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    quokka
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Fordell - 17. Ford Ch 17

After some discussions earlier, James had reluctantly agreed to be part of the show, so on occasions he would be included, with the filming crew beginning as soon as the temporary crew step off the plane. James and I remained in the bus where it is much cooler, and James stepped out as the crew approached the bus.

“Welcome to the Northern Peninsula, I am Captain James Hakney of the Yacht Saluzi, which is moored at the wharf at Seisia,” James said to the crew as they dragged their heavy luggage behind them, many of them sweating profusely due to the tropical heat.

Off camera, I saw Elizabeth roll her eyes, at the amount of luggage they had with them, as I sat next to Jackey at the front of the bus, as the luggage was loaded into the trailer, and the crew climbed onboard.

Once everyone was onboard, Jackey started the journey to the wharf. “Since most of you have no idea what is planned for the next three months, we will be taking a dummy run along the route that we will be taking our paying guests on each cruise.

This will begin late this afternoon, after we have had a full briefing straight after lunchtime. Until then you can unpack, relax and have a look around the yacht. Apart from myself, I have a few permanent crew onboard, and as such, there are a number of areas that are off limits to yourselves as well as the guests.

They include the engine and generator rooms, and all of the bridge deck, with the exception of the aft deck on that level so to get access to the sundeck. Do we have any questions?” James said to the crew, “Yes sir, how big is this yacht, and how long is each cruise?” one of the crewmembers asked.

“Your name crewman?” James asked, “Bosun Adams, sir?” he replied, “Well Bosun Adams, the Motor yacht Saluzi is 68 metres or 226 feet long, and each cruise will be 4 days and 3 night’s long. Once the guests have departed and we have collected the supplies we will head back north too the wharf, which is an overnight journey, and in that time the yacht will be prepared fro the next batch of guests.

We will arrive back at the wharf at 1100 hours on day six, and you will have the remainder of the day for shore leave, before the next guests the next day. Now the majority of you I understand are from the northern hemisphere.

Those who are not familiar with the dangers of Outback Australia, we recommend that you drink lots of water to keep hydrated, be aware that close to shores, there are saltwater crocodiles. In the Coral Sea, there are sharks, blue bottle and irukandji jellyfish, stonefish and stingrays, and on the land, there are poisonous snakes and spiders, so always take care,” James announced.

“Wow, this is a dangerous place to be,” another crewmember stated. “Yes it is, but is also a very place to visit, so don’t let it worry you too much and concentrate on what magical places that we will be visiting, James said as we continued on towards Seisia.

When we arrived Jackey stopped the bus right at the start of the wharf, and with just the Saluzi moored there, it looked awesome, with Red Island in the background, and I took a photo of it with my phone. “Holy Crap, is that it? It is huge, and we need sunglasses to get past that wild paintwork,” a crewmember stated after exiting the bus, and some of the other crew agreed.

As the crew retrieved their luggage, James and I walked down the jetty towards the yacht, where the permanent crew were all in their work uniforms in the main foyer, and I dashed upstairs to be changed into mine, and joined them on the aft main deck as the crew approached, with the film crews recording their every move.

Once all the crew were in the flyer, “Welcome onboard, now let me introduce you to my permanent crew,” James said as he introduced us all. “Excuse me sir, if there is so many permanent crew onboard, why do you need so many of us?’ Bosun Adams asked.

“That is because the owner of this magnificent yacht would not allow the filming of this show to take place unless the permanent crew are all onboard. They know every inch of this yacht, and as such, they have senior rank over all of you, and if they call out stop, because they deem someone to be in danger or the yacht is at risk of been damaged in any way, then you must stop what you are doing immediately.

This is the number one condition that the owner had put into the contract for this to take place and everyone must obey, that order to stop. If any person does not stop, then it will be up to me as captain, representing the owner to take action, which could mean instant dismissal and removal from the yacht,” James stated.

“My name is Margaret, I am the Executive Director of this show, and not only myself but also my Executive Producer back in BC Canada agree with the conditions made for this show.

My filming crews will not hesitate to report to the senior crew, if they think there is a serious safety breach, so there will be no way of hiding from doing anything silly or stupid,” Margaret announced. “Now, you have the rest of the morning to explore most areas of the yacht, lunch will be served at 1230 hours in the crew mess on the lower deck, and there will be a full briefing straight after lunch in the saloon on the upper deck,” James said.

With Louise on duty on the bridge, James and I headed to the Bridge Deck Saloon to relax for a while. “So what exactly happens after we finish this contract?” do we return to Strahan?” James asked me. “Yes, I think so, I have a feeling that I will not want to do any more of these television shows, as they are a real pain in the backside, and that is my business base now, and as you know, my mother is located there too,” I replied.

“What about the yacht and the permanent crew?” James asked, “Well, I was thinking that maybe we could do something a little different from what the other river and harbour cruise companies in the area provide, but I am not sure what at the moment, I need to think about it some more,” I replied.

“You are a Baron, correct?” James asked me, “Yes, and what are you thinking?” I replied, as I saw James smiling, “So if we were married, would I be a Baroness?” James asked. I burst out laughing, and it was a few minutes later before I had calmed down enough to reply.

“Honestly, I have no idea, normally if I married a women then yes that would be the case, I would have to consult my Cousin Robert on that one, or even his boss,” I replied. “Who is his boss? I thought he is an Earl and has his own estates,” James replied.

I smiled and waited for James to let my statement sink in properly. “Oh! Do you mean…?” James said when he realised what I was meaning, “Yes I do mean Her Majesty, who I have met twice now,” I said. “I think I will give that a miss thanks, I am not really a keen Royalist, I am more of a fence sitter,” James said.

“Yes well, I was not really sure how I felt about the Royal family, until I suddenly discovered that I was an aristocrat myself,” I responded. “You know there is one area that would be great to have cruises, with a remote airfield to provide access for guests arriving and leaving,” James commented.

“Is it in Tasmania?” I asked, “Yes, Port Davey, it is still on the west coast, but further south, and there are quite a few river systems that run into the area,” James said. “Yes, I know where you mean, but I haven’t been to that area before, I heard is it fairly wild and remote down that way,” I replied.

“It is, maybe we should do a scout around the area once all of this TV show stuff is out of the way,” James suggested which I agreed with. The crew cruise over the next five days went smoothly and I spent most of my time on the bridge or upper decks, keeping out of the way, while the temporary crew worked to take care of the permanent crew who were acting as guests for this cruise.

When we arrived at Hicks Island, we collected the weekly supplies that would be waiting for us from now on, and once they were onboard and stowed away, we set off back to Seisia Wharf, where we would arrive the following day at approximately 11 am.

We had just anchored at our overnight stop, when the yacht’s sat phone rang, which made me jump, as James had it on the chair beside us as we Louise was ensuring that the yacht is properly anchored. “Hello, this is the Captain speaking…” James said answering the call, and a few moments later, he looked at me.

“The owner is sitting near me as we speak, I will pass you onto him, just a moment please,” James said and he whispered Singapore to me before handing over the phone. During the twenty-minute phone call, I learnt that my former yacht had arrived in Singapore, but was in a very bad state of repair and tidiness, and I responded that at the time of handing over the yacht, it was spotlessly clean.

I also mentioned to the person on the phone that the crew had left this yacht in a simular state, and I did not sign off on the transfer until my crew had done a thorough clean and made all the necessary repairs. Which were stated in the email that I had sent over a week ago, along with the photos of the damage caused by the crew.

The man in Singapore thanked me for this information and ensured me that I would not be troubled any further, and that the transfer crew would be held responsible for both lots of damage to the yachts. After the call ended, I told James about what was discussed, and I was very glad that we had taken photos of all the damage that the crew had done to this yacht, as they had done the same with my former yacht.

When we arrived at Seisia Wharf, the temporary crew went ashore to relax on the beach; James and I were sitting on the Bridge aft deck looking out to the west, where all we could see was lots of water of the Arafura Sea.

“You know, this place could be quite a good tourist location if it was developed in the right way,” James commented, “You must have read my mind mate, I was just thinking the same thing, lets go and see if we can find the elders to discuss it,” I replied.

We found Jacky sitting under the same tree as we did the other day, and we asked if we could speak to the local elders about an idea we have, and he showed us the way to the community of Injinoo, where the traditional owners all reside.

We let Jacky speak to tow of them first, before we followed them to a building in the centre of the community, where there was a group of about eight men and women seated around a non-lit campfire.

“Firstly may I acknowledge you the traditional owners past and present, and the owners of the land in this region, and I ask to be heard to discuss an offer that will benefit the few communities in this region, with no special requests in return,” I began to the group.

“Please join us and tell us what it is that you wish to give to this community,” an elder said to us in very good English, which made me believe that he had a good education, as I sat with Jacky and James sitting a short distance behind me.

“The white man seated behind me, as you may know is the Captain of the big yacht currently anchored off Red Island, and I am his employer. My name is Edwin Crawford, and although I was born and educated in Launceston in Northern Tasmania, I have ancestors that come from Scotland.

When I was still in my teens, I learnt that I have what is called Aristocracy in my blood, meaning I come from a noble family, and since then I have inherited lands and titles from Scotland. My title is Lord Edwin Crawford, Baron of Fordell and Baronet of Wigan, but only my permanent yacht crew, and my family and my staff in Tasmania and Scotland knows of this.

I have great wealth, far more than I could ever spend, and as a way of thankyou for allow my yacht to be temporarily based in your lands, over the next three months, I wish to pay for an arrange for the construction of a number buildings and other things, to provide your communities with a secure and prosperous community.

After being here for just under two weeks now, I see that you do not have a very secure place for shelter during cyclones, and that is one of the first things I would like to have built for you, which can also be a multi-purpose building for other uses.

I am suggesting that maybe it could be used as a community sports facility, with indoor basketball, and tennis, as well as having a gymnasium fitness centre, a community meeting place, and performance centre, as well as having cooking and dining facilities, toilets and showers, and smaller meeting rooms, that can be emergency sleeping areas,” I suggested.

“Where would you suggest that we put this place?” another elder asked, “That sir, I leave up to you as the community elders to decide, but I would suggest that it not be too close to the coast,” I replied.

“Bamaga is our central town, with the hospital and school, I suggest we build it there,” the first elder stated, and there was a majority of agreement on that.

“I also noticed that you have a hospital here, I would like to pay for any upgrades that are urgently needed there, along with improved outer walls to protect it from cyclones, and also improved government staff quarters, so as to keep staff in the region longer.

If your schools need any improvements, then I would be happy to make improvements to them as well, including any sports facilities, and I would also like to build a town jetty a little further down from the wharf, for smaller boats and yachts to moor at,” I announced to the group of elders. “I think we need to discuss this some more, when will you be around when not on your yacht?” the first elder said.

“Our cruises go for four days from Seisia to Hicks Island, where there is an airfield for the guests to fly back to Cairns, and it takes us till lunch time the next day to get back here, and the following day is a day of rest for the crew, which is tomorrow.

In the afternoon, the next day the guests will arrive by air, and we will start the cruise as soon as they board the yacht. So if it is tomorrow or next week or the week after, we will be hear to listen to your suggestions, it is your community and we are here to help in any way we can,” I replied.

“Thankyou Lord Fordell, we appreciate your acknowledgment of our people here, and for your offer to support the growth of our communities, we will discuss all that has been said today and let you know what has been decided,” the senior elder said to us, and with that said we stood up and left.

As we all climbed into the bus, for the ride back to Seisia, Jacky spoke up, “That sir is the first time that I have seen the elders smile so much, I think you will always be welcome in this community from now on,” he said to us, as he sat in his seat and started up the engine.

Copyright © 2020 quokka; All Rights Reserved.

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Awesome chapter. So Edwin is helping out the local community. Do we have a wedding to look forward to with James asking what his title would be.

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I'm in love with Edwin... Can he move over to Blighty please? With the lockdown over here I have lots of time on my hands to get to know him 😁Quite excited that there could be a wedding on the way... I like James as they bounce off each other and he is not a money grabbing leech.

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