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    quokka
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Train Whistle Blowing - 7. TWB Ch 7

Last year when I was in Year 6, we went with the Year 7 students, and we went to Fiji, now everyone is guessing where we are going this year, but no one but the school-staff know where. My guess is that we are going to the North Island of New Zealand,” Range said.

“Although we lived in South Australia, we did a couple of trips to New Zealand for holidays, so I have seen a lot of it already,” I stated. “Oh well, we will just have to wait and see, are you coming to the high school here?” Range asked me.

“Yes, although Mum originally wanted me to attend boarding school in Wellington, but I asked to go to school here,” I responded.

“That is good, another one in our family to join the school, with Kauri and Arlena still in Primary school,” Range said to me. Returning to the boardwalk, we headed back to the main path, and continued north until we reached the northern house, and we continued on to the end of the boardwalk, where the family main jetty is located.

Taking off our shirts and shoes, we went for a swim in the shallow waters, which are crystal-clear, and nice and warm. After the swim we lay on the jetty to dry off, before we set off again, and stopping at the northern house, we stopped for a drink, before continuing on, stopping once more at the central house, where we relaxed on the veranda.

“How do we get to and from school each day?” I asked my cousin, “Usually Uncle Rangi will take all of us in the outrigger, to the Arutanga Harbour, and from there it is an 800 metre walk to the college, and some days he will drop us off on the east side of the main island, and we will catch the mini bus to the college,” Range replied.

“Boys, is the outrigger back from their fishing trip?” Aunty Hauku asked us from the house, “No, we didn’t see them, we had a swim near the jetty, and there was no sight of them when we left,” Range called out in reply.

“Can you take the quad bike and go and check as they should be home by now,” Aunty Hauku asked, “Sure Mum, so we take the small trailer too?” Range asked, “Yes, as they should have a good catch, and once you have brought your sister home, you can deliver the fish to Gran and Aunty Elani,” Aunty Hauku replied.

Leaving our mountain bikes behind, I climbed on the back of the quad bike behind my cousin, and we dashed off down the boardwalk, a bit too fast to my liking, hoping that we do not go headfirst into another quad bike.

“Range, slow down this instant,” Aunty Mere called out as we passed the northern house, and Range let the bike slow down as we made the last few hundred metres of the where there was another quad bike with 11-year old Kauri sitting on it, as he watched the outrigger approaching from the West.

“Hey is that the new trimaran?” Range asked as he pointed to the north west, and I smiled, “Yep, that is it, we crossed the Tasman Sea in that, she is great it sail on,” I replied, “Wait, you mean you skippered that over open waters?” Range asked sounding surprised.

“Yes, between Uncle Rangi and me, we took it in turns, doing six hour shifts,” I replied. “Wow that is very impressive. Our cousin Ari will be very jealous of you doing that, as he often brags that he skippers the Outrigger on fishing trips, and you are a year younger than him,” Range said, which made me laugh.

“Well that is his problem not mine, we had no choice really as Mum didn’t know much about sailing and she also had to look after Fraser and keep us all fed,” I responded, just as we parked alongside the other quad bike.

“Hey Hunter, how are you settling into life in the Cook Islands?” Kauri asked me, “Good thanks Kauri, Range here has been showing me around a bit,” I replied, as I now saw the Dragonfly fast approaching the jetty, with the Outrigger following close behind, and we walked down the jetty to help with mooring the two boats.

“Hey Uncle Rangi, did you have a smooth trip over from Wellington?” I asked, “Hello nephew, no it was a pretty rough trip actually, and I am glad that we made the changes that we did,” Uncle Rangi said, as I tied the ropes to the mooring bollards, while Range did the same with the Outrigger behind the yacht.

“Hello Dad, we managed an above average catch today,” Ari said as he jumped off the Outrigger, and grabbing the two sacks that sat on the centre hull, while his sister Kaia and cousin Tena dived into the water, and swam around for a while before walking up the beach to join us.

“Girls put your tops on, your cousin isn’t used to seeing women topless,” Uncle Rangi said, as I tried to divert my eyes from my cousin’s well-developed boobs, I suddenly felt very warm all over my face, and Ari, Range and Kauri were laughing.

“Ok boys enough of that, get the fish catch loaded onto the trailers, then help me unload the rest of your Aunty Elani and two new cousins luggage,” Uncle Rangi said, and with that said, I jumped onboard the yacht, and headed below to get the luggage, which had been stored in the forward cabin.

“Wow, this is incredible, I can hardly wait to sail her,” Ari commented as he followed me soon after, as well as Range, who also said wow, as they both looked around the main saloon. “You can only sail this under supervision from me or my bosun,” Uncle Rangi said to my cousins, as he smiled to me.

“Who is your bosun?” Ari asked, and by now Range was also smiling and began to chuckle, you are not going to like this,” he said, “Why, who is the bosun?” Ari asked again, “That would be me cousin, between Uncle Rangi and myself, we did four to six hour shifts skippering the yacht on the trip over the Tasman Sea, from Tasmania to Wellington, New Zealand,” I commented.

“What! Surely not, Dad is this true?’ Ari asked sounding shocked and surprised at this announcement, that his one-year younger cousin, has already skippered this yacht. “Yes son, that is correct, Hunter has actually been on this yacht well before I bought it, as he was friends of the previous owners,” Uncle Rangi replied.

“That is so not fair, I am the oldest of this generation, it should have been me to be first to skipper it,” Ari said sounding angry. “I suggest that you mind what you say, or you won’t be skippering this yacht for some time,” Uncle Rangi said to his oldest child, who stormed off the yacht.

“Told you he wouldn’t be impressed, I haven’t seen him this annoyed in ages,” Range whispered to me, and I just nodded my head in understanding, as we gathered some of the suitcases and boxes and moved them up on deck, where Uncle Rangi moved them to the quad bike.

On hearing a noise, I poked my head out of the cabin to see Mum with Fraser riding in front of her on the other quad bike, as Ari disappeared out of sight as he continued to walk down the boardwalk towards his home.

Mum was wearing a sarong, while Fraser was in shorts and a singlet, as they climbed off the quad bike. “Hello Brother, what is wrong with Ari?” Mum asked Uncle Rangi, “He is a little annoyed that he isn’t the first to skipper the new trimaran. By the way, you have forgotten to inform your oldest about women’s traditional swimwear,” Uncle Rangi said to Mum.

“Oh dear, yes, I totally forgot about that, goes with being away for so long,” Mum replied looking worried in my direction, “That is alright, apart from a bit of blushing and ribbing from the boys, he has handled it very well,” Uncle Rangi said as he smiled to me.

“Yes thanks Mum, I wasn’t expecting to see two pairs of boobs staring right at me,” I commented, which made everyone who understood, laugh, and I just groaned. Once we had all of our luggage loaded onto the trailer and the back of the main house quad bike, Mum and Fraser set off home, while I travelled with Range to the centre house, to deliver their fish supply before following on my bike home with our supply of fish.

Thanking Range for taking the time to show me around, he waved and set off back to his home, “See you tomorrow for school,” he called out on departure, and that is when I realised that tomorrow would be my first day of school in the Cook Islands.

“Hi Gran, Mum, what do I wear for school tomorrow?” I asked as I walked into the kitchen area and placed the fish on the sink. “Gran here has managed to get you three pairs of school shirts and shorts, and I have washed and dried them, they are in your bedroom,” Mum replied.

“Ok grandson, now let me show you how to clean out and fillet the fish, which will be your job from now on,” Gran said to me, and she showed me how it is done for the first fish.

After that one, she had me do the remaining five fish, and the fillets were placed on a plate, covered with plastic and put into the fridge. I spent the next hour bringing up the rest of our family luggage, and helping to unpack it all, before I could finally relax.

The following morning as I was eating breakfast, Mum informed me that Uncle Rangi would be collecting me from the southern beach with the Trimaran, and when I reached the beach, I could see the dragonfly trimaran approaching, and with my shoes off, I wadded in the water to reach the yacht, and climbed onboard.

“Good morning cousins,” I said cheerfully to my six cousins, and I received a happy response from all of them except Ari, who still seems to have a grudge against me for being the boson of the yacht, so I just ignored me, as Range began to chat to me about what to expect at my new school.

Uncle Rangi steered the yacht around the south end of the main island, and he cruised into Arutanga Harbour, and pulled up to the small wharf, where Range and I secured the fore and aft mooring ropes, before the rest of the cousins climbed up onto the wharf.

“I will be staying here for about an hour, so off you go to school now, and I will see you later on,” Uncle Rangi announced to us, and we said farewell before following the other cousins. On arrival at the school, Range made a point of introducing me to all of the teachers and to some of his school friends, before heading to the admin building, so I could collect my class timetable.

My first day at school went very smoothly and I was pleased that some of the classes, were given in Cook Island Maori, which I had no problems understanding. At lunchtime I received a message to report to the admin office, and when I arrived, I was given an envelope, which I was informed is from my Uncle Rangi.

“Dear Bosun Hunter, please find enclosed the keys for the cabin of the Dragonfly Trimaran, so you can take your cousins back home at the end of the day. Please take this time to appoint Ari as your temporary bosun. Your Mum, Elani will be take the quad bike up to the main jetty at the north of the family island, so you can stop at the middle home first and then the northern home, so you can moored the trimaran there.

Take the keys with you once you have locked up and I will get them off you tomorrow morning. If you like, you can take the northern route around the islands, but just stay within eyesight of the islands. Uncle Mateo and I will be out fishing for most of the day, and will be returning at around the same time as you lot arrive home from school, if you take the long way around. Uncle Rangi.”

I smiled when I read this and I was still smiling as I left the Admin building and returned to my locker, to collect my books for the next two subjects. “What are you so happy about?” Ari said to me angrily, and I just ignored him, and opened my locker, only too be pushed towards the lockers, slamming my face against the edge of the next locker.

“Hey, cut that out cousin, you have no right to treat Hunter like that,” Range said as he pushed Ari aside before looking at me with concern. “I think you may get a nice black eye out of that, I can’t wait to see how Ari gets out of this predicament,” Range whispered to me.

“Yeah, well if he had not ignored me and answer my question, then maybe I would not have done that,” Ari said in response, sounding a little annoyed. “I am sorry that I ignored you cousin Ari, I was just thinking if your attitude was going to start to improve towards me, and if so, then I had a surprise for you, but now that you have slammed me against the lockers, I don’t think you deserve it,” I announced.

“What ever, I am sick of all of this bullshit, go and stick that surprise up your arse,” Ari said before he turned to leave, only to bump into one of the teachers. “Oh, oh,” Range said softly. “Mr Koteka, maybe you would like to explain to me why you were swearing just now?” the teacher asked Ari.

Copyright © 2021 Preston Wigglesworth; All Rights Reserved.
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Fantastic chapter. It seems like Hunter and Ari are going to have problems since he found out that Hunter has already skippered the yacht before he could. He didn’t even give Hunter a chance to tell him about the surprise he was going to get before he slammed him into the lockers. Then afterwards he swore at the point where Hunter had said that he was thinking about giving him the opportunity to be a temporary bosun and he told him he could shove it up his arse and a teacher overheard it. So now I think he’s going to be in deeper trouble with his dad than he would have been for just shoving Hunter into the lockers.

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This is just soooo not fair...Tonight the temps will drop to 9 degrees F with wind chill minus 10F, Tomorrow expect 10 degrees colder with a typical New England nor'easter bringing snow Monday into Tuesday!!!

Taking off our shirts and shoes, we went for a swim in the shallow waters, which are crystal-clear, and nice and warm. After the swim we lay on the jetty to dry off, before we set off again, and stopping at the northern house, we stopped for a drink, before continuing on, stopping once more at the central house, where we relaxed on the veranda.

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2 hours ago, drsawzall said:

This is just soooo not fair...Tonight the temps will drop to 9 degrees F with wind chill minus 10F, Tomorrow expect 10 degrees colder with a typical New England nor'easter bringing snow Monday into Tuesday!!!

Taking off our shirts and shoes, we went for a swim in the shallow waters, which are crystal-clear, and nice and warm. After the swim we lay on the jetty to dry off, before we set off again, and stopping at the northern house, we stopped for a drink, before continuing on, stopping once more at the central house, where we relaxed on the veranda.

Sorry mate, I can’t help it that you are in the wrong hemisphere

Q

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1 minute ago, quokka said:

Sorry mate, I can’t help it that you are in the wrong hemisphere

Q

When on holidays at Christmas Island in the Indian Ocean a few weeks ago, I was just 1,150 kilometres South of the Equator.

it was humid, but that was ok, the scenery was spectacular and the waters crystal clear. I wish I could have stayed longer there.

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Who is Fletcher mentioned early in the story regarding Mum?     "she also had to look after Fletcher and keep us all fed,"

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2 hours ago, badbart said:

Who is Fletcher mentioned early in the story regarding Mum?     "she also had to look after Fletcher and keep us all fed,"

Yes it is meant to say Fraser, I have fixed the error.

Q

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14 hours ago, drsawzall said:

This is just soooo not fair...Tonight the temps will drop to 9 degrees F with wind chill minus 10F, Tomorrow expect 10 degrees colder with a typical New England nor'easter bringing snow Monday into Tuesday!!!

The weather is crazy everywhere @drsawzall. In Sydney, Australia, we had a sunny 37C (98F) with high humidity on Tuesday (my kind of weather); today (Friday) it was a cold 20C (68F), which frankly I don't believe (It felt much colder), with no sun and drizzle all day. We are supposedly in the middle of summer here, and I have had my doona (I think you call it a duvet) on more nights than not (could have even put my gas heater on the other night, but refrained because it is supposed to be summer). I could happily live near the equator where it is basically summer all year round.

@quokka I am enjoying the sense of serenity this story engenders. Although there has been death and now some violence, the overall "feel" of the story is positive, with much beauty to celebrate in the natural environment and the relationships of the family members, by and large.

 

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