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    quokka
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Top End Doctor - 13. Dr Chapter 13

After lunch, as we neared Darwin, with our arrival time just three hours away, Tim and Uncle James asked Toby and I to come with them to their suite for a chat. “Are we in trouble for something?” Toby asked sounding worried, and Tim just laughed, “No, not at all, we just need to have a family chat, that is all,” Tim responded as we made our way upstairs.

“Ok, Tim and I have had some lengthy discussions, not just between us, but also with the yacht’s senior crew. When we get home to Darwin, the medical missions will be suspended until the end of the Cyclone season, which is early April, which is approximately 8 weeks away.

In the mean time, once the changes to the main deck have been reversed, the yacht will become a cruise yacht, based in Darwin, with the current crew plus Mrs Quinn to remain with the yacht. Over the past few years, we have been working on a investment property, namely 2 remote blocks of land at a place called Dundee Beach, and we have been working on having the place turned into our own private retreat,” Tim announced to us.

“Where is this Dundee Beach?” Toby asked, “Well it is on the coast approximately 135 kilometres west-south west of Darwin by road, 43 nautical mile from Darwin. The property consists of 90 acres of tropical bush and gardens, with mangroves along the edge of a wide creek, which is on three sides of the property, plus it is located 6 kilometres from the coast along the creek, by boat, so it is well protected from wild coastal weather,” Tim replied.

“Before you boys came to live with us, we have been spending a dozen weekends each dry season on the property, planning on what to do with the place, and now that we have a yacht and you boys, we have decided to make it into our new home,” Uncle James announced.

“When can we go and see it?” Toby asked excitedly, “In a few days time, after we have had the changes made to the yacht, to get it back to the way it was originally, and when we have returned the dining and lounge furniture, which we put into storage, then we will go there in the yacht,” Uncle James replied.

“It sounds like a great place,” I said, “Yes it is, but like everywhere else in the Northern Territory, you have to be alert of crocodiles at all times, as they can move very swiftly in the water, especially if you are close to the waters edge, then you are a crocodile meal,” Uncle James said to us as a reminder.

“Anything else, that is dangerous out there?” Toby asked, “Yes, some spiders and most types of snakes, of which I keep anti-venom with me at all times, just in case someone gets bitten,” Uncle James replied. When we finally arrived in Darwin, we said a sad farewell to Mr and Mrs Andrews, plus to all of our other passengers from Maningrida, before Tim announced that all crew have 48 hours of shore leave, which the junior crew were very pleased to hear, and he insisted that includes the skipper and the chef.

The next morning, a mini van arrived with 6 cleaners, who Tim had contracted to clean all general areas, all guest and crew cabins on the yacht, that have been in use over the past two days. Giving the cleaning crew six hours to complete the task, this includes washing, drying and sterilising all of the linen, pillows and mattresses.

In the mean time, Uncle James would take us back home, so we can relax and enjoy being back on land again, while Tim remained on the yacht to supervise the cleaning. “Here boys, let me show you a plan of what the property looks like,” Uncle James called from his study, and we found him standing over a large map.

What we saw is a peninsular, and two properties, the northern one being 56 acres in size, and has mangroves and water around three sides, and the southern block, which is 34 acres in size, with the main access road – Launceston road, which stops at the roundabout, at the bottom eastern corner of the bigger block of land.

An access road goes to the left of the roundabout, along the boundary of the two blocks. “What’s the difference with all of these lines?” Toby asked, pointing to them on the map. “Good question nephew, the faint outer lines is the edge of the mangroves and the start of the water.

The heavy line is the edge of the coast and start of the mangroves, which are underwater at high tide, and the dotted line just inside the coast, is a newly completed raised walkway, which is one metre above the ground and 2 metres wide, plus 2.3 kilometres long.

The square box at the top and in the bottom left corner, are raised lookout towers, which give great views of the mangroves and the creeks that surround the property. The rectangle on the west coast of the property is the main house, and from there, is a 150 metre long jetty, with a 200 metre long mooring jetty off that,” Uncle James informed us.

You said that the property has tropical bush and gardens, what do you mean by that?” I asked. “Well for the past two years, Tim and I and on some occasions some friends, have been planting tens of hundreds of tropical plants, shrubs, fern trees, palms trees, ferns and we have a sprinkler system that waters it all on a regular basis during the dry season, and on days when it is dry in the wet season,” Uncle James replied.

“Sounds like a very interesting place, I can hardly wait to get there, one last thing, what are those two peanut shaped things near the corner of the house?” I asked, and Uncle James chuckled at the description. “That my dear nephew is the main feature of the whole property, which is two swimming ponds, with a connecting stream, plus a stone wall waterfall in one, and a fountain in the other,” Uncle James replied.

“You said it has a house, how big is it?” Toby asked, “That is correct, it is a multi level house, with the main living area being 3.5 metres metres above the ground, so as to allow vehicles to drive under it to get to the jetty, and also to park under the house.

The main level is 20 by 9 metres, not including the large patio that over looks the garden, and the verandah that overlooks the mangroves, jetty and the creek. That level has the central dining room, the kitchen, which has a window ledge, to access the patio dining area, and on each side of the dining area, are the living room and the lounge room.

On each corner, there is spiral staircases, that lead to the corner accommodation areas. On the south side of level one is a private lounge and an office, on level two, there is the master bedroom, bathroom and a store room, an on level three there is a rooftop deck. On the other side, on level one, there is a guest bedroom, bathroom and store room, while level two has two bedrooms, and a bathroom for you boys, and finally a roof top decking above that.

“The house sounds huge,” Toby commented, “Yes it is, plenty of living space for all of us, even on wet and stormy days. The jetty is big enough and strong enough to keep the yacht secured no matter how big the storm is, and with the creek being only 240 metres wide, the yacht won’t go very far, we have even installed anchor posts on the other side of the creek, to make sure that it won’t get away,” Tim responded.

“Is the house strong enough to handle strong cyclones, like the one we have been chased by?” Toby asked, “It sure is, and as and extra precaution, there are two solid safe rooms that can handle any strength of winds, and each one has a bathroom, a lounge area and kitchenette, located on the main living level in each front corner, off the verandah.

Below one of the safe rooms, is a generator room and fuel storage room, there are a generator room, and the other has a gas bottles storage room and a fresh water tank, to keep us supplied with cooking fuel, for the kitchen, backup power for the whole house, and plenty of fresh water,” Uncle James replied.

When Tracy and Angela returned to the yacht shortly after 6 pm, they had takeaway meals with them, and announced that dinner for six has arrived, so we followed them to the dining room, while Tracy went into the galley to get plates and cutlery for us.

“Is it my imagination, or has the yacht been cleaned while we have been away,” Tracy asked, and both Tim and Uncle James smiled broadly, “Your not mistaken, the whole yacht has been cleaned by a cleaning company, that I had come in today,” Tim responded, “Wonderful, that is one thing we don’t have to worry about this week, when are the additions to the main deck being reversed?” Angela replied.

“Tomorrow first thing, a crew should have it dismantled and packed away, so it can be stored away, along with all of the medical supplies and equipment,” Uncle James replied. “What happens after that, have you lined up a private cruise already?” Angela asked, “Well that is what we had discussed, but no, we have a little surprise for the crew, we are going on a crew and family little holiday, to a place called Dundee Beach, Tim responded.

“Sounds interesting, does it have anything to do with Crocodiles, and a bloke with a big knife?” Tracy asked which had Tim and Uncle James laughing, “No nothing to do with the movies, but yes it is still a crocodile region, just like the other places we have visited in the past week,” Tim replied.

“Tim and I invested in some land at Dundee Beach, and we have built a private retreat for the family, which we want to share with the crew,” Uncle James added, “Sounds interesting, how far away is this place?” Angela asked, if you were to travel by road, it would take nearly two hours from Darwin, but we are taking the yacht, and it is a distance of 43 nautical miles, so it will take us about 3 ½ hours by yacht, leaving at 8 am, the day after tomorrow,” Uncle James said.

“Are we expecting any of the crew to return tonight?” Tim asked, “Yes, most of them said they would be returning tonight, but when and in what condition, will be something we will have to wait for,” Angela replied.

When the sound of the yacht’s alarm sounded, I heard Tim cursing in the hallway, as he stagged out of the suite and down the stairs, cursing all the way down. I glanced at the clock, which read just after 2 am, and I was soon fast asleep again.

The next morning, as Toby and I headed downstairs for breakfast, as we entered the galley we could hear Tim’s raised voice coming from the open door leading to the lower deck, and it sounded like he was giving the crew a lecture, as Tracy gently closed the door.

“You don’t need to hear that. Into the dining room and I will bring you your breakfast momentarily,” Tracy said to us, so we passed through the pantry and into the dining room, where Uncle James was seated and he was reading a newspaper.

“Good morning boys, did you hear the alarm last night?” Uncle James asked us, “Yes, I did, it was just after 2 am, but I went straight back to sleep,” I replied, “I didn’t hear a thing,” Toby commented, just as Tracy entered, “Lucky you, Master Toby, that alarm is so loud, Angela was heading down to speak to the crew, but Tim beat her to it,” Tracy commented, “Yes, I heard him cursing as he left the suite,” I commented, which made Uncle James laugh.

“Goody, I get to tell someone off as well,” he said with a broad smile, “Who are you talking about?” Tim asked as he entered and sat down, “You my dear, Reid here heard you cursing as you left the suite early this morning,” Uncle James said still smiling, “Oops! Sorry Reid, I will have to remember to mind my manners when you boys are on the yacht,” Tim responded, blushing a little in the process, which made Uncle James laugh some more.

“By the way, an update on the cyclone, it is now just 11 kilometres off the south-east cost of the Coburg Peninsular, and 26 kilometres north-west of Goulbourn Island, which has received some heavy rain and gale force winds, it is currently travelling at 11 kph, and a heading of due south., and if it stays on this path, it will be heading straight for Jabiru, which is in the Kakadu National Park, so hopefully it will stay well away from us,” Angela informed us.

Copyright © March 2020 Preston Wigglesworth. All Rights Reserved.
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Great chapter. So the yacht makes it back to Darwin safely. The yacht is cleaned by a cleaning company and turned back back to a leisure cruiser as the Medical Mission is suspended for the cyclone season. We discover that the Uncles have a house that they are going to make home for them and there nephews.

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Awesome chapter, I am glad that they arrived safely, they are going to have some fun at the new house

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A lovely tropical retreat by Dundee beach, with room for the yatch:  I need to find myself an Australian uncle!

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Another bit of realestate that sounds quite expensive....

The boys are so well behaved, I imagine the crew let off some steam and arrived back at the yacht more than a bit tipsy and set of the alarm.  This G rated chapter didn't mention the Aussie curse words used, but it would have been interesting for some of us not really familiar with them....

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On 3/26/2020 at 1:43 AM, travlbug said:

A lovely tropical retreat by Dundee beach, with room for the yatch:  I need to find myself an Australian uncle!

me too 😂

excellent chapter 👍

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