chicken fillets and cut them up for the twins, adding some vegetables and sauce as well. And then he and Ryan sat with them while they fed themselves. They were getting better at it every day and weren't nearly as messy as they had been.

When all the Kinleys were there, Ryan and Darren poured pre dinner drinks while Andrew and Kerry cooked the chicken breasts and put them into the warm oven to rest and keep warm.
When he called dinner, he waited until everyone was seated before serving the bisque for which there were accolades from everyone.
The entrée was plated with a wedge of lemon, the sauce served separately, and although simple, was thor-oughly enjoyed. There was seconds for those who were still hungry and the offer was readily taken up by both Brandon and Tanner while Tessa and Julie shared another chicken breast. Ryan and Darren had seconds as well.

The malva pudding was still warm and disappeared in no time at all as well with almost everyone having both ice cream and custard with Ryan's encouragement. Andrew gave the twins a little malva and custard as well, and they loved it.

Tanner Jnr and Cassie wanted to watch a movie after dinner so Andrew took them to the cupboard to have a look at what he had there and also showed them the titles he had downloaded onto the yachts entertainment system. After much discussion, they settled for 'The Lion King' so Andrew loaded it and they settled down to watch it on the saloon TV. Kerry kept coffee coming and a bottle of Amarula was passed around to refill glasses. They went to bed just after the movie finished, a bit tired after the trip to Cape Agulhas and the hot day, but also in anticipation of the day ahead which was going to be a highlight.

In the morning they would sail around Cape Agulhas, into the Atlantic Ocean, to Gansbaai, where they would go shark diving, before sailing to Hermanus where they would stay for two full days.

The excitement on board 'Belle Catherine' the next morning was palpable. Everyone was up and about fairly early and the noise level was generally quite high as everyone talked about the day ahead. At least everyone except Tanner Jnr and Cassandra. They were still too young to be permitted to do the shark dive and were not happy campers. They would stay on board 'Belle Catherine' with Andrew, the twins and Rascal. Andrew was not going due to the fact that, quite simply, since watching 'Jaws' as a child, he had no desire to swim with the predators of the ocean. He didn't mind seeing them in their natural habitat - he had seen many of them while sailing on 'Belle', but to get into the water with them was another matter altogether.

In a break from the norm, the company who handled the shark diving had agreed to meet them at the diving location instead of the participants departing from the harbour at Gansbaai. Once at the site, the divers would transfer to the tour boat and enter the water from there. It also meant that they could sail for Hermanus directly afterwards instead of having to wait for the tour boat to return to Gansbaai with their guests.

They sailed out of Arniston before breakfast, heading almost due south along the eastern side of Cape Agulhas and then rounded the point and headed northwest for Gansbaai. On rounding Cape Agulhas, as they approached the 20° East meridian that was the official meeting point of the two oceans, Ryan dropped the sails and slowly motored along until were straddling the meridian. He carefully kept them on station and then turned to his companions.

"Okay guys, according to our instruments we are exactly on the dividing line. Stern on the Indian Ocean. The bows are on the Atlantic Ocean"

The Kinleys all gathered on the side deck and Andrew stood on the saloon roof to capture the moment on
camera. Then Ryan hoisted the main sail and Darren raised the spinnaker and they were basically in home waters

They rendezvoused with the shark boat at 11h00 as arranged and the group were transferred to the boat. The sea was calm with just a slight breeze blowing and Ryan had moored to a nearby buoy. The dive would take place in a cage close to the side of the shark boat, with the divers all in wetsuits and wearing masks and snorkels. There were already several sharks in the area, their dark shadowy forms clearly visible below the surface with the occasional fin breaking the surface.

When they had all signed the required waiver forms and were kitted up, they were given a safety briefing and then they were assisted into the cage and it was lowered below the surface. It took a few moments for them to settle down and get their bearings, and it wasn't long before the feared creatures began swimming around the cage, their razor sharp teeth visible in gaping mouths. It was all captured on camera and they were in the water for nearly thirty minutes before being assisted back onto the shark boat.

It was a cold, but very exhilarated group who boarded 'Belle Catherine' a few minutes later. While Ryan and Darren stowed the dinghy, Andrew served bowls of hot meaty bean and vegetable soup with cheese rolls for lunch, with most of the Kinleys sitting on the foredeck in the sun to dry and warm up.
Ryan and Darren hoisted the sails and they continued on their northwesterly heading towards Hermanus where the arrived in the late afternoon.

The first order of business once they were safely tied to the dockside was to collect their transport to drive around in. Feeling lazy, Andrew Ubered to the car rental company in the centre of town, picked up the air-conditioned Mercedes Vito he had reserved and drove it back to the harbour, stopping off to buy a large bag of fresh mussels from the fish market and three French bagettes, a couple of punnets of fresh strawberries, meringue cases and fresh cream.
The mussels were the hors d'oeuvres for dinner that night with the bagettes and the rest was for dessert.
He was able to drive the Vito onto the dockside and parked right next to 'Belle Catherine'.

When he got back on board, the Kinleys were all in their cabins freshening up and Darren and Ryan were firing up the BBQ to do the mussels on it. Kerry was in the galley, preparing yellow rice with raisins, pumpkin fritters, and green beans with potato and onion. They would be the side dishes to accompany bobotie, which Andrew was still to make. When he had prepared the dish for Joan and Dan the previous year, they had thoroughly enjoyed the lightly curry spiced, egg topped dish and had requested that he make it again. The only other accompiament would be a bowl of chutney. It was also one of Andrew's simpler meals, but it packed bags of flavour.

The mussels were prepared in the classical way, with juilienned leeks, carrots, celery and garlic, white wine and cream.
It was another successful dinner and would be the last dinner on board the yacht before arriving back in Cape Town. They spent the remainder of the evening watching another movie before retiring for the night.

After another continental breakfast the next morning, they all, including Rascal, boarded the Vito and went out for the day, visiting several of the wine estates in the region. The first stop was the Wildekrans Estate where, once again, they were given a personal tour and tasting by the vintner. Four cases of wine were loaded into the Vito on departure. From there, they drove to the small Beaumont Estate situated on the Houwhoek Pass, where they tasted and purchased two cases of excellent cabernet sauvignon and spent some time at the lookout area on the pass admiring the view. A highlight was when an old steam locomotive at the head of a line of passenger coaches passed noisily just below the lookout.

They continued up over the top of the pass to the historic Houwhoek Pass Hotel, originally built as a coach stop on the journey from Cape Town into the interior, and supposedly haunted, and had a buffet lunch, after which, it was back down the pass to the estate that Andrew was most looking forward to visiting. The home of his beloved pinot noir, Hamilton Russell. They had a tasting, inevitably buying a few cases of the pinot noir and then wandered around the garden of the beautiful estate. The final stop was at Southern Right, where another of Andrew's favourite wines was produced, their Southern Right Sauvignon Blanc, not only because it tasted great, but part of the price of each bottle is donated to whale conservation. In the late afternoon, with a dozen cases of wine packed in the luggage bay of the Vito, they drove back to the yacht where they relaxed for a while, had some refreshments, both alcoholic and non alcoholic, and then showered and changed before going out to dinner to at a local steakhouse, which was close enough that they could walk.

It was a pleasant stroll which gave the Kinleys the opportunity to explore the town. They passed a venue that was advertising live entertainment later in the evening, and so after dinner, they walked back there for coffee and take in the entertainment, which turned out to be a young male singer who was, in everyone's opinion, very talented. It was quite late when they strolled back to 'Belle Catherine' for the night, ahead of an early start the next morning for the hour long drive to the Caledon Casino Hotel and Spa., where they would also spend the night.

They left at 7am, after securing 'Belle Catherine', turning everything off apart from the intruder alarm and the refrigerators, advising the harbour security that they would be away for the night. The drive was very scenic, taking them past farms on either side of the road cultivating wheat, maize, canola and lupins. They arrived at
the resort just after 8am and with having a confirmed reservation for the hotel, were allowed to enter without having to pay an entrance fee. Ryan parked the vehicle and they went straight to the hotel to check in, even though their rooms wouldn't be ready until 2pm, and have a buffet breakfast in the Country Kitchen Restaurant on the patio overlooking the river at the bottom of the hill that the hotel was built on. Breakfast was relatively leisurely and afterwards they strolled through the casino, entering the venue via a door directly from the hotel.

It was quite intimate, being not very big, but was perfectly suited for purpose, having banks of slot machines against the walls and arranged in rows near the doors. Blackjack and roulette tables stood beyond that with a small Salon Prive in the corner at the back with a bar and coffee shop in the opposite corner. On a mezzanine level overlooking the casino was an intimate whisky and cigar bar and another restaurant.

Leaving the casino through the main entrance, a long, wide flight of shallow steps led up to the parking level, skirting it and levelling out in a pathway across a tree shaded swathe of grass with a shorter flight of stairs going up to the Victoria Baths and the spa complex. They entered the spa reception and presented their key cards to the young lady at the desk. Again, due to them being hotel guests, there was no admission fee.

To the right was a corridor which housed all the treatment rooms and on the left, full length glass windows and sliding doors provided views and access to the water features. A stone paved pathway led to the Victoria Baths past the rock pools through which the hot spring water cascaded down before ending in a small waterfall that fell into a large stone lined pool. The Victoria Bath, being of historical importance, had been preserved in its original design, just restored to its former glory.
Thankfully, it was not very busy, most of the holiday season crowd having already departed for home to return to work, and they had the place pretty much to themselves for a while.
They exchanged their key cards for towels, then changed into bathing suits and found loungers to lay their towels on.

When they all headed for the warm water, Rascal wanted to get in on the act as well, but Ryan took him to his lounger, telling him to stay, which he did very reluctantly, laying with his head on this paws, staring at them reproachfully. However, at one stage when it was only them in the area and the attendant had momentarily disappeared, Ryan took him for a quick paddle .

They spent a very relaxing morning in the spa complex. Joan, Tessa and Julie opted for some pampering,
having facials, manicures and pedicures before all going back to the hotel for lunch, where they were advised that their rooms were ready for them. A porter took them to ground floor rooms, all next to one another, with direct access to a private guest garden, hotel pool and pool bar. They got settled, then went for lunch on the pool deck and spent the afternoon swimming in the pool, soaking up the sun next to it on sunbeds.
After freshening up and changing, they had a buffet dinner in the Country Kitchen and then went to the casino to play the tables. Andrew and Ryan had the twins in the chest harnesses, while Tanner Jnr and Cassandra opted to stay in their room to watch movies.

Initially, the twins were wide awake, facinated by all the new sounds and the flashing lights of the casino, but it was not long before they were both fast asleep, snuggled against their dad's chests. Andrew and Ryan played blackjack for just over an hour, accumulating almost one thousand rand, before calling it a night and heading for their rooms, leaving the Kinleys sitting at blackjack and roulette tables enjoying themselves. After a good night's sleep, they had yet another buffet breakfast and checked out to drive back to Hermanus and Ryan set sail for Cape Town less than an hour after getting back to the yacht.

A southeasterly wind pushed them along at a good clip, and by the time they rounded Cape Point, the wind had picked up to a brisk southeaster so typical of the Cape summer, and 'Belle Catherine' revelled in the conditions with her spinnaker billowing taut directly off her bows. Off Camps Bay, the Kinleys went below to pack and gather their belongings and Andrew retrieved Joan's painting from its storage locker.

When Ryan made the starboard turn off Granger Bay they lost the wind so the mainsail and spinnaker came down and they proceeded on one engine. Andrew called Paul to advise that they would be mooring in an hour and to dispatch The Cameron's guest transport vehicle to collect the Kinleys.
They had to wait for a cruise liner to clear the harbour mouth before they could enter the harbour and tied up in the marina just over an hour later. The driver from The Cameron was waiting on the dockside and Darren and Kerry went below to fetch the luggage and help the driver to load it into the van, then joined Andrew, Ryan, the twins and Rascal on the dock at the end of the passerelle to bid their guests farewell.
They were all given hugs by the family and Joan's eyes were bright with tears as the kissed the boys and the twins on both cheeks and hugged them

"Thank you my darlings, we had a wonderful time. As usual you went above and beyond. We're going to miss you all . Look after yourselves and these two little munchkins. I can't believe how quickly they are growing up."
Andrew smiled at her.

"Thank you Joan. You are very welcome".

"Enjoy your night at The Cameron and have a good flight back", Ryan added.

"I'm sure we will. Thank you again. For everything".

She thanked Darren and Kerry, shook their hands, walked regally to the bus and got in.
Dan shook all their hands, thanking them as well.

"You have got a wonderful product here. Keep doing what you are doing. Thank you, all of you. We had a great time.", he told them.

"Thanks Dan", Ryan said. "It was our pleasure. Have a good trip home and we hope everything sorts itself our over there".

"Thank you boys. Look after yourselves. We'll be in touch", and he also boarded the bus. They all waved as it pulled way and with that, the epic trip was over. All that was left was to give 'Belle Catherine' a good clean and get her ready for her next cruise the following week, which Darren and Kerry would handle. But that was a job for tomorrow.

They went back on board to secure 'Belle Catherine' for the night and found two envelopes on the saloon
table, one for Andrew and Ryan, the other for Darren and Kerry, both containing a $700 tip and a note of thanks.
Darren and Kerry were over the moon.

"Wow we were not expecting that", Kerry exclaimed.
Ryan just smiled and said,

"We are not surprised. We knew they would leave something in appreciation. They are a very class act"

"Ryan is right. They are. But they are not the only class act around here. Thank you for taking us along and for all you have done for us. We appreciate you guys. We really fell with our bums in the butter when we met you", Darren added.

"You're welcome, both of you", Andrew replied. "We may not often say it, but you are both an important part of the operation, and to Ryan and I as well".

They quickly got 'Belle Catherine' buttoned up for the night and after agreeing to meet again at 10h00 to do the cleaning up, both couples left for their homes.

Copyright © 2020 Andre Delport; All Rights Reserved.
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental. Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 
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Great chapter. More awesome food and another fantastic cruise comes to an end. It's great to see Cameron and Elizabeth talking.

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Loved the chapter especially the following line...which I will abuse as situations warrant!!

"Ryan is right. They are. But they are not the only class act around here. Thank you for taking us along and for all you have done for us. We appreciate you guys. We really fell with our bums in the butter when we met you", Darren added.

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4 hours ago, drsawzall said:

Loved the chapter especially the following line...which I will abuse as situations warrant!!

"Ryan is right. They are. But they are not the only class act around here. Thank you for taking us along and for all you have done for us. We appreciate you guys. We really fell with our bums in the butter when we met you", Darren added.

You may use it with pleasure. Thank you for reading, reacting and commenting.

Edited by Andre Delport
  • Like 4
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Wow great chapter exiting with the sharks dive. It’s on my bucket list. Hopefully it will happen ever.🥰👍🏻

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