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Top End Doctor - 32. Dr Chapter 32

“We have a family of four coming to inspect the yacht at 1 pm, and if they are happy, then they would like to do a two day sailing trip with us,” Caro announced. We quickly finished our lunch, before we finished tidying up, then we raised the anchors and motored to the jetty landing, where the lads secured the yacht, allowing a little slack for the approaching tide change.

Shortly after 2 pm, a middle aged couple and a young couple came down the steps from the main jetty down to the landing, and all adult crew members were lined up on the aft deck, while we remained in the crew lounge below, were we had returned to our school studies, but we listened to what activity was happening on the main deck.

“Good afternoon sir, ma’am, welcome onboard the Tropic Sphere,” we heard Uncle James say, “Hello, are you the captain of this vessel?” a gruff reply with a heavy European accent responded, “No, I am the owner and first mate, James Shaw is my name, and Declan here is the skipper,” we heard our uncle reply.

“I see… strange, I am Peter Thorn, this is my wife Anika, our daughter-in-law Sophia and our son Henry,” we heard the man say. “It is a pleasure to meet you all, now apart from Declan we have Caro, who is our dive master, wildlife photographer, and chief steward, plus Lance and Dean who are our chefs and deckhands, as we all multi task on this yacht,” Uncle James explained.

“I see, and from what we saw on the poster, you have two double guest cabins only?” the younger man asked, “That is correct sir, that is all we have available for guests, as we have a full compliment of crew onboard, which allows us to assist our guests with anything they wish that we have available, which includes diving gear, snorkelling gear, stinger suits, two single kayaks, and two dinghies for any excursions we can arrange,” Caro responded.

“Very well, lets see what you have on board then,” the older man said, “boy I wouldn’t want to be in his bad books” Alex whispered, and both Toby and Sam laughed at this. “What was that noise, sounded like children?” the lady asked.

“That is correct ma’am, we have four boys onboard, who are supposed to be doing their school work,” Caro said, loud enough for us to hear. “You have family members onboard too?” the younger lady asked, “That is correct, two are my nephews, who I am their guardian, the other two are Caro’s sons, they travel with us all the time,” Uncle James replied.

“Well, I am not sure that we want to have children under our feet all the time,” the older lady stated, “Well then, I am sorry to have wasted your time, as the boys are most certainly not being left behind, good day to you,” we heard Uncle James say in reply and moments later he appeared at the bottom of the stairs to the crew mess area.

“The nerve of some people, if they expect us to not have you boys with us, then they can…” Uncle James whispered, as he sat down next to Toby. About a minute later, Caro appeared, “Have they gone?” Uncle James asked.

“They have, but not before they apologised for giving you the impression that they would not sail without the boys, they have agreed to $6,000 per day for two cabins all inclusive for three days, after I have recommended a three day sail down the coast, with transfers included to their Port Hedland accommodation,” Caro announced, “Is that Australian dollars, US or Euro’s?” Uncle James asked, “Australian dollars, two thirds on arrival, the rest at the end of the cruise,” Caro replied.

“Well, that is quite a nice amount, and when do they wish to start this cruise?” Uncle James asked, “Later today, they will be back before 4 pm, after packing their bags at their accommodation, and also arranging their flights for four days time,” Caro replied smiling, and Uncle James laughed.

“Your mother is a very cunning businesswomen boys, I hope you are proud of her, as I think she is awesome,” Uncle James said, “We are Mr Shaw, very much so,” Alex replied. While we continued with our studies, the crew double checked that everything was ready, as well as the lads dashing into town to grab some additional food and alcohol supplies.

We had finished out studies for the day at 3 pm, so we all changed into our own uniforms, ready to greet our guests. “You boys look very smart in your uniforms, we will have to get photos taken of you four as well,” Caro commented, as we waited for the guests to arrive.

“Mr & Mrs Thorn, welcome back,” Caro said when the guests arrived, “I would like you to meet my two son’s Alex and Sam, and Dr Shaw’s nephews Reid and Toby,” Caro said, as the lads headed up to the main jetty to retrieve the luggage.

“You said Dr?” Mrs Thorn senior asked, “That is correct Mrs Thorn, I am a medical doctor specialising in Tropical Medicine, I am taking time off work to spend some time with my nephews,” Uncle James said when he appeared from inside.

“Well that is very good to know,” Mr Thorn junior responded, as he handed over a thick envelope, to Caro, who passed it onto Uncle James, before Caro lead the guests to their cabins. Once we had the entire guest’s luggage was onboard, the lads released the mooring ropes and we were soon on our way out of Broome, and once in open water, the engines were stopped and the sails were raised.

“My word how wonderfully quiet it is,” Mrs Thorn junior said when she stepped out of her cabin, “Yes ma’am, would you like me to get a steward so you can order a drink?” Alex replied, and the lady nodded her head yes, and Alex headed for the galley to find his mum, while Sam, Toby and I headed down to the crew mess.

After the guests had eaten, we were served our dinner in the crew mess, and once we were done, we headed to our new cabins, in the aft crew section of the yacht. We learnt at breakfast the next morning that Caro had taken a short 3 hour shift at the helm while we sailed the whole night, with Uncle James and Declan doing 5 hours each, and that we had arrived at 80 mile beach at approximately 5 am this morning.

Shortly after we had finished breakfast, the guest arrived on the main deck, to see that we were at anchor, just off the beach. “Wow, what a sight to see this early in the morning, where are we exactly?’ Mr Thorn stated.

“Good morning sir, the skipper has us anchored on 80 mile beach, approximately 8 kilometres north-east of the 80 mile beach caravan park, and 12 kilometres from Wallal Downs Station,” Alex replied. “Thankyou young man,” Mr Thorn replied, just as Caro arrived with two jugs of fruit juice.

“Good Morning Mr & Mrs Thorn, please take a seat and I will take your order for breakfast,” Caro said smiling, as I watched from the top of the stairs of the crew mess.

After breakfast, the guests took a swim in the ocean and a long walk along the beach, before we set sail again at 11.30 am, heading for first overnight stop at Cape Keraudren, the northern point of the worlds longest fence in the world, which is a staggering 1837 km’s long.

We arrived at our overnight stop shortly after 4 pm, and the guests were pleased to know that we would not be sailing during the night, and that we would be leaving at 8.30 am the next morning, giving them a chance to have a short look around and a swim in the morning.

With Port Hedland the final destination for the guests, we were a little surprised when during their lunch time, on that day, they asked what our destination is after Port Headland, and Declan informed them that we are to travel south to Exmouth, where we will hopefully pick up some more guests.

Mr Thorn senior asked how long it would take us to get to Exmouth, and as she served some more juice to the guests, she said that it would take us another three days to get there.

“Excellent, inform Dr Shaw that we wish to extend our cruise to as far as Exmouth, as we have enjoyed every moment of this cruise,” Mrs Shaw senior announced, which caught us all by surprise.

Declan smiled, “As you wish, I will inform him in a few moments, we will need to stock up with supplies when we get to Port Hedland, with our estimated time of arrival to be 3 pm, which was just over two hours away,” Declan said, and he headed towards Uncle James cabin, where he was resting.

Declan returned a few minutes later and informed the guests that Dr Shaw was pleased that the guests are staying on for a further three days, as far as Exmouth, and he informed them that we would be stopping at the pioneer port of Cossack tomorrow night, and the last night will be spent on a small island, located 12 kilometres off the coast.

When we arrived off the coast of Port Hedland, we anchored near a point that is known as the Rock of Ages, east of the main port facilities, and we had two taxis ordered with one for the guests and one for the crew who had do a big shopping supply run, to stock up the galley.

The guests arranged to have dinner in town that night, so the crew could have an evening of relaxing a little, which was good, since they have been flat out since the start of the cruise, with Dec and Uncle James able to catch up on some sleep.

The last three days of the cruise were very uneventful for us, but the guests had a wonderful time, which they stated when it was time for them to leave us, once we had berthed at the Exmouth Marina, and as we said goodbye to them, Mr Thorn smiled broadly.

“We have enjoyed every moment of the journey and we thankyou for all of your crews hard work, I have here a tip for you all, and also a little surprise, some friends of ours have been kept up to date on our journey, and they will be flying into Exmouth in two days time, in hope that they too can be given an excellent sail cruise, where ever that may be to,” Mr Thorn Senior announced.

“Well, thankyou sir, we appreciate the recommendation, and yes we will be all too happy to accept their booking on your behalf,” Uncle James replied, as he accepted the envelope.

“Good, they are a nice family, all the details are in the envelope, thankyou once again,” Mrs Thorn said, and they waved goodbye as they left the yacht. “Ok, crew meeting in the main saloon in ten minutes,” Declan announced, as the deck crew headed tot eh guest cabins to start stripping the beds and begin cleaning.

About fifteen minutes later all the crew and we kids all sat down in the saloon for the meeting. “Right, apart from the charter costs, which we made a substantial profit from, we also have $12,000 Australian in tips, which is $2,400 for each adult.

Also out of the charter money, I am giving the boys $200 each, which will be put into a savings account for you until you are a bit older,” Uncle James announced.

“Wow thanks Dr Shaw, we didn’t expect that, just being on this yacht has been an awesome experience on its own,” Alex replied. “That does not mean you can cut short your school studies to try and earn more money, your studies are very important, and are to be kept up,” Uncle James said.

“Yes sir, and thankyou,” Sam responded, and I saw both Uncle James and Caro smiling happily. “Now the other bit of news, and I know you will not be too happy about it, lads tell me do the single crew cabins have fold down bunks?” Uncle James asked, “Yes sir they do, why is that?” Lance asked.

Copyright © March 2020 Preston Wigglesworth. All Rights Reserved.
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Awesome chapter. The first charter for the yacht was very successful and profitable, with a booking being recommended by the leaving guests for the yacht. Things are looking good for Uncle James, his nephews and crew.

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I just wanted to let you know I'm enjoying your story a lot. It's quite a bit slower pace then what I usually read, but the way you work your art is making it a very enjoyable experience. I find myself checking my phone daily to see if there is an update to what the doctor and his family are up to. Thank you for sharing the story. 

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Hmm... I think the good Dr sees two sets of boys bunk-bedding (doubling up) in one cabin per pair, thereby freeing up two cabins for more paying guests. 

A good plan to make more money, but close confinement of family members - especially children - may bring problems with the siblings causing the macaw to holler at the owner "Walk the plank"!

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