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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 - 4. A & L Chapter 4

“That’s perfect timing, as our canal booking is set for the following day, according to the Captain, we will be leaving Port Said at 1000 hours, after spending the night at the Port Said Yacht Club,” I replied. “Very good, good night, sir,” Wyatt said before closing my door.

The next morning, at breakfast, the Captain informed me that he had been told about the passengers arrival tomorrow, and he let me know that he had been in contact with the transit agency, and we have been put on a 24-hour delay, because of a defence ship passing through the canal, which puts a stop on all other traffic, so we would be spending two nights at the yacht club instead of one.

“Good morning, sir, did you receive my cousin’s resumes?” Lang asked eagerly, just as Wyatt arrived and placed a folder beside me, and I opened it briefly. “Yes, they have just arrived thankyou, I will let you know what my decision is once I have had breakfast,” I replied, and Lang smile, before leaving.

Wyatt re-entered the room and sat down to have breakfast with me, which was now a regular routine, “Captain said we have a day’s delay before entering the canal, so what will we be doing in all that time?” Wyatt asked me. “I have instructed the Captain to have us fully fuelled, and restocked with water, food and general supplies, so that when we get to the canal, we won’t have to pay any extra higher prices for anything,” I replied.

Tapping the top of the file he had just placed there, “I think it would be great to have our own paramedic onboard, and I am sure you won’t complain about having a pastry chef onboard too,” Wyatt said and he grinned widely to me, and I just laughed.

“Don’t you mean, you would like to have a pastry chef onboard, it is you that has a sweet tooth for pastries my friend, not me,” I replied, and Wyatt laughed, you know me too well… boss,” Wyatt responded. “Every time we do this trip, all I get is bloody paperwork,” Captain Anton complained as he entered the room.

“Yeah, sorry about that Captain, maybe we can take the longer scenic route next time,” I replied, “Either way, I still get the rough end of the stick,” the Captain responded. “True, but on this trip, we will be making some stopovers, after Mumbai, we will be changing course and going down to the Maldives for a holiday for everyone, including yourself, then over to the familiar locations of Cocos Keeling Islands and Christmas Island,” I announced.

“Good, I have always enjoyed visiting the Cocos Keeling Islands,” the Captain said smiling as Wyatt served the Captain a cup of strong coffee just how he likes it. We discussed the plans for the trip in more detail as we relaxed, and once he was happy with the plans, the Captain excused himself and headed back to the Bridge.

Lang, Wyatt and I all travelled to the airport to collect Lang’s brothers and cousins and bring them back to the yacht, and we made sure not to have any stops along the way, as tourists can often get caught up in local situations that can get very messy very quickly.

Once we arrived at the Marina, we assisted them with their luggage, and once onboard the yacht, the stewards took over with getting our four new passengers settled into their cabins, with my suggestion of them taking up the spare crew cabins on the lower deck, so they are all together.

I had asked Lang to bring his cousins and brothers to the upper deck lounge, once they had settled in and had a good look around the yacht. When they did arrive, Wyatt and I were just casually chatting and he stood up and left the room when Lang knocked on the door to the lounge, and I motioned for him to enter.

“Guys, this is my friend and boss, Mr Devonport. Sir; May I present my younger brothers Mitch and Julian Atkins and our 1st cousins Darius and Fraser Parker,” Lang said formally. “Come in and take a seat, have you had a chance to have a good look around?” I responded.

I saw one of the cousins look to Lang, who smiled and nodded, before turning back to me. “Yes sir, it is an awesome yacht, we all appreciate your generosity of allowing my brother and I to spend two weeks onboard on a short traineeship,” one of the cousins replied.

“Your most welcome, you know it was your cousin who bravely came up to me when in northern Italy, and started a conversation, not knowing who I am and how things would change so dramatically for Lang,” I said to them.

“Oh, he hasn’t told us anything about that, only that he met this really nice young guy a few years older than him, who happens to know where Toodyay in Western Australia is, and that he has this incredibly huge yacht”, the other cousin replied, and I smiled.

“Sir both sets of twins have decided to share cabins, since they have grown up sharing a room all their life, so I have allocated them the two cabins closest to mine,” Lang announced to me. “Yes, that is fine. Did you let Toby know of the arrangements?” I asked, “Not yet sir, but I will do shortly,” Lang replied.

“Now, you had better get to work, showing your twin cousins what they will be doing for the next two weeks, I will have Wyatt allocate some jobs for your twin brothers to do,” I said to Lang. “Yes sir, and thankyou,” Lang replied as he stood and the rest of his family did the same and followed Lang out of the room.

With there being a small medical room just forward of the main saloon, and behind the crew access stairs, I made sure that it was fully stocked up, as soon as I learnt that we would be having a paramedic on board, which meant a bit of a work load off our Bosun Carter, who was the most experienced First Aider onboard up till now.

I was surprised that evening, to be served a very delicious looking desert, and I looked up at Toby who had served it, “Is this the work of our new pastry chef?” I asked, “Yes sir; and I managed to get a taste test and fully recommend it,” Toby replied smiling, before leaving me and Wyatt to eat.

“Wow, I recommend that we keep him onboard boss, that was one really nice desert,” Wyatt said after polishing off his second course very smartly, and let out a small burp, which made me chuckle. “I agree with you my friend, but let us wait until near the end of their stay before making that kind of decision,” I replied.

When we were finally on our way into the canal, with a pilot onboard, who was led directly to the bridge via the aft deck stairs on all levels, I was on the Bridge with the Captain and 1st Officer, when he arrived. “Who is he?” the pilot demanded, when he looked at the two officers in uniform and then at me, dressed in neat casuals.

“That sir is none of your business,” the Captain responded, and I held up my hand to indicate to take it easy with our official visitor. “My name is Mr Devonport; I am the owner of this yacht, during your stay onboard. Now a few rules for you, while onboard you will be restricted to the bridge, plus the day bathroom on this deck, through that door and at the end of the passage on the right, through another door, with the bathroom located immediately on your left, opposite the crew stairs.

You are not to go down those stairs, or enter any other part of this yacht, unless you are escorted by one of my senior crew. You have permission to go up to the sky deck, via the aft deck stairs, where you will find sun chairs, table and chairs, and a spa pool and bathroom that you can use.

If you abuse the facilities on my yacht, or go in an area that you are not permitted, I will have you escorted off this yacht no matter where we are on the canal. This yacht has security cameras in all main areas on all decks, so like the crew; you will be watched at all times. Do you understand me?” I said slowly and clearly to the pilot, who looked like he was not impressed at what I had just said.

“You nobody, I talk only to captain,” the Pilot responded, and even the Captain was not happy at this response, “That is your choice, but you will obey those rules that Mr Devonport has just informed you of,” the Captain said to the pilot, staring him in the eyes and not moving from standing just two feet away from him.

Feeling very uncomfortable, the pilot looked away, and stepped back, and after a few moments, he cleared his throat, “You do as I say, I am the pilot,” he said to the Captain. “You may know the waters in this canal, but I have travelled on it many times, and I am very familiar with the waters too, as is my boss. So, we will listen to your advice, but we will decide if we accept and act on that advice, so I suggest you sit your small Arab arse down on that chair, and keep out of my way,” the Captain boomed at the pilot.

I smiled and nodded to the Captain, before leaving the bridge, and Wyatt was in the officers lounge when I walked in. “Was that the Captain having a few words with the pilot?” he asked me, and I chuckled, “Yep, just letting him know who the real boss is when operating this yacht,” I replied smiling, and Wyatt laughed.

“Should I get the blue dye and the plank out just in case they are needed?” Wyatt asked, and I laughed out loudly, just as I noticed the 1st Officer in the doorway and he too was smiling. “When our visiting official is not onboard later, I will inform the Captain of your suggestion Mr Wyatt,” Christopher Hart, the 1st Officer said.

“I wonder what the Canal officials would say if we hoisted a pirate flag too?” Wyatt asked which had all of us laughing. About two hours into the first day of the transit down the canal, a yacht wide PA announcement was made in Italian.

“Boss and Wyatt to the bridge please,” came the Captains voice, and with both of us sitting in my office, we jumped up and raced up the stairs to the next deck up. With no sign of the pilot, I asked where is the pilot.

“That is what we would like to know too sir,” Christopher replied, as Captain Anton was currently on the yacht’s Satellite telephone talking to someone. Before we arrived at the marina at Port Said two days ago, I had put in place a number of code words for the crew to know, and I picked up the PA phone and pressed the button for yacht wide broadcast. “Code Jackaroo, I repeat, Code Jackaroo,” I said before ending the announcement.

On hearing this, Wyatt left the bridge, to do his part for searching for the pilot, as just ordered with the code announcement. It was a good twenty minutes later, before the call came to the Bridge that the Pilot had been found, located in the boat garage in the aft lower deck, and is currently been escorted directly to the bridge via the elevator.

“That is correct sir, your SCA Pilot has just been found in a restricted area of the yacht, when he was warned to stay either on the bridge or the sundeck, and I want him off this yacht immediately, I heard the Captain say over the Sat Phone.

“No, we will not be charge for the bad behaviour of your staff, now get a boat over to this yacht pronto, or we will throw him overboard where we are… Good, I look forward to seeing his departure very shortly,” the Captain said before slamming the phone down.

A few minutes later, Grayson, Cater and Joseph arrived with the missing SCA Pilot, “You are here to be informed that you are been removed from this yacht, as soon as a boat comes to collect you. You were clearly warned, and we do not tolerate bad behaving officials, no matter what country they are from, now get out of my bridge,” Captain Anton snapped at the Pilot, who was grabbed by the arms and shoulders and marched out of the Bridge, and taken down to the main deck, to await his departure.

I had made sure that all the fenders had been put out in case they decided to ram the yacht for not getting what they want, in the form of Baksheesh, as it is known. We didn’t need to worry as a pilot boat arrived, and the SCA Pilot stepped off the yacht, and we smiled from the bridge, as the pilot boat headed the way it came.

“Good, now that he is gone, we can start to relax a little, but I still want all external doors to be locked on the inside for the rest of the trip down the canal and the gulf,” the Captain said and he repeated it over the PA system to all crew.

During our overnight stop in Ismailia, the Captain has assigned three crew to be on watch, for three hours shifts; from sunset through to sunrise, and while Wyatt and I were having breakfast, the Captain entered the upper saloon, sat down and accepted a coffee from Wyatt.

“Just as well we had the extra crew on watch last night, we had someone attempt to board the yacht twice last night, and they soon disappeared as soon as an internal light was turned on, close to where the intruder was approaching,” the Captain announced.

“They will try absolutely anything the little thieves,” Wyatt commented, and I just nodded my head in agreement, as we watched an official approaching the yacht, and suddenly we realised that it was a woman, with the rank of Captain on her SCA uniform.

“Now you don’t see that every day,” I commented, and the Captain chuckled, “Actually, she is one of only a few that have been allowed to enter the service, and she is the only one to reach the rank of Captain so far, from what I have read about her. “We will have no problems with this young lady for the rest of the trip,” the Captain commented; as he stood and headed down to meet her.

“Mr Devonport, please meet Captain Mari Aswari, our SCA official for today,” the Captain said when he returned with the SCA officer. Wyatt and I both stood, and greeted her, “Captain, you will have our full cooperation, as long as you respect my wishes in regards to the safety of my yacht,” I said to her.

“Thankyou Mr Devonport. All I need to know is where the bridge is, and were a suitable rest room can be located, when needed,” the Captain replied. “You have my permission to use the restroom next to the main stairs on the bridge deck, one deck up from here, and also the use of the officer’s lounge next to it for your meals and rest periods,” I replied.

“I will have our Chef come and talk to you about what you would like for your meals, we have of course some Halal foods for the chef to prepare for you, during your stay,” I said to the visiting captain. “Thankyou Mr Devonport, you are most kind,” she responded.

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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Hmm.  A woman Eqyptian Canal Pilot with a rank of Captain? This story is indeed timely as Eqypt's first ever SCA Captain, Marwa Elselehdar was wrongly accused in April of 2021 as being responsible for the boat that blocked the Suez Canal, despite being onboard another ship over 200 miles away in Alexandria at the time of the blockage. An investigation confirmed online male trolls were scheming to reinstate the ban of women onboard, let alone being in charge.

I suspect more incidents to occur both during transit and once in the Gulf. 🛳️ 🏴‍☠️ 🚒 

My 'Editor's Eye caught quite a few spelling, and punctuation errors in this chapter and a few grammar errors as well. 

Although there are many Apps out there that tout themselves (blow their own horns so to speak) as being ideal for proofing and editing, none are foolproof.

Take the really good reviews with a large grain of salt as they may be 'self-written'. 

In considering Apps, from dozens available, whether those like AutoCrit,  Grammarly, Hemingway (would Ernest sue if alive?), Scrivener, Vellum or many others, Caveat Emptor still applies.


Edited by Anton_Cloche
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1 hour ago, frosenblum said:

I'm sad that you chose to use the word "Arab" as a racist insult. It was not necessary for the story.

News reports always refer to Arab Nations, so I was presuming that my use of it would be acceptable, or would you prefer me to use "Countries that are Muslims?"

Which I think is far worse...

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