(Here's a link to google maps, which can be zoomed and moved around, centered on the areas in the chapter, because I know some of you are like me, and love to follow along and see the areas they are in.)
Racing west in the Coral Sea, Rachel cast a troubled eye at the now-empty life raft housing on Kookaburra’s rear rail. “Remind me to get a new life raft and radar reflector. So, where to now?”
“For the time being, we’re soon going to be missing at sea as far as most anyone knows. It’ll need to stay that way until the police can run back the leads we’ve given them and round up those behind this. Hopefully, not too long.” He turned to look at Bluey and Bonzer. “You two did great, so you get a choice. Not many know you’re aboard, so we could drop you somewhere close to an airport with some money to make your way home, if you swear to keep your mouths shut for a bit about us being alive and the boat intact. Or, you can come with us, and we’ll have you back in Cairns within a month at the most.”
Bluey and Bonzer shared a look and a grin, and then Bonzer chuckled before replying, “Asking Bluey to keep his big mouth shut is like asking a fish not to swim; we’d best go with you.”
“You’ll be able to ring your families and let them know you’re okay, but not one word about us or Kookaburra,” Fowler said, while giving Bluey a warning look.
Bluey glanced at Bonzer’s feet, and then his own, before reluctantly replying, “Bonzer can call for me.”
With that settled, Fowler turned to tell Rachel, “We know stuff was found aboard, but that does not mean that everything has been found. Ned searched Atlantis in tremendous detail, but he hasn’t searched Kookaburra. I’ll give him a ring and tell him to stock a boat with all he needs and meet us…” Fowler paused, his voice trailing off. “Rachel, our destination is Rhys Lagoon, and you’ll need to keep us out of sight on the way.”
“You think there’s more to find, don’t you?” Rachel asked.
Fowler nodded. “If I didn’t… I might not have taken the risk of trying to move those bombs. In some ways, the safest thing to do might have been to leave ‘em in place, set Kookaburra on autopilot, then let those two in the powerboat see her emerge from the storm and blow sky high. The Zodiac could have got us to Lizard Island, or we could have just waited, with an EPIRB squawking, for the patrol boat to arrive. That’s assuming those guys in the boat don’t have friends on Lizard Island or nearby who might have got to us first. Or we could have taken that powerboat, though I wasn’t sure it didn’t have a bomb aboard too – that’d fit with that hit man being killed in prison; these people don’t like loose ends and don’t shirk from killing their own.”
“I think you made the right choice, for a lot of reasons,” Rachel replied.
Fowler nodded, and then sat down, glancing for a moment at his trembling hands.
The discovery of the bombs aboard Kookaburra had shaken them all. Fowler glanced again at his wavering hands, remembering the frantic hours within the storm.
Just a few minutes after Bluey had found the first bomb, Fowler had put his wife and son in the Zodiac, asking Rachel to take them to a safe distance and wait. He’d asked Bluey to go along as well, but Bluey, heart and soul a lifesaver, had volunteered to stay and help Fowler. “Swimming alone isn’t safe, especially for old people,” he’d helpfully pointed out. To Bluey, that definition included anyone past thirty.
Fowler, wearing snorkel gear, had spent several anxious minutes alternating between examining the bomb and scrambling back aboard to talk on the phone.
The tech’s advice had been to abandon ship and wait for help, but a plan had already formed in Fowler’s mind, so with the help of the tech, they’d worked their way through safing and then removing the bomb. The first step had been to cut the antenna lead.
The bombs had been formed on flexboard sheeting and glued to the hull with epoxy. The explosive itself was the consistency of stiff modeling clay, held in place by netting within it, loosely stapled to the flexboard. The exposed and pliable explosive and lack of an outer casing had enabled Fowler to follow the antenna lead to the tiny control box within the mass of high explosive, and, with that found, cut the wires to the detonator caps and then remove them.
The tech had picked up on Fowler’s ongoing trepidation, and had assured him, “Without a detonator, it’s totally safe to handle, because without a high pressure shockwave such as from a detonator, the high explosive remains inert. Most forms of high explosive are inherently safe to handle. You can take a fistful, knead it, even throw it against a wall at full force or set it on fire. Nothing much will happen. However, add a detonator cap and the situation radically changes. Detonator caps are somewhat shock sensitive; place one in the middle of a ball of high explosive and smash that with a hammer. You’ll get an explosion.”
Once the two detonator caps had been removed from the bomb, it was effectively harmless, allowing the explosive to be pried away by the armload, taken to the surface, and roughly hurled onto the deck above. The main risk was that the bomb had been booby-trapped, such as with a pressure switch and a separate detonator. The tech had pronounced that unlikely with the comforting words, “I doubt it’s rigged like that; if it was, a whack from a wave or the motion of the boat would have probably blown you to bits by now.”
Their saving grace had actually been Gray, for he was skilled with electronics and computers, though not explosives. As a result, he’d aimed for simplicity, not redundancy, in his bombs. The need to sink Kookaburra in deep water, along with his own near proximity to her in Cairns, had dissuaded him from even considering any sort of anti-tampering booby-trap. Fowler had no way of knowing that, so he had worked with care and trepidation on what was, as soon as the detonators had been removed, a totally harmless mass of high explosive, no more dangerous than a fifty-five pound lump of modeling clay.
The tech had been highly impressed by the described size. “That’s total overkill, by a factor of around fifty. Half a kilo would be more than enough to do a yacht and everyone aboard.”
When, with Bluey’s help, Fowler had at last finished stripping the explosive from that hull, he’d returned to the cockpit, near exhaustion, only to have Bluey ask, “Want me to do the other one, or do you want to do it?” Bluey had spotted it while helping Fowler; until that point they, including the bomb tech, had assumed just the one bomb, due to the enormous power of the one they’d found. Bluey had just assumed that Fowler had known of it.
The second bomb had proved easier; it had no control, no wires. Just two detonator caps, their unused wires protruding, in the mass of high explosive.
“Shock-triggered. The pressure wave from the other one would crush the detonators, setting them off. But the first one was massive overkill, why two?” The tech had asked. Fowler already had a very strong opinion – that the bombs were intended to blast Kookaburra to dust, not just destroy her – though he was not willing to share it with the tech.
At last, the nerve-wracking chore had been completed: both bombs removed. Fowler, at the tech’s direction, had photographed the components. Fowler had then hooked a flashlight bulb up to the detonator wires from the control box, and tested the remote. A moment after that test, it had occurred to him that there could have been a third bomb aboard and his test could have blown them to bits, a realization that further jangled his nerves.
Upon determining that the control box worked, he hooked two of the flashlight-battery-sized detonators – they were now nowhere near the explosives which were currently littering the deck in large beige lumps – back up to the control box. With it above water, its remaining length of antenna lead was sufficient for the task.
Kookaburra’s life raft was then unstowed, inflated, and moored at the stern, where Bluey and Fowler filled it with the lumps of explosive – totaling just over one hundred and ten pounds. Kookaburra’s radar reflector had been placed atop the life raft’s cover, just a few feet over the relocated bombs.
The final step – inserting the detonators into a large lump of explosive – was done by Fowler after he’d used the now-returned Zodiac – recalled with a blast of Kookoburra’s horns – to tow the life raft into position, while on his way back to the powerboat.
All this had been accomplished in pouring rain and constant fear.
After Fowler, Martin, and Bonzer had returned, Kookaburra had slowly motored southwest, watching on radar with her AIS transponder in standby – when pinged in standby an indicator light flashed, but no reply was sent. That had been the signal that the powerboat was operating again, and its sudden movement had confirmed it. With that, Fowler had let Bluey press the detonator button; his own hands had been shaking too much to trust.
Bluey’s response, upon hearing and feeling the blast, had been to shout “Ripper!”
With that memory, Fowler smiled, amazed at the unflappable young man, who had been bothered not at all by working with bombs.
Fowler sighed, his thoughts returning to the present. The stress of recent hours had taken a toll on him, though nothing a few days of relaxation couldn’t cure. “Martin, do me a favor and pour me a whisky. Make it a double.”
“Will do, but I’m joining you,” Martin replied, heading inside for the bar.
“What now, Greg?” Rachel asked, with the powerboat now thirty miles away and heading south at high speed.
“Now we hide, let the press report us missing, then dead, and let the guys ashore roll up the people behind this,” Fowler replied, taking another sip of whisky. “I’ve already called Jason Kline; he’ll help spread the word, and in return he gets the full story later in payment.”
“So Kookaburra was their real target all along. They wanted her destroyed.”
“That’s the only thing that fits. They could have blown us days ago, but it looks like they were waiting until we were in deep water, far from shore. They also used enough explosive to not just destroy us but blast us to smithereens. It’s probably something to do with that asset list and keys Trev and Shane found aboard. That’d fit with Geraldton too,” Fowler said. “I think this means Bridget is alive, and that she’s desperate to destroy Kookaburra, probably thinking those keys and asset list are still aboard. According to Gonzalez, the keys haven’t led to much yet, and neither has the asset list, but she has to have some reason to fear them. I’ll let him know to redouble his efforts.”
“If she’s so afraid of them being found, won’t the threat go away once she knows they have been?”
Fowler smiled. “According to Jason Kline, her asset list is being published a week from today. My best guess is we’ll be done with her once that happens; she’ll have no more motive. However, we’ll need to stay ‘dead’ for a bit, until the guys ashore can get those who did this.”
Rachel sighed. “So for the second time in my life, I’m to be thought lost at sea.”
“But only for a week or two, not years,” Fowler replied, giving her a sympathetic smile.
Rachel remained silent for a moment, before asking, “What of Trev and Shane?”
“We’d be taking a risk, a small one, if we called them-”
“Gregory Fowler!” Rachel roared, fury in her voice as she glared at her brother-in law. “If you think for one minute that I’ll let my son think me dead a second time, you’re very bloody wrong. I’m in command of this vessel, and the matter isn’t open for discussion: I will ring him-”
Fowler raised a conciliatory hand. “Hold up, I was about to say it’s worth the risk. I just think we ought to wait a day to let things shake out first.”
“He might hear on the news that we’ve been destroyed or are at least missing. No,” Rachel replied, her voice, accompanied by a sharp rap of her cane against the deck, letting Fowler know that on this matter she would not be dissuaded.
“Okay, but one thing; keep what we say to a minimum. I’m probably being paranoid but it’s best not to fully trust phones. We can tell him we’re all okay and that he might hear otherwise, but not one word about Kookaburra having survived. Also, I want to talk to him.”
“Fine, but you’re going to have him check for a bomb.”
Fowler shook his head. “It’s Kookaburra they’ve been after,” he said, and then froze for a moment, his eyes opening a bit wider. He blanched; with all the stress, and his certainty that Kookaburra had been the target, a simple, fairly obvious thought had not occurred to him. “But we’ve been playing games as to which boat is which. We were moored right next to –”
“Call, right now,” Rachel commanded.
“Hi, Uncle Greg!” Trevor cheerfully called out, from his beanbag at Atlantis’s helm.
“Trevor, have you seen any signs of anyone trailing you, or running parallel? Either visually or on radar?”
Trevor glanced at his radar. “Nothing in range now, and hasn’t been in over a day. We saw a westbound freighter, nothing since.”
Fowler breathed a sigh of relief. “That’s good news. Okay, listen very carefully; I can’t answer any questions by phone, not right yet anyway. For now, you need to know that everyone who was on Kookaburra is just fine, though you may hear otherwise soon.”
Fowler held the phone up for Rachel, who said, “That’s true Trev, we’re all fine. No questions, I agree with Greg on that. Now listen to me. I do not want you to turn back, no matter what. We are fine, all of us. Remember, I left Florida. Now you must keep going.”
Trevor had already been looking at his navigation screen with the thought of turning back in mind. Now, his blood turned to ice.
Fowler returned the phone to his ear. “Okay, we’re probably worried for nothing, but you’re going to need to come to a stop, then one of you is going over the side with a mask to check your hulls.”
“For what?” Trevor asked, growing concerned.
“For anything amiss. Check your zinc for any wires, and anything attached to your hulls. Also, check around elsewhere. We don’t think there’s anything, but we need to be sure. Trev, remember when I took you to the doctor’s appointment? We had a chat about what you saw on the street, something we’ve used before.” Fowler was referring to the memorial plaques on HMAS Sydney Memorial Avenue, and thus the ship herself. “Now, do you recall what I said probably happened? The event itself?”
Trevor’s mind flashed back, recalling his uncle’s speculation. HMAS Sydney had last been seen limping away from the battle with the German ship, on fire and down by the bows. Not long after, an explosion was seen, and Fowler’s theory was that the cruiser’s ammunition had been detonated by the fires. An explosion. And that meant a bomb. “Oh shit. Yeah, I, uh, understand. That’s what we’re looking for, right? Something that could do the same here?”
“Exactly. There’s probably nothing, but you need to look.” Fowler thought for a moment. “Look for any large lumps on the hulls, anything strange. Leave the line open. I’ll be here.”
“Shit,” Trevor mumbled, glancing at Shane, who had been sharing the phone and who had already guessed the possible problem. “I’m coming into the wind. You want to go over the side, or want me to?” Trevor asked.
Shane was already pulling out the snorkeling gear. “Me, I need you at the helm to hold her steady without engines.”
As soon as Atlantis had slowed, Shane dove overboard. He knew Atlantis’s undersides well and thoroughly checked her hulls, and then the underside of the salon and cockpit. It took him ten minutes, but then he was back, dripping and shaking his head. “Nothing,” he said, loud enough for Fowler to hear.
“That’s good news. Now, just to be safe, have a good look around the boat. Call if you find anything, anything at all.”
“Uh, how big, any idea?” Trevor asked.
“Maybe as small as a can of spray paint,” Fowler replied, taking a guess. “Though maybe quite a bit larger.”
As soon as the call was over, Trevor said, “Oh shit, I don’t like this. I’m going to get Atlantis back underway and put her on autopilot so we can both search.”
And for the next several hours, search they did, checking everywhere they could think of, seeking a bomb that did not exist. Their search, however, did not turn up the tracker, which was well hidden and also quite small; not much bigger than a deck of cards.
When at last they were done, it was almost nightfall. Trevor, concerned about what was going on, used the satellite phone to report to his uncle, and then to check the Internet for news. He spotted it quickly; several reports that Kookaburra was missing and an explosion had been seen in the area – a story spread with the help of Jason Kline. One of them was under his byline.
“Oh fuck, so this is what they meant,” Shane said, staring at the computer screen.
“They’re up to something. If there’s anyone who can fake her own death, it’s Mom. Seeing as they called us to look for a bomb, they might have had one.”
“So what do we do?” Shane asked.
Trevor glanced at the navigation screen and sighed. “Uncle Greg and Mom said to keep going, and he should have news for us before our next port.” That wasn’t a short timescale. Their route to New Zealand was a long one, dictated by the winds; a run east past New Caledonia, then a turn south. They had almost two thousand miles yet to go before reaching Whakatane. “Ten days minimum, and that’s if the wind holds.”
Kookaburra’s ‘death’ had been done for a purpose. The Australian authorities had been very busy delving into the cell phone and satellite phone accounts of the phones Fowler had temporarily taken from the powerboat. The electronic IDs of the phones – their SIM data – had given them the leads they needed. They’d also traced the calls made from the boat.
What they found was disturbing; the registered addresses belonged to people in the Melbourne area who professed no knowledge of them. What was becoming clear from the call logs, which went back several months, was that the cell phones had been used to call known figures in the Melbourne underworld on many occasions. Gray’s associates on the powerboat were not quite as careful as Gray himself. They’d been using the prepaid cells, registered under forged identities, for many months.
The satellite phone – provided by Gray – proved to be the most intriguing. It had called a mobile number in Cairns several times, and had received calls from that number.
The real prize though had been Gray’s two associates themselves. They had raced south, and then made for Port Douglas to refuel. From there, they had proceeded south at a far more leisurely pace. The Australian navy’s patrol aircraft, supplemented by the Jindalee radar net, ensured that their eventual arrival in Townsville – where they planned to abandon the boat – was memorable. Half a dozen police officers put an end to their run, capturing both men within moments of their docking.
They were placed under arrest. The explosives residue aboard the powerboat was all that was needed in those circumstances. That the residue had actually come from Fowler when he’d returned – it was still on his hands – wasn’t known by the authorities, nor would they have been particularly eager to find out.
The men had been in possession of the bomb’s trigger when apprehended by Fowler, and the involvement of bombs put them under a range of laws very different from what they were used to. Both men protested that they’d had nothing to do with any bomb and began demanding lawyers. They were then informed, with a smile, that under the Australian Security Intelligence Organization Legislation Amendment (Terrorism) Act of 2002, they were being detained and would not have access to lawyers, or any communications whatsoever, until the authorities decided otherwise. The police could not risk the men’s capture becoming known just yet.
Aboard Atlantis, the days passed. Trevor and Shane kept an eye on the news as the reports of Kookaburra’s loss grew more specific; a bomb aboard was now suspected and, according to the press, hopes were dwindling that any survivors would be found.
Trevor called Fowler to check in, and they both avoided any mention of Kookaburra. However, one issue needed to be addressed. “Uncle Greg, that place you thought we should head for… I’ll need to stop somewhere first; it’s not a customs port of entry. The best one is the one I was originally going to. I’ll go in just to clear, then out again.”
“No need, Trev. I made some arrangements. A police officer will be there to meet you at where I said. You’re to bring nothing ashore save for yourselves but, other than that, go in just as if you’d already been cleared. No other ports though; you’ll need to leave from there. I’d also recommend not staying too long. Now a bit of good news; I think we’ll have the mess solved before your next port.”
Fowler kept the call brief, so it was soon over. Trevor put the phone away with a sigh.
“I’ve been thinking. Maybe the bitch got Kookaburra, but they got off in time,” Shane said.
Trevor gave Shane a faint smile. “Maybe not. I heard boat noise in the background, just like we’re hearing now,” Trevor said, indicating the sound of Atlantis’s hulls slicing through the sea, and the soft murmur of wind in the rigging. “I’m pretty sure they’re at sea, so maybe they’re on Kookaburra. My guess is they found the bomb in time. We know Jason Kline is involved; he might have planted the story. The thing is, somebody tried to do something to them; that I’m pretty sure of.”
Bridget’s tripwire on Andros Island – a business mentioned in her asset list that she’d left in place as a warning that the list had been discovered – had been well and truly tripped by Kent Moorcroft’s hired help. The reporter had strolled in and begun asking questions about Bridget Bellevue. As soon as the reporter had left, the manager of the business had instantly called a contact number in Florida, and from there the news made its way up the chain. When Bridget received the news, the relief she’d felt when she’d heard of Kookaburra’s destruction vanished.
A day that had begun badly for Bridget soon grew very much worse. She checked for the second half of Kent Moorcroft’s story, due that Sunday – Saturday, in the Bahamas – and found that it had appeared.
With her hands beginning to tremble with anger, Bridget glanced through the story, seeing the pictures of Trevor and Shane in Coral Bay’s post office, Trevor with the safe deposit box keys and asset list, busily addressing a package to put them in. Bridget scrutinized the photos, seeking any sign of the dreaded tape, though finding none. A brief remark near the end, that Trevor had been visiting video stores, made Bridget’s hands tremble. At the end of the story was a full copy of her asset list.
“Xavier, I need you!”
Xavier, bearing coffee, appeared, and Bridget took the cup with a sigh. She added a healthy dose of brandy. “This may not be over…” Bridget went on to explain what she needed.
Bridget was not positive that Trevor had the tape – she hoped it had been destroyed with Kookaburra – but the risk it posed was too great to take chances. Atlantis had now become her primary target.
As soon as Xavier left her office, Bridget phoned Gray. Irked to get a voicemail recording she left a terse message, “We need to speak, most urgent,” and hung up. Then, she poured herself some more brandy.
Gray, concerned that his missing associates may have been compromised, had taken the precaution of turning off all of his phones, including the dedicated one for Bridget.
Twice a day, he went for a drive, and while in motion checked his messages. His reasoning was sound; if the authorities were trying to trace his phones, their task of triangulating his position would be vastly complicated as he moved from the coverage of one cell tower to another. The ones with GPS chips in the phones were of no concern; if present, he always disabled them upon first acquiring a phone.
Gray heard Bridget’s message and phoned her. As soon as the encryption engaged, he said, “G’day, I called as soon as I could. I’m keeping my phones off, just in case, but I’m checking in often.”
“We have a situation. I need Atlantis and all aboard destroyed; events have made this imperative. We can no longer wait, therefore I shall increase your fee by one million if this matter can be dealt with promptly. Have they come about to return to Australia yet?”
“No sign. Perhaps they don’t know yet. The last ping had them approaching New Zealand’s North Cape, southbound, looks like they’ll pass well east of it.”
Bridget glanced at a map, thinking. A few moments later, she replied, “I am guessing Auckland, or somewhere on the eastern shore of the North Island, almost certainly one of the designated ports of entry. Can you be in the country when they arrive, or have something set up?”
“Not a chance. I’ve no contacts in New Zealand and no way of arming myself there, not on this short a notice.” Gray left out the fact that, due to his concerns, he was unwilling to attempt travel by air.
Bridget sighed. The news was dismaying, though not unexpected. “What is the situation if they return to Australia?”
“They’re dead as maggots,” Gray replied, lured by the proffered extra million. He’d already been paid enough to allow him to leave the business, but the additional funds offered would make it a much sweeter proposition. “Here, I have the connections to arrange things. Outside of Australia, I don’t.”
“Very well. I shall have people en route to New Zealand within a day. Make certain that you keep me updated on the course and position of Atlantis.”
After the call, Bridget made one of her own, to a Nassau travel agency – one of her holdings there – to book airfares for Xavier and his handpicked team to Auckland.
The results didn’t please her; thirty-four hours travel time, commencing in eight hours. Two full days for her people to even reach Auckland, while Atlantis would be there, by her estimate, in less than a day and might well turn around for Australia as soon as she arrived. Bridget weighed the options, deciding to go ahead with sending the team, reasoning that even if they missed catching Atlantis in New Zealand, they might be of use in Australia if Atlantis returned.
“And if she keeps going, I’ll settle the matter in Panama,” Bridget said to herself, taking solace in her words.
Trevor had the dawn watch, smiling as the first glimmers of the coming day lit the eastern horizon over the Bay of Plenty. Seven miles off Atlantis’s port side, a dark shape loomed, backlit by the pre-dawn.
Shane, though he’d only gotten off watch two hours before, appeared in the cockpit with mugs of coffee.
“Can’t sleep?” Trevor asked, gratefully taking the proffered mug.
Shane, shivering slightly due to wearing only his boxers in the cool morning air, glanced forward, peering into the darkness, as he replied, “I did for a bit, but I want to see landfall. I’ve never seen a foreign country before.”
Trevor pointed over the port rail. “Then have a look; that’s White Island. It’s a volcano.”
“Ripper!” Shane declared, as his eyes made out the distant island. “That means we’re not far off our port, fuck-a-whatsits.”
“Uncle Greg calls it fuck-ah-tarny, but it’s spelled ‘W–h–a–k–a–t–a–n–e’. I guess they pronounce stuff differently here. We’ll be there by sunup.”
“How long should we stay?” Shane asked, then followed with, “Er – hold that thought…” as he darted inside to pull on some clothes.
When Shane returned, Trevor replied, “I’d like to stay a few days, that’s what we planned on when we first talked about New Zealand. This place looks really interesting. There’s all sorts of geysers and stuff not far inland. But now, after what’s happened, I think we should clear out quick. Tonight, or maybe tomorrow night. What do you think?”
“I think that sucks, but I think you’re right. I also think your uncle would give us an earbashing if we stay too long,” Shane said, and then added, “Let’s get the shopping done, then we can have a bit of a look around.”
Trevor phoned the Whakatane police officer, who was expecting them.
In the gathering dawn, Trevor took Atlantis straight in towards the mouth of the Whakatane River. It was a difficult entrance; on their left, a rocky headland, and on the right, a sandy hook. The mouth itself is littered with rock outcroppings. The waterway is only seventy yards wide from shore to shore in some places, and, of that, only a small part of it is navigable. Atlantis, at over thirty feet wide, was large for the narrow channel, but Trevor, guided by the red day marks on the hill and shoreline, forged on ahead, running Atlantis on engines, using both the throttles and rudders for control as Atlantis began to pitch and yaw in the chaotic seas of the bar.
The tide was not in their favor; they were entering on an outgoing tide, into the teeth of an eight-knot current. Even over the roar of Atlantis’s engines, the pounding surf could be heard, breaking on the rocks and the beach to their right.
At the tip of the sandy hook stood a massive conical rock, over twenty feet tall, with a statue on top. Shane glanced at it, seeing how perilously close they were – less than half a boat-width. Then he looked to port, seeing the row of red channel markers, watching as one passed an arm’s length from the starboard hull. “I’m glad it’s you at the helm,” he muttered, thinking ‘Compared to this, The Rip wasn’t that bad’.
The perilous entrance ended suddenly, opening out into a calm, wide, curving river, fronted on their left by the town of Whakatane. Trevor motored past the town, following the police officer’s suggestion of proceeding a thousand meters upriver to anchor in a more private setting.
Once anchored, Trevor and Shane paused to look around, seeing, in the first rays of the rising sun, the verdant green fields on the northern shore and, to the south, an area of trees between themselves and the town. It was more private than docking at the town’s main waterfront would have been, though some of the residents had already noticed the largest boat in years to enter their harbor.
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