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About quokka

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  1. OBC Chapter 11

    As I started to get my bearings I noticed a couple of windows high up in the wall, and from what I could see it was dark outside, with the faint sight of street lighting somewhere nearby, but I couldn’t hear any noise of people, just the distant sounds of traffic. I was guessing that I was in an old warehouse of some kind, and that it was in a remote part of the city, where I couldn’t be heard, so there was no point in screaming for help. I noticed that I was laying on an old mattress, no sheets or pillows, just one single blanket. I stood up carefully and as I allowed my eyes to adjust to the darkness, I could see I was in some sort of office, the mattress where I woke up was in the inner office. There was a built in wardrobe and a small bathroom with no window. In the outer office held a desk and three chairs. The lighting was a bit better in this room as the windows seemed to be a lot closer to the street lighting outside. I quickly checked the solid looking door, finding it was locked, and none of the light switches worked. Returning to the inner office, I attended to my bathroom needs. I was surprised that the toilet actually flushed and that the sink had running water. Once back in the inner office I sat down on the mattress,waiting. Waiting for what, I wasn’t actually sure. Suddenly I could smell food, so I made my way back to the outer office where I found some takeaway food from KFC and soft drink on the table, but there was no sign of anyone in the room. I sat down and ate the food that was provided. Once I had eaten I returned to the mattress and laid down, suddenly feeling quite tired. I soon fell into a restless sleep. When awoke the next morning, I could once again smell food. This time it was two bacon & egg muffins and a cup of tea from McDonalds, but once again there was no sign of anyone else in the offices. After I had eaten, I had a closer look of the rooms that I was confined to; both of the offices were bare apart from the mattress, the table and the chairs. The windows high up were not reachable, even if I placed a chair on top of the table, I would still be unable to reach the window, which are very dirty and look like they haven’t been cleaned for many years, maybe decades. I could hear traffic in the distance, and it was a busy traffic, but still too far away so I was guessing that I was some distance from any main road. In the late morning a few kilometres away from where I was being held, in the accountancy office, the accountant was concerned when his client hadn’t arrived for their set appointment and began to worry, as he knew that his client would not miss an important meeting like this. Unfortunately for me, the remainder of his day was kept busy with continuous meetings, and the matter of a client not turning up for a meeting slipped his mind. Back at the place of confinement, I was getting anxious as I had no idea what was happening and what was being planned for me, I saw and heard from nobody all day, and wasn’t even given a meal at lunch time, and with the foam tea cup I was able to drink water to keep my thirst quenched, as I continued to stroll around surroundings. While I was giving myself a face and upper body wash with my shirt, a meal was silently delivered to the room next door, along with a number of provisions. When I became aware that food had once again been delivered, I made my way to the outer office to see on the table a selection of Chinese takeaway foods, a thermos with a plastic mug, which had black tea in it. Also on the table there was a spare blanket, a pillow, a couple of old novels, a couple of Outback magazines, a towel and some soap. Grabbing the towel and soap I returned to the bathroom where I gave myself a proper wash, before returning to the outer office to eat my evening meal. I had now been in confinement for over 24 hours and I still had no idea why. Once I had eaten and had a cup of tea, I sat down to read a little before all of the light disappeared, before settling down for a second night of restless sleep. Again, I woke up to the smell of food, the same as I had the day before, and once again no sign of anyone in sight. I listened carefully to see if I could hear any other noises in the building but had no luck, all I could hear was the distant sounds of peak hour traffic. When I looked at my watch, I could see that it was just after 7.30am, and I knew that I had already missed one meeting and was about to miss a second one with the law firm, I had not contacted the station in a day and a half and I was hoping that this would get some action with getting a search started to find me. Unknown to me, when I had not contacted the accountants at the end of yesterday, and with them receiving a call from Chris at Pondana Station, the police had been contacted, the law firm had been contacted by Chris to see if they knew where I was and they too were unaware of my disappearance. They were also very worried, especially after I didn’t appear my appointment with them at 9am on that day, and they were even more worrying when they received a courier delivered letter at 10am. “I have Kyle Silverton, he is safe and well, but harm will come to him if a sum of $300,000 is not paid for his release within 24 hours from the time you receive this letter. Your will get instructions on where to bring the money later on in the day. Be warned, do not involve the police or he will be harmed”. The law firm contacted Chris right away, once they realised how serious this matter was, asking for some directions on what action to take. Chris informed them, that the RFDS were about to leave the station to return to Kalgoorlie, and he would catch a lift with them to Perth. He would he there by mid-afternoon, and not to do anything till he arrives. When Chris was collected from the domestic airport by a chauffeured car, he was taken directly to the lawfirm offices in the city. Seated in the conference room, Chris was shown the first letter that was delivered in the morning; next he was shown the letter that had just arrived less than half an hour ago with detailed instructions on what to do with delivering the ransom money. Soon after Chris had read both letters, a staff member had arrived informing them that two police officers were in reception regarding the matter of Kyle Silverton. Chris looked very angry as he had left instructions for nothing to be done. When Chris met the two police officers, he was informed that the accountancy firm had contacted them, as they were concerned for their multi-millionaire client, who missed his appointment. The police where shown the two letters, and they said that they would be able to set up a squad of officers to capture the extortionists once they collect the money, but Chris said that it would not happen. He had a better idea, letting the police know what exactly what he had in mind. Before the close of business, Chris visited the bank and withdrew a sum of $300,000 in large denomination notes, before going to his second location for the afternoon, the Perth Gold Mint, where he used the cash to purchase $300,000 in Gold bullion, which was placed in the sports bag that he had carried the cash in. The police had already notified the Perth Gold Mint of what was happening and organised for the gold bullion purchase to go smoothly. When Chris had the gold he follow the instructions and travelled to the East Perth Terminal, where he placed the sports bag in the assigned locker as he had been instructed in the second letter, before leaving the building and returning to the hotel. Meanwhile in the terminal, plain clothes officers were stationed in the security office watching the cameras that were aimed at the locker where the gold bullion was placed. When the terminal was closed for the day, the cameras were monitored as the cleaning staff entered the building two hours after it was closed for the day, and it was the cleaner who was operating the floor scrubber that caught the police officer’s attention, when he made a few passes past the lockers, and each time he was looking around to see if anyone was watching. On the third pass the cleaner stopped at the lockers and with a key in hand he opened the locker and attempted to pull out the sports bag, which was a lot heavier than he expected. When he opened the bag and looked in, he was shocked to see gold bullion instead of cash, and he struggled to pull the bag out and attempted to place the bag inside the empty water tank when a squad of armed police suddenly swooped on him, and arrested him. When I received my dinner that night, I had no idea that it would be my last meal for a few days, and I ate it down quickly. Finishing, I left the rubbish in a neat pile on the table, like all the other times so it could be collected the next morning when the breakfast was delivered. After eating dinner, I gave myself a sponge bath like I did the night before. Once satisfied that I was respectfully clean I dressed into just my jeans, and I went to work washing my shirt, boxer shorts and socks in the sink, when I was satisfied that they were clean enough, I hung them out to dry, before laying down to sleep for my third night of captivity. In the morning, once I woke up, I decided to remain in bed to wait till I could smell when breakfast arrives. When my stomach started to rumble, that I decided to get up and see if it had arrived. Seeing that it hadn’t been delivered, I looked up at the window to see that it was close to mid-morning, and came to conclusion that I wasn’t going to get any breakfast today, so I laid down on the mattress and began to read one of the books that my captors had provided. By mid-afternoon, I was getting bored with reading and was starting to get real hungry, so I decided to have three glasses of water to try and fill my stomach up with something even if it wasn’t food. After I had done that I walked around the two office buildings, taking in every detail of each room. Once I had enough of that I went back to the mattress and started to do some sit ups and push ups, just as another activity to keep my mind off the uncertainty of what was going to happen to me. As the sun started to set and the rooms began to get dark, I was really starting to get worried. I was thinking maybe something has happened to my captors and that no one knows where I am, and I could possibly die in this lonely place, without seeing my family ever again. This thought made me even more depressed, and soon I was crying my heart out, wishing I was back home on the station. Back at the police station the extortionist refused to give his name, and after a number of attempts of get more information on why he was extorting money off the Silverton family, a number of times he was taken from his cell back to the interview room where police officers attempted to extract information, but remained tight lipped. Eventually the police decided to just charge him and try and get more information after investigating other avenues of enquiries. As he was being processes he had DNA samples taken as well as his finger prints, and it was only after his finger prints were taken and they were checked on the police data base, that they learnt who he was, and now had a better understanding why Kyle Silverton had been kidnapped. Shortly after his identity was worked out, Chris received a call from the police informing him that they had a man in custody, and although he refused to give his name, a finger print check came up with his identity.
  2. NB ND Chapter 25

    Thankyou all for your comments, I must admit that I was fighting back tears as I was writing the last chapter. Preston
  3. NB ND Chapter 24

    I recall mentioning the planting of mature trees, fo they would already be big enough for fruiting
  4. NB ND Chapter 25

    Within three weeks, we had completed all preparations for the arrival of the first guests to the island, we had done some major advertising in Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, South Africa, the UK and Canada, and we have been getting some solid bookings to stay on the island. Using the company that has DHC-8 Dash 8 aircraft, we have arranged for weekly flights from Perth to Deepdale Island and return, and also weekly flights from Singapore to Deepdale Island via the Cocos Keeling Islands, with a stopover. Sebastian and I had worked out a timetable for the visitors, with those coming from Singapore, leaving at 0800 hours on Thursday, and arriving on Deepdale at 1500 hours on Friday, after the 24-hour stop on the Cocos Keeling Islands. Visitors flying in from Perth would leave at 0800 hours on Wednesday mornings, and we have also decided on the option of flights from Broome, which is just over 5 hours flight, with a departure day and time of Mondays at 0800 hours, arriving on the island at 1315 hours. This would mean three flights in and out of the island each week, and we would also be allowing yachts to sail into the island, with a total 9 moorings available. On the Monday of the first flight arriving on the island, all of the shire council members were gathered at the airfield to greet the first visitors to the island, who were individually greeted as they stepped off the plane, before they were transported to their accommodation using new six-seater buggies, that had come with the last load from the Southern Explorer. Also brought along, were the kayaks, paddles and PFD jackets, a good supply of golf bag sets with carry trolleys, and pop up gazebos, for sun shelter on the beaches, plus a dozen men and women’s mountain bikes all for the guests to keep themselves occupied during their stay. By late Friday afternoon, the island was full of guests, with all 32 cabinsoccupied, and three yachts are currently moored in the yacht bay, the souvenir shop, bakery, two cafés, two clothing stores and restaurant, are being kept very busy with all of the guests, and on two occasions, guests have wandered or ridden into the restricted area of the defence base, even though it is clearly signposted that it is a restricted area. Kyle’s POV On the second week of the island opening for guests, all the staff were keeping very busy, at 2pm on the Wednesday, Sebastian and the twins flew back to Perth along with the guests, so that they could do some shopping and have a short holiday, leaving my mum and I to keep an eye on my best friend and boss of the island – Huon. On the Saturday evening, Huon informed me that he was feeling a little tired, and that he would not be attending church in the morning, and he insisted that he would be fine, and suggested having lunch with him after church. The next day, shortly after 11am, after the service was over for another Sunday, I went over to Huon’s place to check on him, but he wasn’t there, I checked around the outside of his cabin, and still no sign of him. “What is it Kyle?” Annette asked me as I was dashing around. “It’s Huon, I can’t find him and I am worried, maybe he is in the admin building” I replied as I headed in that direction, with my mum close behind. When I opened the door, a large gust of cold air hit my face, and I could see my best friend slumped over his desk, as I raced up to him, and shock his shoulder, and much to my horror, I received no response from him, and he felt very cold. Mum gently pushed me to one side, and she approached Huon, and placed a finger on his wrist, then on his neck, and her head fell forward. “I am sorry son, but Huon has passed, he has gone to a better place” my mum said to me, and I collapsed on the floor and burst into tears, while mum picked up the radio mic, “Dr Judy Chakma Patwary to the administration building, medical emergency” mum said into the mic. A few minutes later when the doctor entered and she saw me on the floor, then looked at mum, she knew that it was not good, as she slowly approached Huon, and retrieving her stethoscope, she listened to any sign of life and found nothing. She jotted down the time on a note pad, before doing a few other observations, making a few notes each time, before she turned to face mum and me. “I am terribly sorry, but from what I can work out from a few observations, this was either a stroke, heart attack or maybe a brain amorism, we will know more once a post mortem has been completed” Dr Judy said to us. “Thank you, Dr, he did complain of not feeling very well yesterday afternoon, when he went home to rest. I stood up and wiped away my tears, and slowly approached my best friend, “Goodbye Huon, you have been the best mate ever, and I will never forget you” I said as I leaned down and kissed him on the forehead, before turning and dashing out of the building. About half an hour later, after a shower and lots more crying, I went looking for mum, and I found the church still open, and candles were lit on the alter, and several staff were seated under the shade sails, with Mum back in her church wardrobe. Dr Judy came up beside me, “How are you coping are you ok?” she asked me, concerned. “Err, I’m not sure, everything is like a bad dream, where… what had happened to…” I stuttered, “Huon’s body has been taken to his cabin, with the air-conditioner at its coldest temperature. We have arranged for a plane to fly in from Perth, that will be here at 3pm, and after refuelling, will head back to Perth, with Huon’s body, I have contact the state mortuary, and they are expecting his arrival. I have decided to leave it to your mum to contact Sebastian, to break the news, and for them to work out funeral arrangements, I suggest that you go and rest or maybe go into the church and pray a little, which ever you want to do, just take a few days off for now” Dr Judy said to me. I spent about ten minutes in church, before reluctantly entering the administration building, sitting at my desk, and I picked up the sat phone and began to make some calls to cancel all future bookings till further notice, starting with the guests due to arrive tomorrow. Although the guests were very upset with the cancellation, I explained that the island had just lost its’ part owner and Managing Director, and that a full refund will be given. After nearly 40 phone calls, all the future guests have been notified, and I was feeling exhausted, with my emotions going in all directions, just as Mum entered. “Hi dear, how are you coping” Mum asked me, as she came up to me and gave me a sideways hug. “Ok, I guess, I have just finished cancelling all future bookings, including all of tomorrows arrivals, and I am wondering if I should contact Tom, Margaret, Eric and Mary on the Falklands” I responded. “Yes, we will do that soon, as Huon wants to be buried there, he asked me to arrange it if anything happened to him, firstly we need to speak to Sebastian” my mum said as she picked up the sat phone and dialled the number for Sebastian’s mobile phone. “Hi there, how are things going on the island, do you miss me already” Sebastian said when he answered, “Sebastian, this is Annette speaking, Kyle is sitting here next to me, we have some bad news to tell you… we are really sorry to inform you that Huon has passed away, sometime last night or this morning” my mum said into the phone, and there was a long period of silence. “Seb, are you there, did you hear what mum said?” I said into the phone, “Yes mate, I heard you, are you ok?” Sebastian replied, “Apart from crying every five minutes, since I found his body, I am ok” I replied, “Oh, that is not good, well stay strong mate, he would have wanted that. Annette can you tell me anything else on what happened” Sebastian replied. “I walked into the admin building soon after Kyle this morning, when we found him. Dr Judy said he had been dead for some time, and that it was either a brain amorism, stroke or heart attack. A plane is already on its way to the island to pick up the body to take it to Perth, with an ETA of about 8pm tonight, I am terribly sorry for your loss, Sebastian” my mum answered. “Seb, I have cancelled all guest arrivals, until further notice, mum has opened the church for pray, and all current guests are aware of the situation. Mum has just told me that Huon wants to be buried at the Falklands, let me know if you need any help with organising anything” I said to Sebastian. “Thanks mate, I will keep in touch. We will remain here in Claremont, to start organising the funeral. Annette, will you be able to officiate the funeral service, I will organise and pay for your flights to Stanley” Sebastian replied. “Yes, Sebastian that will be fine, once we have finished talking, I will contact Tom, Margaret, Eric and Mary, to break the news to them” my mum replied. A few minutes later, Mum had finished breaking the news to those on the Falkland Islands, Mum and I cried together for a little while. When the plane arrived with a coffin included, Dr Judy and Mum dealt with cleaning and dressing Huon’s body, before he was placed into the coffin. The Army formed a guard of honour, and coffin bearers, and all the island staff formed a line each side of the road, to say farewell to their boss, and Annette decided to travel back to Perth, so she could be with Sebastian and the twins, and asked Dr Judy to help me while she was away. Once the plane had left, I went and closed the church, since mum was no longer on the island, and I asked all the staff to return to work, to attend to the guests. Three days later after the last of the guests had finally left the island, including the yachts, with Judy Chakma Patwaryin charge, I travelled to Perth with the guests. When the plane arrived at Perth Airport, I was surprised to find Sebastian and the twins waiting for me, and the twins wrapped me in a tight hug. “Hey guys, how are you coping, are you looking after your big brother?” I said to them, “Yes but we miss Huon very much” the boys chorused, “Yes, I miss him terribly also” I replied, with tears in my eyes, as Sebastian gave me a hug. “Hey mate, your mum is staying at Huon’s house, and Mrs Cooper has organised a bedroom for you also. We heard from the state coroner today, Huon had died of a brain amorism, so it was fast and painless, he would have felt nothing, except maybe a headache” Sebastian informed me. Thirty-five minutes later, we arrived in Claremont, where Mum was there to welcome me. “Hi son, how are you coping, are you ok?” Mum said to me as she gave me a big hug, “I am ok I guess, I am struggling but surviving” I replied. “Ok, well get some rest, as we are flying out again tomorrow afternoon. We are flying to Santiago, via Melbourne, then we have a chartered flight to Stanley” Mum announced to me. “Will… will he be travelling with us, on the same flights?” I asked, and Mum smiled, “Yes son, Huon will be travelling with us the whole distance, everything is organised” Mum replied. “Relax mate, we will be with you all the way, we are all one family, so you are part of this process” Sebastian said to me. “Our flight leaves Perth at 12.15pm tomorrow, and after two hours in Melbourne, we leave there at 8.30pm, and arrive, in Santiago just over 13 hours later” Mum informed me, and for the next two days it was a blur of emotions and lots of overseas travel. When we stepped off the plane at Stanley, the first thing I spotted was Huon’s Landrover, which made me cry some more, and we as a family stood and watched as the coffin was loaded into the back of the Landrover, and driven off to the hospital, for overnight storage. Vehicles had arrived to transport all of us to our accommodation at Eric and Mary’s place, and we all settled into our rooms, for the night, with the funeral service being held at 10am tomorrow. When we arrived at the Cathedral, I was stunned to see that the building was packed full, as we were lead to the front row of the cathedral, and shortly after, we all stood when the coffin was carried inside. I was crying through most of the service, as I had Sebastian on one side of me and Mrs Cooper on the other side, and I could hear the twins also crying on the other side of Sebastian, as we said our last farewells to my best mate. Epilogue Twins POV Sebastian has been very quiet an withdrawn since our dear cousin died. The Southern Explorer had turned around at Cape Town, so the crew could attend the funeral at Stanley, and a wake was held onboard later in the afternoon, with just family and close friends on the ship for lunch straight after the funeral service. Rev and Kyle both tried to get our brother to talk, but everywhere we went, it reminded him, of Huon. Deepdale Island, the ship, the farm on the Falklands, the retail buildings, school and houses in Claremont, and all Sebastian would do is retreat to his suite and cry. When we all arrived back in Australia and Claremont, Sebastian asked everyone to gather in the office conference room next door, first thing tomorrow, after a good rest from our long journey back from the Falkland Islands, this gathering was to include Annette and Kyle, Mrs Cooper, Mr Jai and Dr Judy Chakma Patwary, who was arriving from the Island this afternoon. The next morning at 8am sharp, we were all gathered in the conference room. “Thank you everyone for attending, if have my lawyers from Geneva on loud speaker” Sebastian began, and my twin and I looked at each other, feeling that something big was about to be announced. “As most of you know, Huon’s passing has hit me very hard, and now I can’t seem to go anywhere without having memories of him. It is with that in mind, that my twin brothers and I will be returning to Switzerland. Mr and Dr Chakma Patwary, I am appointing you both joint Governors of Deepdale Island, I will speak to you both about it in more detail later. Annette and Kyle, the Deepdale homestead, just out of Toodyay, is yours, transfer of ownership will be finalised in a few days time. Mrs Cooper, Huon’s home, two doors down, is now yours, also with ownership being finalised in a few days. This administration office, all documents, will be packed up and sent to Head office in Geneva, and the school can take over using the space, as well as the house that I and the twins are using at the moment. The leasing of the school space and the retail spaces in Claremont, the Southern Explorer and Deepdale Island will all be managed from Geneva. Finally I want to say that it has been a privilege to know you all, and we may at times speak by phone, but for now the twin and I will be packing up and flying to Geneva in three days time. That is all for now thank you” Sebastian announced, leaving everyone stunned. Sebastian met with everyone individually for the rest of the morning, while Mrs Cooper helped us to starting packing our belongings, and get everything from the trip into the wash. On the day that we were to fly out of Perth, possibly for good, Mrs Cooper, Annette and Kyle came to the Airport to see us off, which was very difficult, and my twin and I were in tears as we passed through the secure area to be processed by customs and quarantine. We knew that for Seb’s sake, we had to leave Australia, even though it felt like home to us in the time we had been there, but we had to stay together as a family, and Switzerland was our true home. The End
  5. NB New Direction

    Chapter 25 is set to be published just after 7am my time... under four hours time... goodnight...
  6. NB ND Chapter 24

    After a lot of hard work by everyone, especially with the planting of all the trees, and the establishing of fruit orchards and vegetable patches around the island, we are now ready to accept our first guests onto the island. All of the larger trees were doing very well, and we had planted a variety of fruit trees amongst them, as well as having the large orchards, so we can have a plentiful supply of fruit for most of the year, and the golf course was now ready to be used. At 2600 metres long, the airfield is a good length to accept smaller aircraft, which Sebastian had done some investigating into, and he found a company that flies the De Havilland Canada DHC-8 Dash 8aircraft, that has the fuel range to reach the island easily, with two cockpit crew and 1 or 2 cabin crew, and seating for 38 passengers. The plane can travel the distance of 1675 kilometres to reach the island in 3 hours and 25 minutes, which was perfect. Seb also estimated that the cost per passenger would be $375 one way, to cover the cost of leasing the plane, and he suggested that with our plans to limit the number of guests on the island, that we could have one group leave, when the next group arrives, so the plane is not flying empty. After some thought into this, we decided that the departure day and time at Perth for guest to travel to the island will be Wednesdays at 0800 hours, arriving at 1125 hours on the island, for a week-long stay, and the plane would depart with the leaving guests, at 1300 hours, arriving in Perth at 1625 hours. When the Southern Explorer finally arrived, they offloaded the air-conditioned shipping container that will be used for storing the Aviation fuel, to refuel the plane and the islands helicopter. As the fuel and basic food supplies were being unloaded, Captain Kingsley came down onto the jetty, where I was checking of the food supplies, that we had ordered from South Africa. “Permission to allow the crew some shore leave please sir” the captain said very officially, which made me chuckle, and I stood at attention, “Permission granted, do you have anything to declare?” I replied, and we both laughed, “Yes that is fine Paul, just make sure the crew members don’t bring anything unsealed onto the island, as we are growing our own fruit and vegetables now” I added. “Good thinking, I will have a foot sterilisation bath set up at the end of the jetty, just to be extra careful” the Captain said to me, as I continued with my work, and he returned to the ship, and I soon heard a PA announcement, “Attention all crew, permission has been received for all crew to have shore leave on Deepdale Island, all customs and quarantine procedures are to be followed, and follow any safety instructions that the islands give you. Shore leave is for 4 hours, that is all”, and I heard some crew members cheer. “Oh, I nearly forgot, in that pallet being unloaded now, is the special order that you made” the captain said as he reappeared on the main deck, but stayed onboard. “Thankyou captain, some of your crew members may like to try them out” I replied, not saying what was in the giant box, marked sporting goods. Once the chopper had moved the fuel storage shipping container into place, with its drums of fuel already inside, it landed on the deck, and wound down its motors, while the pilot secured the chopper to the deck. “I see you have a golf course now Mr Devonport, are we permitted to give it a try out?” the pilot asked from the rear of B deck, and I saw the captain frown at me, and I just laughed. “Yes, you can, just see Kyle Davies at the administration building for a golfing guide to the island. The admin building is the big red one opposite the town square” I replied, as I smiled to the Captain, who dashed off out of sight, and returned about ten minutes later, dressed casually, and by the looks of it ready for a game of golf, which made me laugh again. About an hour after the Southern Explorer had departed, to make its way to Albany, to prepare for the next trip, I was in the office, when another earthquake struck the island, and this time it felt a lot stronger, and I heard the church bells ringing, from the ground movement, as I made my way outside, with the VHF radio in hand. “Administration to Defence, do you copy over” I said which was followed by three very loud bangs. Receiving you sir, don’t be too concerned about those three bangs, I am guessing that it was landmines being set off by the earthquake, over” came rapid response. “Oh, ok, can you send out a patrol and see if there is any damage to the fuel dump, the airfield and Heli pad please, over” I asked, “yes sir, and we will check the rest of the island, I am sending out three platoons as we speak, over and out” the Major responded, before signing off. “Kyle to Administrator, Huon, can you come back inside please, over” I heard over the radio, as I finished walking towards the stair case to check on it, and it appeared to be fine, so I headed back to the administration building, to see what Kyle wanted. “That was a 6.9, a little smaller than the other one, but it was a lot closer, that is why it felt stronger” Kyle informed me, as Annette walked in. “Are you and the church ok?” I asked as she sat down, “Yes the building is fine, and I am just a little dazed, it is the first time I have felt such a strong earthquake” Annette said, as Kyle delivered a drink for his mum. “Do you want me to get the doctor?” Kyle asked, “No son, I will be fine thanks, just a little nit of shock that is all” Annette replied, as she gave us a smile of reassurance. “Major Dutton to Administration, over” came a voice over the radio, “receiving you sir, go ahead, over” I answered, “Pleased to report no building damage at the defence base, the fuel dump, airfield, and Heli pad are all ok as well, but if I am not mistaken, I think we have gone higher in the air, over” the Major said, and I dashed outside to have a look at the bay, and sure enough I could see the water stain on the cliffs opposite the stairs, and there was now a lot more beach area, as we had risen by about 1.5 metres, which was the distance I had to jump from the bottom of the stairs, onto the sandy beach. The jetty was still in one piece, with the patrol boat still moored to the jetty, and I noticed that the waterfall was not running as fast as before, but it still sounded the same, so I went down the stairs and onto the jetty, and just around the bend a little, I could see a second waterfall, it was a very narrow, one, but a lot stronger, and I just hoped that we won’t loose all of our fresh fish from the lake. I was in the process of turning to return to the top, when I stopped as I spotted something unusual. “Huon to Shawn Robertson, what is your location, over” I called over the UHF radio, “About 4 metres above you” came a shout reply from Shawn, which we both laughed at. “Take a look out there, tell me what you see instead of those scaggy rocks” I asked Shawn, “I see those scraggy rocks, but they are higher like the island, and so is the land between the rocks, man I am so glad I didn’t take a short cut the other day” Shawn replied, as he came down the stairs, and landed heavily on the beach. “A good job for our defence team when they have finished their patrols” I commented. “What were those three loud bags after the quake hit?” Shawn asked, “The Major thinks it was more landmines, triggering off because of the earthquake” I replied, as we climbed into the Rib dinghy, and Shawn started it up as I took a seat near the front, and secured the safety belt. As we approached the rocks, I was amazed that the pointy rocks that had been sticking out of the water, were now well out of the water, and some rocky ground had also appeared, but it was only about half a metre above the ocean. “Let’s go and check the rest of the island and see if it is the same where the other rocks are at the north end?” I commented, and Shawn changed direction and increased the speed, forcing me to hang on tight. Calling into the small harbour where the defence base is, there didn’t appear to be any damage to the jetty, and once again, there is a lot more beach at the end of the harbour. Heading back out, we continued northwards, on the east side of the island, till we rounded the top, where we saw a long narrow island in front of us, with lots of jagged rocks well out of the water now. The new island was almost as high as the main island, and it formed a sheltered narrow passageway, which we followed, to see if it goes all the way through, or is it joined with the main island. We came out the other end, and went around the north side of the second new island, to find yet another island, this one about half the size of the other one, also with some jagged rocks, and a passageway between the islands, which is a lot wider, with the distance between the islands being over 800 metres, compared with the other two only being about 100 metres from the main island. Returning to the main harbour, which is a lot bigger now, thanks to the extra island at the south end, making the harbour a lot calmer as well, we moored the Rib Dinghy, and headed back up top, where I climbed onto a buggy, and set off to see the north end islands from a higher viewing point. When I returned to the administration building, I could see that Kyle has been busy. “Hey boss, the defence team has reported in, they have found another 6 more landmines, that have been disarmed, they report that there is no building damage, and the main road has no damage at all. They also said that the larger waterfall has slowed a lot, while the new thinner waterfall is flowing fairly fast. The residents have reported that all buildings in the village and guest village have no damage” Kyle reported. “That is good, can you get Stephan Lentz to prepare the helicopter, for a trip to the new islands, and can you call Seb and the twins, and ask them to join me, I will…” I said and I was interrupted by Sebastian entering the building. “You called?” Seb said with a big grin, which made me chuckle. “I thought it would be good to take a little trip, to check out the new islands, from what I saw on the buggy, the most northern and smallest island, looks interesting” I said to my cousin. Ten minutes later, we arrived at the helipad, after picking up the twins from their cabin, and Stephan had the helicopter started and ready. We stopped at the southern island first, which is very close to the defence base. “I think we could get a bridge over the gap, so the army can use it as a training area” I said as we walked around the island. Next, we landed at the largest of the northern islands, which is the second biggest of the group, “I think we could realign the golf course to include this island, say three holes on this island and the remaining six on the main island, with a connecting bridge for access” I suggested. “If you look further north, you will see yet another island, the smallest in the group, I have special plans for that island, if it reaches your approval” I added after walking for a little while. Back in the helicopter, we made the very quick trip to the most northern island, and I asked Stephan to leave us here and ask Shawn to come and collect us in an hour, in the rib dingy, which he was a little surprised about, and he handed me a hand-held radio. Once the chopper had gone and all we could hear was the wind and the waves, I sighed loudly. “What was that for?” Seb asked me, “Oh, I’m not sure really, just so much has happened and I would like to be able to spend some time just relaxing and doing nothing” I replied, as we stared walking around. “Stay away from the edges of the cliffs boys” Seb shouted as they took off to explore the island. “And you are hoping that maybe this maybe a good place to do that, away from everything?” Sebastian asked me, and after a long period of silence, I nodded my head yes. “How about we build a shipping container mansion, maybe over there where it is sheltered, and plant a heap of trees, like we did on the main island, and this island has a … well looks like the boys have found it” I said when we came around the corner of a rocky ridge to the beach, where they were building sandcastles. “Yes cousin, I think this is perfect and I definitely approve of the plans” Sebastian said smiling, as we watched the boys. When the rib arrived, we all climbed in, and I whispered to Shawn to give us a high-speed thrill ride around the island. By the end of it, when we arrived at the main jetty, Sebastian was a little pale, while the twins had huge smiles on their faces. “Again, please” the boys chorused, “Not with me you don’t” Sebastian said as he quickly jumped off the rib, and I just smiled, as I indicated to Shawn to go for another trip. This time when we arrived back, and the boys asked for another ride, I firmly said no, and we climbed out of the rib boat, “Thanks Shawn, that was interesting” I said as I climbed onto the jetty, and followed the boys back to the top of the island. Once I had showered and changed into some dry clothes, I headed back to the administration building, where I found Seb and Kyle talking with Annette. “I was thinking, if we are going to have guests fly in here, why not have guests sail to the island. With the sheltered bay on the island, created from the last earthquake, and a separate beach, we could set up some mooring points in the bay, and have a couple of cafés near the beach, exclusively for the yachting guests” I suggested, “Sounds great, I will add it to the list of other things you want” Sebastian said with a big grin. “Sebastian tells us that you took him of a thrill boat road earlier” Annette commented, “Yep, it was great, that rib dinghy is awesome for fast rides around the islands” I replied, and Sebastian groaned, which made us all laugh. “How are things going for you Annette, are you enjoying your new ministry?” Sebastian asked once the laughing had died down, “Yes I am actually, just not too keen on all the drama that has been happening lately that’s all” Annette replied, “That is understandable, we are just sorry that you have had to go through all of that” Sebastian replied, and I nodded my head in agreement. “When are we getting the extra staff to run the bakery, café and restaurant?” I asked my cousin, “Well actually, I am having the Ocean Explorer come back here for a short trip, once it has reloaded with supplies and extra staff, before it makes its next round trip, we should be able to get the extra containers onboard, for the extra bakery and café that you want at the safe harbour beach, plus the start of our new mansion” Sebastian said happily.
  7. NB ND Chapter 23

    I closed and locked the door from the dining room to the pantry and crew stairwell, as well the door to the forward crew area, and the triple glazed siding doors out to the balcony deck, both in the dining room and the now hospital, meaning the Jacuzzi was now out of bounds. Once the surgery theatre was sterilised, the stewards got to work to do the same for the hospital, and we retreived a total of 16 mattresses from vacant crew beds, to be placed on the floor in the hospital area. Over three hours passed very quickly as we travelled west towards the island, stopping when we had reached the point of ten nautical miles. The surgery theatre and hospital were all ready, the guests, had been informed of the changes to restricted areas, with B deck now totally out of bounds, and the helicopter had taken off just as we started to slow down, and returned shortly after we had stopped. Sebastian, Chris, Stephan and myself, were tasked with stretcher duties, as we carried the stretchers down the rear stairs, down one level from the flight deck to the B deck outer deck, then inside, where they were placed in the passageway to await surgery. It appeared that some triage had been done, as the more serious injuries had been sent first, and all but one of them was Australian. We learnt that there was four defence medics on the island, one in each submarine, and two amongst the SAS company, and between them they had done the triage, with both Sub medics travelling with the first load of injured, and they remained on the ship to assist with surgery, once they had scrubbed in. They had informed me, that the amphibious assault ship had arrived, and it had landed eight helicopters, and 200 soldiers on the islands runway, to assist the already established 200 SAS soldiers based at the hamlet. Of the 43 that went through surgery, all but one had survived, and sadly he was Australian. It had been a very tough two days, to get through all of the surgery, but as a team we managed to complete the work, and surprisingly I didn’t get to squimish with all the blood and body parts. During those two days, conflict continued but there was a turn of events, the French had withdrawn their claim on the island, and are now staying clear of the island, but remaining close by to watch what happens. The Americans were also staying close by to see what happens, and for two nights, the Chinese sent forces onto the island under the cover of darkness. What they didn’t expect, was to have lots of Australian SAS soldiers waiting for them, and this time, there was no injuries to the Australians and minor injuries to the Chinese, and eventually the Chinese decided that there was no chance of claiming the island, and by dawn the next day, there was no sign of them. A check with the Horizon radar, showed the ship approaching the Java Sea, and heading home. Up on the bridge, Sebastian and I stood side by side as the call was made on the VHF radio, “This is Sebastian Wagner from Wagner International, and this is Huon Devonport, administrator of Deepdale Island, calling all Australian, American and French Naval vessels and Australian Army in the region” we said, and there was an answer from the Australian vessel and 2 Submarines, and the two French and one American ships. “We wish to invite senior officers of all vessels to attend a ceremony on the main beach, just before sunset tonight, to signifiy the sucessful repelling of a foriegn naval force from taking control of the island. Sailors from the vessels are welcome to watch, although the view of sight is blocked in parts due to the rocky ridges and the trees that have been planted around the island” Sebastian said, and we received a confirmation from the Americans, French and the Australians that they would be attending. Now with the recovering patients, tansferred to the support ship, and on there way back to Fremantle, the Captain brought the ship back to the island, and and moored at the main jetty, and all of the islanders disembarked, and headed to their cabins and work places, to check that nothing was damaged or missing. When Kyle and I entered the administration building, we were disapointed to see that the place was trashed, with furniture overturned, and the computer screens smashed, but the hard drives were still there, thanks to them being bolted down to the tables. Over the next few hours the staff arrived to report, that some of the buidlings had been ransaacked but there was nothing missing, and the patrol boat, that had not been found by the invaders. Shawn brought the patrol boat out and moored it at the jetty opposite the ship. The Army presonnel had been patroling the island, to make sure no one had remained behind, and they found no one, but they did find a couple of land mines, which had been disarmed safely, and they were now sweeping the whole island to check that there are no more around. I was informed that the land mines that were found, were located on the road, just off each end of the runway. So when all the staff were gathered, it was decided to retreat to the ship until the island has been declared safe. I had Sebastian contact the naval vessels, to inform them of the change of venue to the ship, and we just relaxed for the rest of the afternoon, while we waited till the Army and Naval guests arrive. “By the way, what is happening at the school?” I asked Sebastian, “Well I decided that I needed to concentrate on my business, and my family, so they have found a new administrator for the school, and the school has agreed to lease the new building on Queenslea Drive as well, especially when there is a connecting rooftop walkway over the alley” Sebastian replied. “We seem to be doing alot of different things lately, firstly the Falkland Islands, then the property investments and school in Claremont, and now the island, in the middle of the Indian Ocean” I agreed. “Yes we have been doing alot, and don’t forget the rebuid of your home in Toodyay, plus you and Kyle doing a singing tour of the churches and chapels of the state, and our special guests at the Toodyay farm” Sebastian added. “I wonder were we will be in two years time? I commented thinking out loud, which made Sebastian chuckle, “who know’s cousin, maybe on mars” he replied which we both laughed at. “What are your thoughts on haveing military presonnel permanently stationed here on the island?” Seb asked me seriously. “Well I have been thinking about it, before we had all of this drama, I wass thinking of increasing the planting of larger trees, especially weeping willows, palms & eucalypts, plus alot more shrubs and ground covers, to protect the wildlife. I think that we could turn this island into a new alternative holiday destination, if we redesign the layout of the island, of course we have to work around the airfield and main road, but still we could fit in a 9 hole golf course, make the dining room and kitchen into a restaurant, include a couple of shops, including a bakery, cafe and maybe souvenier shop, have all the staff on the south end of the island on the peninsular, and have a visitors village, a maximum of 32 cabins I think, at the wide part at the start of the peninsular, close to the beach. For defence, I think we should make the area where the research station is now, into the defence base, with just road access to the base, so it is hard to get to, more tree coverage, will hide the loaction of the defence base, and they will have their own beach and jetty there on the east side of the island, and be close to the runway and helipad, and they will have all of that south east corner of the island for training etc” I announced. “Wow, you have been thinking about this a great deal, should we stick to shipping containers for all buildings?” Sebastian replied, “Yes, for two reasons, cyclones and earthquakes, I have experienced both, and the shipping containers, when anchored down are the safest shelter for anyone, we will need to increase out premanent residents numbers a little bit, not much, say to about 16 residents and 6 executive cabins, that way everyone can have their own cabin, well apart from the married couples of course” I replied. For the six executive cabins, I think we should add a half size upper level, to be used either as a bedroom or extra living area, and I have started to work on a new layout for the island including everything that I have mentioned, so if we can start making orders for alot more containers, we whould be fully set up in a month or two” I said. “Sounds good to me cousin, it is your project, so just let me know what you want and I will get it” Sebastian said to me. “An extra patrol boat might be a good idea as well, so we have one hidden behind the falls, and one at the jetty, they can be rotated at night, when no one can see them, and it would be nice if we had some feature land-based birds and animals, maybe peacocks and hens, guinea fowl, quails, monitor lizards, plus otters and tortoises from the upper Indian Ocean region. Maybe some echidna, platypus, bandicoots, frilled lizards, spotted quolls and quokkas from Australia and green tree frogs, tasiers, water dragon lizard and river turtles from PNG, plus some small growing fresh water,fish for the lake, so we can start establishing an ecosystem, as part of a breeding programme, here on the island” I suggested. “Wow, that is quite a big order, I will get onto contacting some zoo’s and wildlife parks to see what we can access, what do you suggest for a start, 6 breeding pairs?’ Sebastian asked, “Yes something like that, maybe have a chat to our marine biologist and environmental scientist, to see what they think of the idea, they may be interested in helping” I replied. Once the ceremony was completed, all of the naval ships departed, leaving a company of Australian Army soldiers behind, 32 men and women in total. Seb and I spent some time talking to the Australian Navay and Army senior officers, and we came up with a plan, for a rotation for the defence company, with the island paying for half of the costs of food and water supplies for the soldiers, in return for their assistance with protecting the island from any future invaders. We would also provide the base facilities, that consisted of accommodation cabins, varying from a double cabin for the Commanding officer, to twin cabins for the senior and junior officers and NCO’s, and three or four bed cabins for the soldiers, with each of the cabins have their own bathroom, air conditioning, and storage space. Because the army was providing defence for the island, I decided that establishing a permanaent base for them was the highest priority, with a total of 22 accommodation cabins, a dining hall and kitchen, a parade hall, and administration & communications centre, and a recreation gymnasium. It took a total of three months to get the whole island redesigned and for all of the new buildings to be shipped over, which had to be done with a chartered ship, as the Ocean Explorer was busy with doing its supply deliveries. We received news from the Ocean Explorer, that it had left Cape Town, and it was now on its way across the Indian Ocean, with a diversion to call in to Deepdale Island, after dropping supplies off at Amsterdam Island, which is 8 days away from Cape Town, and it is a 5 day journey to Deepdale. The Army was keeping busy with continual training, and foot patrols, mostly in the early mornings and evenings, and I had received good responses to the facilities that we had built for them. Quite by chance they had located one more land mine, so they had spent the past two weeks, doing another search for any more landmines on the island, with all residents warned to stay on the roads and footpaths for safety. Annette was very happy with her new ministry, where she was getting nearly all of the residents, and about half of the soldiers, attending her Sunday morning service, and about half of the residents attending the mid week service on Wednesdays. Kyle provided the organ music for each service, and for the rest of the time he was assisting me in administration. With Sebastian and the twins now living on the Island, Annette was also teaching the twins their education classes, which run from 7 to 10am and 2 to 5 pm on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, and just afternoon classes on Wednesdays. In three months, a team of twenty residents, have been planting trees for 4 ½ days a week, and so far have planted over 77 thousand trees and shrubs, each person averageing one tree being planted every five minutes, which is about a 240 trees an hour, and in a 6 hour day, we were planting an amazing 1,440 trees a day. It was back breaking work, starting in the early morning at 7am, stopping in the middle of the day for 4 hours, then starting again at 2pm, when alot of the heat of the day has passed. We were having Wednesdays and Sundays and half of Saturday, as rest days, so we averaged 6,500 trees planted each week. With the help of the plentiful supply of rain that we have been getting each week, plus alot of sunshine, all the trees were thriving, and the island now has lots of thick groves of trees, providing plenty of food and shelter for the few animals and birds that have arrived on the island. A number of varieties of clourful parrots, pelicans, ibis, stork, petrals, finches, two varieties of owls, albatros and some geese, have made the island their home. We had bought some live young spiny crayfish, plus some Mangrove Jack fingerlings, Jungle Perch fingerlings, and catfish, in hope that some of them would survive being moved to anew location and continue to populate the lake. We also planted alot of water reeds and other aquatic plants that help to oxygenate the water, to keep the fish alive, and so far we have only see a few small amounts of fish deaths, after a heavy rain downpour, we also had to install a next to stop the fish from falling down the waterfall, into the ocean,where there is a good chance bigger fish and birds would catch them. We now have a second Patrol boat on the island, plus a 22 seater jet powered Rib Dinghy, which will be used for tours around the island, and for scuba diving tours. With a total of 32 guest cabins, 16 of them have queen beds, 12 have two king single beds, 2 cabins have three single beds, and the final two cabins have four single beds, allowing for a total of seventy guests, but Kyle and I decided that there will be a maximum of 35 guests at any one time, so as to prevent over crowding on the island, and reducing damage to the islands fragile environment.
  8. NB ND Chapter 22

    About twenty minutes later, while the stewards were showing the guests to their cabins, the twins had already dissapeared to get up to some sort of mischief, and I headed up to the bridge, and moments after arriving, we heard over the radio – “This is the Australian Defence Force on Deepdale Island, all approaching naval vessels be warned that we will defend this Australian Territorial Island, stop and turn around, do not approach this island, if you do breach the 200 kilometre sea boundary, it will be regarded as an invasion, and we will defend our boundaries” we heard. There was a period of silence, before the message was repeated, followed by a response, “This is the USS Turtle Cove, from Diago Garcia, we understand your message, and we are coming to assist with defending your Island, we understand the island is part of the Australian Territory, and we will remain outside the boundary till assistance is required, over”. A few moments later another voice came onto the radio, “This is the Navy of the Peoples Republic of China, we do not recognise your claim of the island as Australian Territory, and we have sent a statement to the United Nations, claiming the island as part of China’s Outer Territories”, almost straight after, came another voice, “This is the Navy of the Republic of France, we will be the first to arrive at the island, and will be claiming the Island as a Territory of Mauritius”. The Australian defence officer repeated the warning, twice more before everything went quiet. “I do not like the sound of this, Annette was right to be concerned about another Falklands type war happening” I said to no one in particular, just as the phone rang, and the first officer held it out to me. “Sir it is for you, the Australian Minister of Defence” James informed me, as I stepped forward to take the call. “Hello this Deepdale Island’s Administrator – Huon Devonport speaking” I said, “Hello young man, we heard that radio conversation just now, and we would like to get your point of view before any more action is taken, what is your current location?” the caller said to me. “Ma’am, we have evacuated the island of all civilians, only one member of my staff remains on the island, a former Naval Lt Commander, I have instructed him to follow all commands of the Submarine Commander, but I have also informed the Commander, that Lt Commander Robertson, is in charge of the island in my absence” I said in reply. “I see, now I beleive that you have two submarines near the island at the moment, and some SAS soldiers dropping in shortly, plus a supply ship will be close by, how important is it to you to keep this island in Australian Territory?” the Minister asked me, “Ma’am, I think that it is very important, considering that it is the nearest outer island, to mainland Australia, we are even closer than the Cocos Keeling and Christmas Islands. If Deepdale Island was to be claimed by another country, it would put the security of Australia into very high risk” I replied. “Ok, you have convinced me, now just to let you know, the commanding officer of Fleetbase West has already despatched another two more Naval vessels for your area, an amphibious assault ship, and a Anzac class frigate, that are approximately 36 hours away, which will be about 12 hours after the French Navy have arrived, and two hours after the Chinese arrive. I believe you know of the surprise plans that have been set up on the island, and hopefully they will be able to keep any intruders off the island till the extra ships arrive, we will do our very best to keep your island in Australia’s hands, and if we do, we may have to sit down and discuss some plans for future defence on the island, bye for now Mr Devonport” the Minister said and the call ended. “Well, that was very interesting, Captain, can I adjust that earlier request, and ask that we only sail for 4 hours instead of 12, I have this feeling that we may need to return alot quicker than planned” I said. “Yes sir, that is not a problem, as we have calm seas for the next three days, depending on what that cyclone does” the captain replied. There was a short buzzing sound and the first officer picked up the phone, and after listening to a message he hung up. “That was the chief Steward, wanting to inform you that dinner is being served in the executive dining room” James announced to me, “Good, I am hungry, any officers not on duty are welcome to join us” I said as I headed towards the door. I decided not to say anything during dinner, but I could see that Sebastian was wanting to find out what I was doing up on the bridge for so long. Straight after dinner, Kyle, Sebastian and I headed for Bridge, where we knew it was secure enough to talk, and I informed them both of what I had heard on the radio, and gave a rundown of the telepone converstion with Canberra, and that I had altered the request for travelling to just four hours from the island, instead of twelve. “Sir I had a call from the Sub Commander, while you were at dinner, he was wanting to talk to one of you, mainly to inform you that a whole company of SAS soldiers had arrived on the island, not two platoons, as originally planned,ready to defend it” the first officer informed us, and I thanked him for the message. “What do you think we should do?” I asked Sebastian, “I think we stay at your plan of stopping after 4 hours,and wait to see what happens when the ships arrive” Sebastian replied, and I nodded my head in agreement, before we headed down to the storm lounge, where the boys were playing a video game. That night, I didn’t sleep very well, even when I felt the ship come to a slow stop, and the engines were shut off, leaving just the power generator operating, which caused alot less vibration on the ship. When I eventually woke up, it was to the sound of my door opening and the twins bursting in. “Boys, get out of there, leave Huon alone so he can get up” I heard Sebastian shout, and the boys retreated out of the room, and I soon heard cartoons coming from the television in the lounge. “Turn that television down, it is way too loud” I heard Sebastian shout, this time in Italian, and moments later the sound was reduced, jsut as my door opened and Kyle stuck his head in, “Good morning sunshine, it is a beautiful day outside” Kyle said beforoe dissapearing again. After a quick shower to wake up properly, I dressed neatly and headed down to the executive dining room for some breakfast, where all the other guests were gathered. “How come we have stopped, and how far away are we from the island?” Chris Roland asked, as we approached and sat down. “We decided to stay fairly close, just to monitor things, and we are 4 hours due east of the island” Sebastian replied, as cooked breakfasts arrived, and we began to eat. After breakfast, we all retreated down to the Beach lounge, and I had asked the steward to ask the captain to update us regularly if anything happens on the island. About half an hour later over the PA system we heard the sound of gunfire which scared us at first, “This is the Commander of HMAS Avon calling MV Southern Explorer, over” we heard, and I jumped up out of the chair and raced to the phone, ‘This is Huon, connect me to the HMAS Avon” I said as soon as it was answered. “HMAS Avon, this is Southern Explorer, Huon speaking, over” and the voice echoed as it came back over the PA system, which was switched off, soon after to stop any feedback, “Mr Davenport, I just wanted to inform you that the French had crossed the 200 kilometre sea boundary, two hours ago and we have sent rocket across their bows as a warning, over” came a quick reply, “Very good, thanks for the update, over” I answered. “Sir, the French have turned around and they cross over the sea boundary, and are now just sitting there, over” the Commander replied. “What about the others from the north? Over” I asked, “Sir, they are about to cross the sea boundary in a few minutes, and they don’t appear to be slowing down. The Americans are now situated just out of the sea boundary, but to the east north east of the island. They are still are still offering assistance, but we have asked them to remain on standby for now, over” the Comander replied, “Ok, thankyou and keep up the good work, Southern Ocean out” I said before hanging up the phone, and the speaker came back on again, but a little quieter this time. “HMAS Avon to Southern Explorer, we are keeping an open mic for you so you can monitor the situation, over and out” the Commander said, and shortly afterwards, we heard the sound of two large sounds, which I presumed was missiles being launched. This was followed by the sound of two very loud bangs, followed by two more distant bangs. “The Chinese sent a missle to the island in retaliation to the warning shot, which hit the island, just East of the hamlet, and the French have sent a missle in the direction of the Chinese, which hit one of the ships, with minimal damage to their main deck” the Commander informed us, as we heard a variety of conversations happening all at one, some of it sounding like it was coming from the other sub, and the land forces. We have two soldiers injured by the missle strike, no one killed, now the Chinese are sending 2 helicopters towards the island” came the report, and we all waited in silence, as we listened to the broadcst of the conflict as it is happening. A few minutes later anohter report came over the radio. “I count at least twenty men repelling out of each Chinese chopper onto the island, near the lighthouse, a French Chopper is approaching from the other direction. We will be seen by them if we stay in the bays, I am ordering that we set off out to sea, we will be heading towards the Chinese, the other Sub is heading towards the French” we heard, before there was alot of rapid gun fire, which lasted for ever, and when it finally stopped, the next report came in. “The Chinese landing party of 52, has been captured, five of them are killed and 19 injured, we have 14 injured but no deaths, the French have seen the gun fight, and also seen the two submarines, they have turned their choppers back to their ship” the report said, and I dashed up to the Bridge, to speak to the Captain, and moments later I was in radio contact with the HMAS Avon again. “Commander, we have on this ship, a small hospital and two doctors onboard, do you require us for medical assistance, over” I said over the radio, “Mr Davenport, that would be much appreciated, do you also have any facilities for detention of prisoners, over” the Commander asked, as I faced the Captain and gave him the nodded to head back towards the island. “We will see what we can do to accommodate your request, do you have body bags for the deceased, over” I replied. “Straight towards the island please Captain, but no closer than 10 nautical miles please” I asked the Captain, who responded by giving the order to turn around and head back to Deepdale Island. “Yes, we have body bags, what do you want us to do with them, over” came the reply from the HMAS Avon, and I looked over to Sebastian, who had just walked in and heard the last few conversations. Sebastian stepped closer and I handed him the phone, “Commander, this is Sebastian Wagner, the island has no cold storage big enough, so I suggest that you photograph each Chinese deceased, bag them and contact the Chinese to arrange for their collection, maybe use the patrol boat as a delivery vessel, and ask the Americans to provide cover. I also recommend that the Americans take custody of the remaining uninjured captured Chinese, be sure to photograph them all, before handing them over, and don’t tell the Chinese or the Americans about any of the photographs, we will take care of the injured Australian and Chinese soldiers, and we will sed our chopper to collect them from the island helipad” Sebastian replied. “Very good sir, how long until you arrive?” the Commander asked, “Approximately 3 ½ hours, we will stay 10 nautical mile east of the island for safety reasons, over and out” Sebastian replied, before he replaced the phone, and picked up the internal phone, and pressed intercom, Dr Sanderson and Dr Jai Chakma Patwary, Reverend Davies and Michelle Andrews to B Deck immediately please” Sebastian said before putting the second phone down. Sebastian and I headed down to B Deck, to wait for the arrival of the medic, two doctors and Annette to arrive, with Rev being the first. “Annette, in your time as an Army reservist, were your duties solely as a chaplain?” I asked, “No actually, I was a paramedic, but I haven’t done any of that in quite some time” Annette replied, as the other three arrived, and Sebastian led them into what use to be the administration of the company, and was now jsut a big empty room, with bathroom, walk in wardrobe and study. “We are about to become a hospital ship, as we have 14 Australian and 29 foreign soldiers that have been injured in that gunfight that we were listening too, the captain is sailing us to within 10 nautical miles of Deepdale Island, I don’t want to get any closer for now, we will use the helicopter to ferry the injured to the ship. I suggest that we make this into a surgery theatre, as it is alot bigger than the ships hospital, Jai, did we manage to bring any supplies from the islands medical centre? Sebastian stated, “Yes sir nearly all of it, including surgical equipment, and supplies, it is all in the storage hanger I think” Dr Jai replied. “Reverend Davies and Ms Andrews here are both experienced paramedics, to they will be able to assist you, Huon will round up some stewards to assist with getting this room sterilised, and all the equipment send up to you, while Iorganise setting up a recovery hospital somewhere” Sebastian added, and he set off out of the room. I gave the four medical staff the door code, so they can enter and leave the room unhindered, before we discussed what was needed for he surgery theatre, including two stainless steel operating tables and lots of bright lights. The tables came from the crew’s mess hall on A Deck, and the ships engineer, soon had them secured to the floor, the bathroom would become the scrub room, and the ships hospital would be used as the sterilisation room, as it is on the same level and not too far away. The executive dining room opposite would be used as a hospital, as it can be secured easily,and the dining table could be split into two peices, and stored away, to make room for hospital beds.
  9. OBC Chapter 10

    Nope the clue is in his past...
  10. NB ND Chapter 21

    I have only just now been informed that two Chinese naval ships have been tracking towards us from the Java Sea. I wish to recommend, that all but a skeleton crew of staff, be evacuated from the island, I suggest that you continue to come in, so the Sub can come in undetected, then leave again” I said to my cousin when he answered. “Holy hell, oops, I hope Annette didn’t hear that” Sebastian said and that made me chuckle a little, “Ok, I agree, I think it is important to keep everyone safe, go ahead with the evacuation, get everyone onto the Ocean Explorer, and head east for the Australian mainland, I want everyone off the island, lets leave it to the Australian Defence to take care of this situation” Sebastian announced, just as Kyle appeared from the weather room, and he handed me a sheet of paper. After a brief scan of what was handed to me I passed it onto the Sub Commander, for him to see. “One other thing, Kyle just handed me a weather report, a tropical cyclone has just developed in the Indian Ocean, 965 kilometres south-south-east of the Cocos Keeling Islands, and 600 kilometres due north of us, heading in a Southerly direction, with it being a category one at the moment” I said to Sebastian. “It is just south of the Chinese ships present position, so that should slow them down a bit” the Sub Commander said after stepping closer, so Sebastian could here. “Right, that is my decision, all civilians off the island, I am declaring this as an emergency evacuation, I will see you when the Catamaran meets up with the Ocean Explorer, bye for now” Seb said and he ended the call. “Kyle, can you go and ring the bell, and keep ringing it for a good five minutes, so everyone on the island hears it” I said to my best friend, and the Sub Commander and I followed Kyle outside and remained standing outside the administration building, as the bells began to ring. “Your friend has stated to me that there is a bit of a cavern behind the waterfall. I had our men do a scuba dive to check it, and the water is deep enough and the cavern is big enough to hide your patrol boat behind it, so I suggest you get your Lt Commander to place it in there, and secure it, before he joins the others on the Ocean explorer” the Sub Commander said to me, and I just nodded my head, as everyone started to gather. Once everyone had gathered, and Kyle had checked that everyone was here, I began my announcement. “After receiving an update of what is happening with some approaching Naval ships, now coming from three directions, plus the formation of a cyclone just 600 km’s north of us. Sebastian has called for an evacuation of the island, so Lt Commander can you prepare the patrol boat to use it to ferry everyone and all of their belongings to the Ocean Explorer, I will be ordering the Captain to prepare for departure at dusk tonight, so you have 3 hours to get packed and onto the ship” I announced, “What about the island, are we leaving it to be taken over by another country?” Judy asked me. “No, as you already know, we have one Australian submarine sitting in our bay, tonight we will have another submarine sitting in the other bay nearest the hamlet, plus we will have some Australian SAS dropping in for a stay sometime tonight, so the island will remain a Territory of Australia, just without any civilians, we want everyone to stay safe, to do that we must all evacuate, so lets get moving” I announced. “Lt Commander, can you stay a moment please” Kyle added, as everyone else headed to their accommodation to pack up and prepare to leave. “Shawn, when you have finished transporting all of the islanders to the ship, and taking the food supplies to the hamlet, there is a cavern behind the waterfall, that is big enough and deep enough for the patrol boat to be hidden, can you secure it in there, before you make your way to the ship, we will have a dinghy from the ship come and pick you and us up” I said to the Lt Commander. “Yes sir, and yes, I already know about the cavern” Shawn repliedsmiling, and he went to pack up, before going to the jetty to get the patrol boat ready. About half an hour before dark, I watched the catamaran approach the jetty, as the patrol boat was now in its hiding place. I had called Sebastian, and asked him to moor the catamaran on the east side of the main jetty, as the other side is out of bounds. Once moored, I saw Sebastian standing just outside the bridge of the Catamaran, staring down into the bay, before he came downstairs, and joined the twins, Mrs Cooper and her friend at the jetty. With just Kyle, Annette and I remaining on the island, we gathered to welcome our guests, what we didn’t expect was for Annette to drop down to one knee. “Your Grace, what an unexpected pleasure, welcome to Deepdale Island” Annette said to the woman standing next to Mrs Cooper, who had a large smile on her face. Standing again, Annette turned to me, Huon and Kyle, may I introduce Anglican Bishop Katherine Ashworth, your grace, this is my son Kyle and his best friend, Huon Devonport, the administrator of this island” Annette said making the introductions. “Bishop, this is an unexpected pleasure, I am just sorry that you have arrived when we are evacuating the island, because of an approaching military conflict, and a tropical cyclone” I said as I stepped forward and shook her hand. “I am not too worried about it, as I have been an Army reservist and spend some time in conflict regions, when I was a lot younger, now let’s go and see this unique church of yours, Reverend Davies, and maybe we will have time to officially consecrate it as a church” the Bishop said as she began walking down the jetty, with us following. Kyle sped ahead, to lead the Bishop to the stairs. Once at the top, the Bishop looked around, then stopped as she looked at the container with a smaller container on top, and I heard Annette chuckle, “Yes, your grace, that is my church, boys would you please do the honours” Annette said, and Kyle and I dashed around to the back of the church, and once inside, we opened up the front doors, to reveal the sanctuary of the church. “Wow, now that is something very unique and special, who came up with this design?” the Bishop said as we all approached, “That would be me, your grace, minister’s son extraordinaire and also organist and choir member” Kyle replied, “that he is your grace, and I am very proud of him. For some time now, he has been primary carer for Huon here, who has recovered from long periods of time in hospital and physiotherapy, and now he is Administration assistant on this island, which is a private wildlife sanctuary, owned and run by Wagner International Investments, of which Huon is a part owner of the company” Annette added. “Yes, I am aware of this company, I had some nice conversations with the other owners, on the journey over here, which I must say was quite pleasant” the Bishop said as she began to look around the sanctuary, then went to explore the rest of the building, taking with her a suitcase, that she had been carrying. We left the Bishop to explore, while Annette turned to face Mrs Cooper, “That was very sneaky of you June, I had no Idea that you knew Bishop Ashworth” Annette said to my housekeeper, who smiled, “no body asked” she stated, before she went into the vestry, and returned a few moments later. “Annette, the Bishop would like to speak to you alone” Mrs Cooper said, as she approached, and Annette made her way into the vestry, while Kyle and I stepped up to the Sanctuary, and moved over to where the organ sat, and we discussed a few hymns for this special service, if it was going to be held today. Annette appeared, dressed in her very best priestly garments, and right away, I knew that the service was about to happen. Kyle sat down in front of the organ, and looked at the hymn book, while, I dashed around to the store room, to retrieve a few chairs, for those who are present, that being just Sebastian, the Twins, Mrs Cooper, with Jai, Judy, Chris and Margarete suddenly appearing to attend the event. Everyone was quickly seated, with the twins volunteering to join the choir with Kyle and I. The service was twenty minutes long, with all the pomp and ceremony of a special service, with the twins, Kyle and I providing all the singing and music, and as the sun was setting, the service came to a close, with Annette giving the blessing in Italian and English. “May the Lord bless you and keep you. Che il Signore ti benedica e ti protegga. May the Lord make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you. Che il Signore faccia splendere la sua faccia su di te, e sii gentile con te. May the Lord lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace. Possa il Signore sollevare il suo volto su di te, e darti pace” and after that Kyle and I sang the Benediction. “May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with us all, now and evermore. Amen”. As Kyle played some soft music, the Bishop and Annette made their way to the vestry, to remove their service garments, while the bells tolled a few times, to mark the end of the service, and they appeared a few minutes later, by which time, all the chairs had been stacked up and put away. “So, who taught you to speak Italian so fluently” the Bishop asked Annette as they approached us, outside the church,and at that moment, I saw the twins face away from the rest of us, and Seb and I chuckled. “That would be my twin brothers, those two little rascals, your grace. The twins and I were born and brought up in Switzerland, close to the Leitchenstien border, where our paternal grandparents were from, and they preferred to speak Italian instead of German, our mother - Huon’s aunt, and his mother - our aunt, were sisters from the UK” Sebastian explained. As the Bishop and Annette stepped out of the church, Kyle stepped in and began to close up the doors from inside, and when all closed up Bishop looked back, “It’s quite remarkable, one moment it is a church, and next it is just a steel shipping container” the Bishop commented, which had Annette chuckling. “Shall we return to the Southern Explorer, I have arranged for your luggage to be transferred, as the Catamaran is now on its way back to Henderson” Sebastian announced. “Are we going to get everyone to fit on the ship, in the way of accommodation” I asked,. “Yes, most of the ships crew are now sharing cabins, to make extra cabins available for the rest of the islanders, meanwhile, you, the twins and I will have our usual cabins, as will Kyle. Meanwhile, Mrs Cooper, Mr and Mrs Chakma Patwary, the Bishop, Annette, Stephan Lentz, Chris Roland, Margarete Stromberg, Belinda Harris, Angela Hopeton and Freda Deniker, have been allocated the ten guest cabins on the main deck. The remaining 5 islanders, all but two being hospitality have seperate cabins on B deck, so everyone should be comfortably happy” Sebastian announced. Once the dinghies had ferried everyone onboard, I went to the bridge, while Sebastian entertained the guests. “Good evening Captain, can you put me in contact with the HMAS Avon please” I asked when I arrived on the bridge, “Good evening Mr Devonport, I am speaking to their commanding officer now as a matter of fact” the Captain replied, as he handed over the phone to me. “Commander, this is Huon Devonport speaking, all civilians are off the island, except for one, who has insisted on remaining, that being Lt Commander Robertson. Anything military, he will take orders from you, anything to do with the Island he is in command, is that ok with you sir?” I said into the phone. “Very well Mr Devonport, just to let you know, the Chinese are still approaching from the north, and are nearly two days away, because of the cyclone, the Americans are still approaching from the north west, plus the French, coming from Mauritius and are about 14 hours away, we will be broadcasting a message to those approaching ships in about half an hour” the Sub Commander informed me, “Very well, I leave the island in your care, good luck” I said and I ended the call. I headed down to the main deck, where everyone was gathered, drinking non alcoholic drinks, and I was handed a drink by one of the ship stewards. “On behalf of the owners of this magnificent ship, I welcome you all onboard, for the return journey back to Fremantle, we have fine weather for the journey, which we will be doing at a slow pace, in hope that we can turn around and return to the island, if the military situation improves. To all the island staff, just a few things to mention, apart from the five staff being accommodated in crew areas, all crew areas are off limits, we are on the main deck at the moment, so this level, the lower deck below, and the A deck above us are open for your use, as far forward as the main spiral stairs and lift. On B deck, which is were some staff are accommodated, the executive dining room, and the room opposite, which is a multi use area at the moment, plus the outer rear deck are available for your use, and there is also two side outer decks and a jacuzzi tub that are worth checking out. Deck C, the senior crew accommodation, Deck D, the executive accommodation and the Bridge are entirely off limits, with the exception of the executitve members of the company, and the ships crew. Although it is usually a three day journey back to Fremantle, we will be slowing right down, once we are 12 hours east of Deepdale Island, so as to remain in the area for another 24 hours, and if things don’t improve, then we will speed up and continue our journey to Fremantle” I announced. “Excuse me, who are the owners of this ship and the island?” Margarete, one of the newest members of the team asked, “That would be me” Louis stated as he stood up, “and me too” Joachim added, “and me” Sebastian said standing up, then there was a long pause before I stood up, “and finally me” I said smiling, which surprised a few gathered, making the family gathered. “As senior member of the family, I am the managing director of Wagner International Investments, My younger twin brothers are junior members, of the family company, and Huon, my first cousin here, is the administration director of the company” Sebastian announced. At that point I walked over to the phone and pressed the button for the bridge, “Captain, we are ready to set sail, please head south-east for twelve hours then hold at that position” I said then hung up the phone, and a few minutes later we were on our way.
  11. OBC Chapter 10

    I sat at the base of a euclyptus tree at sunset, on one of the far reaches of the station, settling in for a rare night alone. As my 28th birthday was fast approaching, I realised that I was so much like my father, working long hard days on the stations, with a huge responsibility on my shoulders since I was a young age, and I enjoyed every moment of it, and it’s been 9 years now since I have taken over running the family business. It didn’t seem that long ago that I was in Canada enjoying my first ever white Christmas, but since then I have travelled back to Canada every second year to spend Christmas with Dad and his new family. Over the years my family have joined me in my bi-annual travels. I continued to run the two pastoral companies from my home at Pondana Station, and somehow through all the droughts, floods, cyclones and fires, we managed to survive and continue to grow. As the wild nightlife came to life, announcing their presence with sounds, my mind drifted back through the years… A year after my first trip to Canada, I met Natasha Henderson, a city girl born and bred. She was orphaned at a young age and was mostly brought up by her only living relative, a great aunt on her mother’s side. While she was working as an administration assistant for a mining company, she attended a rodeo in Kalgoorlie,where she met and fell in love with a (handsome, her opinion) young man. She had no idea who I was and where I lived. When she realised who I was, she was not sure if she wanted to get involved in man who spends a lot of time in the real outback of Western Australia, but slowly I convinced her to come and spend some time on the station. First, with just weekend visits, and eventually during holidays, were she began to love the lifestyle of remote outback living. Just 18 months after we first met, and just a month before my 21st birthday, we were married on the station, with dad and his family travelling back home for the wedding. All my uncles and aunts and their families also travelled to attend our wedding. It was at the reception afterwards that we announced that we were expecting our first child in 6 months’time, which was and another excuse to celebrate, which our family has always enjoyed doing, especially when it is a big barbeque lunch or dinner around the homestead. It was during this family get together, that Dad and I sat down for an executive meeting to discuss how business was going. Dad mentioned that with the assistance of the hovercraft that I had purchased for him, he was able to develop a business just from providing a ferry service up and down the river. I smiled at the memory. He went to tell me they had widened the laneway from the river to the sheds, and turned one of the river front paddocks into a guest retreat, with the construction of three small chalets, with plans to expand more once the finances can allow it. After dad had explain all this, I immediately offered to assist with finance for the project, I could still hear his voice “Kes, I’ll only accept if you become a 40% shareholder.” I gladly accepted. Once we had worked out the nuts and bolts of how it was going to be structured and operated, we spent the remainder of the time with the rest of the family, forgetting about business for the time being, as it was very rare now for the whole family to be together. By the end of the year, not only did dad have another 6 chalets built and operational, but he had also purchased a number of other small farming properties and developed them into tourist accommodation retreats. Dad and I were on the telephone talking business at least once a week, especially when dad established a new company to be known as Silverton Canada Corporation, of which Dad and his partner are the main share-holders and I have 40% shares. I continued to assist with financing major projects over the years, to allow the business to grow. For the next 6 years not only had my dad’s business in Canada continue to grow, with now 8 properties totalling 4,000 acres, but the same was happening at home, with me purchasing another 3 stations in the far north east of the state, with the nearest town being Halls Creek, where temperatures can easily reach over 50 degrees Celsius in the shade. Nicholson Station located right near the border to the Northern Territory, also Flora Valley Station, and Gordon Downs Station; in total another 3.8 million acres of pastoral country, and in some of the harshest countryside in the whole nation. During the first few years of me taking over the business from my father, I had to struggle, working very long hours, a lot of it spent out in the paddocks alongside my staff, often camping out under the stars for a few days as we worked on maintaining the property fences, water supplies and checking the stock. That is I am doing as I reminisced. I sipped my water and continued with memories… Over the next six years, our family continued to grow. Natasha never complained about the life on the station, growing to love the station as much as I did. She had given birth to 4 healthy sons, and she was hoping with this pregnancy, she would finally get a daughter out of one or both of the twins that she was carrying. This time instead of an easy pregnancy like she has had in the past, this one was continuing to be difficult. She had to make regular trips to see her doctor in Kalgoorlie every month, ever since she learnt she was pregnant again. A month before the twins were due, Natasha woke up in the middle of the night in extreme pain, and I didn’t hesitate to contact the RFDS for urgent assistance. Within a few hours she was resting comfortably in hospital, as the doctors made a whole stack of tests to check how she and the twins are, and I remained on the station, worrying about how she was all the time… A small smiled graced my mouth at the memory of my Uncle Chris deciding that I was totally useless on the station and packed a suitcase, sending me to Kalgoorlie to be with my wife, leaving him and Daniel to look after my four sons, Bryce – 6, Toby and Isaac – 4 and Micah aged 2. My smile disappeared as I remembered more… After a worrying two weeks in Kalgoorlie, and at theinsistence of the doctors, I had gone to do some shopping to try and relax. I had only been gone about an hour, when I received a call from the hospital, informing me that I am to come back to the hospital straight away as there are some complications. By the time I arrived I was informed that Natasha has gone into to labour and that there is some internal bleeding, so she was being rushed into surgery. I anxiously waited in the surgical waiting room to hear any more news. Nearly two hours later, I was informed that I have two healthy sons, but he told me that Natasha was in a critical way, having lost a lot of blood. The surgeons were doing the best they can to correct it. I thanked him and informed the doctor of the pre-selected names of Evan and Preston, Two weeks later I was holding both newborn twins in my arms, as we were saying our final goodbyes to Natasha as she was being laid to rest at the family cemetery on the station, my world had collapsed when I had been told that Natasha had suffered from too much blood loss and died in surgery. Some family members quickly travelled into town to be beside me, and from then till the day of the funeral it was all just a blur, I did not remember one day from the next as I tried to understand why I had lost my beautiful wife, the mother of my wonderful six boys. Although I was assisting with the daily task of bringing up 6 boys without a mother, Chris and Daniel had taken over most of the responsibilities of running the two companies, it was almost a year later before I eventually snapped out of my shattered world. When the youngest twins turned one year old, I realised that I could no longer lock myself away from my responsibilities, not only as a single parent but also the CEO of two large pastoral companies, consisting of 15 cattle stations, totalling 23.9 million acres. From that point on, I was back to working long hours, but I was making sure I spent plenty of quality time with my 6 boys. I now have all of my uncles and aunts living and working on the family stations, Christine and Hamish and their family, along with Amos & Juliana and family, were now managing the three stations in the Kimberly District, while Mark and Tristan and family along with Nadia and Carson and family are now managing the three stations in the Interior District, and Jonah & Antonia and family along with Chris and Daniel are assisting with managing the Nullabour District stations, making it a full-on family operated business. As well as the stations, the NPRPA - Nullabour Plains Region Pastoral Association was still going strong, and although the NCoST – Nullabour Collage of Station Training had closed down, what has formed instead is the NPGS – Nullabour Plains Grammar School, situated near the natural water spring where my dad’s favourite camping place is located, the school consists of students from the main private schools in the district who elect to take up farming or station work as their future, and elect to do their final two years of studies at NPGS. The school has a total of 80 students, with 8 cottages each consisting of 5 twin bedrooms to accommodate the students and an adjoining living quarters for the house supervisor/teacher, each student bedroom has its own bathroom, which the students are responsible for keeping clean and tidy, as well as their rooms. The school itself consists of 8 large roomy classrooms that are octagonal shaped buildings; two more simular shaped and sized buildings, the first consist of the staff lounge, admin office and teacher offices, while the second one has the school library, computer room, and study lounges, another 4 more cottages have accommodation for administration and general staff. The daily routine on week days is a 5.45am rise, with breakfast at 6am, and the first of two classes, starts at 6.30am out in the paddocks, with each class lasting for 1 ½ hours. At 9.30am there is a 30-minute rest break, including morning tea, before class room lessons start at 10am, and the lunch break is at 1pm for an hour, with an hour of rest following, to allow for most of the heat of the day to pass. At 3pm the third classroom lesson for the day commences and this is followed by the final outdoors class at 4.30pm, and ending at 6pm with dinner served half an hour later. Although it is a tough routine, it is designed to build up the student’s stamina for hard work, both in the classroom and outdoors. On the Saturdays there is two outdoor classes starting at 6.30am, and ending at 9.30am. After morning tea there is sport and recreational time till lunch time, with the remainder of the day as free recreation time, as is all day Sunday. Each class room has a maximum of ten students, with two classes for year, and there, are two teachers for each of the 4 main subjects, that being English & Social Science, Mathematics, Environmental Biological Science, plus Agricultural & Animal Science, with other studies include Computer studies plus basic Business Administration Management. I was pleased that this was doing very well, with the support of the private schools in Kalgoorlie, Esperance & Albany, making this an extension campus to their schools, and in the four years that it has been operating there has been a 100% occupancy of places available for students, plus there is a waiting list of students wanting to be part of the NPGS experience, and I was going to make sure that my boys would be a part of that when they reached the age to enter the school. The 3 oldest boys were doing very well with their distance education studies, while the 3 youngest are just been toddlers, creating havoc where ever they go, which kept the family going all the time trying to keep up with their mischief and antics, but I wasn’t going to miss any of it, as I was now spending a lot more time closer to the homestead, allowing my staff to take on more of the outdoor work. It was hard to believe that my younger cousins were growing up so fast, Hannah the oldest is now 19 and is in Perth studying Law at University. She was one of the first to enrol into the newly formed Nullabour Plains Grammar School, and was the first Dux of the school. Her brother – Joseph and cousin – Mitchell are both 17 and currently in their final year at NPGS, the remaining three younger cousins are also enrolled to attend the school, two of them entering next year and the last one two years later. As the night canopy of stars shone bright it was time for me to settle into my bedroll and sleep. Tomorrow was another day and I had a large business to run, 6 sons to bring up on my own, thankfully with the support of my family. There was also my involvement in my fathers’ business from a distance. In the 9 years that I have been in charge of the two companies, I have been getting annual reports from the family accounting firm, who have been informing me of how the businesses are going. Amongst the information I received, was what my net worth is each year, including with the 40% shares in the Canadian company, and for each year my net worth has been increasing on an average of 14% Now the latest report, states my net worth has gone up to a staggering $330 million, which was quite a shock for me. I decided to travel to Perth to have meetings with the family accountants and lawyers, which I have decided to start doing from now on instead of just regular telephone calls and emails. When I returned from my trip, I informed Uncle Chris of my plans. Once I had finalised meeting dates with the two companies that I needed to see, I started organising the trip. A week later, after a long drive to Kalgoorlie and the train trip to the capital city, I went to the hotel where I had booked an executive suite for my stay. I had also organised a vehicle to lease for the time I am in the city, which was no more than four days. After I had settled into my suite, I decided to take a walk through town before it got too dark, as I had been sitting down for the past day with all the travelling. After a relaxing dinner in the hotel restaurant, I retired to my suite for the evening, as I wanted to be well rested before my first meeting at 9am the next day. I had two meetings scheduled for the first day, one with the Accounting firm and one with the law firm in the early afternoon, and the rest of the day I am free. I had a second meeting with the accounting firm at 11am the following day, and another meeting with the law firm at 9am on my third day in the city, with plenty of time to rest, relax, and even do some sight-seeing. The first day seemed to pass very quickly, and I was soon enjoying a nice lunch at a classy restaurant in Kings Park, where there was a magnificent view of the city, the Swan River and South Perth. As I stepped out of the restaurant, I made my way down one of the many scenic paths in the park, I had this feeling that I was being watched, but I couldn’t see anyone looking at me when I stopped to look around, and so I continued with my walk. Once back at the hotel, I contacted Pondana to see how things were going back home, and the boys said they were missing me terribly, and they kept asking what I would bringing back for them, which made me smile. After a short afternoon nap, I sat in my suite reading a book, which I hadn’t done I quite a while before deciding to take a short stroll around the block before dinner. As I was taking my early evening walk, I had that feeling that I was being watched again, and after a few attempts to try and spot if anyone was actually looking at me, I decided that it was best to return to the hotel. Just after I passed a laneway I heard a noise and began to turn around to see what it was I was suddenly grabbed and a hessian bag was thrown over my head and knocked unconscious. When I eventually came around, I had no idea how long I had been out for, as I looked around I could see I was in some bare room that was dark, dusty and smelled of mildew.
  12. NB ND Chapter 20

    “Is it really possible for them to do that?” Kyle asked me as we walked back inside, as he had guessed correctly like I had, and I heard chuckling coming from the loud speaker. “That is very sneaky Commander” I said as I sat down, “For the others in the room, your administrator went to the stairs to look down into the bay, where he guessed right, when he saw a giant grey shadow in the water, we are currently sitting in the bay, with about two metres of space between our hull and the bottom of the bay” the commander announced. “Holy … oops sorry Reverend, wow that is incredible, I would never have thought a sub could slip into the bay like ours” Lt Commander Robertson said, and Annette just smile, as did Kyle and I. “Who is this speaking?” the Sub Commander asked, “Former Lt Commander Lyle Robertson of the Australian Navy, sir?” Lyle replied formally announced. “I know of you, Lt Commander, your name was mentioned just a few months ago, in a conversation about promising officers, who have left the service early” the Sub Commander stated, “As I have of you sir, one of the leading and experienced Sub Commanders, since the end of the Korean War” Lyle replied. “Ok, lets’ stop this conversation for now, what are we going to do about these navy vessels heading our way?” I asked. “Excuse me Huon, I mean administrator, I have an idea that may be of our advantage” Judy began, “Commander, this is Mrs Judy Chakma Patwary, a Canadian ex pat, who was living in Bangladesh with her husband, when the Earthquake there hit the region, my best friend – Kyle and I, were also in Bangladesh at the time of that earthquake, but on a river boat. Judy is an experienced Engineer, while her husband Jai, is a doctor, both are now permanent residents of the island, and members of the shire council, the other council members are Reverend Annette Davies, Mr Chris Roland, our Customs & Quarantine Officer, and Dr Margarete Stromberg, our newly appointed Environmental Scientist. Also present are Captain Paul Kingsley, of the MV Ocean Explorer, Flight Officer Lentz, our Senior Helicopter Pilot on the ship and here on the island, plus Lt Commander Robertson, who is the skipper of the patrol boat, and my administration assistant, Kyle Davies and myself” I said making all the introductions. There was silence, and this got me a little confused, “This is the XO, the Commander will be with you in a few minutes, bye for now” came an unexpected voice and the phone connection ended. Moments later, there was a knock on the door and Kyle went to answer it, returning moments later with a soggy looking stranger, who was drying off with a towel. “I decided to come and speak to you all in person, now let’s drop the introductions for now and get on with this matter, Mrs… I believe you had something to say” the Commander said as he finished drying his hair and most of his uniform of excess water. Kyle appeared with a few more towels, to assist the commander with drying off. “It is Judy Chakma Patwary, I am an engineer, and I may have a partial solution about aerial support, as you see we do have two helicopters here, the smaller one is based here, and the bigger one is temporarily based on the ship, so we have plenty of Aviation fuel. There is one section of the island, were we have a straight stretch of road, it is gravel, but it is fairly flat and even, and it is 970 metres long, as I measured its distance the other day” Judy said. “That is fairly short for a standard runway, but it depends on the aircraft” Stephan added, “We do have plenty of cement bags, so we could use the cement to mix with the gravel to form a fairly stable road base for the aircraft to land, it is already fairly solid rock, with some loose gravel on top, so we may be able to establish a runway in two days” I commented. “Ok, I recommend that you get right onto that, and we can provide some extra manpower for that job, in the meantime, Lt Commander, can you carefully move the patrol boat to the other side of the jetty, without scraping my submarine, so we can get in and out easier, and Captain, I wold like you to keep the MV Southern Explorer exactly as it is, as it blocks the view of the sub in the bay from the ocean quite nicely” the Commander said. “Right let’s get onto it then, and see if we can spring a few little surprises for our unexpected visitors” I stated, marking the end of the meeting. “I hope this doesn’t end up being another Falklands type war situation” Annette said to me after most of those gathered had left the building. “Don’t worry mum, I am sure that we will be fine” Kyle said smiling, to boost his mum’s moral. Captain Kingsley continued to unload everything that he had for the island, including Annette’s new church, which the large helicopter carefully lowered into position, and Annette raced to the back door to check it all out, with Kyle and I following. “Oh, this is wonderful, fully furnished and everything, including a new computer, printer scanner, chairs, lounge, and coffee table. Thankyou Huon, this is wonderful” Annette said as she turned and gave me a kiss on the cheek, before she headed next door to the meeting room and bathroom. The meeting room had an enormous table in it, with 6 chairs around it, and a small desk and chair in the corner. From the meeting room, we made our way into the Church its self, or the Sanctuary section of it, as I flicked on the lights to reveal a large stain glass window, located behind the alter, with a light behind it, to light it up features of the window, just in front of the window, hanging by chains, is a very large cross. The pulpit lectern on one side and the choir chairs and small organ on the other side, finished it off nicely, with thick carpet included. Kyle unlocked the front doors, which had airlifting struts, to make it easier to open, and pushing them open, he grabbed one of the side doors and swung it around, so it locked the roof and floor doors into place, before walking to the other side, to do the same with the other door. “Just as I had imagined it to be” Kyle said smiling as he looked out towards the town square, the adjustable shelter was being build. “We will have to have a special Consecration service, before I can hold a Sunday service here” Annette announced, as she looked out to the town square which will be her congregation seating area. Just at that moment, the large helicopter took off from the ship, carrying its next load, which was a 6 x 5 metre container, with large vertical slots on each side, with a cable coming out from the middle of one side. When the chopper approached the church, and began to lower the container, onto the back of the church building, Annette’s mouth dropped open, “An extra present, from Sebastian, what’s a church without a church bell” I explained to a very shocked Annette. Once the container was in place, the crew began to place the bolts into the bottom corners, to secure it to the church roof, while we walked around to the back to have a look at it. Kyle spotted the steel gable with a handle on the end, and couldn’t resist being the first to ring the bell, as he pulled on the cable firmly, and it made a loud thud noise, which made me laugh. “I had Sebastian wrap the clanger in packing blankets, just in case you tried to do that” I announced to Kyle as Annette began to chuckle, and Kyle didn’t look at all pleased. When the workers had finished securing the bell tower to the church, they pulled out two packing blankets free, and this time Annette was the first to reach the cable and gave it a good tug, which resulted in an unexpected two bells ringing, which made Annette smile, and have tears in her eyes at the same time. “I hope this new ministry brings you lots of joy, and happiness for the future” I said to Annette as I stepped towards her and gave her a big hug. On hearing the bells ringing, a lot of the island residence came to have a look at the new church, which they thought was very unique and special. “Sebastian is chartering a boat to come out here on Friday, so as to be part of the consecration ceremony, he will be bringing the twins and Mrs Cooper and an old friend of hers. They will be staying for the weekend” I announced. “I hope all this Military drama is over by then” Annette added, me too Rev, me too” I replied. Sebastian had organised for two more buildings to be added to the hamlet, one being a research centre, the other being a multi-purpose area, to be used for recreation or for science research, whatever it is needed for, plus two more twin cabins. For the main village, apart from the new church and the adjustable covered town square area, there is an additional private lounge room, that is to be placed opposite the double cabins, an extra-large machinery shed, to accommodate plenty of vehicles, plus a fully kitted out, mechanical workshop, also there are two extra twin cabins to be added, and another flag pole, this one to be placed next to the administration building. While this was all being unloaded, Kyle and I jumped onto a quad bike and made our way to the road upgrades, to turn it into a runway, with the two buggies and the other bike already up there. Luckily it is still all very low vegetation in the area of the runway, with just half a dozen shrubs and tree saplings needed to be relocated, so as not to obstruct the runway. Rocks were being cemented into place, to line the now widened road. Smaller stones and gravel gathered from other parts of the islands road, plus plenty of beach sand, all mixed with cement, was laid on the new runway, and the vehicles were used to compact down the sand, and by the end of the day, most of the work had been completed in establishing the islands runway. I thanked the Commander and 32 men who volunteered to help with the labour of the job, and with the ships and island catering staff combined,we put on a large BBQ dinner, down on the beach, along with an impromptu cricket match afterwards, with the HMAS crew verses the Islanders, which the Sub crew won. After dinner, Kyle and I headed to the administration building, to make a call to Sebastian. “Hey guys, I hear you are having some other unwelcomed visitors in three days’ time” Seb said when he answered the call, “Yes, and I am not to happy about it, but I am glad that our Navy is in the area” I replied, “What’s this I hear about an earthquake in your region?” Seb asked, “It was a 7.8, and was just under 70 kilometres south west of us, so it gave us all quite a good shake, we haven’t had any aftershocks yet, so I am not sure if that is good or bad” Kyle reported, “Wow, that is a big quake, and the second one you guys have experienced in just a few short months, has there been any damage?” Sebastian stated. “Because all the buildings are steel containers, there has been no damage, and no one was injured, but we do have a surprising improvement as a result of the quake, and that is a warm water spring has opened up inside the lake, which means we now have a permanent waterfall” I answered. “Wow that’s amazing, now you know that I am chartering a boat to bring us to the island on Friday, and because it is a fast ocean catamaran, with a speed of 28 knots, we can be there in half the time. Instead of cars and trucks, that the catamaran can usually carry, it is going to be mostly empty, so we will be there in 1 day and 4 hours. Because I have sent you two extra cabins for the main village, as well as the two for the hamlet, I am sending you two more permanent staff, Belinda Harris who is a former customs officer, and more recently a security officer, so she will be assisting Chris Roland, and the also Marnie Neilson, who is a Marine Biologist, and will be working with Margarete Stromberg. Both ladies are from New Zealand, and will be permanent residents on the island, when we arrive, the Ship will still be in port, so the twins and I, plus Mrs Cooper and her friend, will stay on the ship” Sebastian announced to me, “ok no problems, I presume you have informed Captain Kingsley of these plans” I replied, “Yes all organised, I will see you in two days, bye for now” Seb said and he ended the call. The following day, was spent finalising the runway, which is 4 metres wide, and with overnight rain, the water had soaked into the ground and made it rock hard, which I was pleased about. The Sub Commander came onto the island, to updated me on the progress of the US naval ship and the two presumed French naval ships, which were just over a day away now, and everyone on the island was getting a little nervous. Annette’s comments about another Falklands type war kept playing around in my head, and it was late in the afternoon, when the Sub commander returned, this time with a smile on his face. “You won’t need to worry about facing theses unwanted visitors on your own, not only have you got my 75-crew submarine, your patrol boat plus your helicopters, but you will also have two platoons of Australian Special Air Service arriving tonight, about two hours after dark” the Sub Commander announced. “What really?” I replied shocked at the news, “Yes, they will fly over the island at 10,000 feet and drop in quietly at about 2130 hours, I believe you have accommodation at the other end of the island?” the Sub Commander asked, “Yes we do, and yes they can use it, I will get some supplies sent over there right away, we will use the patrol boat to take the supplies to the beach below the hamlet, where there is steps leading off the beach to the hamlet” I replied, thinking of it as the best way to keep it low key. That is good, the HMAS Jurien, which is a supply ship, will be carrying Av Gas, and a spare helicopter, that will arrive in two days’ time, and it will pick up the SAS soldiers, when it is time for them to leave, the other ship, the HMAS Dennison is another Submarine, and it will be arriving in tonight, and will be go into hiding in that bay near the other accommodation, I have been told that it is trailing behind a Catamaran that is on its way out here” the Sub Commander said. “That will be the one that my cousin – Sebastian has chartered to come out here, since the ship is already here, is there anything else I should know?” I stated, “Well we didn’t want you to get worried, but we have been tracking two Chinese Naval ships, that have come out of the Java sea and heading this direction” the Sub commander said. I was not pleased about this new information, and even Kyle looked very shocked, as I picked up the sat phone and dialled the other sat phone that I knew Sebastian would have. “Sebastian. All of this is getting way out of hand, I have the Sub Commander here with me, and he has informed me that two platoons of armed Australian SAS soldiers will be dropping in tonight, and that a second sub it following behind you.
  13. NB ND Chapter 19

    Chris191070 You already know a lot more, cheeky....
  14. NB ND Chapter 19

    The rest of the day was spent relaxing, and doing no work, as part of the tradition of Sunday being a day of rest. The following morning, a community meeting was called, and we all gathered in the village square, and Sebastian chaired the meeting. All the recommendations, were accepted, and so the Deepdale Shire Council was formed. Just minutes later a shower of rain arrived, and everyone dashed indoors, to wait for it to end. In the now Shire council building, Sebastian, Kyle and I sat down and began to gather information from other island and coastal shire councils, plus from Federal government agencies, in health, environment and quarantine and customs procedures. Rain continued to stop and start for most of the day, putting a hold on most outdoor activities, and as the daylight approached an end, the rain had finally stopped and the skies began to clear. As we stepped out of the Shire Council building, we looked around. “You know, I have seen at a hardware warehouse a semi-permanent rectangular gazebo, which has these bars on a rail system, that slide across the length of the gazebo, with a shade material attached to the bars, to provide a large shaded area, or with a big open area, depending on the shade screen” Kyle said after a period of silence. “Yes, I know what you mean, and if we do it in a bigger scale, we could have this whole village rectangular area into a multi - purpose area” I replied, remembering seeing the gazebo myself once. “Well give me the measurements, and I will have it made for you” Sebastian added and Ismiled, know that it would be done and quickly. Two days later, the ship set off once again, after spending five days on the island, bound for Fremantle, to reload and prepare to return to the island, leaving Sebastian, the twins and Mrs Cooper to remain in Claremont, as the start of term two at school was about to commence, while the ship had another 5 weeks, before it has to recommence supply runs, after Sebastian had made adjustments to the supply timetable. This time it was the smaller helicopter that was left behind, and is now sitting on the new Helipad, just up the track from the village, with 6 anchor points set into the concrete, to keep the chopper safely grounded during storms. Once a day at a varied time, Flight Officer Lentz would do some patrol flights over and around the island, up to 5 nautical milesout to sea, while the patrol boat would also do daily patrols, going out as far as 15 nautical miles out from the island. At times, Kyle would go on the helicopter flights, to get some photographs of the island at different times of the day, and also take pictures of the whales that pass by regularly. Rain was becoming fairly regular now, and Kyle was recording averages of 4 to 11 mm of rain most days, which was doing great for the island, which was starting to look quite green, with a lot of plant germinations being successful, dramatically changing the landscape from a black rocky island, to a nice green island with low vegetation. Meanwhile other staff were keeping busy with establishing stairs, using rocks and dirt, and a little it of concrete, to get easier access to the other two main beaches. The jetty was now in place, with it’s “T” shape allowing for the patrol boat to be moored there in protected waters, and there is also space for the ship to come right up to the jetty, for easier unloading of supplies. Some redesigning of the village had also been done, with the four double cabins now having views of the main bay and beach below, while the other cabins are located at the other end of the village along with the main dining, lounge and recreation buildings, and the medical centre. The vehicle shed which now houses the two quad bikes and two buggies, is tucked away on the northern corner of the village, diagonally across from the town square and the soon to be location of the church, while the island administration is in the north east corner, just after the town square, and opposite the water storage and waste treatment plants are located. The lake has overflowed a number of time now and provides a wonder scene, even if it is only for a short while and after a two week absence, Kyle received a message from the Ocean explorer, informing us that it would be arriving in the late afternoon, with the extra three team members, and lots of extra supplies, since it will be the last visit, for three months, while it is doing its freight supply run, and would not return till the third week in August. I was in the office, when satellite phone rang, “Deepdale Island, how may I help you?” I answered, “hey cousin, how have things been going for you” I heard Sebastian reply, “everything is going nicely, and the Island is starting to look magnificent, with all the plants growing well. Are you on the Ocean Explorer?” I replied. “No sadly I’m not, as I have commitments here at the school, I just wanted to let you know, that I have sent an extra buggy, so that you and Kyle have one just for your use, and the new church is on the ship. I hope Annette likes it” Seb said to me. “I hope so too, have you added something extra to it have you?” I asked, suspecting that Seb had done exactly that, “Well let’s see, that rings a bell in some way. Yes, I think I did, but I can’t think what it is just now” Sebastian said, and I was laughing uncontrollably before he had even finished, “You are such anass sometimes Seb, I bet Kyle will be the bell master every Sunday morning from now on” I responded, and now Sebastian started laughing. “I have also included that shade gazebo for the village square, It just needs to be put together, as we had to dismantle it to fit on the ship, oh and one other thing, and don’t get angry with me, but I have invited one Australian naval vessel to make a friendship visit, I am not sure which ship it will be or when it will arrive, but with all of the international media about our island, has me a little worried, with you guys being so remote, and the ship soon going on its supply run, it is a safety precaution, ok?” Sebastian announced. “Yes ok, I will make sure that we give them a friendly welcome, but don’t expect me to get into a grass skirt and start doing the houla dance” I replied, which made Sebastian chuckle,” I bet you would look great in a grass skirt” Seb said and be began laughing loudly, just as Kyle walked into the building. When he saw the annoyed expression on my face he stopped, then I stood up and handed him the phone and before I walked out. “Hello?” I heard Kyle say before closing the door, and I walked to the stairs and went for a walk along the beach, and I was about halfway down the beach when the ground began to shake violently, and I turned and headed back towards the stairs. Gasping for air as I reached the admin building, I found Kyle hiding under a desk, still talking on the phone, so I walked up to him and grabbed the phone. “Seb is that you still, we have just had quite a large earthquake, we have to end this call so we can go and check for any damage, I will call back later, bye” I said and I attached the phone to my belt, and started to walk out, “Are you coming, or are you going to stay under the table?” I asked Kyle as I opened the door, and Kyle quickly followed me outside, where staff members began to gather in the village square. “Ok, first thing we need to do is, make sure everyone is accounted for, and not injured” I said loudly to everyone gathered, and Kyle began doing a roll call of everyone, with everyone on the island answering that they were present, much to my relief. “Ok, engineers, can you please check all the buildings here and at the hamlet, to see if there is any structural damage, Flight officer, can you please do a fly around the island so check if there are any land sides anywhere, take someone with you to assist. Patrol crew, can you do the same please, go around the island carefully, and see if there is anything that may cause us any issues, the spiral stairs are fine as I came up them straight after the quake hit, although a more thorough check might be a good idea. We also need to check all waste treatment plants, and water storage tanks, to se if there is any damage, and…”, Well bless me, would you look at that” Annette said interrupting me, and she pointed towards the lake, where there was water flowing down the waterfall, and we hadn’t had any rain for a few days. Everyone stared at it in silence, for what seemed a very long time, and it was the sat phone that interrupted the silence, and I answered it, “Deepdale Island, how may I help you?” I said, “Mr Devonport, this is Paul Kingsley, am I imaging it, or do you have a flowing waterfall?” came the voice of the captain off the Ocean Explorer, and I looked out to sea, to see the approaching ship. “No you are not imagining it, we have just had a powerful earthquake a few minutes ago, and it just started up, I am guessing that an underground spring has opened up and it filling the lake, probably with warm water” I responded, and when Kyle heard me say that he headed towards the stairs, and was soon on the beach, Kicking off his shoes and socks, and his shirt, Kyle dived into the bay, and began to swim towards the waterfall. “I see, well in that case we better anchor the ship away from the island, instead of mooring at the jetty, in case there are aftershocks, I will see if I can get some more details on the earthquake. I have been informed of the Naval visit, I think that it will be happening in the next few days, maybe before we leave next week. Talk to you shortly, Bye” the captain said and he ended the call. “Cooee” I heard come from near the waterfall, and I looked over, “The water is very warm” Kyle shouted, “Enjoy your swim” I shouted back, and Kyle gave me a wave, before diving into the water, and I headed to the Administration building, and went to the communications room. As I sat down in the chair, I turned on the VHF radio, and held down the mic switch, “Deepdale Island to Australian Naval ship, are you receiving me, over” I said into the microphone. HMAS Avon to Deepdale Island, receiving you loud and clear, over, Commander Lyle York speaking” came the response. “Good morning Commander, I have just been informed of your friendship visit, we have just had a strong earthquake, do you have any other information of this, over” I stated, “Yes we recorded the seismic event, it was 7.8 on the reciter scale, and it was located 67 nautical miles to the south-west of your island, and just 2 kilometres deep, do you have any damage” the Submarine Commander replied. “Wow that is a big quake, we are still assessing the island for damage, luckily all of our buildings are ex shipping containers, so there is no building damage, so far the only thing that we have noticed so far, is that the quake has opened up a warm water spring, in the lake, creating a semi-permanent waterfall in the bay” I replied. “That is good news to hear that, for such a large quake, we have reports that it was felt in Mauritius, the Cocos Keeling Islands and the British Indian Ocean Territory, and a tsunami warning was issued, but has since been cancelled” the Commander replied. “Ok, thanks for that information, now how far away are you from the island, over” I answered. “That I cannot reveal at the moment, be assured we are in the region, as the Defence and Foreign Affairs Ministers are both concerned, about the amount of International publicity of your island, appearing out of nowhere” the Commander replied, “Very well, your officers and crew are welcome to visit the island, as long as all firearms remain on your vessel, and that all footwear is disinfected before stepping onto the island” I replied, “Yes, we understand, I will contact you, just before we arrive” the Commander said. When Kyle arrived, having dried off and had a change of clothes, “That swim was awesome, the water is a mixture of very warm and cool water, coming down the waterfall, I think I will be doing that more regularly” Kyle said to me, as he sat down at his desk, just as the phone rang, which made Kyle jump, and I chuckled as I answered the call. Deepdale Island, how may I help you” I said cheerfully. “Mr Devonport, this is Commander York, I didn’t want to use the radios, in case they are being intercepted, I don’t want to worry you too much but you have two naval vessels heading your way, from a south west direction, approximately 1,200 nautical miles away, it looks like, they have come from Amsterdam Island, which you know is French Territory, I notified my superiors at Garden Island, and they have contacted Canberra” the Sub commander said to me. Kyle saw the look on my face, and I could tell he was bursting to find out what is happening, “Grabbing a pen and paper I wrote. “Urgent Council meeting NOW!!!, get Captain Kingsley, Lt CommanderRobertson, and Flight Officer Lentz as well”, when Kyle read the note, he dashed out of the building, nearly crashing into the door, as he had barely slowed down to open it. “Just a moment please, I need to include our shire council in this matter, they are being called as we speak” I said to the commander, and I picked up the UHF radio, and calmly called Captain Kingsley, Lt Commander Robertson and Flight Officer Lentz to the administration building right away. Annette was the first to arrive, and she saw the worried look on my face, as she sat down at the meeting table. Within five minutes, the five council members, plus the three officers had arrived and sat down, and I put the phone onto loud speaker, “Right, Commander can you repeat what you said to me a few minutes ago please” I asked, “This is Commander York, from the HMAS Avon, currently in close proximity to the island, we are tracking two naval ships, presumed to be French, heading towards Deepdale Island, from the direction of Amsterdam Island. Wait a moment… you can add a US Naval destroyer to that list, heading South East, from the direction of Diego Garcia, Naval Base, and it is a fraction further out, then the French ships. All of which are 3 ½ days away from arrival. I have been informed that HMAS Jurien and HMAS Dennison, are about to depart from Garden Island, one will arrive four hours before the foreign vessels, and one will arrive after. Unfortunately, you are too far out to send any aircraft out, as they don’t have the return fuel range for that distance. I am getting this information from the Australian Horizon Radar System, as our current position does not allow us to get any radar tracking” the Commander informed us all, most of us looking quite shocked. “Where exactly is your present location Commander?” I asked. “Well if you are in the long building in the far north east corner of the island, then I would estimate approximately 580 metres away, and just blow the surface” the commander replied, dashing to my desk, I grabbed the binoculars and dashed out the door, and walked towards the spiral stairs, but I didn’t need to use the binoculars, because as I looked down into the bay, I could see a very big grey shadow in the water, and I returned to the admin building, where Kyle was standing at the door.
  15. NB ND Chapter 12

    Yes it does a bit decsption will be returning soon

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