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    quokka
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Train Whistle Blowing - 5. TWB Ch 5

I suggest to Mum that I take my brother on a train ride into the city, and she was very agreeable to that suggestion, and with a wallet of money, Fraser and I caught a taxi to the nearest train station just 3 ½ kilometres away, where we boarded the next train to the city.

Although the train ride was just 35 minutes long, Fraser loved every moment of it, and once in the city we spent about half an hour looking around, before I noticed Fraser starting to get tired, so we headed back to the train station.

Once we were on the train, Fraser leaned against me, “Sing Whistle song to me please Hunter?” my brother asked me, and reluctantly I agreed to this, so I began to sing softly, as Fraser drifted off to sleep, and I saw the people in the carriage smile as they saw my brother sleeping.

“You have a beautiful voice, young man, you should be in a choir,” a middle-aged woman said to me as she departed the train at the next stop. Frazer woke up, “Again, sing it again,” he mumbled and as the train left, the station and I began to rock him gently as I started to sing the song again, but this time in Cook Island Maori, before repeating it in English.

When we arrived at our station of departure, I gently woke up Fraser, “Come on little brother, time to leave the train,” I said to him softly, and reluctantly he stood up and we stepped off the train. When we finally managed to get a taxi, we headed back to the yacht, where we found Mum in the main saloon with a pile of clean laundry, which she was folding.

After getting Fraser settled in bed for more of a nap, I returned to the saloon, to help Mum with the folding of all the clothes. “Oh good you are back, I was wanting to have a family meeting in regards to the next stage of our journey home,” Uncle Rangi said as he stepped into the saloon.

“Oh, what do you have in mind?” Mum asked.

“Well, I have been looking at a possible route, that will be a little longer, but we will be able to have an overnight stop, instead of going the direct route, which would mean Hunter and I doing those brutal long shifts,” Uncle Rangi.

“Are you thinking of the Kermadec Islands Uncle?” I asked, and Uncle Rangi smiled and chuckled, “Smart boy you have there Sister. Yes, I was thinking that, but there is only Raul Island that has a safe place to anchor, the other islands are more of just rocks with no beaches or protected bays, and Raul Island is the most northern of the islands in that group.

If we make Napier our departure point, it will take us four shifts or 26 hours to get there, with a rocky beach located on the northern side where the research station is located or a small cove on the south east end of the island.

From there, it will be 6 ½ shifts to get to Rarotonga, were we would have to go through customs, before we can go on to home, and in this we will be there in just under one full shift,” Uncle Rangi announced.

“Sounds good to me Uncle,” I responded, as all eyes fell on Mum, who nodded her head in agreement. “Good, that is settled then, so when do we want to get started?” Uncle Rangi asked, “I think the sooner we get over and done with, the better,” Mum commented.

“I agree, but I also have another suggestion,” I said, and now all eyes were all on me, “What about if Uncle called his friends who he originally had planned to fly to Tasmania. Get them to come to Wellington, and take over as crew along with Uncle Rangi, and Mum, Fraser and I fly to Rarotonga, and on to Arutanga,” I suggested.

“I like that idea even better, how about it brother, can you arrange that for us?” Mum said sounding a lot happier, “For you sister, I will do that for you and your family,” he replied smiling. I retrieved my mobile out of the storage locker, where I keep my I-Pad and I-Phone, and I found two messages from Jacob, and one from Rick.

“Hey Hunter. Glad that you and your family have arrived safely in New Zealand. Missing you heaps mate, keep in touch. Your friend, always, Jacob.” The second message was received just a short while ago. “Hey man, check out this U-Tube footage, you are famous, Regards, Rick.”

The second message from Jacob, “My Bro has just shown me this U-Tube video of you on a train singing. Wow! what a voice. Jacob.”

I clicked on the link and it opened up a Video clip titled, ‘Older brother singing to sleeping younger brother,’ my mouth dropped open when I saw that the footage was of Fraser and me on the train heading back from Wellington,

“Who was that singing in that video clip?” Mum asked me, as I clicked on replay, and handed my phone to Mum to watch. By the end of the video clip, Mum had tears running down her face, and I gave her a hug. “That was absolutely beautiful son, I am so proud of you. What does this number in the corner mean?” Mum said to me. “That is how many views the video clip has had,” I replied.

“Wow! Is this really true? You have had over 25,000 people views to this in just a few hours?” Mum asked me, “More like in just over an hour, Mum. Yes that is possible, as people worldwide view these video clips,” I replied.

The following day, I received another text message from Jacob, ‘Dude you need to do some more songs. Have you checked out the number of views on the first posting? Check out the great comments. Jacob.’ I checked the footage, where there are now over 60,000 views, and I spent nearly an hour reading alot of the comments, that had been left below the video clip.

Uncle Rangi announced at lunchtime, that his crew are on their way, and will arrive early the next day, which meant that we could now book our flights to Rarotonga, with a late afternoon flight available for us tomorrow.

For the rest of the day, Mum was busy packing our bags that we would be taking with us. The rest will remain on the yacht, and we will see in it a few days, which will be around four days. On our final night on the yacht at Wellington, we had a big celebration meal, and Mum announced that we would be staying in New Zealand for a few more days, so we can take Fraser on the tourist train that travels from Christchurch to Greymouth.

Once we have done that we may do a few tourist things, before we return to Wellington and fly to Rarotonga, Cook Islands. I decided to take my I-Pad with me, to record the trip, since I had a feeling that it will be a while before we return to New Zealand, and I would take one of my wooden train whistles with me too, to keep Fraser happy.

The following day, we said goodbye to Uncle Rangi, and moved to a hotel in Wellington, where we would stay for one night, before we fly to Christchurch. We relaxed for the day, and the following morning we flew down to Christchurch.

We spent most of the day looking around at all the tourist sites around the city, afterwards we relaxed just at the hotel, with Fraser and I going to the hotel swimming pool, and Fraser had an awesome time, as did I.

The following morning we would be boarding the Tranz-Alpine Train that is a three-hour journey to Greymouth on the west coast of the South Island, with the train leaving at 8.15 am. We had seats that face each other with a table, with the seat next to Mum remaining vacant, as I sat next to Fraser who had the window seat.

We spent the first half an hour just watching the scenery pass us by, until Fraser asked to sing to me, which I reluctantly agreed to do. Retrieving my I-Pad, I asked Mum to record it, so we have it as back up when I am not around or busy.

I had already set up a number of instrumental songs as a separate play list, and firstly I set up the video recording, before selecting the playlist and handing the I-Pad to Mum. The first song on the list is Gypsy Rover, and the noise in the train car went quiet when the music began with me starting to sing.

The next song was Danny Boy, but I changed the lyrics to be Fraser Boy, which my brother liked, finally Train Whistle Blowing, and I had my wooden train whistle with me to include that at the start and end of the song.

Fraser had drifted off to sleep halfway through the last song, and he jumped awake, when the people in the carriage began to applaud, as Mum ended the recording and handed me the I-Pad, which I put away in my backpack.

Fraser drifted off to sleep again, and Mum and I chatted quietly as Fraser had his mid-morning nap, and he woke up just as I returned to my seat after a bathroom visit.

“Hey little man, how do you feel,” I asked as I sat down, and I noticed that the surrounds had changed dramatically as I recognised that we are now on the western side of the mountains, and shortly after we had some lunch served to us.

When the journey was over, we checked into our hotel, where we would be staying for just one night, before we fly back to Wellington and then onto Rarotonga, where we will stay overnight, before catching a plane for the short trip to Aitutaki, all in one day.

I was not sure how I would feel moving to Cook Islands, as Mum suggested that I continue my education in Wellington, and come home on the school holidays. The next day after we had arrived back in Wellington, where we checked into a hotel and while Fraser played with his toys, Mum and I looked online using my I-Pad, to see what schools are available for me to attend.

“Is there not any high schools in the island region where the family lives?” I asked Mum after we looked at the information for three private schools in the Wellington area. We looked at what the Cook Islands has in the way has for high schools, and there is one high school located in Arutanga, on the Western side of the main island.

Mum agreed to let me attend the local school, for the reminder of the year, and a review of the situation will decided where I attend school next year. With that decided, we spent the rest of the day just relaxing with Mum securing seats for us to fly to Arutanga the following day.

As we were eating dinner at the hotel restaurant that evening, I asked Mum how she is able to afford of this, even with the house in Australia still not sold. “That is easy son, our family is quite wealthy, mainly thanks to the Pearl Fishing that your uncle does, and before him there was your grandfather.

Even my sister and I did some of the work when the season was turning out to be good,” Mum replied. “Oh ok, so what are the houses like on the family island?” I asked, “Quite large modern and spacious, all three houses where badly damaged during one cyclone season, so my mother, your grandmother organised for all three houses to be solidly built to withstand future cyclones.

We will be staying at the main house with your grandmother, she ahs her own suite on the ground floor, which has been raised above the ground, in case of heavy flooding. Apart from the entry foyer and the main stairs, there is also a private lounge, which is the main entry into your grandmother’s suite.

The first floor, which is the main level, has a large living area, dining room, kitchen, pantry, laundry, a study and two bedrooms with a shared bathroom between them, which will be where you two will be, plus there is a wide veranda, all the way around.

The top floor is almost identical to the ground floor, with a small entry foyer area, a private lounge, bedroom and bathroom, which will be my bedroom, but it was originally your grandparents retreat. That was until your grandfather passed away, then your grandmother moved down to the guests retreat on the ground floor, which was your Uncle Rangi’s bedroom when he was a teenager,” Mum said to me.

“Sounds great, so Uncle Rangi uses a double canoe to do all of his fishing?” I asked, “Yes, he still has the original one that your grandfather built with his own hands, but he uses the more modern one, as it has more room for nets and other fishing equipment, and I believe that the family fishing jetty is still in use, on the north side of the family island,” Mum said.

After a very early morning one-hour flight from Wellington to Auckland, we boarded the flight for the Cook Islands, which is a nearly four-hour flight, with our arrival time to be 2 pm local time. Mum had us booked on the second and last flight of the day to Arutanga, leaving at 3.40pm, and arriving fifty minutes later.

Copyright © 2021 Preston Wigglesworth; All Rights Reserved.
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Fantastic chapter. The trip was a success for the family, and now they’re on the last leg of the trip to the Cook Islands which is to be their new home. I liked the way that Hunter sang the train song to Fraser while they were on the train and then he gets notified by his friends that he’s on You Tube singing to Fraser. After watching the video once himself he replayed it for his mom and she had tears in her eyes when it finished. Hunter has been told that he has a great voice and he should be in a choir.

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Awesome chapter. Hunter has become popular due to the singing he did to help Fraser sleep on the train. The journey has gone well so far for Hunter and family, next stop Cook Islands.

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