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Top End Doctor - 3. Dr Chapter 3

Once in the taxi, Tim asked the driver to take us to a real estate agency, which surprised us a little. “I think it would be safer if we search for a better place ourselves,” Tim explained, and I just nodded my head in understanding.

At the Real Estate agency, Tim spent a few minutes looking at what options there are for rentals then purchases, and when he saw something he liked, he came to us for our views, “What do you think of this? I know it is fairly small and compact, but it is close to the hospital and I know it is small and basic, but I think it would do for us for the short while your uncle and you boys are here,” Tim said, “Ok, but call Uncle James and mention it to him,” I suggested.

After a quick phone call, and with Uncle James agreeing to the purchase of a duplex building, in a nice area of Nhulunbuy, with one duplex unit already leased out long term, it gave us the accommodation we needed for us, which is a three bedroom, one bathroom, air conditioned unit with plenty of established trees in the small garden.

After the agent took us to look at the property in side and out, Tim agreed to buy the property once his partner has seen it later in the day or tomorrow, and we returned to the motel, where my brother and I headed to the pool to cool off, as it was so hot and humid. When Uncle James returned, he and Tim decided to sleep on the idea of buying the property, and so we just relaxed for the rest of the afternoon.

During dinner at the restaurant, Tim’s mobile rang as we were finishing the main course, “Unknown number, Hello?” Time said as he answered the call. “Yes, this is he… yes I do have an Uncle Langley Hope. Why? Is he ok? As I haven’t heard from him for like six years or so,” we heard Tim say, as he listened to the caller.

“Oh! I see, when did this happen?... So, the funeral has already taken place?” we heard him respond, “Ok, well I am sorry that I didn’t get to say goodbye to him, he was a little eccentric, but a nice bloke. So, is that all you called for, to let me know of his passing?” Tim responded.

“Oh! He did, what exactly did he give to me, through his will?” Tim asked, and a few seconds later, “He what? You got to be kidding me?” Tim said in a high-pitched voice, as he stood up and left the table and exited the restaurant. A few long minutes later he returned and sat down.

“It appears that I have inherited an expedition yacht, my uncle was always going off to different places and searching for long forgotten places, but I had no idea that he had bought a yacht, and a fairly big one at that. We may not have to worry about accommodation, as I now own a floating hotel,” Tim announced.

“How big are we talking about, and can you afford to have it, and does it come with crew?” Uncle James asked. “76 metres, and it has a crew of four at the moment, a captain, an engineer, also a first officer, and a chef, apparently Uncle Lang was using the yacht as his expedition base, travelling all over the Pacific, Southern and Indian Ocean’s,” Tim responded to Uncle James’ enquiry.

The following morning, using his laptop, Tim made a video conference call to the yacht that he had inherited, which is currently in Auckland, New Zealand. “Good morning, I am Tim Hope,” Tim said when the video screen came on, “Good morning sir, my name is Angela Gibson, the Captain, and this is my partner, Tracy Archer, who is the yacht’s chef,” the lady responded. “It nice to meet you both, this is my partner Dr James Shaw, and his two nephews, Reid and Toby, with James being their guardian,” Tim replied.

“Mike, our engineer and first officer, is on shore leave at the moment, so he is not aware that the new owner has been contacted,” Angela explained, “Ok, can you give us a tour of the yacht please,” Tim asked, “Certainly sir, we are currently on the bridge, and behind is our cabin.

She is a 76-metres long and 12-metres wide yacht, with five decks, including the small sundeck, and it has a draft of 2.95 metres. She has a total of 10 guest cabins, two suites, one mini suite, four doubles, and three twins, plus an owners family suite, on the owners deck, that consists of the master suite and two twin cabins and she can accommodate a total of 21 crew in 10 twin cabins, three on the lower deck, four on the main deck and three on the boat deck, plus the Captain’s Cabin…” Tracy said as she began the tour of the yacht, and we watch with interest, as she guided us through the featured of the yacht. “That is about all of the whole yacht,” Angela said ending the tour, as she carried the laptop around with her.

“The yacht could be idea for our current situation, James and the boys will soon be moving to Nhulunbuy which is in East Arnhem Land, east of Kakadu, on the West coast of the Gulf of Carpentaria, as he has been posted here for at least twelve months, and the supplied accommodation will not be ready in time.

How long will it take for you to get from Auckland to Gove, which is the other name for Nhulunbuy?” Tim asked, “It would take about twelve days to get to Darwin so a bit less than that as an estimate,” Angela responded. “Ok, James and the boys will be arriving in Nhulunbuy on January 8th, so can you get here a day or two earlier?” Tim asked.

You keep saying here, are you already in Gove?’ Tracy asked, “Yes, we came over to check it out and see what the accommodation is like, which we are glad we did, or we would have been stuck for long term accommodation, but we return to Darwin later today,” Tim replied.

“If we leave the day after Christmas Day, we should be there by the day before then, if we have good seas all the way,” Tracy responded, “Good please do that, now one last thing, I am a marine engineer myself, so I will not be in need of an engineer once you have arrived here, so I am prepared to pay for the accommodation and flights for your engineer to fly back to Darwin and then onto Auckland.

In regards to yourself and your partner, I am thinking maybe we could use the yacht for charters on weekends, and that would give you and your partner plenty of time to relax and enjoy the tropics of northern Australia,” Tim suggested.

“I am not sure about living in the tropics sir, I hear that it is difficult to cope with the humidity up there, but we are prepared to do the same deal as our engineer, to get the yacht to you and then fly home, if we find the weather conditions unsuitable,” Tracy replied.

“Very well then, we will leave it as that then, we will see you at around January 8th, have a safe trip and have a merry Christmas,” Tim said, and moments later the video conference ended. “I have an email from the lawyer in Auckland, who sent us a link on what the yacht looks like and layout plans of the yacht,” Tim said to us, and we spent the next few minutes looking at the layout plans of the yacht.

“What do you think boys? Would you two be happy to live in the two single crew cabins on the lower deck, while Tim and I have the owner’s suite on the main deck, that way we would have four guest cabins available for paying guests?” Uncle James said to my brother and I.

“Do you think you can cope with all those stairs?” I asked my brother, “Yes I think so, and looking at the photos, it looks very luxurious, so I think that will be ok,” Toby replied, “Ok then we are in agreement to be stowed away in the crew area,” I said to Tim and Uncle James, who laughed at my little bit of fun.

“Let’s wait and see when the yacht gets here after new year’s then we can have a proper look at the yacht and decide then,” Uncle James suggested, and we all agreed on this. Once back in Darwin later that evening, Toby and I headed for the pool to cool off again, but a thunderstorm put a stop to that after twenty minutes, and for safety reasons, we climbed out and headed indoors, showered and changed, before heading upstairs to the living area, where we found Uncle James and Ti looking at some A3 size sheets of paper.

“Tim has printed out the layout plans of the yacht, so we can see each deck in better detail,” Uncle James said to us, “Ok, cool, that makes it better than looking at a computer screen, over your shoulder,” I replied, with a big grin. “Cheeky sod, behave yourself, or I will send you both to boarding school down south,” Uncle James replied, and this made Toby upset.

“Hey, steady on with the tears, I was only joking, I would never do that to you boys, I will always be here for you, and I will never send you away anywhere, Unless I was going with you,” Uncle James said to us both, and I gave my brother a hug to try and cheer him up a bit.

“I have been doing a bit of research, with this idea of doing weekend charters, and if our crew decide to return home to New Zealand, then we would have to organise for some local crew, but I have the qualifications to skipper this yacht, which is not a problem, and I can deal with any mechanical issues, so we would just have to have a chef and a couple of stewards, on a part time basis, which we should be able to cope with financially,” Tim said to us.

“I feel there is a but coming up,” Uncle James said, “Yes, there is, a few buts actually, firstly I don’t think we will get enough charters, if we charge the standard rates for charters of yachts like this, which is about $260,000 per week, which comes to about $37,140 per day for the whole yacht, which cuts down to $7,430 per cabin per day, and that would be with a full crew.

I think if we want to do just weekend luxury trips, from Friday mid-morning till Sunday late morning, then we need to cut that cost down to about half. There are flights from Darwin to Gove departing at 7.55 am and arriving here at 9.15 am, on Friday’s which means that I would have to take Friday’s off on charter days, to fly here, and there are flights back to Darwin leaving at 3.15 pm, getting into Darwin at 4.30 pm, which would be fine.

This way we could have a charter from late morning Friday through to just after lunch on Sunday, giving two full days for charter, which we could do for about $3,700 per cabin, including transfers from and to the Gove airport, which is about $1500 more than a local two day fishing charter,” Tim announced, “Well, I think that is a good deal considering how luxurious this yacht sounds,” Uncle James said.

I think with all expenses, that being food, drinks, yacht fuel and wages for say four crew not including us, we should be able to cover all costs and get a small profit, for that amount per person with at least three cabins booked,” Tim said, “And if we only have two cabins booked?” Uncle James asked, “We would only just break even, but we may only need three crew for that many guests so we would just make a small profit with just three crew,” Tim replied.

“Ok, and do you think you will be able to get Friday’s off work, so you can fly here to skipper the yacht?” Uncle James asked, “Yes, I think I can, and I will get you started on learning to be a crew member, with starting with getting your skippers ticket, which is the first basic skill you need,” Tim announced to Uncle James.

‘What exactly does that entail?” Uncle James asked, “Well first you need to pass a medical and an eye sight examination, then you need to get some experience onboard a boat up to 35 metres long,” Tim began, and Uncle James groaned.

Copyright © March 2020 Preston Wigglesworth. All Rights Reserved.
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I'm still waiting to inherit my first yacht, but I think I'm in for a long wait! 😂

While I love the yacht, I'm happy that the charters are scheduled only for the weekends:  I'm very much looking forward to any portion of the story involving James' adventures in the hospital and the kids' adventures in an aboriginal school!  That said, I'm intrigued by the idea of living on a ship, so this aspect of the story should be fun as well!

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I'm in a wait and see mode as I'm not sure the weekend charter idea will really work-out.   Additionally, if there are any school clubs or activities on the weekends, the boys will miss out....

But, Q I'm sure has it all figured out.

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More twists and turns for these boys. 

Interesting times lie ahead  and I anxiously await to see them unfold.

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I am totally overwhelmed by the yacht (I looked at the photographs on the web site). It seems to be very expensive for accommodations, but then, I am not used to amounts in Aussie dollars. Is there an elevator so the boy in the wheelchair can get around? I know that the yacht, I hesitate to call it a 'boat', is very upscale.

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