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Top End Doctor - 12. Dr Chapter 12

“Holy Chr… Um, I think we are going to have to make some additional arrangements, as there are far more than 25 here,” Angela commented. “Agreed lets head down and see what we can do,” Tim responded, “Boys, stay on this deck please,” Uncle James said to us as he followed.

A few minutes later over the intercom, “Deckhands and stewards report to the Aft Main deck right away,” we heard Angela say. Heading back out to the helipad to see what is happening, we saw all the crew including Mrs Quinn walking of the yacht, and approach some of the group.

We watched as there was a long discussion, before Tim and Uncle James began giving instructions to the crew members, and in small groups they headed off in different directions, some walking while others jumped into two Utes.

Not sure what is happening, we headed back inside, to the classroom, where we cleared all of the bench space, putting the printers, and other stuff into the corner cupboards, before heading downstairs to find Mrs Andrews. In the upper lounge, where the Andrew’s were relaxing, we informed them that we had cleared the benches in the classroom, and all that is needed is to get some of the plastic chairs from the storage locker, to the Owner’s deck, and Mrs Andrews agreed to help us to get the six chairs needed.

When we had finished doing that, Mrs Andrews returned downstairs, while Toby and I headed to the helipad to see what is happening, just when four Utes arrived and parked close to the gangway of the yacht, and we noticed that the back of the Utes were full of foam mattresses, as Uncle James stepped out of one vehicle, carrying a large box, while Declan stepped out of another vehicle also carrying a large box.

The two deck hands stepped out of the other two vehicles, and commenced carrying mattresses onto the yacht, stockpiling them on the aft deck at first, until the vehicle were empty, and they set off again, while the lads began carrying the mattresses inside.

When we saw a minivan arrive, Mrs Quinn, Tracy and the two stewards stepped out, and began carrying armfuls of boxes and bags of groceries, onto the yacht, each taking about six loads each, until the van was empty.

We headed downstairs to see if we could be of any help, walking into the galley which now has bags and boxes everywhere. “Boys, excellent, Toby can you go with Mrs Quinn, she is relocating down to the lounge area next to the laboratory on the lower deck, Reid, can you help us to pack all of this food and supplies away,” Tracy said when we walked in.

When we were almost ¾’s of the way from packing everything away, with all cold and frozen foods put away first, Tim and Uncle James entered. “Where is Toby and Mrs Quinn?” Tim asked, Toby is helping Mrs Quinn move to downstairs,” I replied.

“Ok good, right we have mattresses to accommodate and extra 12 people in the crew cabins, plus two in the mini suite, two plus an extra two in the larger guest suite, plus we have the junior officers cabin on the bridge deck to accommodate one more, plus I will get you Toby to move into Reid’s cabin, so we have another two single beds available,” Uncle James said.

“That make an extra 21 guests, just as well we went to the grocery store and general store for extra supplies,” Tracy said, “Yes it is going to be a very crowded yacht for 48 hours,” Tim responded, “Lets get started with loading the guests, so we can get going,” Uncle James said as he headed out of the galley with Tim and I following. From the aft main deck, Tim let out a piercing high pitched whistle, which caught everyone’s attention.

“Good afternoon everyone, as you are aware we are in a cyclone emergency, and on seeing the larger than expected crowd wishing to join us for the two day voyage to Darwin, the crew has made additional preparations over the past hour, to accommodate more of you.

My name is Dr James Shaw, and this is my partner Mr Tim Hope, who is the yacht’s engineer, the young lad is one of my nephews who are with us, and we have a limited number of crew, so we ask that you be patient with us.

Unfortunately we do have a limit on how many we can take with us, and so it will be families of women and children first, along with only some government staff accommodation available. We have 6 cabins with two beds and two mattresses each, so six families who can fill those cabins please come forward, and you will be shown to your cabins…” Uncle James announced.

The two deckhands and two stewards showed the first group onto the yacht and inside, up the stairs to the boat deck, forward to the crew area, where the first three families were shown their cabins, and the other three followed the Eliza and I, as we took them down the stairs to the main deck crew area, and the other three cabins.

“Where that door goes?” a young girl asked as he tried to open it but failed because it was locked. “That leads to the lower deck, where the crew sleep,” Eliza replied, “Him too?” the boy asked pointing to me, “No, he is the owner’s nephew and ward, he sleeps on a different deck,” Eliza replied, as we headed back upstairs, and back to the aft main deck, where Uncle James was speaking to five white people.

“How did that go Eliza?” Uncle James asked, “Ok sir, one young girl was full of questions thou,” Eliza replied. “Right, Eliza, can you please show these eight men to the three twin guest cabins and the twin mini suite please, and Reid, can you show these two gentlemen to the Toby’s old cabin, please,” Uncle James instructed.

When we returned to the aft main deck, there were four middle aged women talking to Mrs Quinn, “Right now, the next group, Mrs Quinn, can you show these four ladies to the two crew cabins, one on the main deck and one on the boat deck, Reid here will show you the way, if you are uncertain,” Tim said, and I lead the way inside again.

“How many beds do we have left now?” Mrs Quinn asked as we headed back to the aft main deck, “Just the four double guest cabins and the large suite, next door to the Mr and Mrs Andrews,” I replied. Eliza and Melina were talking to Tim and Uncle James, when we arrived back.

“Ok, now that the sheets and towels have been changed in the remaining four cabins and suite, we can allocated them now, there is a family of six that can use the large suite, we have four mattresses there already, and the four double cabins can be used by single women, who will have to share the double beds,” Uncle James said.

“That will make a total of 45 passengers, not including crew and Mr and Mrs Andrews, and there is still a big group waiting to see if they can come along too,” Tim said, “Unfortunately, once this last group are settled in, that is all we can carry,” Uncle James said.

“I have just been talking with Airnorth, they are sending two more planes to carry 76 passengers each, before they stop flights in this region,” Angela said when she arrived, “Ok, get this last group on board, then inform the rest that a plane is coming from Darwin to collect another 152 people,” Tim said. It was nearly 2 pm before we finally left Maningrida, and there were aboriginal kids running around all over the place, so Toby and I retreated to the owner’s deck.

“Can I have everyone’s attention please, this is Captain Angela Gibson speaking… Welcome onboard our yacht for the 48 hour voyage to Darwin, we will be doing our very best to make everyone comfortable, if you have any questions, please ask one of the crew members.

Just to let all guests from Maningrida know, that there are some area of the yacht that are off limits, but because a lot of you are staying in crew accommodation, there is a little flexibility in this rule. However, all of the lower deck, are off limits, as it contains the crew’s cabins, stores and the engines.

On the main deck, which is the deck you arrived on, the galley and pantry and stores located just off the dining room and behind the main stairs, are also off limits, as is the owner’s deck and the bridge, with the exception of those staying in the one cabin on that deck.

Apart from the bathrooms located in each of the cabins, there are additional toilets located in the main deck foyer, opposite the stairs, and on the boat deck in the middle of the yacht, just before the stairs. If you get lost and not sure where they are, just ask one of the crew, or you will find a deck map on each deck, near the main stairs on each level.

Because of the extra number of people on board, there will be separate locations for dining on the yacht, all indigenous members of the community shall be dining in the main dining room on the main deck, or if the weather is fair, at the outside main deck dining table, with dinner to be served at 7 pm, breakfast is from 7 am to 8 am, and lunch is at 1 pm.

Government staff who are travelling with us, you will be dining in the upper deck lounge at the same times, crew will dine at the times and locations mentioned in the earlier briefing, that is all for now, thankyou,” Angela announced over the intercom.

For the next five hours, as predicted the seas were rough, but it was getting calmer, the further away from the cyclone we travelled. During dinner in our classroom, Angela informed us that the two cyclones have now as predicted, join as one and intensify in strength, to a category 5, severe tropical cyclone, and luckily for us, we are now north of the Goulburn Islands, 380 kilometres south-west of the cyclone, which is currently stationary.

The following morning as Toby and I entered the galley, we saw Tracy and Angela in deep discussion. “Should we leave?” I asked, having stopped just inside the door, with Toby bumping into the back of me, “No boys, it is fine, we were just discussing our future, and you boys are the first to hear it, we have decided to stay with the yacht after the end of the dry season,” Angela announced.

“I am glad, you are like family to us,” Toby replied, That is good to know. Now, what would you boys like for breakfast?” Tracy said. “Usual please,” both of us replied at the same time. “Captain, what is the land we can see on the starboard side,” I asked, after a brief chuckle with my brother.

“That is the Eastern tip of Melville Island, we are back where we started when all this drama began,” Angela replied. “Are we going to stop there, or continue to Darwin?’ Toby asked, “Tim and I had discussed this just a short while ago, and we decided to head back to Darwin, since we don’t have most of the medical team with us,” Angela replied.

“Where is the cyclone?” Toby asked, “That unfortunately it has changed direction and heading for land just West of Maningrida, with it being 225 kilometres north-north east of the community, heading in a south-west direction,” Angela replied.

“We should put the cyclone track on the map in our classroom,” Toby suggested, “Excellent idea, I will give you the locations of both cyclones, so you can see where it has been and what direction it is going,” Angela replied. “When will we be arriving in Darwin?” I asked.

“In about 8 hours from now, which will be about 4 pm this afternoon,” Angela answered. After breakfast, Angela gave us the locations of the two cyclones at each they received a weather report, and she helped us to put up marker pins on the map of Australia, and also where the cyclones combined into one, and its current location.

Copyright © March 2020 Preston Wigglesworth. All Rights Reserved.
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Awesome chapter, they finally get on the way back to Darwin, I wonder what adventures await them 

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Awesome chapter. They are finally on there way to Darwin, with more passengers than they were expecting. 

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I think I would have waited for one of the planes, considering the squished conditions on the yatch.  (The time to Darwin would have been shorter, too.)  That said, the yatch is right there, and who knows if the planes are actually going to arrive or will be forced to cancel.  A very tough choice.  Kudos to the crew for making the difficult trip possible.

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The boys are so adaptable and understanding and seem to have the utmost confidence in their uncles and crew.

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