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    quokka
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Fordell - 16. Ford Ch 16

“Hey, just wait a moment. Did you just say his Lordship as in aristocracy?” Margaret asked her boss. “That is correct, I did a bit of digging, which was not very easy to do, but I found out who really owns this yacht. Margaret, may I present to you, Lord Edwin Crawford, the Baron of Fordell, and Baronet of Wigan, Scotland,” George said.

Margaret stood up and gave a short curtsy, “My Lord, this is indeed a privilege,” she said to me. “Yes, thankyou, I guess I can’t be surprised that you would find out, but I would prefer that no one else knows about this, including your team Margaret, and all thou they are Scottish titles, I am actually Tasmanian born and bred.

Like my crew and staff, for the next fourteen weeks, I wish to be addressed simply as Officer or Mr Fordell,” I said to Margaret. “As you wish Mr Fordell, you have my guarantee on that. Now in regards to this incident, I wish to express my deepest apologies for what has taken place today. I will be keeping in touch with Margaret for the whole time of this project,” George said to me.

“I accept you apology, and thankyou for dealing with this very annoying producer, in the short time he was onboard, he was causing quite a lot of disharmony onboard,” I responded. “That is fine, he no longer works on this project, and we will be reviewing his terms of employment when he gets back home,” George said.

When we stepped out of the meeting room, Hunter was waiting for me. “Has he gone?” I asked, “Yes Mr Fordell, he has left the yacht under much protest at the way he is being treated,” Hunter replied. “Not as bad as the reception he will get when he gets back home,” I commented.

I checked the time and realising that I was running out of time to get to the bookshops, as I dashed to my suite to get my wallet, and with Samantha joining me, we caught a taxi into town. In just under two hours, we managed to buy over two hundred books, virtually emptying out both stores of fiction novels.

Louise and Samantha returned to the yacht a short time after us, travelling with the delivery truck, that brought a large amount of dressed Tasmanian Oak, as well as a large amount of tools and other supplies needed to build the extra bookcases.

Once we had everything loaded onboard, we set off north once again, with our next destination being where each cruise will end at Hicks Island, which has a 700-metre long runway, that is suitable for light aircraft to land and take off from, and is 440 kilometres north of Cooktown and 600 kilometres north of Cairns.

During the trip north, Margaret, James and I sat down for some discussions, giving us a better idea of the programmes goals, with a four-day cruise from Jackey Creek, once the guests have arrived on their flight from Cairns. The two four-wheel drive buses will transport the guests from the Northern Peninsula airport, down to the boat ramp at the creek, where the yacht’s tenders will ferry them to the yacht.

Once all the guests are onboard, we would head downstream, and once clear of the river mouth we would head northwards, with our first destination to be Somerset Bay, which is on the mainland with white beaches, and a close view of nearby Albany Island.

Here we would allow the guests 90 minutes to have a look around, have a swim and do some snorkelling, before we continue on northwards to our main destination of the far northern tip of mainland Australia. While watching the sun setting to the west, the yacht will anchor between two small nearby islands for the night.

The following day, we will travel across to the Thursday Islands, where the guests can walk around the community, check out their stunning artwork and get to know the locals. After two hours on Thursday Island, we would head in a southeast direction for Mai Island, which is on the eastern side of the much larger Albany Island.

Here the guests will have 2 ½ hours to explore the islands, have a swim and snorkelling, before we set off again, continuing south, to our overnight stop of Turtle Head Island, located just offshore from the mainland. Margaret suggested that with take the guests out in the tenders to have a look at the large river system that goes inland from there, with large amounts of coastal mangroves.

On day three, we head down to Cairncross Islet, which has some great reefs, perfect for snorkelling and just swimming about amongst the huge amount of sea life in the area, which is about 12 kilometres out from the mainland. Once everyone is back onboard, we head further out to a small group of rocky islands called Sir Charles Hardy islands, which are just over 25 kilometres out from the mainland, but still in the Coral Sea Reefs area.

This would be the location of our final night, with time to swim or explore the islands before sunset and dinner. On the final day we would head back in a south-westerly direction to Forbes Island, which is about 18 kilometres from the mainland, and the Islands are a National Park, with some beautiful beaches and a few walking tracks to follow.

As the guests are enjoying their final meal onboard the yacht, we would be heading for our final destination of Hicks Island, where the airfield is located, and where the guests will leave to fly back to Cairns.

Over the next four days, we did a reverse of what the guests will travel on the yacht, so we could get familiar with the area, and experience some of what the guests will experience. Margaret would be encouraging her film crew and James would be encouraging the yacht crew to try out the snorkelling, and swimming in the areas where we will be stopping with guests.

When we arrived at Thursday Island, we were surprised to learn that there was a lot more to the island than we expected, with a gun placement at Green Hill Fort, that was built in the early 1890’s, with some interesting displays explaining the history of the installation.

We also discovered the Culture Centre, which has a great selection of arts and crafts, and I bought a number of paintings to add to the yacht. James and I spoke to some of the local elders, letting them know that we are planning tours that include visiting the Thursday Islands every week for three months, and they were very happy with this news, and informed us that there are a number of tours available to tourists visiting the islands.

We were also told that nearby Horn Island has a lot of War history, and is also the location of the main Airport for the area, with a History Museum located in the main community on that island. Once back on the yacht, Margaret and I sat down in the meeting room to discuss what we had learnt today, and realising we had to make more time available to visit both islands, we adjusted the timetable for each cruise.

When we arrived at Horn Island, we visited the History Museum, which is quite impressive, with plenty of information about the airbase that was located on the island during the war. We decided to remain at Horn Island overnight, and the following day, we headed south to Jackey Creek.

With just three days before the temporary crew arrive at Northern Peninsula, Margaret suggested that all the permanent crew sit down with her, for a full briefing on what to expect over the next thirteen weeks. After the two hour long briefing, everyone onboard now knew what to expect, and were happy with what would be taking place.

Margaret had informed everyone that a temporary crew of eleven had been selected, and would be joining us soon, with the day before, a supply of food supplies will be flown in, to top up what we already have. James informed the crew that this location will be our home base for the next fourteen weeks, and it will be here that the yacht is refuelled and restocked with food supplies, with an additional food restocking tacking place at Hicks Island, after the departure of the guests.

Margaret also added that the crew consists of a Chef, a Galley & Bar Steward, Senior Steward and three more stewards, plus a Bosun, Lead Deckhand, and 3 other deckhands, and that all of the temporary crew will have black formal uniforms and pale blue work uniforms, to see the difference between the permanent crew and the temporary crew.

James informed the whole crew that once the temporary crew are onboard, we would be making a dummy run cruise, so that the temporary crew have an idea to where we are going with each cruise, and get the crew settled into the yacht.

With a spare day before the stores arrive most of the permanent crew accepted my suggestion to spend the day at the local community of Bamaga, which is 12 kilometres from the boat ramp near the end of the airport runway, which is sealed, compared to the one at Hicks Island, which is not sealed.

I joined James and most of the permanent crew and the film crew for the fifteen-minute bus ride to Bamaga, after the short tender ride to the boat ramp, where Coxswain Ashton elected to stay with the tender. The bus driver that had been employed by the production company was very friendly.

His name being Jacky, just like the creek, which amused us a little, and he was able to give us a bit of a history of the community during the short bus trip into town, and we were dropped off at the main street of Bamaga, which I was surprised was no where near the beach.

When I asked Jacky about the town being so far from the beach, he informed us that Bamaga is the main town, while there are four other communities, Injinoo which is at the mouth of Cowel Creek, about 7 ½ kilometres south-west of Bamaga.

Then there is Umagico, which is 4 ½ kilometres from Bamaga, on the same road to Injinoo, and is just 700 metres from the beach, next there is New Mapoon, which is 2 ½ kilometres north-west of Bamaga, and finally there is Seisia, which is 3 ½ kilometres past New Mapoon, and 6 kilometres from Bamaga, with it being the location of the main shipping wharf, which is well protected from nearby Red Island.

James asked Jackey to take us to Seisia, as we wanted to have a look around the area, which Jackey was happy to do, and we were taken directly to the wharf, walking towards it, we saw a small boat with Cape York Adventures on the side, and I changed direction towards the boat, with James following.

“Excuse me mate, could you possibly tell me how many nautical miles it is from here to the top of the cape?” I asked, “About 15 ½ nautical miles,” the man responded, and James looked at me and smiled, “that is far shorter than the distance from the creek,” James said to me.

“By about how much, in difference?” I asked, “About 7 nautical miles shorter,” James replied, as I retrieved my wallet and pulled out a $100 note, “Here is some money, can you take us over there to that island and stay until we have had a bit of a look around?” I asked the boat owner, who happily agreed.

“Are you lot the ones with the fancy yacht that will be doing a television show with paying guests?” the man asked as we made the short crossing over to Red Island, “Yes, that is us, I am the yacht’s Captain James Hakney, and this is the yacht’s owner Mr Edwin Fordell,” James replied.

“So, where is your yacht now?” he asked, “Over at Jackey Creek, that is where we had initially thought would be the best location for the yacht to be based with it being protected by the mangrove trees and being about 10 nautical miles upstream from the mouth,” James replied.

I agree, that is a great location, but if you need to load supplies and guests, the wharf is the best location,” the boat owner said to us. After having a look at Red Island, we returned to the wharf, and had a good look at that, before we went looking for Jackey, who had left the bus unattended.

We eventually found him sitting under the shade of a tree, near the fuel station chatting to some other locals, “Ready to go Mr Hakney, Mr Fordell?” Jackey asked as he stood up, “Yes thanks, back to the creek boat ramp, once you have collected all the rest,” I replied.

When we arrived back at Bambaga, the team were all gathered under the veranda of the bakery, all with bottles of water to keep them hydrated, and once everyone was onboard, and we had checked that we had left no one behind, we set off back to the boat ramp.

When back onboard the yacht, Margaret asked to speak to Captain James and me privately, so we headed to the meeting room. “Just one question I wanted to ask before the temporary crew arrive… are you two a couple?” she asked us, and James’s mouth dropped open in surprise before he looked at me.

I chuckled at his response and smiled, “Yes we are, but it is a very new relationship, so we are just starting to get to know each other,” I replied. “I see, well I think you should try not to show that you are a couple during the next three months, although it is nice to see, and I have no complaints, I have spotted you both looking at each other lovingly a few times now,” Margaret said to me smiling.

“Ok, thanks for that, we will try our best not to show it,” I replied, before Margaret left the room, and soon after Hunter appeared, “Apparently it shows that James and I are a couple, so if you notice it, can you let me and James know please,” I said to Hunter, who chuckled at this, before walking away.

About an hour later, as we had discussed, James made a call on the PA, for prepare for departure, and I was with James and Louise on the bridge, as we set off north and then southwest for the main wharf at Seisia, which will be our new base location.

We had already contacted Jackey, to let him know that when the food supplies arrive the next day, that we would be at the wharf, so he could deliver them directly to the yacht. Less than two hours later we arrived at Seisia, and instead of mooring at the wharf, James decided to anchor just off the east side of Red Island, where is it fairly sheltered, and where we spent our first night at our new base location.

Once the supplies had been loaded and put away, the crew relaxed for the last day before the arrival of the temporary crew due too arrive the next morning at 9am. The temporary crew would have the rest of the morning to get familiar with the yacht.

Straight after lunch, there would be a full yacht’s briefing to be held in the upper deck saloon. I was feeling a little nervous as they time approached for the new arrivals, not sure how they would react to the news that they would not be the only crew onboard the yacht.

I had decided to allow all of the permanent crew to have all of their meals on the Bridge aft deck, which would make it a lot less crowded down in the crew mess, on the lower deck. When we saw the plane aircraft circling before landing that morning, James gave the order for the yacht to be relocated to the wharf, ready to collect the temporary crew, and once secured to the wharf, one of the film crew along with James and I, went with Jackey to collect them from the airport.

Copyright © 2020 quokka; All Rights Reserved.
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Great chapter. Sounds an amazing area where the boat will be based and where they are visiting. Let's hope the temporary crew settle in OK with no problems.

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Hopefully this new temporary crew will have been severely warned by those in charge of the show not to buck against the permanent crew and Edwin.

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