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    quokka
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Train Whistle Blowing - 8. TWB Ch 8

“It was my fault Miss, my name is Hunter Mitchell, I am Ari’s and Range’s first cousin from Australia, we were having a family discussion which cousin Ari was not too happy about, and he swore when I was antagonising him, it won’t happen again Miss,” I said to the teacher.

“Is this true?” the teacher said after facing Ari, “Yes miss, it is just a discussion about family business, that is all,” Range said on Ari’s behalf, “Very well, I will let you off this time, but don’t let me hear you swearing again, do you her me?” the teacher said.

“Yes Miss,” we all said at the same time, and the teacher walked off, and was soon out of sight, and Ari sighed loudly, “Thanks for that Hunter, I seem to be getting into trouble too much lately, now can you please tell me what this surprise is?” Ari said to me

I retrieved the note from Uncle Rangi from my back pocket, and handed it over to Ari, whose eyes went wide, and he smiled briefly, before re-reading the note once more, and then handed it back to me. “It would be an honour to serve you Skipper, I will see you after school,” Ari said before heading off.

“Ok, what was that all about and why did he call you Skipper?” Range asked me, “Because I received a note from Uncle Rangi, asking me to skipper the trimaran back to the family Island, and we have permission to go around the northern end, which is about double the distance,” I replied.

“Cool, I will definitely look forward to that,” Range responded, as he smiled broadly. When the school day ended, all of the cousins had gathered at the school gate, with only a few knowing what was happening.

“At lunchtime, I received a message from Uncle Rangi, along with the keys to the Trimaran, asking me and Ari to take us all back home, as he and Uncle Mateo are out fishing, so let’s head back to the harbour and get on our way,” I announced to all of my cousins.

“Is this true Ari?” his younger brother Kauri asked, “Yes bro, that is true, I have read the message myself, so lets get going, as we have been given permission to take the northern route,” Ari replied.

I led the way down to the harbour, and unlocking the cabin, all of our school backpacks were stored inside, and life jackets were handed out, to everyone.

Once on our way, I steered the trimaran northwards, once clear of the channel, and in the open ocean we followed along and within 500 metres of the coastline, and when we approached Papau Island, we crossed over the reef.

Once we were in the lagoon, we headed southwest towards the family island, passing the northern home and we stopped at the beach where the middle home boardwalk is located, and after the three cousins had taken of their lifejackets and collected their backpacks, they jumped off and headed towards the boardwalk.

Using the engine, I reversed the trimaran before shutting off the engine and we set off north to the main jetty on the family island, where Uncle Mateo and Uncle Rangi. Mum and my little brother were waiting for us, as I asked Ari to pull down the sails, as we headed to the jetty.

Once we were tied off, we collected our backpacks, and I locked up the cabin, before we stepped onto the jetty. “Hello Kids, how did the return sail go?” Uncle Rangi asked.

“It was awesome Dad, I agree with you now, Cousin Hunter is definitely much better at me at skippering sailing yachts, I enjoyed being his bosun,” Ari replied.

“That is good to hear son, as both of you will be taking all of you to and from school each day from now on, so as to allow Mateo and me to continue with our fishing duties,” Uncle Rangi said. “That is fine by me, what about you skipper?” Ari said as he faced me, and I smiled and nodded my head yes.

After the first week of school over, we were heading home onboard the trimaran, when a strong gust of wind hit the yacht as were passing Akitua Island, and quickly I turned into the lagoon, to seek shelter from the wind, as Ari pulled down the sails.

I started up the engines and turned north to get fully behind the island, stopping on the beach on the south side. Shortly after, the HF radio came to life. “Trimaran Dragonfly, are you receiving me?” came Uncle Rangi’s voice.

As I entered the cabin, I picked up the Mic to respond. “Receiving you Uncle, what’s up, over?” I said in response. “Did you just receive a wind gale, and is everyone ok?” Uncle Rangi asked. “Yes we did, but I was able to keep the trimaran upright, and everyone is ok, we are currently sheltering behind Akitua Island, over,” I said.

“That is good to hear nephew, continue on home, and keep the sails down, just run on engines the whole way, we are on our way home, and we will arrive about half an hour behind you, over,” Uncle Rangi said to us, and we did as instructed.

“Man, I am glad that you were at the helm, I think I would have panicked if I was in your hands,” Ari said to me, “Yea, I guess having experience very rough ocean conditions, I am sort of used to that, and each time.

It takes me a moment to snap into action, after the shock and surprise has passed,” I replied, “Well you looked cool and calm, when that gale hit us, I am very impressed,” Ari said, as I instructed my cousins to remain below and we headed for home under motor, which made it a little slower to get there.

Once we arrived, Mum and Fraser were there waiting for me and we headed back to the main house where grandmother had afternoon tea waiting for us. “How did your day go Grandson?” grandmother asked me as she place a plate of cakes on the table.

“Good, except we had a very strong gust of wind on the way back, luckily I was able to keep the yacht under control while Ari pulled down the sails, and we sheltered behind the nearby island,” I replied. “That is very good to hear. Now in about an hour we will be having a family meeting here, with Rangi, Hauku, plus yourself, Range and Ari.

Rangi wants to discuss the future of the family with the trimaran,” Grandmother announced to me, and I nodded my head in understanding, as I finished my drink and headed to my room to change out of my school uniform and start work on my homework.

When there was a tap on my bedroom door, I looked up, “Time for that meeting,” Mum said to me, and I followed her out to the main living area of the house, where Uncle Rangi and Aunty Hauku, plus Ari and Range were already seated.

“Right now that everyone is here, as you all know, the family now owns a very nice racing trimaran yacht, which I had purchased as a way to extend our variety of income. Apart from myself, there is our very talented nephew Hunter who is very capable of skippering this yacht, after helping me cross the Tasman Sea from Tasmania to Wellington.

What I am proposing to the family is that we use the Trimaran on weekends, public and school holidays to give tourists a sail around the lagoon,” Uncle Rangi recommended. Everyone was in support for the proposal, and with Ari happy to be the 2nd bosun.

“The second and final item to be discussed is our newest purchase, which is the neighbouring Tapuaetai Island, which is more commonly known as One Foot Island, with its award winning beach. The 40-acre island purchased was finalised midway this week, and is now officially ours.

As most of you know, it has two cabins and a bungalow on it, which I would like to have renovated and used for guest accommodations. Noelani, we thought that you would you would like to take on the management of the island accommodation, which would also include the use of the trimaran for the guests, with either the boys or me skippering it,” Uncle Rangi announced.

Mum looked very shocked at this surprise, as she looked at her brother and sister, before nodding yes to accept the challenge, and I could see that Mum was already thinking of a list of things that needed doing, to the guest accommodation on the island.

For the rest of the third term, on the way to and from school, I taught Ari everything about how to skipper the trimaran. On weekends when we had guests onboard, Ari would be my bosun as we took a maximum of six guests on a three-hour cruise around the islands within the lagoon.

While Ari and I were busy with taking guests out on the trimaran, Mum was kept very busy with running the guest accommodation on One Foot Island, with the renovations only taking three weeks to complete, and the family was getting a good income from both the trimaran cruises as well as the accommodation.

Uncle Rangi purchased a small plot of land on the northeast side of Aitutaki Island, just 900-metres south of the airport, which already has a shed on the property. With the purchase of additional mountain bikes for all of us, that will be stored in the shed, we would land the trimaran on the beach and ride our bikes to school.

The family has settled into our new life on the Cook Islands, thousands of kilometres from where I spent most of my life, but having a lot of cousins to hang out with, as well as the trimaran to sail on most days of the week.

It was a good change for the future, even though we had lost our father, and I had left behind some very good friends, and as I sat down for breakfast on our first day of spring holidays, Gran was smiling, as Mum sat down.

“I have some news… I was not aware of it until just last week, and it was confirmed a few days ago when I visited the doctor… I am five months pregnant, which fits in with the last time Dad came home for a two-week break.

Although your dad will miss seeing his new child, you boys will have a new baby brother or sister in four months time,” Mum announced to me. I had my mouth open and a spoon of cereal halfway towards my mouth, as I took in this surprising news, and after a few moments of shock, I placed the spoon back in the bowl and smiled.

The End.

Book Two to follow soon.

Q

Copyright © 2021 Preston Wigglesworth; All Rights Reserved.
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Chapter Comments

Fantastic chapter and story. Hunter has really stepped up with his new assignment taking everyone back and forth to school each day on the yacht. I think he and Ari became closer after the little scuffle at school when Hunter received word that he was to take the yacht and everyone home after school with Ari as his bosun over time Ari was taught all about skippering the yacht as they picked up more responsibilities when they started taking visitors out on the yacht for a 3 hour cruise on the weekends. Hunter was in shock for a minute or two when he got told at breakfast that his mum was expecting another baby in about four months, she said that this coincided with the last time his father was home for his two week break from work. I think it’s great that you have already said that there’s going to be a 2nd book out soon, I hope it’s a bit longer than this one, but if not that’s okay too as you’re the author.

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Well done, Preston/Quokka.  I looked at Google Maps and saw where Tapuaetai Island/One Foot Island is, and enjoyed the satellite view.  Will Range be trained as a 3rd bosun in case of emergencies?

I am glad that Ari and Hunter worked out their differences.  It is also obvious that Hunter's experience was a major factor in Ari's acceptance of Hunter as an equal or better.  Now, if Hunter could find something in which Ari is much more experienced, and acknowledge it, that would seal things even more in friendship.

Any chance of seeing even more of Gran in the next book?

Quokka, your writing style and ability has greatly improved over the years.  One of the major improvements has been via increased use of dialogue in stories. You have a good balance of dialogue, happenings, and description.  Thanks for the good and enjoyable writing.

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24 minutes ago, chris191070 said:

A fantastic ending to a fantastic story.

Thanks mate

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