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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 - 6. A & L Ch 6

After we had shaved and showered, and looking a bit more presentable, we arrived at the Bridge to see that Chris and Christine had returned, as had Grayson the 2nd Engineer. “Here they are, the three blind mice,” Captain Anton said as we entered, and we gave him a smile before sitting down on the lounge.

“What is the arrival time of the rest of the crew and guests?” I asked, “We are going to collect them sir, firstly the crew this afternoon, and in the morning, we will collect our guests,” Chris replied. “Ok, that gives us some time to do some more cleaning up,” I commented smiling broadly, and Wyatt and Lang also smiled.

Once we had all of our crew plus our guests back onboard the yacht, and everyone feeling refreshed after an enjoyable 7-day break in paradise, we set off once more, with our destination of Cocos Keeling Island, which we would reach in about six days depending on the weather.

With us now having official guests onboard, the crew including the four temporary crew of Lang’s family were kept busy with their daily duties, and while they were doing that, I was usually in my office for at least half a day, as I was in the process of making some new arrangements.

Having sold my castle home in East Fremantle, and moving permanently onboard my newest yacht, I had been looking for a new project to do, and after some considerable searching, I now have a new project, which after many months of protracted negotiations, the Australian Federal Government, had agreed to allow Devonport Investments to have a 50-year lease on Airlie Island.

Our main aim is to get some vegetation restored to the island, to allow the fauna to return, namely the Green Turtles and a number of seabirds, and to monitor and treat any toxic contamination that originated from the site, where the two large holding tanks used to be.

For the past year, plus the four months, while I’ve been away in Europe, work has quietly been happening to revitalise the island, with a 50 metre long and 3 metre wide, stone landing was constructed, with a solid steel jetty that is 5 metres wide, built on top of it to make access to the island a little easier, especially during the restoration project.

A large lodge had been built of simular design and material as the buildings at nearby Cossack, so as to give a heritage look to the island, with the building having half metre thick external walls, with steel roof struts so as to withstand any strength cyclone that may pass by.

The sixty-one-acre island also had large granite rocks placed in the water’s edge, spaced twenty metres apart, along the western, northern and eastern edges of the island, as well as parts of the southern side, well away from the jetty, so as to help prevent erosion of the beaches.

The project has also included the cultivation of thousands of native plants common to the area, which have been planted over 80% of the island, including Coolibah Eucalyptus Trees, Hamersley Bloodwood Trees, Acacia and Bottlebrush shrubs, ground covers and spinifex, which by reports from the conservation team that I had hired to organise and plant all the new vegetation, had attracted a large number of birds and insects to the island, even though it is 35 kilometres from the mainland.

The solid stone building on the island is actually in five sections, with breezeways linking them together, in the centre is the entry hallway, conference room and a formal lounge, and before the central breezeway, there is two guest suites opposite.

On the other side of the central breezeway, there is the large library lounge in the centre and to the left is the large private lounge & suite, and on the right is the main stores area and private study. The hallway to the left of the main entry hallway leads to the left breezeway, which provides access to one of the guest suites and the conference room, as well as the recreation lounge and the dining hall, with a central hallway leading to four steps up to the kitchen area, cold and dry stores, scullery, laundry and downstairs to the cellar.

On the right of the entry hallway is the right breezeway, which provides access to the formal lounge room, and the other guest suite. On the other side of the breezeway, there are four bunk rooms, with two bathrooms and two separate toilets in between, past the last of the breezeways there are two bedrooms, each with their own bathrooms.

On the roof of the building is a heck of a lot of solar power panels, and down in the cellar, in one of four smaller rooms, there is solar power batteries, and all the equipment to convert it all into usable power, to provide lighting, electricity and hot water services.

In another of the smaller rooms in the cellar, is a solar powered desalination plant, to convert salt water into drinkable water, and nearby are two large underground 4,000 litre tanks hold a plentiful supply of fresh drinking water.

Another small room, contains a solar powered pressure water pump that feeds a regular supply of fresh water, along kilometres of buried reticulation soak piping, to all of the freshly planted trees, shrubs and ground covers that have been planted on the island, to ensure their continue growth, especially during the hot dry season periods each year, and the final small room, is the main switch room to manage it all.

It would take a few years for a lot of the plants to get properly established, but I was confident that after that time, the island will look so much different, and I am sure that the “C Class Reserve” status that it did have before the fuel contamination, would be upgraded one the company hands ownership back to the Federal Government. Once the jetty and cottage had been built, the conservation team had moved in.

Now, they were not only planting new vegetation, but also placing hollow logs around the island to provide places of shelter to the new wildlife, that had come to make the island their new home, with the assistance of the State Government Conservation Department, which has introduced a number of animals onto the island in the past six months.

Those reptiles, frogs, birds and mammals include, the Green Tree Frog, Geckos, the Military Dragon Lizard, Western Bearded Dragon, Northern Quolls, Dunnarts, Echidnas, and there has been a report of up to 14 different breeds of birds that regularly visit the island.

The conservation team has also reported a good population of Flatback, Green, Loggerhead and Hawksbill Turtles, Bottlenose and Humpback Dolphins, Dugongs and Manta Rays, which I was extremely pleased to hear, and I was so looking forward to going and seeing how the island now looks, compared to the first and only time I saw it before heading for Europe in the yacht.

I had discussed with my guests, where they would like to disembark the yacht, once we have reached the Australian Territory, with them being given the option of Cocos Keeling Islands, Christmas Island or Exmouth. For the junior crew of the former yacht Patagonia, they wanted to get to any airport, so that they can fly home to Europe. For Marshall and Adelia, they didn’t mind where they disembark, as they had really enjoyed their holiday onboard the yacht Toodyay.

For the guests of the former yacht Patagonia, they asked to disembark at Exmouth, so they can have a look around the area, before heading to Perth, and then onto home. When we arrived at Cocos Keeling Islands, Chef Kent Swenson announced to me and the Captain that he wanted to leave the yacht and return to the Northern Territory, so reluctantly we accepted his resignation, and he packed up and left the yacht the following day.

This left us without a chef, but luckily Adelia volunteered to take over as the main chef of the yacht, and while we are at Christmas Island, it was also time to say farewell to the two lots of twins, Mitch and Julian, plus Darius and Fraser, who had to return home, as they had school studies and work to continue.

Lang went to the airport with them the following day to say goodbye to them, and when he returned to the yacht, quite some time after the plane had taken off, he was looking quite sad, and may have been crying as he retreated to his cabin to be alone.

Now that we had a few less passengers and crew onboard, Captain Anton and I were having a discussion in the Officers lounge, with Wyatt acting as my secretary, taking notes of what we were discussing. The subject of the changes to the crew came up.

The Captain suggested that maybe we should invite Captain Marshall and Chef Adelia to remain onboard as senior crew, as long as it is ok for Christopher, for Marshall to be 2nd Officer, and Adelia and Marshall can remain in the Aft guest cabin on the main deck.

After some thought, I suggested that we might as well ask, as there was no harm in trying, and with that said, Wyatt picked up the phone and pressed a button for the PA. “Mr & Mrs Prentis to the Officers Lounge, Bridge Deck please,” we heard him announce over the PA, and I smiled.

A few minutes later there was a knock on the door and Marshall and Adelia entered, and Captain Anton signalled for them to come in and take a seat. “As you know, our chef has left us, and we would like to offer you both position’s onboard the Motor Yacht Toodyay, as 2nd Officer and Head Chef.

You can remain in the aft guest cabin that you are in now, and we can discuss wages once we know what your decision will be,” Captain Anton said to Marshall and Adelia, who looked surprised by the offer. “Of course, you can take time to discuss and consider the offer, we just wanted to let you know that the offer is there for you,” I added.

“What about 1st Officer Chris Hart?” Marshall asked, “Well that would be up to us to decide, and at the moment, we are going to ask him to remain as 1st Officer,” I replied. Marshall looked at Adelia who smiled, and Marshall smiled back, before turning to us, “Yes, we will gratefully accept both positions, Mr Devonport and Captain,” Marshall said to us.

“Great, that is good to hear, that is all for now,” Captain Anton said to them both, and once they had left the room, Wyatt picked up the phone again and paged Chris and Christine Hart to come to the Officer’s Lounge, just as his mobile phone rang.

As he ended the page, Wyatt retrieved his mobile phone, and answered it. “Hello… yes he is here… just a moment please,” we heard Wyatt said as he glanced over in my direction, and I groaned. “Sebastian, I bet,” I commented and Wyatt smiled and nodded his head yes as he handed over the mobile, as I stood up and headed out of the 00Bridge and down to my office on the next level.

After the phone call that lasted nearly twenty minutes, I was approaching the main stairs to head back up to the bridge, when Chris and Christine came down. “Are you ok Mr Devonport? You are not looking very well. Shall I ask Lang to come and check on you?” Christine asked me.

“I am fine, just received some unwelcome news from my cousin, nothing to be worried about, and thanks for the concern,” I replied, before I headed upstairs, where Anton asked me the same question, when he saw my face, as I stepped into the bridge.

“Yes, call Lang, but not until I have had a word with you both first, and give me some time to absorb this news properly,” I replied, as Wyatt moved to pick up the phone, and stopped and nodded. “As Wyatt knows, I have just spoken to my cousin Sebastian, who is the head of my family.

He has asked me to do a special request… A very good friend of the family and my late father’s best friend, Kyle Davies and his family are dealing with a lot of stress at the moment, as his wife Sue has just gone through her second round of chemo treatment.

Sebastian has asked me to look after them for the next few months, so as to take some of the stress pressure off them, and I have agreed without hesitation.

Kyle and Sue have two sons, who happen to be my godsons. Huon is 11 and Alexander is 9 years old. Kyle will be taking them out of school and teaching them himself, so we will need to get one of the suites ready for Kyle and Sue, and two cabins ready for the boys,” I announced.

“Well, that is terrible news, I will make sure that they are always comfortable,” Wyatt stated, “That is good, as you will also have some assistance… your brother will be joining us,” I informed Wyatt, “Oh wonderful, it will be great to see Xavier again,” Wyatt said happily. “Your Aunty June will also be joining us, as she insisted on coming to help,” I added.

“Oh wow, now that is even better news, I have not seen much of Aunty since she retired, and we only email once or twice a month, to keep up on news at the moment,” Wyatt said smiling broadly.

“I thought you may like that good news. June can have the second suite, so she is close to Sue for when she is needed, and I thought we might pack up my office and use that for your brother, as long as you are happy to share facilities with him,” I said to Wyatt.

“Sir, we are practically twins, of course I don’t mind sharing with Xavier,” Wyatt replied, “or you can have adjoining crew cabins on the lower deck if you want,” I commented, and Wyatt thought about it for a moment, “I will speak to Xavier, and we will let you know sir,” Wyatt replied.

“Good, now they will all be joining us when we get to Exmouth, so we have a bit of time to prepare before Kyle and family and your family arrive. That is all I need to discuss for now,” I said, putting an end to our little senior staff meeting.

Before leaving the island, I attended to some business there, with the purchase of a property, a large 99-acre block of freehold land located just 800 metres of west of Lily Beach Road, at a former limestone quarry.

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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Hopefully this interlude will work towards restoring Sue's health.

Just a niggling thought...will there be any need for the former limestone quarry towards any future projects?

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