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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. Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 

New Frontier - 9. NF Chap 9

While the Huon Duchess was out on charter for three days and away for three and a half, I decided to spend some time working on updating the company website, and the first thing that I did, was to upgrade the cyber security on the website, to prevent it from been attacked by malware, and other nasties that are online these days. I would need to update the photographs and include photos of the Huon Duchess and its crew, in the company uniform.

Thinking of that, I picked up my mobile and dialled the sat phone for the trimaran, “Master of the house speaking,” came a voice when the call was answered, and I could hear laughter in the background. “This is Anton speaking, who is this?” not sure who the voice belonged too.

“Oh hi boss, sorry about that, this is Finn speaking, we have had such a good trip so far, we are all in a good mood, looking forward to seeing and settling into our new base,” Finn said to me, “Ok, can you put the skipper on please?” I asked. “Which one do you want to talk too? We have two for this trip?” Finn replied.

“What? You mean Jasper is on the trip with you?” I asked, “Hey boss, Jasper here, how is life in Tassie?” a new voice said, which I recognised straight away. “Hey mate, this is a bit of a surprise, have you taken time off work again?” I asked Jasper, “Yep, apparently my local boss says it is so quiet, that I might as well enjoy my favourite hobby, so here I am sharing skipper duties with my cousin, and I have Nathan with me as an extra crewman,” Jasper replied.

“Wow, that is interesting, how long will you be staying when you get here?” I asked, “Well I have a total of two weeks of leave, so what ever is left when we get there, and I am hoping that you can employ Nathan as a crewman here, as he has had enough of being a Deckie on a fishing boat, and would like a more relaxed job,” Jasper asked.

I chuckled at this, “I will need to interview him, but since he has fishing deck experience I will have to think about it,” I replied, “Aww, come on Uncle Anton, give me a break,” came a new voice, “Nathan is that you?” I asked,
“Of course it is me, Uncle Anton, who else would it be?” Nathan replied.

“Ok Nathan. Let me think about it and we will have a chat when you get here ok?” I said to my adopted nephew, “Ok, thanks Uncle, here is Dad back for you,” Nathan responded, “He calls you Dad? Wow, that must feel pretty special,” I asked when Jasper came back onto the phone, “Yes it is mate, we are good pals now, and Anita is very happy that we have a special father and son bond,” Jasper replied.

“Will you guys be here in about four days?” I asked, “Make it five, we are calling into Portland for a top up of supplies before we cross the Bass Strait, and come down the east coast of Tassie, and it also depends on how wild the weather is down that way, but we will keep you updated,” Jasper responded.

“By the way, before you left, did you by any chance call into Fremantle and collect some extra crew uniforms, as I have purchased a small motor expedition yacht and inherited it’s crew, so we will need extra uniforms,” I asked, “Yes, we did that, and we have a good variety of sizes too,” Jasper answered.

“Good to know, let Sarah know that I am currently updating the website, and I have installed some extra cyber security to my laptop and the website, so all of her passwords won’t work as of an hour ago. Once we have photos of the Huon Duchess and her crew, we will get the updated website online, but for now I am keeping it in maintenance mode, also as an extra security measure, the location of our base is to remain restricted, so we don’t have any incidences like at Jurien Bay,” I informed Jasper.

“Ok boss, I will let the crew know. See you in about five days time, bye for now,” Jasper said before ending the call. Now that I knew that we would have plenty of uniforms for the additional crew, I continued to make a few changes to the website. After about half an hour, I decided that if I was to keep the location of our new base secret, then I needed to organise a post office box.

Picking up the phone again, I dialled the newest number to my phone list, “Hello Skipper Hamish, are you still on the island?” I asked when he answered the call, “Yes, only just, we were about to set off in a few minutes,” Hamish replied, “Can you come to my cottage please, I need you to do a small chore for me when you get to Margate please,” I said to him.

A few minutes later, I explained to Hamish the need to organise a post office box for the company, and that I would need a physical address, and Hamish said that it would be fine with him if we used his home address.

With that settled, I let Hamish head off, and I made a phone call to the Margate Post Office, to arrange and pay fro a post office box, and to arrange to Hamish to collect the keys for the box.

Just before 10 am the next morning, I received a call from the skipper. “Hey boss, just to let you know that I have collected the keys for the post office box, which is number 101, a nice easy number to remember don’t you think?” Hamish said to me.

“Yes it is, and now I can include it on the contacts page of the website, thanks for doing that for me. Have a good cruise, and we will see you when you get back in just over three days time,” I replied, “Right O boss, we will see you then, oh and I have notified the Tourist Centre in Hobart, to update the contact details for our promotions, that is displayed at all of the Tourist Information centres around Tasmania,” Hamish said before ending the call.

I estimated that the Huon Duchess, would arrive back just before the Beyond Frontier, so I was looking forward to having both boats, at the one location. As part of the shopping the other day, Hamish and family had purchased at my request, a heap of wooden marker pegs, so I could work out a layout for an extension of the boardwalk, from the platform, down to the southern end of the island.

This would be the project my brothers and I would be working on while the Huon Duchess is away on a cruise. It took us nearly two whole days to peg out a 1.5 kilometre long path through the eucalypt forest, to within 40 metres of the bottom end of the island, where we decided we would build a lookout tower, so as to be able to look over most of the trees, but still remain mostly hidden from anyone that may cruise past the island.

On our third day, we headed to the north end of the island, pegging out a 700 metre long path that would end about 70 metres short of the northern tip of the island. We finished the making out by 3 pm and we headed down to the jetty, with the two quad bikes, to just relax and await the arrival of the Huon Duchess.

While my brothers had a go at fishing off the jetty, I just sat on the seat of the quad bike and using my I-pad I just looked at the company website, to see if I could make any more changes to the layout. When we heard the sound of a yacht horn, I looked up to see if it was the Huon Duchess, but my mouth dropped open at the unexpected sight of what looked like my old catamaran, but it had a different name on the transform, that being Front N Back.

“When I saw Jasper smiling on the fly bridge, I knew that it had to be my old yacht, as I watched Nathan and Oscar preparing the fore and aft mooring ropes. I watched as Jasper smoothly brought the yacht around to the inside mooring berth, between the jetty and the island.

As I was watching, I hadn’t notice the Beyond Frontier approaching, until it sounded its horn, with Sebastian at the helm on the fly bridge, and he manoeuvred that yacht to the end mooring berth, leaving just the outer mooring space free for the Huon Duchess.

Jasper, Nathan, Sarah and Oscar were onboard the Front N Back, while Sebastian, Finn, Kirk and Leon were on the Beyond Frontier, and we all gathered on the jetty, for a welcome to our new base, and I announced to everyone that there is cabins on the island to accommodate everyone, and even a spare cabin for our surprise visitors, Jasper and Nathan.

While this was all happening, the Huon Duchess quietly arrived, and blasted it’s horn when it was near the jetty, which gave all of us a huge fright, and I clenched my fist and shook it at Hamish, to let him know I was not happy, and Hamish brought the Duchess along the end of the jetty, where his crew tied up the mooring ropes.

Jasper stepped onboard the Duchess, and disappeared inside, returning a few minutes later with a very sorry looking Hamish following him out. “I am terribly sorry boss, I had no idea that you do not approve of been blasted with the horn, it won’t happen again,” Hamish apologised.

I looked at Jasper who gave a little nod of his head, “Ok, apology accepted, but never again do you hear,” I responded, “Understood boss,” Hamish said. “Right listen up everyone, while I make all of the introductions, Hamish McCulloch Kilburn is the skipper of the Duchess and also the former owner.

His daughter Francesca is the yacht’s chef, and her two cousins, Helena and Isaac who are twins are the stewards and deckhands. Jasper is the former and temporary skipper of the Front N Back, formally named the Frontier, his crew are his stepson, Nathan, my good friend, business administrator and galley cook, Sarah Nichols and her son Oscar, and when Jasper heads back to WA, I will take up my old role of skipper, with Nathan, Sarah, Oscar, Neale and Jedd as my crew members.

When I finished all of the introductions, we started to load up the luggage of the new arrivals, and with my brothers driving the quad bikes, everyone else followed on foot. “Holy smokes, look at this will ya?” Nathan exclaimed when the cabins and the main decking area come into view.

“How did you go with the charter?” I asked Hamish, as we were the last to follow the group along the boardwalk, “Yes, exceptionally well, they were very happy with the service and said they would be recommending us to their friends and families,” Hamish replied. “That is good to hear. I have an idea to put to you, but it is just and idea, it isn’t an order or demand, and you can reject it if you like…

What do you say to the idea of mixing the crews around a bit, see how they cope with sailing on sailing yacht, and vice versa?” I asked Hamish, and I could see that he was really thinking about it, as he took his time before responding.

“I would suggest that we allow everyone get to know one another first, and see how it goes from there. When you mentioned that you have two gay couples on your other yacht, my niece and nephew didn’t take that news very well.

Although I have mixed feeling about it, I am not solely against having gay couples working on charter yachts, as it seems to be a common place these days, and I suggested to the twins that they not speak out about their displeasure of having gay couples in the company,” Hamish responded.

“What about Francesca, what are her views on the matter?” I asked, “She is totally fine with it, which caught me by surprise a little,” Hamish replied. “All I can say is that Nathan has virtually grown up around this crew, and he had no problems with the two couples, in fact they are quite good friends, and Nathan is 100% heterosexual, and both of my brothers have no problems either, as they too have been spending time with the two couples,” I said to Hamish.

“Ok, well it isn’t a problem for me, just the twins really. When we are on our next charter, I will get Francesca to have a chat to the twins about it, and see if she can set them right on the matter,” Hamish suggested, “Sounds like a good plan, thanks for that.

Just to let you know, I have a 0% tolerance about any form of discrimination, from any crew members or guests, as Jasper can attest too, and he will back me up on, as will all of my long term staff,” I responded. “Good to know, I will pass that on to my family as well,” Hamish replied.

Four days later, I had asked Hamish and his crew, which included Nathan, to make a trip to Huonville Valley, to collect a supply of timber to be used for constructing the additional walkways that we had pegged out earlier, and also to drop Jasper off, so he can start making his way home to Jurien Bay.

The day after the Duchess set off, using the Catamaran, I had taken all of my original crew members out on a casual tour of the surrounds of Partridge Island, which included a picnic on a rocky beach, and a swim in the small bay.

During this tour, we noticed that there was a bit of rubbish that has washed up on the shores, so that afternoon, using the two dinghies, we broke off in two groups, with plenty of large rubbish bags, and we began collecting all of the rubbish off the shore around the island.

We were all a little shocked by the end of the day, we had a huge amount of rubbish that we had collected, and it looked like that we would be making regular rubbish collection trips in the near future. We saw that the nearby south western peninsular of Bruny Island has also a large amount of rubbish, but I decided that it is the Tasmania Department of Parks and Wildlife’s concern, and that we would just report the matter to them.

When we arrived back at our Island village, I retrieved my mobile, which I had accidently left behind, and found three missed calls from Hamish, so I dialled his number, to see what the matter is. “Hey boss, thanks for calling me back… I just wanted to let you know, that on our way to Huonville, there was a huge verbal argument between Nathan and the twins, which Francesca had to breakup.

Apparently Nathan overheard the twins talking about, and I quote ‘Gay Guys getting up to nasty stuff behind closed doors’ and Nathan was furious at them. Anyway, when the twins started shoving Nathan around, Francesca intervened, and after everyone had calmed down, I said to the twins that this was maybe not the best job for them to be in, if they are going to create this sort of friction in the workplace, and suggested that they return home.

They did not take that too well, and started verbally abusing me for taking sides against family. I said that Francesca and I will pack up any belongings that they have in the cabin, and send it onto them,” Hamish informed me.

“I am sorry that you had to go through all of that, but I am also glad that you took the sensible and correct course of action to encourage them to leave. If you hadn’t, I certainly would have done it as soon as I had learnt about it.

I would not have asked them to leave, they would have been given instant dismissal,” I responded. There was a long pause, and I waited patiently for Hamish to continue.

Copyright Feb 2021 All Rights 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. Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 
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