“Will we get any shore leave at these stops?” I asked, “Yes, and a lot more than that we have been getting for this trip, there is 6 days at Tasmania, and 12 days in New Zealand, after Invercargill, we head north east for 2 ½ days to Chantham Island, which is part of New Zealand, From there we head to Chile, I have arranged for us to berth at Punta Arenas, it is a main southern city of Chile, and from there we can take a short cut across to the Magellan’s Strait, and down to the Falklands” Sebastian said.
“Wow that is quite a trip, and I guess from there it will be a reverse of our current trip?” I commented, “Yes cousin, that is exactly right, we will have two days in Punta Arenas, and six days in Stanley, before we head to Cape Town, where we will have four days there, before heading home, for a 21-day Christmas and New Year break, before we start all over again on January 3rd” Seb said.
“So, when do we fit in the trip to the upper Indian Ocean?” I asked, “When we get back from the second circumnavigation. We get back to Albany on April 7th, and after a 6-day break in Albany, we head north to the two islands, where we can have a six-day break at each island and maybe at Coral Bay as well” Sebastian replied. “Wow, that would be awesome, I bet the crew will be pleased with that” I responded.
“I hope so, as they will be getting over 140 days of shore leave, with both trips, before they have a four-month holiday, which we will pay for their return airfares from and to Perth” Sebastian replied. “Ok, sounds like you have it all planned out, you are quite amazing with organising things” I replied, and Seb just chuckled, “I guess you can say I inherited that from my father” Seb replied quietly.
“Well if I had known my uncle, I would be proud of him and his talented oldest son” I said with a smile, which made Sebastian chuckle. When all the crew had returned from their leave, and we had reloaded the supplies for the next stage of the journey, we left Cape Town, and headed west north west to Gough Island, which is a five-day journey, then on to Bouvet Island, which is a 3 ½ days journey to the south west.
Just over two weeks after leaving Cape Town, we finally arrived in Stanley in the early afternoon, and once we had cleared customs, we had the last of our cargo unloaded, and we were about to go ashore, when two men arrived, wearing Immigration Department uniforms. “Oh oh, this looks serious” I commented when Seb and I spotted the two men approaching from our high vantage point on the patio of the administration centre, before we headed downstairs to meet them.
“Mr Wagner, we believe you are the owner of this vessel?” one of the men stated as we appeared on the rear lower deck, “Yes that is correct, come aboard, if you have some more questions” Sebastian responded, and the men followed us inside, and we sat down in the beach club lounge on that level. “I think you know my first cousin, Mr Huon Devonport?” Seb said once we had sat.
“Yes, we do, but we were unaware that you were cousins” one of the Immigration officers said, “Yes, I was unaware of it until just recently, our mothers were sisters from the UK, my mother married and Australian Farmer, and Sebastian’s mother married a wealthy Swiss businessman” I replied with a smile.
“I see, well that puts a different view on the situation, Mr Wagner, we have seen your ship visit our islands on two other occasions, and we are aware of the freight deliveries that you make to research stations between Australia and here, we just need to know if this is going to be a regular event, and how often?” the second Immigration officer asked.
“If you follow us to my administration office, I will be able to show you our new adjusted timetable, we recently had the French cancel their contract with us, but we have picked up two more smaller contracts” Sebastian said as we stood up and walked towards the central elevator. “We are passing the guest accommodation, we have ten double cabins available, all with their own ensuite bathrooms, there are a total of eight decks, two below us and the rest above,
Guests have access to the lower deck, the main deck, which we are on now, and A deck, which is the one above us, the remaining 4 decks, including the bridge, are crew and executive access only” I said, informing the immigration officers about the ship. “So how many crew do you have and who are the executives?” one of the officers asked, as we entered the elevator, and Sebastian pressed the B deck button.
“There is a total of 26 crew, 5 of those are officers, the rest are general crew, and the executives are Sebastian, as CEO of Wagner, International Investments, and myself as administration officer, we also have Sebastian’s two younger brothers, who Sebastian is their legal guardian, us four are the only shareholders of the company” I replied.
When we arrived on B Deck, Sebastian led the way down the hallway to the main door to the administration office, and he unlocked it and entered, with the two immigration officers following, and I entered last, to close and secure the door. “Please sit gentlemen, I will get you the new itinerary for you, would you like a cup of tea or coffee, while you are here” Sebastian said to the two guests, who both declined the offer, and quickly Seb retrieved the file and joined us at the conference table.
“As you can see from this, gentlemen, we will be doing two round trips of the Southern Ocean, South Pacific and South Atlantic Oceans, with a 3 ½ month period between each journey. We will not be spending as much time at the Falklands as we have on the past two trips, just 6 days in mid-November and 12 days in early March, for the crew to have some R & R shore leave” Sebastian explained.
“What about you Mr Devonport, will you be travelling on this vessel all the time?” the immigration officer asked me, “No sir, I don’t mind the occasional trip, but I will be spending summers here on the island, as you are probably aware I work on Douglas Farm, so I will be living and working there on the farm, for Tom and Margaret” I replied.
“Yes, that is what we thought, ok we are happy to provide you Mr Wagner, and your two younger brothers, Temporary residence visas, since you are Mr Devonport’ cousins, plus we will grant your crew visitor visas for each time they come to the islands for their R & R shore leave” the senior immigration officer announced. “Thankyou sir, we thank you for your assistance with this matter” I said with a smile.
“Once the immigration officers had left, Sebastian announced to the crew that they now have twelve days shore leave, to explore the islands, and we headed to the bridge to speak to the captain, who was doing some paper work. “Don’t you ever give this poor man a break from paperwork?” I asked Sebastian, who frowned at me for a moment, before I smiled broadly and began to chuckle at his facial expression.
“Once my cousin has settled, can we discuss plans for security of the ship during the next twelve days” Sebastian said to the captain, “Hey, you can’t pick on me, Captain, are you still legally allowed to make nasty crew walk the plank?” I said in reply, and the captain laughed, I wish I could some days, but in this case, since Mr Wagner is the boss, that is out of the question” the captain replied.
“Rats, what a shame” I added with a frown, which made the captain laugh some more, “You two are a pair of clown, it is easy to see that you are related” the captain said to both of us. “Ok now that the joke is over, let’s get back to business” Sebastian said seriously, and for the next five minutes, we discussed our options, until we were interrupted by an internal radio call.
“Sorry for the interruption Captain, there is a young man at the jetty, asking to speak to Mr Devonport” we heard one of the crew say, I walked over to the side window and looked down to the jetty, where I saw my land rover parked nearby, and by the looks of it, Jose standing nearby. “That is Jose from Douglas farm, and he has my land rover, ask the crewmember to show him to the Beach club lounge and I will be down there shortly” I said to the captain, who relayed the message.
“Come on Seb, I want you to meet him” I said as we headed of the Bridge, and down the crew stairs, till we reached B deck, then took the elevator down to the main deck. “Hey Huon, we heard that the ship was back, and hoped you would be on it, so the boss sent me into town to pick you up” Jose said as soon as he saw me arrive. “Hey Jose, it is great to see you again, how is my girl” I replied.
“Sophie is doing well, and she misses you very much” Jose said in reply, and I saw Sebastian frown, and I chuckled, “My girl Sophie, is my horse on the farm” I said to Sebastian, who got the little joke and smiled. “Jose Mendoza, this is my first cousin – Sebastian Wagner, who is the owner of the ship, Seb this is Jose, the farmhand on Douglas Farm, originally from Rio Verde, Chile” I said making the introductions.
Once they shook hands we sat down in the lounge area, “So, where exactly is Rio Verde?” Sebastian asked, “It is about 98 kilometres north west of the city of Punta Arenas” Jose replied, “That is interesting, Punta Arenas is our next stop, as we head back to Australia” Sebastian stated, “Tom and Margaret pay for my flights, so I can spend a week at home during Christmas” Jose said.
“Excuse me guys, I will leave you to chat, while I go and check on the brats” I said as I stood up and left the lounge, with a big grin on my face. Once I had checked on the boys, who were in the storm lounge watching a movie, I headed to the office, and I made a phone call. “Douglas farm, Tom speaking” a familiar voice said once the call connected, “Hello boss, how are you and Margaret?” I responded. “Hello Huon, I thought you would be on your way back to the farm by now” Tom replied.
“Not quite, I have just introduced Jose to my cousin – Sebastian, they are in the lounge, getting to know each other, if you know what I mean” I said with a smile, “Ha ha ha, yes, I do, so you doing some match making now are you?” Tom replied and I chuckled a little. “I wanted to ask you both an important question” I stated. “Ok, Margaret is here, and can hear you, go ahead with your question, although we think we know what you are going to say” Tom said.
“We had a visit from the Immigration department today, and Sebastian and his brothers have been granted temporary residency, and I was hoping that maybe you will allow for the two-bedroom guest cottage be rented long term to Sebastian and his brothers” I asked.
“I see no problem with that, how about you bring them over for lunch tomorrow, so we can meet them, I will arrange for Jose to stay overnight at Eric and Mary’s place, and you can all come back to the farm tomorrow morning” Margaret said, “Ok, thanks Margaret and Tom, we will see you both tomorrow” I replied happily, and after the call ended, I headed downstairs to the main deck, but there was no one in the lounge.
Going to the nearest internal phone, I pressed the intercom button, “Huon, por favor llámeme en la extensión 23” I said in Spanish, asking Huon to call me, and I sat down on the lounge to wait for the call back, with a big grin on my face, knowing that Huon would have to ask Jose for a translation.
A few minutes later, Sebastian and Jose appeared, “That was a mean thing to do cousin” Sebastian said with a frown, and I just chuckled, “We have been invited for lunch tomorrow, so Tom and Margaret can meet you and the boys, Jose, the boss had organised for you to stay overnight at La Phone, so we can drive back to the farm together” I informed Sebastian and Jose.
“Ok, that is fine, I am sure the boys will enjoy visiting a real Falklands farm” Sebastian replied, “Gracias por la introducción, él es hermoso” José said, too me, and I chuckled, “Ok I got the words thankyou and introduction, what was the second half of that?” Sebastian asked, and I could see Jose starting to blush, “You will have to wait and see, dear cousin” I replied with a big smile.
“Ok Jose, how about we resume our tour of the ship” Sebastian said to Jose, and he led the way out of the lounge, leaving me behind, so I just stayed there. “Anything you would like Sir?” a steward asked me, bringing me out of a moment of thought. “Yes, just a fruit juice, and a small snack please” I replied, “Very well sir” the steward replied and he headed to the pantry, where he phoned through the order to the galley, on the deck below.
Once I had finished my drink and snack, I headed up to the Storm lounge, going via the crew stairs, and the boys were now reading some books, which I noticed where in Italian. “How about you boys find a book written in English?” I asked the boys. “to hard” Louis replied, “Well cousin, I think it is time you started to learn” I stated, as I went to the book shelf and pulled out a book, and sat down between the boys.
“There was movement at the station…” I began, to read a famous Australian Ballard, and I had to stop a number of times to explain to the boys something they didn’t understand, often in Italian, and repeating it in English. “One more please” the boys once I had finished the ballad, so I turned a few pages till I found a ballad I knew, and began to read it out loud again, “On the outer Barcoo, where the churches are few…”, and I was pleased that the boy’s eyes were glued to the book as I read, and concentrating on everything that I said.
When I had finished the second ballad, I noticed Sebastian and Jose standing nearby, both smiling. “You are a good reader cousin, what is that you are reading to the boys?” Seb asked me, “Australian Classics, by AB Banjo Patterson” I replied with a smile. “I know that name, I think my mum read me some of those stories when I was younger, Man from Snowy River was my favourite one” Sebastian said to me.
“That was the first one, I read to the boys” I replied. “Well we will have to read these to the boys more often, good practice for them to learn English” Sebastian replied. “Yes, I agree with that, I will make a point of doing that” I said, “Good, now I have invited Jose to have dinner with us tonight, can you call his accommodation, and let them know, that he will be eating with us, and will be along later” Sebastian asked me. “Yes, that is not a problem, I am sure Mary won’t mind at all” I responded.
Copyright August 2017 Preston Wigglesworth All Rights are Reserved