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    quokka
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Papa Stour - 19. PS Ch 19

Mum and Aunty Bea have suites on the next deck up, and I am on the Bridge deck. I haven’t had a chance to see that yet, as you interrupted it with your arrival,” I said to my friends, as I gave them a hug and back slap each, before leading the way through to inside, and showed them the cinema first, before showing the three queen guest cabins.

“We have a cabin each?” Lucas asked looking very surprised, “Yes mate, and there are plenty to spare, this deck has five queen cabins and two twin cabins, for guests. On the next deck there are an additional four VIP cabins and two VIP suites,” I informed my mates.

“Wow, this is outrageously awesome, how many crew do you have on board?” Craig asked, “Um, let me think, I have only just met them all, I think there is eighteen crew, four officers, plus five senior crew and nine general crew,” I replied.

When the lads had looked at their cabins, we began to explore the whole yacht, except for the lower deck, which I told my mates, is off limits to all guests. When we reached the bridge deck, we headed aft entering a large private saloon, and out to my private aft deck, and going up the stairs, we came to a large sundeck, with plenty of sun lounges, a bar, and even a swimming pool, and feeling the water, we pleased to see that it is heated.

Heading back downstairs, this time taking the stairs near the pool, which leads to the foyer, and passing trough another door, we stepped into a short hallway. On the right, we found a large office, and behind that is a library, with books and DVD’s. On the other side, is the Master Suite, and a door leading into a large bathroom, with a tub.

Back in the hallway, the last remaining door, was at the end, which had “Bridge - Authorised persons only,” on the door, and I knocked and heard a faint call to enter. When I opened the door, I found a even shorter hallway, with a door on each side, one marked Captain’s Cabin, the other Chief’s Cabin, and ahead was another door, which was marked Bridge.

I knocked again, and opened the door, where the Captain and First Officer were standing and they smiled. “Hello Sir, welcome to the bridge, please come in,” the first officer said to us. The bridge area was quite narrow; but goes the full width of the deck. It has a great view, of ahead of us, as we continued south away from Strahan.

We thanked the Captain for allowing us to view the bridge before leaving and heading down stairs to the main saloon. “So my friend, what have you got lined up for us for the next two week’s,” Craig asked me.

“Well I originally had a week of cruising around the area with a number of hikes, and that was to be on the smaller catamaran yacht, which we use for cruises and hikes. Now with this magnificent yacht at our disposal; I need to review and alter my plans for the second week, especially with the worsening problem with the media,” I replied.

“Yeah, they have been a real headache at school, trying to sneak into the school to try and get some photos of you in class, which is funny, since the whole school knows that you are no longer at school, so the headmaster had to put them straight, and tell them you no longer attend the school,” Lucas said. “Which really peeved them off big time,” Brad added, as we sat down in the saloon.

There was no sign of Mum and Aunty Bea, but that did not worry me at all, they were probably having a rest before dinner. “So tell us, what are we going in this tub,?” Craig asked me. “I have a full programme of events for you for this week, and this is not a tub.

As you may have noticed, it is a lot smoother now, as we have entered the King River, and in about an hour we will be stopping overnight just before the Teepookana Bridge.

In the morning, you will be able to watch the West Coast Wilderness Railway Train pass by as it crosses the river on its journey up river. Once it has passed, we will board the tender and take a trip up river to Dubbil Barril Railway station, and we should arrive there about the same time as the train.

That is, as far up as we can go, as there are too many rapids after that, so we will head back down river to the yacht. Once back on board, we will set off down river and out into Macquarie Harbour again, and we will head for our next overnight spot, called Double Cove.

The following morning, we enter the Gordon River, where we stop at Heritage Landing, and go for a short hike. From there, we continue upstream to Eagle creek, which will be our overnight stop,” I began, “Hang on, boats are only allowed to go as far as Heritage Landing,” Lucas stated.

“Yes, you are correct, but thanks to someone I know, we have a permit to go as far as the Franklin River junction,” I replied smiling. “That would be my Dad, remind me to thank him for that,” Lucas replied. “On our second day on the Gordon River, while the yacht is making its way up to the Franklin River junction, we will be taking a nine kilometre hike along a hiking track to the Franklin River.

That is where the yachts tender will meet us, and slowly bring us back down the Franklin to the junction of the two rivers, to meet up with the yacht again.” I announced. “Wow, you certainly have planned this whole thing out in detail,” Lucas commented.

“Yes mate; and that is just the first few days, there is plenty more, and I will let you know about that in a day or two,” I replied, just as Mum entered. “An email for you from Edinburgh,” Mums aid to me as she handed over two sheets of paper. “Excuse me guys, I will be right back,” I said as I stood and followed Mum out of the room, and into the foyer.

“Dear Edwin, I hope you are enjoying your new floating home, another gift from me with my best wishes. Now that you have this wonderful yacht, I am presuming that you would like to continue with your plans for straight after Christmas, or maybe straight after your exams.

Thinking that you will be, I have managed to find an additional university lecturer who would be interested in an all expenses paid working holiday. Dr Marc Buchanan, Earth and Environmental Science, from London University, who comes from Aberdeen, and Dr Lachlan Drummond, from the University of Dundee, Biological Science, who comes from Manchester, I just need a set date from you, so as too arrange their travel plans. Regards, Robert.”

“Wow, have you read this Mum?” I asked, “Yes, and I think it is a great idea of yours, and I am very proud of you,” Mum replied. “Let’s go up to my office so we can do some work on this,” I suggested, so we headed up one deck.

After about half an hour of discussing the plans, the telephone rang, and we were informed that dinner is ready to be served, so we had to stop work and head down to the main deck stopping on the upper deck to get Aunty Bea.

“Where did you disappear too?” Lucas asked when we entered the dining room, “Mum and I had some business to deal with, and we haven’t finished yet,” I replied. After dinner, the lads headed to the cinema to watch a movie, and Aunty Bea retired for the night, while Mum and I headed up to my private lounge to chat some more about the plans, and we eventually decided to that early December was the best time to have this cruise.

We also decided to have two students from each of the six private independent schools in Northern Tasmania, to be awarded this prize, plus four teachers who specialise in Science subjects, plus two independent outdoor education coaches, and the two guest lecturers.

Looking at the time, I saw that it was approaching 8 pm, as I checked my notes and pulling out my phone, I dialled a number.

“Good evening, sorry to call so late, but I have a special request to make at very short notice,” I began when the call was answered, “Yes, go on,” the man said, who sounded a little peeved at the lateness of the call, but I ignored that.

“I would like to have one member of your Outdoor Activity Coaches, join me on a yacht for a period of five days starting tomorrow afternoon, it would be for consulting purposes mostly, and leading a small group on a couple of hikes, and assisting my crew with activities.

We will pay your fee, as well as providing all accommodation and meals for the time they are with us, plus transport to and from the yacht,” I said to the man, and there was a moment of silence, which made me think that he had cut me off.

“Well this is very short notice, how will I get to your yacht,” the man asked, “I will arrange for one of the sea planes to fly your Outdoor Ed coach out to meet us,” I replied. “Yes that can be arranged, is there anything that I need to arrange to bring,” the man asked.

“No just your coach, and luggage for a week, we will provide everything else,” I replied. “May I ask the name of this yacht, and who is speaking?” the man asked me, “Certainly, the yacht is called Calamity Jane, a 72 metre motor yacht, and my name is Crawford,” I replied.

“Did you just say Crawford? As in Sir Edwin Crawford, of Wigan?” the man asked sounding a little shocked, “Yes that is correct, but I prefer that you not tell anyone about this job, as I want it to be very low key, plus it would lead to an extra job at the end of the year for two of your coaches,” I responded.

“You have my company at your service to assist you, Sir Edwin, and it will be me that will be joining you tomorrow. My name is Paul Atherton, just tell me where and when, and I will be there,” the man replied. “Well Mr Atherton, I will have to wait morning to call the Sea Plane people, so just be there sometime after lunch and we will go from there,” I said.

“I know the owner, if that helps, I can call him straight after this call,” Mr Atherton said, “Well that does help, ask him to fly you to Double Cove, we will be arriving there at about 3 pm tomorrow afternoon, so get the pilot to time the journey to match with our arrival,” I said.

“Very good sir, and thankyou for selecting our company, good evening to you,” Mr Atherton said before ending the call. “Well that is sorted, we will have an outdoor education specialist joining us tomorrow afternoon, and if all goes well they will join us for the December trip as well,” I said to Mum.

While Mum said goodnight and headed down stairs, I went to the office and typed up a email to send to Robert, to set a date of December 6th as the start of the cruise, which will have two students from each of the six northern Tasmanian Private Independent schools.

The next morning, we had a late breakfast, mainly because it was hard to get my friends out of their beds, and shortly after we finished, we heard and eventually saw the steam train appear out of the forest and cross the bridge, before disappearing again.

Once it had gone, we headed downstairs, where the deck crew already had the tender in the water, and we headed up river to the Dubbil Barril railway station. We would be arriving about 80 minutes later, and just as the train was coming into the station.

After a fifteen minute stop, we turned around, and headed back down stream, and we made it back to the yacht, about fifteen minutes ahead of time that I had planned.

Copyright Preston Wigglesworth All Rights Reserved July 2020

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Great chapter. Everything is going well with Edwin and friends holiday. Edwin has also been able to set up his scholarship cruise for December using his new boat.

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Another interesting chapter. Your stories always include one lesson of life most of us have had to learn: plans are made, then things happen and the plans change, and change again and again. Edwin handles the changes with grace and ease. And thank you for answering my question about the the number of crew members.
Fred

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