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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.

Eruption - 11. Erupt Ch 11

Landing on the Skeena River at the western end of town, I found what I was looking for, as marked on the map, the Helicopter Tours Base, where I could get Avgas for my plane, which is located right on the river, and I pulled up alongside the riverbank, and two men appeared to catch our mooring lines and to secure them.

We managed to find accommodation at the lodge across the railway line from the river, but it was a 350-metre long walk around to get there, and we checked in and set up our equipment in the extra room that would be our base for the next few days.

We were kept very busy, with regular phone calls to the University and taking calls from the media, which Judith mostly handled and sometimes I was included in the call. A lot of the sensors that we had planted were giving us regular new data, which we forwarded to the University, and the eruption had decided to quieten down after its ignition burst of cloud and dust, but we monitored it closely from our safe distance.

After nearly two weeks based in the town of Terrace, the Dean called and summoned us back home, so we packed up everything, leaving the sensors in place, which we could monitor from the university, and we made the long two-day journey back to Fredericton.

After dropping off everyone and all of the equipment, I headed for home, and when I stepped into the house in the late afternoon, Mum was on the telephone. “Just a moment, he has just walked in the door, I will let him explain it all to you,” I heard my Mum say as she held out the phone to me and smiled.

“Hello nephew, I have seen a news item on television about you,” came a familiar voice, which made me smile broadly. “Hello Aunty, how are things in Central Australia?’ I replied. “Yes, all is good here for both of us, now tell us all about your volcano adventures,” Aunty Jos said to me, and I spent the next ten minutes talking to my aunt and her partner.

After the long-distance phone call, Mum was able to give me a proper welcome home hug, and we sat down and discussed some more about what had happened over the past few weeks on the west coast. “What are your plans for the rest of the University year? Do you plan to go back to the Volcanoes?” Mum asked me.

“I would like to, but only if it is ok with you and Dad, but this time I won’t have any university involvement, as it took up a lot of extra time than I had planned, even with the interruptions of the volcanoes,” I replied, grinning realising that I had made a small joke.

“Yes son, that is fine by me, and I have already discussed it with your father, and he is happy for you to go ahead with whatever plans you make, as look as you do it carefully, and always have someone with you,” Mum said to me.

“I intend to have my very good friend Emmanuel with me on each trip, as he not only enjoys the outdoors, but he is also great company,” I replied. A few months later at the end of the semester, with our plans already made weeks before, Emmanuel and I were ready for our next trip West to check out the volcanoes again.

“Hey Carson, any plans to go volcano chasing this semester break?” Jonas - one of my class mates asked me, as we exited the lecture theatre. I chuckled and smiled at this. “Nah sorry, not this time, just going on a camping trip with a mate this time, no plane, no technology, no erupting volcanoes,” I lied in reply.

“Hmm, not sure if you just lied to me just now or not, but anyway, have a good break, and see you next semester,” Jonas said as he waved and headed in a different direction. We had been in a few study sessions together, and he seemed like a nice bloke, and I could see that he was keen to be friends with me, but I just kept it as just class mates, speaking to him when only needed to and not making any effort to get to know him.

If I had, then I would have learnt that his home town is Terrace BC, where Emmanuel and I planned to revisit for our camping holiday at the Ferry Island Campground, just downstream from where we stayed earlier. A few days later, when we landed on the Skeena River on the east side of Ferry Island, we tied up on the river bank near the camping site, and began setting up our camp site, with our two sleeping tents, large work tent and gazebo.

Two tables were set up under the gazebo, along with the camping stove a two cooler boxes, one for cold food, the other to hold all of the dry and canned food, to prevent any wandering animals from getting to it. In the work tent, I had set up the 2 - fold up tables, two chairs, and the two lap top computers and the satellite communications equipment, so that I could start monitoring the volcanoes remotely from the camp site.

Just outside, I have a portable Solar panel pack, with battery and power converter, so to provide power for the equipment. In the eighteen weeks since we were last in the area, there had been a few minor tremors, while the volcano that had erupted had now settled down once more, and before the semester break, I had done one final check of all the sensors.

Once set up all the equipment, I started up everything and after doing all the initial checks on all of the sensors, we packed up all of the valuable equipment and locked it away in the plane, and with the two mountain bikes that we had brought with us, we set off to ride into town.

Firstly, I needed to report in to the local RCMP station, to let them know that we were camping at the campsite, while monitoring volcanic activity in the area, explaining that we were part of the group that was in town over 4 ½ months ago.

Once done there, speaking only to a junior officer, we went across the road to the Skeena Mall to do some food shopping, and to have a meal at the Grill restaurant, where much to my surprise, I saw Jonas smiling in my direction, as we approached the counter to order.

“No plane and no technology, eh?” Jonas said to me with a bit of a frown, I laughed. “Yea sorry about that mate, I didn’t want the University to get wind that I was heading back to BC to do some monitoring, as I wanted a holiday without any Uni involvement,” I replied, and Jonas smiled.

“That is understandable dude, so who is this strapping specimen next to you?” Jonas replied, which had me in shock, and this time Jonas laughed. “Umm, this is my good friend, Emmanuel, who was my camp steward on the last trip to the area, we wanted to have just a mate only camping trip this time, with a little bit of research work on the side,” I replied.

“Nice to meet you Emmanuel, I am Jonas Harrington, one of Carson’s class mates at University, and if he would have let me be friends, he would have known that I actually come from this area, Terrace is my home town,” Jonas said as they shook hands.

“Yeah, sorry about that mate, I am a bit of a quiet one and restrict the number of friends I have because of it, plus I’m and Australian, so I tend to get ignored because of my unusual accent,” I responded. “Mate, I don’t care about that, I just want to get to know you and learn all about Australia too. So where are you guys camping,” Jonas said to me.

“Ferry Island, east side campsite right next to the river, so we are close to the plane,” I replied. “Have you set up camp yet, do you need anything?” Jonas asked, “Nah mate, we are fine, just come into town to let the RCMP know that we were in town doing science research and tell them where we are camping,” I answered.

“Why the RCMP, and not the local sheriff?” Jonas asked, “Because the research we are doing is classed as federal research, so it is under their jurisdiction, don’t you do your homework, we covered some of this last semester,” I responded, “Err, yeah, I just forgot that’s all,” Jonas answered.

After a delicious meal, we did all of our food shipping, before heading back to our camp site, were we found the local sheriff vehicle parked nearby. “You own this camping gear? I am going to have to ask you to pack up and use other accommodation please, this camp site is closed, and is that your plane?” the officer asked us when we arrived at our camp.

“Yes officer, and we have permission from the RCMP to be here, I am from the New Brunswick University, and I was in town about 18 weeks ago when all the volcanic activity was happening, and I am part of the team that is monitoring it all,” I replied, as I pulled out my wallet and produced a University business card and my university ID card.

The officer grabbed both and walked back to his car, and I didn’t like the look on his face when he did this, and knew that there may be trouble coming. As a precaution, I pulled out my phone and dialled a saved number, “Hello this is Carson Newton, I am back in BC to monitor the Volcanic activity while on semester break, is he available?” I asked when the call connected.

“Yes, please hold and I will transfer you now,” came a response, just as the officer was returning, and I placed the phone out of sight, slightly behind me, and Emmanuel grabbed hold of it and took a few steps away. “I have spoken to the duty officer of the RCMP, and they have no record of you been there, so I suggest that you pack up and leave, this very moment,” the officer said to me.

“Yes sir, I will pass it too him now,” I heard Emmanuel say just behind me, but instead of approaching me he approached the officer. “Someone wants to speak to you, and I highly recommend that you speak to him,” Emmanuel said as the officer snatched the phone from him.

“Yes, what is it, that is so important?” we heard the officer say, as I winced at his tone of voice, and then watched as the officers face went ghost white. “…Yes sir, I understand sir… it will be done sir… I do apologise for the way I spoke earlier sir, goodbye,” the officer said before handing the phone over to me.

“Hello Prime Minister, thankyou for taking my call, and thankyou for your precious time to resolve this issue. I hope you have a good day sir,” I said … “yes sir, goodbye,” I responded to the PM’s comment before ending the call, and glared at the officer. “Are you still here? Don’t you have more important work to do?” I commented to him, before he stormed off back to his car, and left in a hurry.

Emmanuel laughed, “Somehow, I don’t think we will see him again during our stay,” he commented, as we walked over to our campsite to put away the food that we had purchased. Once we had put everything away, I pulled out all the equipment again and set it all up in the work tent, and with the sat link set up, I was able to start monitoring the sensors that we had installed a few months earlier.

“Woah, we have had some small tremors while we have been out,” I commented more to myself, “Really, from where?” came a reply from Emmanuel in the neighbouring gazebo, where he was working setting the camp kitchen the way he wants it

“Near Fort Selkirk peak,” I called back, “that was where we first stopped isn’t it?” Emmanuel said from the door of the work tent,” and I nodded my head. “That’s right it is,” I answered. “Will we be going there again?” Emmanuel asked, “Nah, we can monitor everything from here, all the sensors appear to be working very well,” I replied.

After about half an hour of looking at some more of the data, I closed down the sat link and shutting off the computers, before sitting down next to Emmanuel, where we chatted about just general stuff, but Emmanuel insisted that we speak in Hebrew so as to keep me practicing, as I was still not fully fluent in the language, nut was getting better.

We had been discussing our plans for the rest of the trip, when we heard an approaching sound, and soon saw a mountain bike appear, with a smiling Jonas. “Hello happy campers,” he said when he came to a stop, where we noticed that he was carrying a large backpack, and on the bike rack behind him was a box secured to it.

“Hello, finished your shift work at the restaurant already?” I asked my Uni classmate. “Yeah, well my Dad owns the restaurant, so I was able to get out earlier than usual, as it has been a quiet day, and when I explained that a Uni mate of mine was in town he said it was good for me to go, and with your permission, I would like to stay overnight with you guys?” Jonah responded.

“Oh, I see, well I guess that would be ok, we can’t stop you from camping here, as it is public land, and I guess it would be good to have an assistant with looking at the data,” I replied, as I looked at Emmanuel who nodded in agreement. “Wonderful, where can I pitch my tent,” Jonah said happily.

“Over there, where it’s wet,” I said pointing towards the river, “Ha, ha very funny, we have a comedian in the area,” Jonas replied, “over there is a clear spot you can use,” Emmanuel added, pointing over to an area about fifteen metres away from the Work Tent.

“What is that you are doing?” Emmanuel asked Jonah, after he had set up his tent, and was doing something else, “This is a little gadget I use when I go camping, a sort of alarm bell, so as to let me know if there are intruders, either two or four legged approaching the camp,” Jonas explained.

“Ah now that is a very good idea, do we have any problems with animals approaching campsites, for food and such?” I asked, “Yes, it is always a problem, especially when I have freshly cooked meals for three in my box,” Jonah replied.

“Well, I guess I don’t have to worry about dinner for tonight,” Emmanuel commented, and Jonas smiled and nodded his head in agreement. The alarm system is a set of eight sensors, that are about three metres apart, with a central control box, and Jonas pressed a button to give a demonstration.

The beeping noise was not very loud, and I wondered if it would be enough to scare off any wandering animals, “What you cannot hear is two different very high-pitched sounds that most animals can hear and do not like, and that is the secret of this devise, as it doesn’t scare the crap out of you like most alarms do,” Jonas explained.

Copyright July 2021 Preston Wigglesworth All Rights are 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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Great chapter. 

What is it about Carson that, without him even opening his mouth, people in positions of power immediately jump on him?

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Better than Bear Bells or spray. 🔔  🐻 Wouldn't happen to have a 'real' brand name for that device? Or is it something Jonas is going to patent and (no pun intended) make a killing on, selling in both equipment stores like Snowys, and online?

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Great chapter. I like that Carson's decision to go back to his camping trip. I think Jonas will turn out to be a good friend.

One pissed off Sherrif.

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