We ate lunch, while the yacht cruised down the river, before coming out into Macquarie Harbour, and started heading southwards and towards the other side of the harbour, and we arrived at the sheltered Double Cove shortly after 3 pm. Where the seaplane having already arrived, and the captain anchored about 50 metres offshore and about twenty metres from the plane.
The crew got to work to get the tender into the water, and to go and collect our newest passenger, who looked to be in his 40’s but he looked very lean and physically fit, as I watched from my aft deck on the bridge deck.
I informed Elizabeth that I would see Mr Atherton about an hour before dinner, as I wanted to get some more work done on the project, and I saw her greet Mr Atherton, and lead the way indoors, before I headed back to my office.
For the trip so far, I have been making sure that I took plenty of photos, as I want to include some of them in the portfolio that will be given to the successful candidates who will be coming on this trip in early December. I wanted to have all of the planning completed before the end of the school holidays, so to start promoting it to the six schools in Northern Tasmania.
I watched from the window as the plane took off and headed back to Strahan, and now with the yacht anchored, there would be no motion of the yacht, apart from the slight waves, created from the harbour and I got to work with my project.
Shortly before 5 pm, I headed to my cabin to shower and change before heading down to the main deck. I heard a movie on the theatre, so I presumed my friends were in there, and I found Mum and Aunty Bea chatting to Mr Atherton, when I entered the main saloon.
“Ah, here he is at last. May I present my son, Sir Edwin Crawford, BT,” Mum said to Mr Atherton, as I approached them and shook Mr Atherton’s hand, and signalled for him to take a seat, and I sat down next to Aunty Bea. “I hope you find your accommodation satisfactory?” I asked our guest.
“Yes thankyou Sir, far more than I expected, you mentioned that there may be another trip in December, do you have any set date yet?” Mr Atherton asked, “Yes, December 6th looks like the start date, but I need to confirm a few things first, before setting the date in steel, I should know some more before you leave at the end of your stay with us,” I replied.
“Best not to say anything while the boys are around, as one of them may be coming on the trip in December,” Mum added, and I nodded my head in agreement. “Have you met them yet?” I asked, “Yes, only briefly, are they class mates of yours?” Mr Atherton replied.
“Yes former class mates, as I do my studies via correspondence mostly now, thanks to the media circus, they were also my security detail at school, even thou only they knew about my title at the time, even the teachers and administration had no idea,” I responded.
“I bet that must have been a big shock to them when they found out?” Mr Atherton asked, “I would not know, as it was a Sunday when the news broke, and my friends alerted me to the media present at school, so I stayed away from that moment on,” I replied.
The lads joined us about fifteen minutes later, and sat down in the saloon. “So, you said before that we are going up the Gordon River tomorrow?” Lucas asked me.
“That is correct, now lads, this is Mr Atherton, he is an Outdoor Education specialist, who will be joining us for the remainder of the trip this week,” I said to my friends, before facing our guest.
“I have obtained permits for us to travel as far up as the Franklin River junction, and the lads and I are taking the Eagle Creek track between the two rivers,” I informed Mr Atherton.
For the next five days, we followed the itinerary that I had set out, and after taking each section of the trip, I adjusted the timetable to fit with how long it took us to complete each section of the trip. Mr Atherton led us with the three long distance hikes, firstly the Eagle Creek Track, the Bird River Track and finally the track to Sorell Lighthouse.
On the last day, we anchored in Pine Cove, just below the mouth of the King River, where the Bosun took Mr Atherton to Strahan in the tender, so to keep the yacht out of sight. I sat down alone with Mr Atherton on our return journey, and gave a rundown of the plans for December, and he said that he would make sure that he and one of his staff are available for that trip, and he thanked me for such an enjoyable five days.
Fifteen minutes after the tender left, the anchor was raised, and the Captain headed for the King River, and began cruising up the river, but this time we stopped about 600 metres before the Teepookana Bridge, to stay out of sight, and the tender returned just before dark.
“By the way, we have been meaning to ask you, where have you been hiding from the media, since the news broke that it was you?” Lucas asked me, and the other two nodded their heads in agreement to the question, “For that information my friends, you will have to wait till morning when we go there to show you,” I replied smiling.
“What adventure have you got planned for us next?” Brad asked me, “Well, I have nothing planned, but if you can handle a day and a bit of rough seas, we can be in Port Davey in less than two days,” I suggested. “How rough are you talking about?” Craig asked cautiously, “I am not sure, I will have to check with the Captain to see what the weather is going to be like for the trip,” I replied.
After a few hours stop at home at the manor, where the lads were surprised at the hideaway retreat in the Tasmanian Forests, we did make the journey down the west coast. The journey was not as bad as I thought it would be, with an overnight stop anchored in a small bay, where we were rocked a little bit during the night, with Craig looking a bit peaky by the time we reached calm waters.
Just over two hours after starting again in the morning, we entered the Bathurst Channel, just inside Port Davey, were it calmed right down, and half an hour later we entered Bathurst Harbour, and turned northeast. With our destination being Black Swan Island, were we would stay for a couple of days, and I had arranged for the seaplane to come and collect us all, dropping Mum, Aunty Bea and I at Pine Cove, where Charles would pick us up, and dropping the lads off in Strahan, so they can catch a flight back to Launceston.
It was an awesome one and a half weeks with the lads, and they said that they enjoyed most of it, apart from the rough tri[p down the coast, but in all, it was great, and I didn’t tell them what I had planned for December, as I was not sure who the top two students would be.
I had managed to complete all preparations for the December trip and this included a promotional poster, which I sent to all six independent schools in Northern Tasmania.
“TOP TWO YEAR 11 STUDENTS GET TRIP OF A LIFETIME” was the title of the poster to grab everyone’s attention. “Sir Edwin Crawford BT, is proud to sponsor this six day luxury adventure cruise in Tasmania, for the top two year 11 students from the following six independent schools.
Circular Heads Christian School, Leighland Christian School, Geneva Christian School, Launceston Christian School, Launceston Church Grammar and Scotch Oakburn College.
As well as just twelve students, there will be four science teachers, two Outdoor Education specialists and two visiting University Science Academics, from the UK.
The trip will involve seven days of exploring some unique locations, with hiking forest trails and white water rafting, as some of the activities, with it to be held after final exams in early December. Study hard and do your school and you proud, and you may be rewarded.”
I had attached my business card to the poster, and as expected on the second day of the final term of school for this year, I received an email from all six schools. All of them were asking if this was a hoax or not, and requested a telephone call to confirm.
That day I made the six telephone calls, speaking to the Headmaster of each school, and informed them that this was indeed for real, and I asked that he nominate one senior science teacher, to be part of this all expenses paid trip, and that four out of six nominations, will be selected to attend.
Later that day, I received a text message from all three of my mates at Launceston Church Grammar. “Edwin, were you using us as guinea pigs last week, in preparation for this other trip mentioned on the poster, as some of the photos look like us from last week, Craig.”
“Edwin, that was sneaky of you to use us to test the route for the end of year trip. I like the photos, Brad,” and the final message, “Hey mate, just seen the poster, looks like us in the photos from last week, I guess I have a good chance of winning this, maybe that is why you didn’t tell us, Lucas.”
I smiled having read all the messages, before getting back to my studies, as I was supposed to be doing. Although I was missing seeing my friends each school day, I was still happy to be able to bring them along on the trip, and then and idea came to me.
Picking up the phone, I dialled a number, “Hello Captain Hakney, would it be possible to allow for two additional crew members just for this cruise in early December?” I asked when the call was answered. “It depends, who are you thinking of exactly?’ the captain asked.
“Two of my friends Brad and Craig, but not Lucas, as there is a good chance that he will be one of the award winners, as he has been top of our year for most of this year,” I replied. “I see no problem with that, but they will need to complete some basic training before then, I will send you the information, so they can get right onto it,” Captain Hakney said, and I thanked him before ending the call.
When I received the email from the captain, I looked through it carefully, and checked up on the training courses that can be held in Launceston, which can be done on weekends as I had hoped, and I waited until just before 5 pm, before ringing Craig, and then Brad.
Explaining my idea, I asked them if they were interested in being a temporary crew member, and happily they both accepted the offer, and I informed them to keep this to themselves, and not tell Lucas, who would most likely be one of the award winners. I told them to expect an email from me soon, regarding some training they need to do, and signed off.
When I received an email from the six schools, nominating a science teacher to attend the event, I saw two familiar names, one was my former science teacher, two years back, who now teaches at another school who I and most other students hated.
The other science teacher is at my former school in Launceston, who is also disliked by most of the student population. So deciding whom the lucky four science teachers are, was an easy task, but to be certain that was not a problem with students from those schools, I contacted the headmaster of those four schools.
I asked their opinion of the science teacher and if he is liked by the students, and I was pleased when all fours headmasters said that their nominated science teacher are well liked by the students, staff and the teachers at their schools.
Copyright Preston Wigglesworth All Rights Reserved July 2020