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    quokka
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Top End Doctor - 4. Dr Chapter 4

“I have no time for stuff like that especially with work and looking after the boys,” Uncle James stated, “I have checked, straight after Boxing Day, there is a course happening in Darwin, just ask for a few days off, so you can do the course, and I will help you with a lot of it, like the coastal navigations, with reading coastal charts… actually I know a mate who will be able to help us out, he has a thirty metre fishing vessel that will be perfect for your training, and we can do a lot of the theory training here at home,” Tim said.

“Ok, I guess if we have to make this work, I will volunteer to be your guinea pig,” Uncle James responded, which made us boys laugh. “When you have completed the Master, under 24 metres course, you will be qualified to be a ships mate or deck watcher for a vessels 80 metres or lower, and if you like, you can do the next course up, which will allow you to skipper our yacht, just within inshore waters, or be chief mate on off shore waters,” Tim announced, “No thanks, I think I will just stick to the first course,” Uncle James responded.

With six days till Christmas day, Tim had arranged for Uncle James to spend five days, working on a dishing vessel, to learn everything about skippering, and working on boats, and Toby and I remained at home with Tim to look after us. Uncle James did two straight days and nights on the fishing boat, returning home for a day of rest, before doing another three days at sea.

When he arrived home, he stunk of fish, and Tim sent him upstairs to have a long shower and scrub, to get rid of the smell. Once he emerged from the master bedroom clean and smelling less fishy, he sat down in the lounge opposite us, “So, have you two been behaving while I have been away?” he asked us.

“Yes, Tim has taken us to see the museum, the art gallery, the fish feeding at Doctors Gully, and we have had a good look around the city too, even if it was very hot and humid outside,” Toby replied. “How did the training go?” I asked, “Hard work, a lot of information to take in, and I even did some work on the deck, but I had to be careful not to injure my hands, since they are part of my main job with surgery,” Uncle James replied.

When Uncle James returned from his second trip out on the fishing boat, he went straight to the master bedroom, had a shower and went straight to bed, without any dinner. The next morning, Toby and I just quietly lounge around in the rumpus room, in case Uncle James wanted a sleep in, and it was 8 am, when he appeared and suggested that we come and have some breakfast.

With it being Christmas eve, Uncle James and Tim suggested that we go for a day trip down the highway a little, to check out the Territory Wildlife Park, and also Litchfield Nature reserve and finally a stop at Berry Springs Reserve for a swim. When we arrived home, Toby and I were tired from all the adventures of the day, and so we had a shower and just relaxed for the rest of the day, while Uncle James went to do some Christmas shopping.

As we were enjoying our Christmas Eve dinner, Tim’s mobile phone rang, and when he saw who the caller is, he frowned, “Hello Captain Angela, you are on speaker, how are things in New Zealand this Christmas Eve?” Tim said when he answered the call. “Everything is good, except we arrived in Cairns this morning,” Angela replied.

“Well, this is a surprise, why the early start?” Uncle James asked, “Hello Doctor James, well Mike decided that he would prefer if we sailed to Cairns, so he can fly home to Auckland for Christmas, as he doesn’t want to stay in Australia, so he flew out at lunch time, and we have just each other, so it doesn’t matter where we are really, and although I have been to Cairns, my partner Tracy hasn’t, so we thought we would spend Christmas here,” Angel replied.

“What is the sailing time from Cairns to Gove?” Tim asked, “a little over three days, or five days to Darwin,” Angela replied. “Very well then, make your way to Darwin, I have made arrangements for you to berth just outside Cullen Bay Marina, as the yacht is too big to fit through the lock, just give us a call at about half an hour before you arrive there, so we can meet you there,” Tim suggested.

“Yes sir, will do, and the lawyers in Auckland asked for you to call them, they tried calling, but you must have been out of range or something,” Angela said, Ok, thanks for the message, spend a couple of days in Cairns, and we will see you when you get here to Darwin in about seven to eight days, have a nice day tomorrow, bye for now,” Tim said before ending the call.

Well that is welcome news, now I wonder what the lawyers want,” Tim commented, as he retrieved a business card from his wallet and dialled the number. “This is Timothy Hope speaking, I received a message from the Captain of the yacht, asking to call this law firm,” we heard Tim say before he retreated to the master bedroom, and closed the door behind him.

“When Tim came out of the bedroom, he was smiling, “I have some very interesting news, it appears that Uncle Lang did very well with his exploration and charter business, and not only do I get the yacht, but also quite a substantial amount of money, which for the past few years, the interest is paying all cost of operating the yacht, with or without paying guests,” Tim announced.

“So, we don’t need to worry too much if we charter the yacht or not?” Uncle James asked. “No, we can just use it for our own use if we like and that includes paying all wages for a full crew, and it covers the current crew’s wages and the yachts costs of relocating to Australia too,” Tim replied.

“I think we should go easy with costs, just in case there is another financial crisis, but it is your yacht, so it is up to you,” Uncle James, suggested.

“No dear, it is our yacht, this family owns this yacht, not just me,” Tim replied, “Ok, as you say, it is our yacht, but you have the say on how it runs, since you are the marine engineer in the family,” Uncle James replied smiling. “Let’s just hope that Angela and Tracy agree to stay on, then I won’t need to come over to Nhulunbuy every weekend that there are charters, as they can handle most of it,” Tim said.

Christmas day was a day of lots of presents for us boys, and we just relaxed around the pool most of the day, and ate way too much food, which usual for Christmas, but it was cut short when Uncle James was called to work do deal with an emergency, and it was only because he hadn’t drunk any alcohol that he was called in.

Uncle James must have returned home sometime late in the night, as we didn’t hear the car return, and he was chatting to Tim when Toby and I walked into the living area just after 8 am on Boxing day. “What are the plans for today?” I asked, as we sat down at the breakfast bar, and Tim served us some breakfast.

“I have to return to work, as I have a few patients that I need to check on, and I have no idea when I will be back, so Tim will have to keep you boys entertained I’m afraid,” Uncle James said, as he looked at his watch. “Be good for Tim, and I will see you boys when I get home,” he added as he gave Tim a kiss, roughed up our hair and dashed downstairs.

“I thought we night go to the crocodile farm on the edge of town, it is a bit like the wildlife park, but this place is used for Crocodile breeding and is used to house unwanted wild crocs, that are causing problems on cattle stations,” Tim announced. “Ok, sounds like fun,” Toby responded, and I just shrugged my shoulders and nodded yes to agree.

The Crocodile farm was an interesting place to visit, and had a lot more animals and birds to see, plus a short swamp boat tour, that allows us to see crocodiles up close in a more open more natural environment. We didn’t see much of Uncle James for the next four days, as he was kept very busy at work at the hospital, especially with him moving to his new posting in Nhulunbuy in just over two weeks’ time.

On New Years eve, Uncle James arrived home early-afternoon, and said that he had all of tonight and half of tomorrow rostered off, so he could spend some time with us, which we were pleased about, and we were discussing what to do, when Tim’s mobile rang. “It is Captain Angela calling, she may have arrived in Darwin,” Tim said before he answered the call.

“Hello Mr Hope, this is your yacht crew calling,” Angela said, “Please call me Tim, and my partner James, we would like to keep things a little casual if we can please,” Tim responded, “Very well, we are currently passing by the Vernon Islands, to the North- East of Darwin, so about 18 nautical mile from Cullen Bay,” Angela announced, “Ok good, we will meet you at the marina, in about 1 hour 45 minutes, bye,” Tim replied, “Right, let’s get ready to go to the marina, pack an overnight bag, as I think we may be staying on board for the night,” Uncle James said.

“I think we will stop off at the shops and get a few supplies, before we get to the marina, to help with our New Year celebrations,” Tim suggested. “So, I am presuming that we are sailing to Gove, instead of flying there?” Uncle James asked, “That was my thinking, when I suggested it to Angela, and I have arranged to ship a new vehicle over there for your transport to and from the hospital, instead of relying on a taxi all the time,, and I have been in contact with the Gove Sailing Club, and we are now officially members,” Tim replied.

“What sort of new vehicle have you bought, and how come you didn’t ask?” Uncle James asked Tim, “Because dearest, it is your Christmas present, and you will have to wait and see when you arrive there,” Tim replied smiling broadly. When we arrived at the marina, we could see a large yacht entering the small bay.

“By the way, you haven’t told us what the name of the yacht is?” Uncle James asked Tim, who smiled broadly, “You will love the name, I couldn’t believe it when I first found out,” Tim said.

“Well, what is it?” I asked being just as curious as Uncle James, “Going Straight,” Tim replied, and while Toby and I just smiled, Uncle James burst out laughing, and he soon had tears from laughing so hard. We watched as the yacht which looked huge from where we stood, as it slowly approached the large ferry wharf, as it is too big to fit through the lock into the marina, and we were surprised to see two young men standing on the fore and aft decks holding ropes.

“Looks like they have a deck crew with them,” Uncle James commented, “Yes, looks that way,” Tim replied, as we walked past the terminal, and down onto the wharf, just as the mooring ropes were being secured. “She looks a lot bigger than we anticipated,” Uncle James stated, “Yes, it does,” I replied.

As we approached the ships gangway, two women appeared at the top of the stairs of the main deck, and we recognised them from the video conference. “Hello Tim, James and boys, nice to meet you all face to face, come on board,” Angela said smiling, and as we boarded the yacht, we shook hands with Angela and then Tracy, as the two deck hands approached.

“These are our two deckhands, who we hired in Cairns, Lance and Dean Tomkins, they are first cousins, and have plenty of boat experience, mostly on fishing trawlers, but they have learnt a lot in the short five days that we have known them.

They have worked hard to keep the girl ship shape. Lads, these gentlemen, are the new owners, Mr Timothy Hope and his partner Dr James Shaw, and James’ nephews, Reid and Toby Templeton,” Angela said making the introductions, “Nice to meet you sirs, may we take your luggage,” the deckhands said.

Copyright © March 2020 Preston Wigglesworth. All Rights Reserved.
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Awesome chapter. Great to see the boat arrive safely with new deck hands, so hopefully a full compliment of crew if Tim and James agree.

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I love that Preston shows how busy James is as a doctor even during the holiday season. (See, James, if you'd have drunk more alcohol, you would have had more time off! 😂)  That James helps others instead of taking the time for himself and his family shows both the selflessness and sadness of being a physician. (Timothy is a good doctor's partner for accepting the lost time without saying boo--he expects it).

The ship has arrived!  A new home, a new car, and a new part of the county! Adventure awaits!

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"Going Straight"  Too funny!! 

I'm just wondering - is there a large gay population in the "down-under" ? 

Australia, and more so, New Zealand and Tasmania have always been a hopeful vacation destination for me.   

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On 4/11/2020 at 8:18 PM, KayDeeMac said:

"Going Straight"  Too funny!! 

I'm just wondering - is there a large gay population in the "down-under" ? 

Australia, and more so, New Zealand and Tasmania have always been a hopeful vacation destination for me.   

How could you ask if there is a large gay population in Australia? 🏳️‍🌈😂 of course there is you obviously haven’t heard of the Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras, it’s one of the biggest events on the LGBT calendar, Tassie is a great spot,, not sure about the nightlife as I haven’t been out on the scene there. I have not been to New Zealand so I cannot comment on it 

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