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    quokka
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Top End Doctor - 31. Dr Chapter 31

“About us?” Caro asked, “In a way, yes. We are hoping that you may consider joining us for a little longer than two days, as part of our crew?” Uncle James responded, “I see, do you have any scuba diving gear?” Caro asked, “I’m not sure if we have. Do we?” Uncle James asked looking towards the lads, “Yes boss, we have six tanks and a refill compressor, in the aft port storage locker, along with two kayaks, snorkelling gear and stinger suits,” Declan replied before the lads could answer.

“Well then, you have a scuba master and professional photographer now, and although I’m an average cook, I am willing to help out,” Caro said. “That is wonderful news, now the two cabins that you will be staying in tonight, we usually reserve for paying guests, but for one day they are yours, we have just made changes to crew cabins, that will allow you all to move to the lower deck guest cabins, which is a double and a twin cabin, with bathrooms each,” Uncle James responded.

“How about we give them a full tour of the yacht boss?” Declan suggested, “Good idea, I am glad that you volunteered for the job,” Uncle James replied, and Declan opened his mouth to complain, and snapped it shut again, when he knew he had no choice, as our uncle smiled broadly.

Once the tour was over, Toby and I began to pack up everything in our cabins, ready for the move, while Dean and Lance were doing the same, as they began to move their belongings into the crew forward cabin, while Caro and her son’s sorted all of their belongings, deciding what to keep and what to donate or sell once they get to Broome.

Declan had worked out that it would be a 9 ½ hour sail to Broome from our current location, and Uncle James announced that we would make that trip tomorrow, leaving at 7 am, so we have time to check the stores for supplies.

The following morning we said farewell to the campers at Whale Song beach, and we set off for Broome, but unfortunately the winds were not very favourable for us, with the previous week we had north and north-westerly winds, but today we have south-westerly winds, so we were forced to go on a zigzag course, which included going out further to sea.

By 11am we had only gone 30 kilometres south from our overnight stop, but we were also nearly 20 kilometres out to sea. “Boss, can you check the satellite maps, and tell me if there are any islands listed out this far?” Declan asked, as we turned once more.

“Yes, the Lacepede Islands are close by, you should be able to see a lighthouse on the most eastern island,” Uncle James responded, as Declan retrieved the binoculars from the drawer and scanned the area. “I see the lighthouse, it is approximately south east of us, and… I see three more low islands due south of us,” Declan announced.

“Ok, lets go the highest island and set anchor there for the rest of the day, we are not going to get very much further south with these winds,” Uncle James announced, and after about four more turns, we arrived at the bottom end of two long islands, and set the anchors there.

“Where are we Mr Shaw?” Alex asked, “The Lacepede Islands, about thirty kilometres offshore, where we will be staying till tomorrow, because of the winds we have had to deal with today,” Declan responded, “You have noticed that we have mad a lot of course changes all morning, but it still hasn’t helped much, so we are hoping for more favourable winds tomorrow,” Uncle James added.

“Can we go swimming?” Toby asked, “Only after the all clear had been given, once the lads have done a patrol of the area in the dinghy,” Uncle James replied. Ten minutes later, Dean and Lance returned to the yacht in the dinghy, “All clear for swimming, the water is clear and warm, no stingers, plenty of fish, turtles and some seals too,” Dean announced as he tied up the dinghy and stepped onto the yacht, with Lance following him.

Toby was the first to jump into the water, closely followed by Alex and Sam, while I slid in from the swim platform of the yacht, and Declan bombed into the water next to me, and came up to the surface laughing, “Not funny Dec, I swallowed a litre of sea water,” I said in an annoyed manner.

“Sorry buddy, I won’t bomb so close next time,” Declan replied, and he began to swim to the island, “Stay on the beach, don’t go any further onto the island as it is a nature reserve,” Uncle James called out, as Caro came out in a one piece swim suit, carrying what looked like a waterproof camera.

Lance retrieved a snorkel set and swim fins, handing them over to Caro as she sat down on the deck and made some adjustments to her camera. “Underwater photography, too?” Uncle James asked, “Yes, and only the best equipment to get the best pictures,” Caro replied.

After an enjoyable swim, we showered and waited in the saloon, until lunch was served. “Right, straight after lunch we will do the cabins swaps, so we can have the two forward main deck cabins cleaned and ready for guests, if we get any in Broome,” Uncle James announced,

“We have already finished moving boss, we packed last night and moved this morning, in between duties, and just the bathrooms need cleaning in our old cabins,” Lance announced. “We are packed and we will move straight after lunch,” I stated.

“Leave the bathroom cleaning to me, I will do all of them, starting with the two singles for your boys, then the twin cabin for my boys, then mine, and finally the guest cabins,” Caro announced, “Excellent, now that had been decided we can sit and enjoy some lunch,” Uncle James responded.

“How did the underwater photography go?’ Declan asked Caro, “Really well, I haven’t gone through them yet, but once all the cleaning is completed I will show them to everyone on the big screen television,” Caro replied.

Later that afternoon, we all sat in the saloon to look at Caro’s photography, and it was spectacular. She even did a video lasting 20 minutes that she had taken, with a huge variety of fish, plus turtles and seals. “I have made a copy on a thumb drive, with it being on a loop, so it can be shown on the big screen television for as long as you wish,” Caro announced.

“Wonderful, you are definitely one very talent lady,” Uncle James responded. The next morning, with north-westerly winds, we were able to set off once more, with Broome as our destination, with Declan estimating a distance of 145 kilometres, which would take us approximately 7 ¼ hours.

During the morning, the winds became a little stronger, and we sailed down the west coast at an amazing speed, arriving in Broome nearly half an hour ahead of schedule, and Declan motored into the Dampier Creek, where we are fairly well hidden, apart from our tall mast, and near a sandy island.

“You do realise that tides are fairly extreme like they are at home, and that we will be sitting on mud in a few hours time,” Uncle James said to Declan who was smiling, “I do, but it will be perfect for mud crab hunting,” Declan replied, “Ok, as long as you know that, and if we sink too deep, then you are paying for the costs to get us out of it,” Uncle James replied.

“Well on second thoughts, maybe we had better go out in the bay, where we won’t be stuck at low tide,” Declan said, as he started the motor again. “Lads pull up the anchors, we won’t be staying here after all,” Uncle James called out, and about ten minutes later we set the anchors, out in the bay, about one kilometre offshore from Town Beach.

Uncle James called us all to the saloon for a crew meeting. “It appears that our newest recruit is a wiz at marketing, and so we will all be heading into town to do a bit of shopping, for new uniforms for our business of sailing cruises, so be ready in ten minutes,” Uncle James announced.

Going to just one store that specialised in embroidery, a green cotton drill work shirts were selected with short sleeves, and Caro had already come up with a logo that Uncle James had agreed on, with our new business name to be Sphere Sailing, with a picture of the yacht on the water as part of the logo, and three for each crew member was ordered, that included Alex, Sam, Toby and myself.

Next we went to a nearby work wear clothes store, and fit out all of us with four pairs of drill shorts, that are a slightly darker green, plus bomber jackets each, plus hi-vis jackets for the deck crew for rough weather, and for galley work, they each would get two sets of black chef jackets, chef pants, aprons and beanie caps.

Next was a shoe shop, were everyone was decked out with two pairs of comfortable non slip shoes, and a pair of safety shoes for the lads in the galley. With everything purchased we headed back to the yacht, and Caro started washing all of the new uniforms, as she wanted to have a photo taken of all of us, once we get the embroidered shirts back in a few days time.

All of us boys headed to the fly deck, where the lads had finally filled the jacuzzi and we relaxed for the rest of the afternoon. We learnt that Alex and Sam have also been doing home schooling, and that travelling all over Australia with their mum was great, it also gets a little annoying not having to hang out with other people their own age.

Two days later, when we had our new shirts arrived and washed, we all dressed in our uniforms, with one of the lads in their chef gear, and the other in deckhand uniform, we up anchor and cruised to the Broome Port Jetty, where we set the anchor just 50 metres off the small craft landing, before lowering the dinghy in the water.

After a few instructions, Alex and I went out in the jetty, about 10 metres from the aft of the yacht, where Alex had his mother’s camera, and with Sam and Toby out of sight, the crew lined up along the aft of the yacht, so Alex could take some photos, before returning to the yacht.

Happy with the results, Caro headed inside to do some work on producing some posters, and also with Uncle James having organised the setting up of a new website, she soon had the photos added along with the video clip that she had done yesterday, and the website was launched.

With uniforms on, and promotion posters, cards and business cards printed, we all went ashore, and split up into 3 teams, to distribute our advertising to tourist based businesses, with a promise of $50 per booking made as a result of the advertising been seen at their business.

By mid morning, the three teams had covered every business that has anything to do with tourism, and we met again at the jetty, and we returned to the yacht.

Although it is the dry season, it was still quite warm, so most of the adults had been sweating a lot during the morning, so they all headed for their cabins to shower and change again. During the time that we were waiting for our uniforms, while we kids were doing our school work, the adults were cleaning every part of the yacht, so it is all sparking clean,

Caro had even gone into town to purchase some more luxurious linen for the guest cabins, and they are now ready for any guests. As we were enjoying a relaxing lunch together, the yacht sat phone began to ring, and Caro stood up and went to answer it, as she was the closest to the helm station.

“Good afternoon Sphere Sailing, Caro speaking,” we heard her say, “Yes we are that same yacht, would you like to enquire about sailing with us?” as we had now all stopped eating and were listening to one side of the call. “Yes we are very new to this area, we are actually from near Darwin, and in this region for the remainder of the dry season,” Caro said.

“Yes that will be fine, can we make it for 2 pm? ... Yes, see you then, goodbye,” Caro said at the end of the call, and we all waited for her to tell us what was happening.

Copyright © March 2020 Preston Wigglesworth. All Rights Reserved.
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So the Sphere Sailing has been formed and everyone has a brand new uniform and it looks like they have there first customer. Let the adventure's begin.

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