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    quokka
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.

Unexpected Journey - 6. UJ Chapter 6

“Follow me, and I will show you,” Hugh said as he led us all through the corridor and into a wide-open courtyard, that overlooks the harbour, and there in front of us was the schooner, Eldorado.

Curtis didn’t know what to say as he stood there to look at the yacht, which was just as we remembered it 4 weeks ago, and standing on the deck were the five crew members who had chosen to remain on the Eldorado. “Hello, Captain, Chef and crew,” I said as we approached the yacht.

“Welcome back Mr Matias, and nice to see you again Mary,” the skipper said smiling, as I looked up at the two masts, then over the main deck.

“Looks like you have been busy giving her a good clean and polish” I stated with a big smile.

Once Curtis had got over the shock, that not only are we back onboard the Eldorado but also that I now own it, the crew got to work to take over handling the luggage. “Mr Matias, as the owner, you have the aft guest cabin, next to mine, which has had some improvements made to it. Ms Mary, you have the forward starboard guest cabin, opposite Mr & Mrs Kingsley, and Mr Curtis you have a choice of a guest twin cabin” the Captain announced.

We spent the next fifteen minutes getting settled into our cabins before we all met in the main lounge area. “Does this mean that we are spending Christmas in Singapore?” Curtis asked, as he sat down, and was given a fruit cocktail to drink.

“No, we are setting off at high tide, just before dark tonight, and we should reach Christmas Island at lunchtime, on Christmas Eve” the Captain announced.

“That is good news Captain, if we can leave a little earlier, I won’t complain” I added.

“As you wish sir, we just have to finish the resupply, and we will be ready by 1300 hours, and just to let you know, Anna and the Engineer are both qualified 1st Mates, to assist me with the journey,” the Captain said, and I nodded my head in understanding.

At 1330 hours, having received customs and passport clearance to leave Singapore, we sailed south East, between Malaysia and Singapore, with me at the helm, and the skipper at my side, guiding me as we sail towards the Singapore Strait and the Java Sea, with a last-minute addition of two paying passengers, both young Australian backpackers, who were desperate to get back to Australia for Christmas, and they were happy to be able to get as far as the Australian Indian Ocean Territory of Christmas Island.

For the next 18 hours, we had to sail between many small Indonesian Islands, before we are in open water, by then it was morning, and we had a nice fine day ahead of us, apart from the high temperatures and humidity. It was another 24 hours more before we pass by the last of the Indonesian Islands, and into the Indian Ocean. Once out of Singapore territory, Sven – the engineer, took over the helm, so the Captain could get some sleep.

When Anna was at the helm, Ingrid the Senior Steward would be in charge of providing meals for the crew and passengers. Captain Hans, had set a roster so that he and Sven would take on most of the helm duties, with Anna filling in, to give them rest breaks, and when she did, I would be there too, to assist where I could.

Between Marcus, the bosun, Curtis and myself, we kept the rest of the yacht sailing nicely, with maintenance, keeping the decks clean, and trimming the sails when need be. Mum assisted Anna and Ingrid in the galley and dining mess, when the need is, since we had no stewards as part of the crew, while our two backpacker passengers, Jared and Tim, plus Mr & Mrs Kingsley relaxed as best as they could in the cramped quarters of the yacht.

It was Curtis who spotted the island first, and like a true sailor, he called out “Land Ho!”, which caught everyone’s attention. It was just after 11 am on day four of our journey from Singapore, and even the passengers made an appearance to see Christmas Island in the distance.

When we were half away from entering Flying Fish Cover, Hans entered the bridge, and picked up the VHF radio, “Sailing Schooner, Eldorado to Christmas Island Ports, over” he said over the radio.

“Receiving Eldorado, what is your current position and eta into Port, over, came a response soon after, and Hans gave the port authority all the required information, including the size of the ship, how many people on board, and their nationalities.

We received instructions to moor at the main jetty, on the lower deck of the jetty, and that a Federal Police & Customs officer would be there to inspect the ship and check passports.

It was a little after 1300 hours when we finally tied up alongside the main jetty, where a lower steel wharf is located, to accommodate smaller vessels.

“Good afternoon, what is the purpose of your visit to Australia, and can I have the ship's documents please,” the Federal Officer said when he stepped onto the ship.

“Good afternoon, although this is a Dutch-flagged ship, it was until a month ago in Europe, before being shipped to Singapore, where the new owner has taken control of the vessel” Hans explained as he handed over the required documents.

“I see and who is the new owner of this vessel?” the Federal Officer asked, as he scanned through the ship’s documents.

“That would be me, sir, I inherited the ship from my great Uncle, who passed away a few months ago,” I said stepping forward.

“That would also be my Uncle. I am his mother, my name is Mary Madsen, my son is Matias, and we have 5 crew and 4 passengers not including us two” Mum added.

“I see, quite a responsibility, for a lad so young,” the Federal officials said.

“That may be so sir, but my great uncle ensured that I spent time onboard this ship before she was cargo shipped to Singapore, and while it was, I completed a 14-day training course, on a tall ship nearly double this size” I answered.

“Well, that all appears to be in order, Captain, do you have anything to declare,” the Federal officer said as he handed back the documents, “Only 5 crew, and 4 disorderly passengers, sir” Hans replied grinning broadly.

“I see no Pirate flag Captain, so I hope that was just a joke” the Federal Officer replied, and he and the Captain laughed. “Passports and Visas please,” the Federal officer asked.

“Seven are Australian citizens, the rest are my crew who are Norwegian and Swedish nationals, and we have Work Visas, to work for Mr Matias,” the Captain said, as he handed over the 5 crew passports, and all of us passengers did the same.

“Mr Madsen, what is your planned final destination for home port?” the Federal Officer asked.

“That would be Ocean Reef Boat Harbour, approximately 34 kilometres north of Fremantle, sir” I replied.

“Yes, I know where Ocean Reef is, it is quite a small harbour, do you plan to dry dock it there and transport it somewhere else?” the Federal Officer asked.

“No sir, I own the plot of land between the Boat Harbour and the Sea Sports Club, and it already has its own jetty, plus maintenance and repair shed” I replied.

“I see, well that is interesting, just give Fremantle harbour a call on the radio, to let them know you have arrived at Ocean Reef, and welcome to Christmas Island,” the Federal Officer said as he handed back the passports, and headed back to shore.

About twenty minutes later, we said farewell to our two backpacker passengers, as they left the ship and headed to the accommodation that they had just booked. Mr & Mrs Kingsley said that they and Curtis would like to stay on the ship until the next flight to Perth in three days’ time, which the Captain and I were happy with.

While the crew were given the next three days of shore leave, Mum and I elected to stay onboard the ship for the rest of the afternoon, to allow Hans and Anna some time off, which they happily accepted, while the Kingsley family went off to explore the island.

Once everyone but Mum and I were off the ship, I asked Mum to fill me in with more detail on these two properties in Ocean Reef.

“I turn’ out, that when Uncle Jakob came here to Western Australia for a holiday, and to see what was so special about us living here, he fell in love with the coastal beauty of Western Australia.

At around the same time, the state government, started looking at the idea of having a marina in the area, and the state government at the time allocated plots of freehold land to individual developers, to commence building some basic amenities in the area, and in the early 1980’s Uncle Jakob bought two plots of land, which are now Lot 3, consisting of 3.54 acres and Lot 5, consisting of 24.46 acres with no set time frame to build on the land.

For the past 30 odd years, Uncle Jakob has sat on these parcels of land, and it was when he bought this ship five years ago, that he had the large shed and living quarters built on Lot 3, which has remained vacant, but he has had caretakers looking after it since the building work was completed.

The shed is built into 7 metre-high sand dune, so it is not visible from the road or either side, only from the ocean side can you see the huge steel face of the shed, which is big enough to accommodate the Eldorado, if it needs to be dry docked for maintenance, once the masts are removed.

I have not seen the shed at all, but I have photos, that were given to me when we were in Norway. One of the meetings that I attended while there, was with Uncle Jakob’s lawyer, where it was pointed out to me, that since the establishing of the City of Joondalup in 1998, there has been a few environmental studies and a concept plan has been designed for a much larger marina, than what is there now, which is just a boat harbour, carpark, the sports club and the marine rescue club.

Each time something new had been put to the public, Uncle Jakob’s lawyers have made a submission, on behalf of Uncle Jakob, since he is a landowner and ratepayer, calling for this new marina not to go ahead, because of the terrible impact it will have on the coastal environment.

Each time they call for public comments, the lawyers have pointed out, that with a marina located 8 kilometres to the South at Hillary’s, another marina located 9 kilometres North at Mindarie, a third marina 36 kilometres North at Two Rocks, plus two marinas located South of Fremantle, at North Coogee and Mandurah, there is no need for another Marina on the coastline of Perth, but they seem to ignore any negative comments.

I have seen a copy of the latest concept plan, and it includes the area of land that is owned by you, so it will be interesting to see what happens when they start preparing the land for development. I think we may have a bit of a battle on our hands with this if they go ahead with the plans to build the marina” Mum said to me.

“Oh great, I’m not even 18 yet, and I have been given this huge headache already” I complained.

“Like your mother and legal guardian, I will be with you all the way, I support and agree with what Uncle Jakob has done to protect the coastline, so I will make sure that we won’t let them walk all over us,” Mum said to me.

“I guess we better get home as soon as possible so we can have a look at this land, including the big shed, and see what we need to do,” I said to Mum.

“Don’t forget that there is a residence behind the shed, from what I have seen from the plans that were shown to me, it is quite impressive, and I hope that we can make that our new home” Mum reminded me.

While Mum did some cleaning inside, now that we have two fewer guests onboard, I got to work out on the deck, cleaning the windows, washing the decks, and checking all of the ropes. By the end of the day, I felt happy, that I had achieved a lot, and when Hans and Anna returned, carrying a huge amount of food shopping, for Christmas celebrations, we helped them to bring it onboard and to stow it away.

Christmas day was one of the best ever for me, spending it with Mum, and the Kingsley family, and my new crew, and in the afternoon, we had a lot of locals come down to visit us, and to have a look at our yacht.

The day after Boxing Day, when the Kingsley family were leaving to fly back to Perth, we decided to set sail on the same day, with the Captain, Mum and I discussing plans, we decided to sail to Exmouth, the closest mainland town to Christmas Island, which would take us three days to travel, with good winds.

From there we would head down the West Coast, stopping at Denham, at Shark Bay, which will take 1 ½ day’s to travel, and another two days to get down to Ocean Reef.

Copyright © 2019 Preston Wigglesworth; All Rights Reserved.
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.
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Excellent chapter, I am glad that they got away from Europe without any drama, I look forward to the drama ahead with the developers, interesting times ahead.

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I'm wondering whether the Russian Mafia may have commercial interests in some of the land around Ocean Reef... :unsure2:

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