“You know what we could do with here, is the Bridge model of Ten Fold, to create a wharf for boats to get ashore,” I commented to Uncle Nat who was arranging the placing of the Desalination Plant and Waste Treatment plant. “Already thought of that, I had ordered one of them too, but it was delayed getting to Australia, so it missed the boat, so to speak, but I will arrange for it to be transported here as soon as possible.
“You have chosen a good site here nephew, those rocks out there in the bay will make a perfect anchor point for the bridge, when it is opened up, and once secured even the Investigator should be able to be moored to it,” Uncle Nat said to me.
“That would be good, I like the extra surprise that you gave us up top Uncle, they will save a lot of time with travelling to and from the two locations. We have put down star picket markers along the best area for a track, which will not be too damaging to the ground, and it is just over two kilometres long,” Aaron said.
“Are you ready to start opening up all of the buildings?” Uncle Nat asked me, and I just smiled and nodded yes, as I walked over to the first building, and began the opening sequence. Once it was fully open, I put the locking pins into place, before walking over to the CSIRO work building, and began to open that one up, followed by their accommodation building, which are about sixty metres south of the main buildings.
Once the CSIRO buildings were locked into place, they began unpacking their furniture and supplies containers, and putting everything into place, while I continued with opening up the other container buildings, and Uncle Nat soon had his staff getting the buildings furnished and ready for work.
While this was happening, Aaron and I walked back up to the top of the hill, following the now marked track, and we opened up the Tree House, before beginning to get all the furniture and white goods installed, and getting settled into our shared bedroom, with Uncle Nat having the other bedroom to himself.
During the first week, Aaron and I spent a lot of time hiking around different parts of the island, which was quite challenging at times. Meanwhile the RV Investigator was still anchored off the coast, with the research teams base on the ship making daily trips to different parts of the island as well, and after a week, the ship set sail for an unknown destination.
I was keeping in contact with the lads, and especially with Jack at the project office, sending him photos of the different places that we were exploring, and once a week, Aaron would take some video footage of one of our daily hikes, to check out all of the penguins and seal lions.
As Christmas came closer, I felt a little isolated, not being with my friends, and being so far away from mainland Australia, and when Aaron noticed this he would make a big effort to cheer me up. Christmas day was held in the joint facility, with everyone from both camps sitting around the big table to enjoy a Christmas lunch, and we were about to sit down to eat, when we heard a large ships horn blasting.
It was the Naval ship, and it looked like that it had some more cargo onboard, but after setting anchor in the bay, a boat was launched to bring some people onto the island, and we were shocked to see that it was Will and Chris and both of their parents.
“Hey guys, this is a real surprise, welcome to Macquarie Island and Merry Christmas,” I said in a surprised voice before saying hello to Dr & Rev Harding, and Mr and Mrs Hammond, and once Uncle Nat had said hello to everyone, he announced that Christmas lunch was about to be served.
“You knew they were coming?” I asked Uncle Nat, “I did, I noticed that you were getting a little homesick, so I arranged for them to come and spend a few days with us,” Uncle Nat replied. Christmas ended up being a lot better than I had expected, pleased to see my good mates again, and over the next few days, Aaron and I showed Will & Chris and their parents around parts of the island.
The Ten Fold bridge was on this load of supplies for the island, and I supervised its positioning, and once we were happy with it, and with a small floating platform positioned at the end of where the bridge will end, I opened up the bridge to it’s full length of thirty two metres long.
Using a specialised machine, one-metre long steel rods were fired into the rocky outcrops to secure the bridge into place, so that it would not move with any rough weather. Another piece of extra machinery that was offloaded from the ship, was an Australian Naval 30 metre patrol boat, with six crew, that will be permanently based at the island, for defence and fisheries patrol prurposes.
As the ships departure fast approached, I was feeling a little disappointed on them leaving, and Uncle Nat suggested that Aaron and I return to the mainland with them.
This would give us some time to get settled back in Adelaide, and get prepared for the new year of university studies, of which I am half way through my third year, due to the time I had off recovering from my injuries.
I happily agreed to return to the mainland, and Aaron said he didn’t want to be left alone, so he would come back with me, and so we quickly packed up our belongings, and joined the ship the following morning, after saying farewell to Uncle Nat who would be remaining on Macquarie Island for a little longer than originally planned.
The five-day journey back to Hobart was uneventful, with the ship arriving in the early afternoon. Uncle Nat had booked us all into a hotel for overnight, as our flight would not be until the next day, which gave us the rest of the afternoon to explore a bit of the capital of Tasmania, and do a little bit of shopping.
With a two hour stopover in Melbourne, we arrived back in Adelaideshortly before 3pm, and with the lads having placed my vehicle in long term parking, Aaron and were able to drive directly to North Haven, and relaxed for the rest of the afternoon there, while the lads returned to their homes with their parents.
The following day, I was still feeling very unsettled, and with four weeks left till the start of the new semester, I decided to make a trip to Tanzania, to spent some time my family there. I sent and email to Uncle Nat to let him know of my decision, and I received and email back soon after, saying that he thought it would be a good idea.
I let Aaron know of my decision, and he said that he had done enough travelling for a while, and that he will be happy to stay at home. After booking the flights to Kilimanjaro, via Johannesburg, I let Jabali know that I was coming for a few weeks visit, and I gave him the flight details, which includes an overnight layover in South Africa.
Four days later, I was on my way to Africa, with a flight from Adelaide to Perth being the first stage, and after an overnight layover, I was on the morning flight to Johannesburg, which is very long and tiring. As I was waiting to collect my luggage, I sent a text to Uncle Nat and to Aaron, to let them know that I had arrived in safely to Johannesburg, before collecting my luggage and I headed to the taxi rank.
As soon as I said the name of the hotel that I was booked in to stay, all the doors locked, and I was now on high alert, as I knew this was not normal. “Calm now my friend, it is for both of our safety that the doors remain locked till we arrive at the hotel,” the driver said to me.
I tried to relax for the twenty-minute drive, but I still remained fully alert, and I wished that I had some sort of weapon to protect myself. I slipped my passport, mobile and some cash into my socks to try and protect my travel documents, and have some money if my wallet is stolen.
When I arrived at the airport, I thanked the driver for my safety concern, as I paid him and he drove off to get another fare. As I turned to walk into the hotel a van pulled up beside me, the side door opened and I was pulled inside, before I felt the a bag placed over my head and my hands tied behind me, as the vehicle raced off.
Suddenly, I was now caught in some sort of hostage situation, which I was not prepared for, as I tried to stay calm and listen carefully to my surroundings.
I had no idea what was going to become of me, all I knew for now was that I would not be checking into the hotel and that I would not be arriving In Tanzania tomorrow afternoon, as planned. I just had to stay calm and see how things pan out, and maybe somewhere and at some time, an opportunity will come when I can escape from this nightmare.
Copyright August 2020 Preston Wigglesworth, All Rights are Reserved