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    quokka
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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.

Alex & Lang - 2. A & L Chapter 2

“That is the end of the tour gentlemen,” I announced as we arrived in the main lobby of the main deck, where Lang appeared from the lower deck dressed in his new work uniform. “You are working on the yacht?” one of his friends asked sounding shocked.

“Yes, Mr… I am sorry sir, I don’t recall your last name,” Lang said as he turned to me, “That is because, I thought you may have guessed it during our earlier conversations, it is Devonport, Alexander Devonport,” I replied,

“Wait, I remember now, your 1st cousin is Swiss businessman Sebastian Wagner, he married Sir Lewis Shaw, the former Administrator of the Indian Ocean Territories of Australia,” Lang said to me, and I smiled.

“That is correct, and it was Sir Lewis who I was referring too, when I mentioned that a family member has served overseas, fighting in some fairly terrible battles,” I replied. “Anyway, getting back to what I was originally going to say, Mr Devonport here, has given me a job on the yacht as a steward, while we slowly travel back to Australia,” Lang said to his friends.

“Well, you are a lucky bloke to be going home in style, while we continue our holidays, stay in touch, and we will catch up with you when we get back,” one of Lang’s friends said, as they all hugged and said goodbye to their friend, and thanked me for the tour of my yacht and left.

“Sir, I just wish to thankyou for the job, it is very much appreciated,” Lang said to me, “That is fine, just work hard, and welcome to my crew and my yacht,” I replied, before I headed inside and back to my office. With it being a cool night, I decided to dine indoors tonight, and after my meal, I asked all the crew to gather for a meeting in the upper deck saloon.

“Right, I would like to let you all know that… We appear to be missing one person, where is our newest crew member?” I demanded, having to stop when I saw Lang missing from the meeting. “In the scullery washing up sir,” was the reply from the Chef.

“When I ask for a full crew meeting, I expect everyone to be present Mr Swenson,” I growled at the chef, who quickly went to get Lang two decks down, and returned a few minutes later with him in tow. “Good, now that we are all here, I just wanted to let you know that we will be leaving Italy in a two days time, once we have stocked up on provisions, and we will be heading for Western Australia.

As you know, this will take us through the Suez Canal, and with tensions in the region been increased, I am reluctant to go that way, but costs of going around are too much greater, as is the extra travel time, so we will have a lot more stricter security protocols in place before we arrive there after four days of sailing.

As required, a harbour pilot will be onboard, and during that time, the whole yacht will be in lockdown, and the pilot will only have external access to the yacht, with the exception of the Bridge and the Sundeck, so he can use the Day Head, when required, and where he will remain only as an observer during our two-day trip through the Suez Canal, the officer on watch will keep an eye on him via the security cameras day and night.

Once we enter the Gulf of Suez, we will keep going, and we will continue strict security as well as a constant watch of approaching threats over those four days. Once in the Gulf of Aden, we will remain in the centre of the Gulf, for just under a day, and once in the Arabian Sea, we should be able to relax, as we continue east to Mumbai in India, which will take us four days.

From Mumbai, we will head to Singapore, which will take us about a week to complete the journey, and from there it is just a six-day sail to the port of Darwin,” I announced to all the crew. I was about to continue, when voices from outside on the jetty came through the window.

“I tell you dear, it is not for charter, see the name on the back, and the flag, it is Australian and that is probably its destination,” we heard a male voice say with an unusual Italian accent, that sounded either Slovenian or Northern Italian, “But it would be absolutely marvellous, if we could to get to sail on her for a week, can you at least try and speak to them and let us charter the yacht for a short while,” a woman’s pleading voice said in response also in Italian.

I chuckled at hearing this and looked over to the Captain, “What is the travel time from here in Ravenna to Alexandria, via the Corinth Canal and Athens?” I asked the Captain in Italian. In reply also in Italian, he informed me that it would take us three days to get to the Corinth Canal, and with a short stop in Athens, we would arrive in Alexandria another three days later.

Reverting back to English, “That sounds good, can you let those people know what we are offering, and tell them that they have 18 hours to decide before we set sail,” I replied to the Captain, who nodded and stood up and headed downstairs to speak to the people on the jetty.

“As you may have gathered, we may have a slight change of plans, if we take up this charter, that will take us down the Italian coast to Greece, through the Corinth Canal to Athens and onto Alexandria, which would mean six days of having paid guests,” I said to the crew, as we waited for the Captain to return.

After a short wait, the Captain returned and in Italian, he informed me that the couple that we overheard outside had retired from Vaduz in Liechtenstein, to the northwest town of Ratece, in Slovenia’s mountains. They are currently on holidays with their family, who now live in Trento, Italy.

The Captain also said that they would happily accept the journey from Ravenna to Alexandria, via the Corinth Canal and Athens, as a six-day charter, and he said that apart from the retired couple, there is their son and daughter in law, and their two children aged 14 and 11, also their daughter and her husband, and they have no children, and finally a bachelor son.

With six guest cabins filled with seven adults and two children, the yacht would be kept busy during this charter, or rather the crew will be, and now I was glad that I had employed Lang so as to help with the work load. “While we are on charter, I will remain on my deck or the bridge deck, which will be off limits to the guests, as it will be the only place where I can relax without being disturbed by the guests,” I added to the crew.

The following morning, with a set departure time of 1400 hours, Chief Steward Toby and Chef Kent were busy ordering extra supplies for the guest’s meals, and everything was arranged to be delivered at 1100 hours at the latest, so it can be stored before the guests arrive at 1300 hours.

When they did arrive, about half an hour ahead of time, I was hovering out of sight, in the service area, as all the crew were in their dress uniforms, to welcome the nine guests, and give them a brief talk about areas of the yacht that they may have access too during the charter.

“What about the upper deck and bridge deck, what is on that level that we cannot go too?” the teenage boy complained in Italian, thinking that only the family understood the language, “I am not sure what you said just now, young man, but it sounded like you asked about the bridge deck,” Carter the Bosun responded in English.

“Si, I mean yes. I ask why we not allowed to go up to upper and bridge decks,” the boy said in broken English, “That would be because that is my domain, and as the owner of the yacht it is the only area that my crew and myself are permitted, with the exception of the central stairs and elevator, to gain access to the sky deck,” I replied in Italian, as I stepped out from around the corner.

“You speak fluent Italian,” the eldest of the male guests stated in surprise and I smiled, “Yes, that is correct, there is just the captain and I who are fluent in Italian, and my private staff member has some grasp of the language, the rest speak English, with some also fluent in French and German. My Name is Alexander Devonport, the yacht’s owner, and yes I am Australian, but thanks to my guardian when growing up, I have spent many years in Europe and I speak Italian, French and German fluently,” I answered.

“It is a pleasure to meet you sir, and we appreciate you allowing us to charter this fine yacht for six days, and I understand for your need to have some space to yourself for this short time,” the elder guest said to me in English, as we shook hands.

Leaving the guests in the capable hands of the stewards, I headed up the stairs to the Bridge deck and I entered the bridge. “Are we just about ready to go captain?” I asked, as I sat down in the seating area just to the left of the door into the area.

“Yes sir, once the guests have started to get settled, we will make our way out into the Adriatic Sea, with a stopover in Bari, to get final customs clearance out of Italy, and to give our guests a chance to have a short look around that fine city,” the Captain replied.

After chatting with the Captain for a short while, I headed back down to my deck, as the yacht prepared for departure, and I watched from my aft deck.

When I saw Wyatt appear, he had Lang following behind, with a silver tray, containing my afternoon tea and snack, and I watched as Wyatt indicated for the tray to be placed on the coffee table. “Delegating some of your works now are we Wyatt?” I asked my personal assistant.

“Yes sir, I might as well put him to good use,” Wyatt replied with a cheeky grin, which made me laugh, as they backed away and left the deck. “Oh Wyatt…” I called out, knowing he would still be in hearing range, “Yes sir,” Wyatt responded almost straight away.

“Keep a close eye on those two kids, I have a feeling that the boy may try to explore areas where he is not allowed to go,” I asked, “yes sir, will do… err permission to make him walk the plank if he does?” Wyatt replied, before disappearing out of sight, not waiting for a reply.

That evening, my dinner was served just before the guests, on my private deck, and once again I had Wyatt join me for dinner, as I hated eating alone, and I quizzed him on how the cruise is going so far for the guests. “Very good sir, they are full of praise every time they see a crew member. Young Lang is a good find too sir, he is a wiz behind the bar, as well as doing steward duties,” Wyatt replied.

“Yes, I thought he might be useful. By the way permission is denied in regards to your last request,” I responded, “My last request sir? ... Oh yes I remember, that is fine sir, he appears to be behaving himself, but the poor kid is bored out of his mind,” Wyatt replied.

“Well let’s see if we can resolve that issue, we want all the guests to be having a good time. I will ask the Captain, maybe we can give him a tour of the Bridge,” I suggested. “Very good sir, I will await the response, before informing the young man in question,” Wyatt replied.

“How are you getting along with our newest crew member, is he settling in ok with the rest of the crew?” I asked, “Well he works very hard, but he tends to get given all the worst jobs, from the senior crew, which I find a bit too harsh.

Quietly I have suggested to Toby, the Chief Stew, that he makes sure that it does not happen on a regular basis, or he may jump ship,” Wyatt replied, “Thanks for that feed back, I will let the Captain know, so he can deal with that issue, as he should not be treated like that. Have you got to know him a little bit?” I asked.

“Yes sir, but I already knew most of it from you telling me. He has twin younger brothers, who are attending the same Grammar School as he did, they have just turned 14 years old, and they can be a bit of a handful sometimes,” Wyatt replied.

“I have an idea brewing, but it needs more research. See if you can find out if Lang and his family have ever been on any overseas holidays, in the past five years, as we need to check to see if his brothers have passports,” I said to Wyatt, who smiled broadly.

The next day, with the Captain’s permission, Wyatt caught the teenager’s attention as he stared out to sea from the sundeck, and without the rest of the family noticing, the boy headed for the stairs, where Wyatt was waiting just out of sight.

“Hello, my name is Wyatt, I am Mr Devonport’s personal assistant, he has arranged for you to spend some time checking out some areas of the yacht, you would normally not see, follow me and we will go and check out the Bridge,” Wyatt whispered to the teenager, whose eyes went wide with enjoyment, and he smiled happily, as he followed Wyatt down the stairs and into the restricted area.

Stopping at the door at the end of the corridor, Wyatt knocked, and a call from the other side said to enter. “Permission to enter the bridge, with a guest sir?” Wyatt said after partially opening the door, “Permission granted Wyatt,” came the response from inside, as he opened the door wide, and motioned the teenager to enter.

In Italian the boy said a few words of thanks and the Captain smiled and also in Italian he welcomed the boy in and invited him to take a seat next to Wyatt, who was already seated in the viewing lounge area of the bridge. Over the next half an hour, the boy – Paulo, asked lots of questions, which the Captain happily answered,

When Wyatt stood up and indicated that it was time to go, the boy thanked the Captain for allowing him to visit the bridge, and followed Wyatt out the door. “Wow, that was awesome, can you thank Mr Devonport for arranging this for me, I have never been on a big yacht like this before, let alone see the bridge,” Paulo said to Wyatt, as they headed back to the main public area of the yacht two decks down.

Over the next few days, Wyatt showed Paulo the general crew mess area, and a view of the engine room from the doorway, as it was too noisy to go inside, plus he entertained Paulo, with games of Chess, and just spending time with the teenager, as requested by his boss, that being me. While doing his special duties of looking after Paulo, I spent a lot of time in my office, catching up on emails.

Copyright December 2021 All Rights are reserved, Preston Wigglesworth
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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.
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6 hours ago, RCCROBO said:

Trouble up ahead, let them be safe.

Trouble In my stories?

Never.... Well maybe sometimes.

;)

 

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The whole route spells TROUBLE! I would stop at Sokotra island, then head Male, Cocos, Darwin....or Colombo Christmas Island....avoiding Malakka straits and Mumbai...

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