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quokka

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    Western Australlia
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    Contact me at: quokka63@gmail.com

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  1. BF Chapter 5

    “Oh, I see. What do you want to do about those bastards?” Simon said after he watched the meeting between the reporters and the guests. “When they get back, get them to pack their gear and tell them to get off my vessel. They can find their own way to Exmouth,” I replied. Once they have been told, I will give their boss a call to break the news to him. Simon headed downstairs and I watched him as he continued to supervise and help with the unloading of the supplies to the local grocery store. Just as they finished, I spotted the two guests returning. I watched Simon announce to them that they would be leaving the vessel as soon as they were packed, for breaking the skipper’s directive of not speaking to the media. I dialled the Logistic manager’s mobile number, as I watched the two guests arguing with Simon. “This is Anton Hamilton from the RV Beyond Frontier. We have just completed deliveries in Carnarvon, with Coral Bay and Exmouth tomorrow. I am calling to inform you that your two staff members are being ordered to pack and leave the vessel for failing to follow my directive of not speaking to the media. I will leave it up to you to sort out their accommodation and transport from now on. Goodbye,” I said when the call was answered. I ended the call not allowing him to respond. When I had finished the call, I saw Simon step back on board. A few minutes later he appeared on the bridge just as I was making a call to the police. “Hello, this is the skipper of the RV Beyond Frontier. We have two members of the media who have been hassling us since Kalbarri, due to us delivering the stores that are usually delivered by trucks that are on strike. We also are evicting two guests from the vessel, and would appreciate some support if it is required,” I said when the call was answered. “Yes, Mr Hamilton. We just heard your previous message. We will be there shortly,” the officer responded, which I was pleased to hear. Within minutes two police vehicles appeared, with one stopping to speak to the media, and the other coming right up to where we were moored. I went down to meet them, with Simon following me. “Hello, I am Anton. This is my engineer, Simon. Welcome aboard,” I said to the officers, and I led them upstairs to the guest cabins, where I found the guests had not packed their belongings. We went to the multi-use room, where we found both men chatting. “These gentlemen are here to escort you off this vessel, so I suggest you get packing and get off my vessel,” I said to the two men. “We have spoken to our boss, and he told to stay put,” one of the men responded. “Well, I have news for you. This is my vessel and I am the skipper. You went against the directive I gave to my crew and you two when we were in Kalbarri, so you are now required to pack and leave. If you do not I will leave you in the hands of these two gentlemen,” I responded. Both men just sat there, crossing their arms across their chests, determined to stay. I stepped to one side, and the two police officers approached the two men and arrested them. “Simon, can you get the ladies to pack all of these men’s belonging, and have them delivered to the police station please,” I said to my best friend. “Yes, Skipper. They are already on their way,” Simon replied with a smile, and I stepped out of the room, and headed upstairs to the bridge. I observed the police escorting the two men in handcuffs off the vessel, followed by my three crew members carrying their belongings. When I saw the crew returning, I picked up the radio mic, and switched it to outside deck. “Attention crew. Prepare for immediate departure,” I announced. Next, I switched the radio back to vhf mode. “Bridge to galley, you receiving me Finn?” I said. “Loud and clear, skipper,” came the cheerful reply. “Just checking that you are on board before we leave. We will be anchoring at an offshore island overnight,” I responded, pleased that Finn was on board. After speaking to Finn, I headed downstairs, where I found Mathew doing food prep for Finn. “I decided that since I don’t have much to do, I should keep myself busy as a galley hand,” Mathew said to me with a smile, as Finn handed me a cup of tea and I headed back to the bridge to prepare for departure. An hour later we had safely anchored on the eastern side of Bernier Island, 52 kilometres offshore, and most of the crew decided to explore the island while there was still plenty of daylight. I was sitting in the lounge with Mathew, when my mobile rang. “Hamilton Ocean Charters,” I said answering the call. “Mr Hamilton, this is the director of the UWA Oceans Institute. We received your correspondence, and we would like to arrange for a research expedition, lasting for 7 to 9 days, either from Exmouth to Fremantle or the other way around, to commence in a week’s time if possible,” the director said to me. “Well, sir, we are currently en-route to Exmouth. We are anchored off Bernier Island, off the Carnarvon coast, and will arrive at Exmouth at approximately 1600 hours tomorrow. It will take a further 3 days to get back to Fremantle,” I responded. “I see. Well, if I can do some fast organising, we can meet you in Exmouth in 5 days’ time, if that is agreeable with you,” the research director replied. “Yes, sir. That will be fine by us. Let us know what time your flight arrives in Exmouth, and I will arrange for transport for you all. How many will there be in your group?” I responded. “There will be myself, and two other staff researchers, and 8 post-grad researchers,” the director replied. “That is a perfect number. Everyone can have their own cabin. I will charge just $110 per cabin per day, instead of the full cabin rate. That will cover all food and soft drinks. There will be no alcohol on board, and none will be permitted on board, as it is a working vessel, plus there is the $360 per day fuel levy,” I said. After the call had ended, I sat down with my lap top to make out a research charter from Exmouth to Fremantle, with at least 24-hour stops at most locations. A few hours later, I had finalised an 8-day charter, with just over 23-hour stops at Coral Bay and Denham, an 11-hour stop at Kalbarri, a 36-hour stop at the Abrolhos Islands, a 19-hour stop at Jurien Bay, and a 27-hour stop at Rottnest Island. I sent it via email to the Oceans Institute Director. As dinner ended I cleared my throat to indicate to the crew that I wanted to speak, and everyone went silent. “We have another charter, this time for marine research, starting from Exmouth down to Fremantle, for 6 days with 6 stops on the way. This is a UWA Oceans Institute charter, so we have to be very professional with this charter. Once we arrive in Exmouth, we will have a 4 day wait for their arrival. There are 3 staff and 8 post-grad students, with the director himself coming on this trip. He can have the other crew cabin on this deck, and the others will have a cabin each. Depending on if there are any media issues at Exmouth, all crew will have 28 hours shore leave, divided into two groups, to ensure there are crew on board at all times for security reasons. The first group, which is most of you, can start at 1800 hrs Thursday - that’s tomorrow - once unloading is completed. The second group will be Mathew and I, and we will start shore leave at 2200 hrs on Friday, and return by 2200 hrs on Saturday. If there is a problem with media, we will head to the Murion Islands, just to the north. That’s all I have to say,” I announced. Once dinner was completed, I logged back onto my computer and found a return email from the Oceans Institute. “Mr Hamilton, thank you for the suggested itinerary that you sent me. However, there is a set area that we will be wanting to do our research. I cannot tell you about it via email, as it is sensitive information, but I can assure you you will be fully briefed as soon as we arrive on Sunday at 12 noon. Till then I cannot say anymore. Dr Carrington.” I was a little surprised by this email, and wondered what could be so sensitive about this chartered trip. We left the Carnarvon region on time at 0600 the next morning, with Coral Bay being our next destination, where the town jetty is two kilometres south of town. I was not sure what we could do to avoid the media if they were there waiting for us. When we arrived at 1000 am I was feeling very uneasy when from a distance I could see 5 men plus a police officer standing at the start of the jetty, and a number of media standing in front of them. When my mobile rang, and I saw that it was Jasper’s ID, I smiled. “Hi, mate. How was the charter? Did you have a good trip?” I asked when I answered the call. “Hello, boss. Yes, it was good, but we are busy with other duties at the moment,” Jasper replied. I was not sure what he was meaning. “Hang on, Jas. Is that you near the jetty at Coral Bay by any chance? I asked, and I heard Jas chuckle. “You got it, boss. The whole team is here to give assistance. A friend from Kalbarri alerted me to your media problems, so as soon as we had finished the charter, we packed some clothes and flew up to Exmouth yesterday, and travelled down this morning, cramped into the Police wagon, to help out,” Jasper replied. “Well that is excellent news. See you shortly,” I replied and I ended the call then switched the radio over to PA. “Attention all crew. We have the media waiting for us, but we also have a welcome party as well. Prepare for mooring,” I announced. Simon and Mathew both appeared shortly after with Simon grabbing the binoculars for a closer look. “Holy catfish! It’s Jas and the whole crew. They have formed a human barrier to stop the media getting too close,” Simon said surprised, and I just smiled. Once we had moored at the jetty, the human barrier allowed for the forklift and small truck to get onto the jetty, and still keep the media away. Simon headed downstairs to supervise the offloading of the supplies, which he, Mathew and the ladies did quickly and efficiently. Once it was completed, the police wagon drove onto the jetty, so Jasper and Simon could transfer the luggage to the vessel, while Lisa and Rebecca were on standby to release the mooring. All at once, Jasper and his crew and Simon dashed on board and the ladies released the ropes. Mathew who was now on the bridge and was watching what was happening on the jetty, told me when to get going, leaving the police officer from Exmouth to stand guard against the media. He gave a short wave as we headed North West towards the gap in the reef. Once clear of the reef I increased the speed to 35 knots since we had very smooth seas thanks to a very slight breeze. “Hey, boss, do you want me to take over for a while to give you a break?” Jasper said to me when he arrived on the bridge. “That would be great thanks, bud. I will go and catch up with the others,” I replied as I handed over control to Jasper and headed downstairs to the dining area where I was suddenly surrounded in a group hug from Kirk, Leon, Alex and Toby, with Finn and Mathew joining in. “Ok, guys, it’s great to see you too. Now can I please get some air to breath,” I just managed to say, and everyone laughed, just as Simon took a photo of us while standing on a chair for a better shot. Once I was released we all sat down and Finn brought over a cup of tea for me, which I happily accepted. “So, tell me, guys, this wasn’t just a special rescue plan, was it?” I asked my staff. “Well, we don’t have any charters for over two weeks, so we thought we would fly up to help and sail back home with you,” Toby announced. “I see. Well, I really appreciate the help with the media, but we may have a slight problem after we get to Exmouth. We have a research charter in just three days’ time, starting on Sunday at noon. Actually, come to think about it, we can use the multi-use room for a cabin for you four lads, if you don’t mind sharing, and Jasper can have the last crew cabin on this deck. It just means we will have an oversupply of crew, and two guests will have to share a cabin. “I can’t tell you much about the charter itself, as it is a sensitive issue according to the Director of Oceans Institute of the UWA, who will be on the charter. So, until we know more, when they arrive on Sunday, we just have to sit back and relax,” I announced to the crew. The Canadian lads plus Toby and Alex gathered their luggage, and headed to the multi-use room to get settled. They returned about fifteen minutes later. “There is a whole heap of research equipment in the room. What do you want us to do with it?” Toby asked me. “Oh yeah, can you guys start returning it to the two research work rooms. There is some of it in the research offices as well. We had to make room for dry cargo to be stored in the two work rooms. That is why it was there,” I explained, and the 4 guys set off again to get started putting the work rooms back into operational order. “We thought we would do some laundry while we are at sea. Do you have anything to be washed?” Lisa asked me. “I do. Let me go and get ours plus the other senior crew laundry for you,” I said with a smile and I headed upstairs, with Mathew following. Once the laundry was sorted, I headed to the bridge to repeat what I had said to the rest of the crew. I took over at the helm, to allow Jasper to gather his luggage and get settled into his assigned cabin, returning just fifteen minutes later to take over at the helm again. “I know it is a small cabin, but it is all I have available for you I’m sorry,” I said to Jasper. “It’s fine, boss. I have my own cabin with bathroom. That is all I need,” Jasper replied with a smile. Just over four hours later we were approaching the main wharf at Exmouth where I was happy to see two police vehicles there waiting as well as the truck and forklift ready to receive the last of the supplies.
  2. BF Chapter 4

    Once they had placed their luggage in the cabins, I showed them the forward lounge, then the multi-use room that they could use which had the two benches down and two chairs ready. Once I had shown them their work space, I headed downstairs to the mess, where all the crew were sitting drinking tea and coffee. “We should be ready to go in about half an hour or so. Ladies if you can make sure the guests are comfortable and have all that they need, while we prepare to get underway once the loading is completed. By the way, we won’t be going as far as Port Hedland, only to Exmouth. We will be calling into nearly every coastal town from Jurien Bay to Exmouth, to deliver food supplies, due to the truck driver’s strike,” I announced to all the crew gathered. “I will be down below, checking that everything is operational,” Simon said to me, as he headed to the port engine room door. Finn began to gather all of the used cups and headed to the scullery to do some washing up, and Mathew and I headed upstairs to the bridge. Once on the upper deck, I headed to our cabin to use the bathroom, before I came onto the bridge, where Mathew was studying the charts. “It all looks very confusing. You will have to show me how to properly understand these maps. It’s all gobble-de-gook to me,” Mathew said to me. “I will show you how to understand the charts in little bits, as we travel up the coast. Then when we get back to Fremantle I will give you a test on it,” I said with a big grin. Mathew smiled before heading outside to check on the progress of the loading. “It appears that they have finished by the looks of it,” Mathew said to me as he came in about twenty minutes later. Shortly after we heard the door downstairs open and close and the sound of someone coming up the stairs. “It’s just me, bringing up a cuppa each. I’ve been informed that all the loading is completed,” Simon said to me as he handed us our cups. I placed mine in the cup holder and picked up the radio mic, before switching over to on board PA system. “Attention deck crew. Prepare to get under way. That is all,” I said in the mic, while Simon grabbed a two-way radio, and went out to the balcony to check that Lisa and Rachel were in position, while I started up the engines. “Away with the mooring ropes,” we could hear Simon shout from outside, and a few minutes later via the radio. “Skipper, the vessel is clear of the wharf, ready for departure. Over,” we heard Simon say from the VHF radio that sits next to the marine radio. “Mathew, can you find the other hand held two-ways and their recharging stations, and have them installed in our cabin, Simon’s cabin, one in the galley for Finn, and one in your medic room,” I asked my boyfriend, who got to work to locate the radios and recharge stations in the storage cupboard, and set off to the different places around the ship. He tested each of the radios at each location, which I responded to, as I guided the vessel out of the harbour and into the Indian ocean. Once we were clear of North Mole, I increased the speed to 15 knots for a few minutes before changing course to 345 degrees, and increasing the speed to 30 knots. When Mathew returned, he smiled at me. “All done, skipper. By the way, won’t we be passing Jasper sometime this morning?” Mathew asked me. “I was thinking the same thing just a few minutes ago. If they left Rottnest at 0800, they would be about 14 nautical miles or 26 kilometres north of us. At present we are one hour behind, so it will take us about 50 minutes to catch up to them at our cruising speed,” I replied with a big grin. “So, are we going to sneak up behind them?” Mathew asked me. “No, not when they have guests on board. That reminds me,” I replied as I picked up the VHF radio mic. “Skipper to Simon, do you copy,” I said into the radio. “Loud and clear,” Simon replied from behind us, as we had not heard him coming up the stairs, making Mathew jumped with fright a little. “Give someone a heart attack, why don’t you!” Mathew grumbled, and I chuckled, with amusement. “Si, what happened to the uniforms that we picked up yesterday?” I asked my best friend. “I thought it was best to give them to Jasper and crew, since they are on a charter,” Simon replied. “That was what I hoped you did. Well done. I bet the lads look really hot in their new uniforms,” I answered with a big smile, and Simon laughed at my comment. “Do you want me to get the camera out and take some photos of the yacht and the crew in uniform, Anton?” Mathew asked me. “Yes, that would be a good idea, to get some real action shots of the yacht,” I responded. About 45 minutes later, I could see the trimaran ahead of us. “Beyond Frontier to Last Frontier, do you copy, Jasper? Over,” I called on the marine radio. “Loud and clear, boss. Is that you that is tailing us? Over,” Jasper replied, and all three of us chuckled. “That would be affirmative on that, skipper. Mathew has the camera ready to take some action photos as we are passing you. Over,” I replied. “Ok, I will have Kirk, Leon, and Toby out on the decks to look like they are actually doing something. I am already on the fly deck and in uniform. Over,” Jasper replied. “Very well. Thanks for that, skipper. Have a safe trip and we will see you in 6 days’ time. Over and out,” I answered. On the upper deck walkway Mathew stood as steady as he could, considering we were bouncing up and down a little bit due to our speed. As we neared the trimaran, I slowed down to 20 knots, and once alongside, I slowed down to 16 knots, so it was easier for Mathew to take some photos. After about fifteen minutes, I started to slowly speed up again, moving further ahead of the trimaran. “Boss to Skipper, thanks for that, Jasper. Once we get to our new overnight stop of Kalbarri, we will review the photos and post some of the good ones. Say hello to Anita and the four boys for me. Over,” I said into the radio mic. “Will do, boss. The boys said they enjoyed posing for the camera. We look forward to seeing the photos. Over and out,” Jasper replied. I could see that Mathew was busy uploading the photos from the camera to the lap top computer. “I’ve got some great shots of all the crew members, close and distant, plus the same with the yacht, and I have avoided the guests in most of the shots taken,” Mathew said to me from the side desk. “I think we might stop at Jurien on the way back. Hopefully Jasper will have no charters, and we can get some more photos with all three vessels. We will have to ask Jasper to collect the rest of the uniforms when he gets back to Fremantle,” I replied. Just on three hours later, we arrived at our first destination, my home town of Jurien Bay. A small truck and fork lift were there waiting for us, and the unloading of their food stores went smoothly. We departed about twenty minutes ahead of time with our next destination being Port Dennison – Dongara about two hours later, in the early afternoon. It was 1820 hours when we finally arrived in Kalbarri. We moored at the small jetty at the front of town just inside the river mouth. Like the previous two stops, there was a small truck and forklift waiting, and within an hour the stores were unloaded and on their way to the general store. With the first day over, I was finally able to relax. After I had checked that the refrigerated containers were working ok, I headed inside where I hoped that dinner would soon be ready. The guests were seated at one table enjoying their meal, while Lisa and Rebecca were helping Finn with final preparations for the crew’s dinner. “Where are Simon and Mathew?” I asked Finn as he handed me a cup of tea. “In the lounge talking about something,” Finn replied. I passed through the mess and opened the door into the lounge, to find my boyfriend and best friend chatting and laughing. I sat down next to Mathew and saw that they were looking at the photos that had been taken earlier in the day. “Well, it looks like the boys were having fun posing for the camera,” I said with a smile as we looked through the rest of the photos. Once we had selected the best photos, we added them to the website, and once this was done, we headed out to the mess dining area to have dinner. We had almost finished our dinner, when one of the guests re-entered the dining mess. “Skipper, sorry to bother your dinner, but there are some people on the jetty wanting to speak to the skipper, and I think they are the media,” I was informed. “Thank-you, sir. I will go and deal with them,” I responded, as I stood up and left, motioning for Simon and Mathew to stay. Moments later I stepped out onto the aft deck to find two men standing on the jetty, with one of them holding a camera and taking photos. Staying out of sight of the camera, I thought for a moment about what to say. “I am the skipper, and if you want me to talk to you, that camera will be packed away,” I said clearly. “Sir, we learnt that you are currently delivering food supplies to coastal towns, due to the truck strike. Do you know that trucking companies are very angry with you, and others that are breaking the strike?” the reporter said to me. I took another peak to see that the photographer was waiting to take a photo of me, so I just headed back inside, locking the door, and headed back to the mess, where everyone was gathered. “This is an executive directive. No one, and that includes you two gentlemen, is to speak to any media of any kind. I have locked the main aft door, and I will be calling the police in a moment. Any breaking of this directive will have repercussions. That is all,” I said and I headed upstairs to the bridge. Mathew appeared a few minutes later as I was dialling the number for the local police. “Hello, this is Anton Hamilton from Hamilton Ocean Charters. We are transporting food supplies up the coast, due to the trucking strike. We have some media camped outside the town jetty, and they seem to not be going away. I was wondering if you could do something about it,” I said to the police officer. “Yes, sir. We will be down shortly. We are aware of their presence,” the officer said before ending the call. I smiled as I put my phone away. “So, they are coming to send them away?” Mathew asked me. “Yes, hopefully for good. If not, we will leave before dawn tomorrow to avoid them,” I replied. We left half an hour before the scheduled time, and set off for Denham, our first port of call for the day, and I decided to go further out to sea, just in case the media was tracking our movements. Half an hour before arriving, I telephoned the local store to let them know that we were nearly there, and when we arrived at the town jetty, a small truck and fork lift was waiting for us. I was pleased to see that there was no sign of the media, as I supervised the unloading of the supplies, which Lisa, Rebecca and Mathew did efficiently, along with the store owner. Finishing in just an hour, we set off right away, and within five minutes my mobile rang. It was Finn calling. “Skipper, if you want to eat tonight, you better come back to the jetty, where I have some shopping,” Finn said to me in an annoyed tone. “Oh bugger. Sorry about that, buddy. Going about now. See you in a few minutes,” I replied, and I turned the vessel around to go back to the jetty. “What is happening?” Simon said to me as he appeared on the bridge. “I kind of left someone behind. Just as well he rang straight away and not like twenty minutes later,” I said sheepishly, and Simon laughed. “Oh, you are in his bad books. I presume we are talking about Finn?” Simon replied, and I nodded my head. Five minutes later, we were back at the jetty, and Simon went down to help Finn to get all the shopping on board, then cart it to the galley for storage, while I resumed our journey north to Carnarvon, which was just over two hours away and our second overnight stop. I was not happy when we arrived at the main town jetty in the marina of Carnarvon to see the same reporters there waiting for us. So, after a quick phone number search, I found the number for the local police station. I received an answering machine, so I left a message before calling all senior crew to the bridge. “Ok, guys. We have the media waiting for us once again, and I can’t get in contact with the local police. Simon can I leave it for you to supervise the unloading of the store supplies. I need to stay out of sight of the photographer. “Make sure everyone is reminded of my order to say nothing to the reporters, and once we have unloaded, I think we should go out to Bernier Island and anchor there for the rest of our stay,” I announced. Simon and Finn headed downstairs, while Mathew stayed with me, as we approached the jetty. Once Lisa and Rebecca had secured the vessel at the jetty, they got to work to start unloading the supplies, and I discretely watched everything from the safety of inside the main bridge. I observed the two guests stepping off the vessel, and walking towards town. I was about to walk away from the window, when I spotted the two men stopping, so I grabbed the binoculars and looked closer. I could see that the two guests were talking to the reporters, which I wasn’t too happy about. I picked up the mic. “Simon to the bridge please,” I announced before I paced the bridge area. “You called, skipper, what can …. Oh, that is not a good look. What is wrong?” Simon said when he saw me pacing. “Use the binoculars and look down the street towards town. Tell me what you see,” I said to Simon as I continued to pace the bridge.
  3. BF Chapter 3

    “No, I thought that can wait till they get back to Fremantle,” I responded. When we had finished with the work in the two offices, we headed to our cabin for a quick shower and change, and we stood outside on the mid-deck to watch the trimaran coming into the harbour, and motoring into the mooring berth next door to the research vessel. Just as we were about to head down to meet them, my phone rang with an unknown number. “Hello, Anton Hamilton speaking,” I said as we headed down to the main deck. “Good afternoon, sir. My name is Lisa Carmichael. I am a graduate from the UWA, and member of the Oceans Institute. We saw your notice on the noticeboard and are interested in the position, if it hasn’t been already taken,” a female voice said to me. “You are the first one to enquire. Can you and your friend or partner come down to Fremantle as soon as possible?” I replied. “Yes, we are actually in North Fremantle at the moment, so we can be there very soon,” she replied. I gave her the berth number at the boat harbour, and ended the call, before heading outside. “We may have the 2-extra crew that we need. They are in North Fremantle and on their way here,” I said to Mathew who smiled and nodded his head, as we saw our crew members disembark from the trimaran. Simon and Finn were carrying their luggage as they came on board the vessel, while Jasper and his crew were doing some tidying up on the yacht. “Welcome back, guys. So, how far behind you were Jasper and crew when you got to Jurien Bay yesterday?” I asked Simon with a big grin. “Only about twenty minutes. They must have been really moving since they left three hours after us. Mind you, we did go a little further out to sea than usual since it was such a nice day,” Simon replied as we followed him and Finn inside. “Take a seat in the mess. We have some things to discuss,” I announced to Simon and Finn, who looked a little shocked. Mathew chuckled when he saw their expressions. “It’s nothing bad. It’s good news actually. Firstly, we have two people arriving very shortly for an interview for the two positions that I advertised at the Oceans Institute, and if all goes well they will be moving on board tonight. “The second thing is we have secured some regular work for this tub. The contract is transporting freight up the coast, with stops at Geraldton, Carnarvon, Barrow Island and Port Hedland, then coming back. We also have a possible contract with the Oceans Institute for marine research along the Ningaloo coastline. Once the contract is signed this afternoon our first lot of freight will be loaded on board this afternoon from berth 12 of the harbour, and we depart at 0800 tomorrow morning, hopefully with the extra crew, although we won’t have any guests for this trip,” I announced, “so there won’t be as much pressure for this trip.” “So, am I allowed to call it a tub too?” Simon asked me cautiously, and Mathew started laughing. “Yes, I guess I can let you, since you are the engineer,” I replied with a grin. I was about to say some more, but was interrupted by the sound of a call. “Ahoy, anybody on board?” I walked to the back to greet the arrivals. “Hello, I am Anton. Welcome aboard, and come through to the mess, so you can meet the rest of the crew,” I said to the two ladies, who appeared a year or two older than me. When we arrived in the mess, Mathew was talking to someone on my mobile, which I had left on the table. “Hi, I am Lisa Carmichael. This is my partner, Rebecca King,” one of the ladies said as we arrived in the main mess. I motioned for them to sit. “Ladies, this is the rest of my pirate crew… just kidding there. My partner, Mathew, is on the phone. He is our medic. This is my best friend and the ship’s engineer – Simon, and his partner, Finn, who is our chef,” I said. When all the introductions were done, I sat down next to Mathew, “Ok, ladies, we are a research vessel, but demand for that is fairly scarce. We have been able to secure a semi-regular cargo freight service up the coast as far as Port Hedland, which is a 4 or 5-day return journey. You will be paid for time on board when we are preparing for a trip plus the journey. We may have a one-off contract with the Oceans Institute for a research trip along the Ningaloo coastline. Your weekly wage is $630; anything 5 days or under is on a daily rate of $90 a day. “Your cabin is on this deck over in the corner. The senior crew cabins are on the upper deck behind the bridge. We have two large research work rooms, and two research offices. The work rooms have been cleared to make way for freight. On the deck below, apart from the engine and generator rooms, we have supply store rooms and the laundry, which will be your jobs, as well as deck and steward duties. “The mid-deck above us, has ten twin-bunk guest cabins with their own bathrooms. There is also a guest forward lounge. Behind the cabins are two more rooms. One is the medical room, which is locked at all times; the other one is a multi-use room, that can be used as an extra work office, as a recreation space, or extra accommodation as there are two fold-down bunks, plus bathroom and store room. “Upper deck is senior crew only, and we will look after our own cabins in regards to cleanliness and changing sheets and towels. That is all I have to say. Do you have any questions?” I stated to the ladies. “No, sir, except for when can we start?” Rebecca asked. “Well, we have a trip to Port Headland first thing in the morning, so if you can be at Berth 12 of the inner harbour at 0700, we will give your names to security at the gates. Have enough clothes for a week. That would be ideal,” I responded. “We will be there, skipper, and thank you,” Lisa replied with a smile. Once the ladies had left, I turned to Mathew. “Who were you on the phone to?” I asked him. “That was the uniform company. They have two sets of uniforms for 4 crew members, ready to be collected now,” Mathew replied. “New uniforms?” Simon asked sounding a little confused, and Mathew pulled out his phone, that had the photo of me in the new uniform on the display. He handed it to Simon. “Wow, that is very flash looking!” Finn exclaimed. I smiled. “What I am wearing in the picture is the steward’s uniform. Senior crew have just a tie and no waist coat for dress uniform, that includes shoes, belts, and spray jackets when the weather is a little choppy. How about you three guys go and get the uniforms. I have to stay for the arrival of the Logistics guy to sign the contract,” I responded. Once the guys had gone off to get the uniforms, I cleaned up the cups and put them away before heading to the aft main deck, where I sat on a bench seat and watched the activity on the marina jetties and the surround roads, where there seemed to be a fair few tourists around. Remembering that I needed to make some changes to the website, I went indoors to retrieve my laptop. When I returned, I saw the logistics guy arriving at the car park. I quickly put the laptop in one of the offices and went out to greet him. Over the next twenty minutes I carefully read the contract, and I asked a few questions to clarify its meaning, so I could fully understand. Once I was happy with the contract, we both signed it, before I was given the information about the first trip for the next day. 110 Tonnes of cargo had to be loaded at 0700 tomorrow, with drop offs at Carnarvon and at Barrow Island. Then collect 30 tonnes of cargo from Port Hedland to bring back to Fremantle. I was asked if it was permissible for two Logistics company members to travel with us as far as Port Hedland, where they had some business to deal with. I said that it was fine, and that it cost $110 each twin share or $220 each for separate cabins per day. I was asked for two cabins, for the two-day journey to Port Hedland, and also some office space for them to do work. I said that there was a multi-use room available on the same level as their cabins that they could use for free. I mentioned that our scheduled departure time was 0800 hours. Once the two men had left, I went to check on the two forward cabins closest to the lounge. I did a quick refresher clean to make sure they were ready for the two guests and I locked the remaining 8 cabins. When the lads returned with the uniforms, Simon took them all downstairs to the laundry and gave them a first wash, and Mathew and Finn went to the galley to check on supplies. “We will need to do a fast shopping trip at one of the ports of call, so we have enough food for all the crew,” Finn announced when I appeared. “That will be six crew and two guests. The Logistics company is sending two of their staff along with us, no doubt to keep an eye on our journey. They will disembark at Port Hedland,” I announced to Finn and Mathew. “Jasper has invited us over to the Last Frontier for dinner tonight. Their charter doesn’t start till 1400 hours. Apparently, they are stopping overnight at Rottnest on their first day of the charter,” Simon announced as he appeared, after a trip downstairs to the laundry. “That is good. That gives Finn the night off,” I replied with a smile. A couple of hours later in the formal dining room of the yacht, as we were having dinner I stopped eating to speak to Jasper. “By the way Jasper, how are my brothers going at home? Not causing you too many problems, I hope?” I asked Jasper, who had remained the boys’ guardian at the request of Gramps and myself. “They are doing well, but growing up so fast. I can’t believe that it’s been five years since we started taking care of them,” Jasper replied. “Well they are 13 and 11 years old now,” I said with a grin. “Don’t I know it! I had to give the Birds and Bees lecture to young Jedd the other week,” Jasper groaned, and that had all of us laughing. “I nearly gave him a banana and told him to ask his brother how to use it,” Jasper added, and I stopped laughing and looked at Jasper seriously, then he burst into laughter, and I grinned, knowing I had just been tricked. After dinner, we sat in the formal lounge and chatted for an hour, before I announced that it was time to retire for the night, since both crews had a busy day ahead. “That was an enjoyable evening. We should do that more often,” I said to Mathew as we prepared for bed. He agreed with me that it was a great night with friends, as he yawned and climbed into bed. As soon as I climbed in Mathew snuggled into me, and we were both soon fast asleep. The following morning, we were up at 0600 hours. We woke up Simon and Finn, and while Simon and I headed to the bridge. Mathew and Finn headed downstairs to release the mooring ropes. “Fremantle Ports, this is RV Beyond Frontier, requesting permission to relocate from the boat harbour to Berth 12, for loading of cargo. Over,” I said over the Marine radio. “RV Beyond Frontier, you have been cleared to relocate to Berth 12 for loading. Over,” came a reply on the radio. Simon started up the engines and let them idle for a few minutes. I stepped out the side door and looked over the side, seeing the mooring ropes had been removed. “All clear, first mate,” I shouted inside, and Simon slowly guided the vessel out of the mooring berth, and out of the boat harbour, around South Mole, and into the main harbour. “You know where berth 12 is?” I asked Simon as I came back inside, and sat in the other bridge chair. “At the far end on the port side, just before the railway bridge,” Simon responded, and I smiled. “Good, then she is all yours,” I said and I sat back to enjoy the ride. About twenty minutes later we arrived at berth 12, and Mathew and I headed down to the fore and aft, ready with the mooring ropes. Once we had arrived, Simon cut the engines, and he headed downstairs, and out to the aft deck, where we were waiting. “Ok, everyone, head in and have some breakfast. We will be here for a couple of hours for loading,” I announced, and the crew headed towards the main mess. I looked at my watch. It was just after 0630 hours, and I saw three men approaching us. I recognised one to be the logistics manager. “Good morning, Mr Hamilton. We have a change of plans due to this state-wide truck strike. We have a lot of food that needs to be delivered to coastal towns from Jurien Bay to Exmouth. We have two refrigerated containers, with cold and frozen goods, plus there are 5 pallets of dry goods. “Very good. It would be best to load the pallets first, at they need to go to the front of the main deck. As you can see, we have side hatches, so they can be loaded and unloaded from there,” I replied. While the loading was happening, Lisa and Rebecca arrived each carrying two large duffel bags. “Good morning, Skipper. Reporting for duty,” they chorused, as they came on board. “Good morning, ladies. Stow away your gear, and join the rest of the crew for breakfast. We will have two paying passengers with us to Exmouth. It will be a 6-day trip now, and we will set off as soon as we are loaded,” I replied. “Very well, skipper,” Rebecca replied, and they headed indoors. I pulled out my mobile and texted a quick message and pressed send. In the main mess Finn received the message, and he showed it to Simon. A few minutes later, Simon came down with a tray containing cups of tea for me and the three Logistics Company staff, which they happily accepted, as it was quite a chilly August morning. By 0745 we had all the smaller cargo loaded and secured, and we just had the two containers remaining to be loaded. Once I had been given the itinerary, I studied it carefully. A total of seven towns to be delivered the goods as soon as possible. “How long do you think it will take?” I was asked by the logistics manager. “I would say no more than three days, if we only stop for around an hour at each delivery, and overnight stops at Kalbarri and Carnarvon,” I replied. After a brief chat I said farewell to the logistics manager, and invited the two guests to follow me to their assigned cabins, passing through the dining mess, and up the stairs to the mid-deck, where I showed them the two forward cabins.
  4. BF Chapter 2

    The freight is mining and heavy equipment supplies Then changed to food to the coastal town due to the truck drivers strike, as mentioned in the story.
  5. BF Chapter 2

    Ha ha ha you wish are you and your freinds going to pose for the photo? 😛
  6. BF Chapter 2

    “That may be true, but you have assaulted a staff member of the company that owns the yacht, and you have verbally abused the Executive Director of the same company that owns the yacht. Now I won’t make a decision about this matter. I will leave that to the skipper,” I announced with a smile as I observed Mathew climbing out of the water, and heading back in our direction. I turned to Jasper beside me. “Sir, you have in my view received your verbal warning from my boss here, when you assaulted Mathew and broke the terms of charter and when you verbally abused my boss here, so I hear by confirm that this charter has been terminated, and you have forfeited the 40% deposit that you have made. Have a nice time in Fremantle. Mathew are you ok?” Jasper asked, as my boyfriend appeared. Toby arrived with a towel so Mathew could dry off. “You can’t do this. That is our money, and we haven’t stepped onto the yacht yet,” the man demanded. “Sir, my former rank was senior constable, in the Western Australian police, so I know for a fact that we can cancel the charter, and since I witnessed the event I could also have you charged with physical assault. Now do you want to accept the situation and walk away, or do I have to call my colleagues at Fremantle Police station?” Jasper said in a serious tone. We watched at the man and his wife and friends turned and walked back to the car park. “So, what are we going to do with a yacht full of food and no guests,” Toby asked, once we had seen the guests looking for a taxi. “Well, I suggest that you take a cruise up the coast. Somewhere near Jurien Bay would be a good place to visit,” I suggested with a big smile. Jasper laughed. “As you ordered, Boss. Will you be joining us?” Jasper asked. “No, you guys have a great few days off. Say hello to all the family and we will see you when you get back in time for the next charter,” I replied. “Just as well I have some stuff on the Research vessel. I’m going to have a shower and change,” Mathew said to me, as he headed to the vessel. “Before you go, I would like you to have a look at some of the uniform designs, that I checked out online,” I said to Jasper, and we headed to the Last Frontier. By the time Jasper and I had finished deciding which was the best design of uniform, Mathew had arrived and had a cup of tea in hand. “Did you say or do anything to start all of that hoo-ha?” Jasper asked Mathew, as he sat down on the lounge next to me. “I did stumble a bit as they approached. I tripped a little on a loose plank on the jetty, so that is why they may have thought that I was hogging the whole jetty,” Mathew stated. “Still no excuse to shove you off the jetty and into the harbour,” I stated, and I saw Mathew nod his head in agreement. “We will be back in four days, to prepare for the next charter, which is two European couples and two children, so that should be a good charter,” Jasper said to me. We chatted for a little while longer, before Toby appeared. “All ready to go when you are, Skipper,” he announced. Mathew and I disembarked and stood on the jetty as we watched the yacht cruise out of the marina and head north. A few minutes later on the Beyond Frontier, Mathew and I sat down in the dining mess area, “So do think we stay here tonight or go home to the apartment?” I asked my boyfriend. “We might as well stay here, but what are we going to do till Simon and Finn get back?” Mathew replied. “Well firstly, I want to organise the new uniforms, so let’s make a phone call, and see if they have the design that Jasper and I selected. If they do we can make a trip to that store, and organise embroidery of the new company logo on the uniforms,” I replied. A few minutes later, with a phone call confirming that the uniform company had the required uniforms, we headed to the vehicle to drive to the uniform store. “I was thinking, Jasper will only be about 3 hours behind Simon. Do you think they will catch up to them?” Mathew asked me with a big grin on his face. “I think the question should be, did Jasper call Anita to tell them that they are sailing north too,” I replied, and we both laughed. We arrived in the car park of the uniform store. In the store, I explained that I had two yachts and a research vessel, and that I wanted 4 sets of new uniforms for all the crew. That totalled 14, plus I wanted some extras just in case. I added that I wanted blue waist coats and white ties for the 4 stewards, blue non-slip deck shoes for everyone, blue checked shirts for everyone, and white trousers, blue waist belts, also two sets of spray jackets for everyone and the company logo on all the shirts and waist coats. I placed a list of shoe, shirt and trouser sizes, plus the computer printout of the company logo on the counter. “Well the embroidery will take about 4 days to complete,” the staff member said with a smile, after looking at the company logo. “That will be perfect. If you can tally up what it will cost, and I will pay you half now and half when I collect it in six-days’ time,” I replied with a smile. Once we had the right items selected, I asked for a change room to try out the new uniform, and I was directed to a small room in the corner. When I came out dressed in uniform, including the waist coat and tie, Mathew gave me a huge wolf whistle, and I couldn’t help blush a little, as I slowly turned around. “Let me take a photo, so we can send it to Jasper,” Mathew suggested and I smiled and nodded my head, and stood straight for the photo. I went to get changed back into my clothes while Mathew was busy sending the photo to Jasper. Just as I stepped back into the shop, Mathew’s phone chimed with a message. After reading it, he smiled and gave me the phone to read the message. “What a handsome young man. Shame he is already taken. And no I haven’t told Anita.” We both laughed at Jasper’s joke. Once we had paid for the uniforms, we headed to a restaurant to have some lunch, and as soon as I saw the ejected yacht guests already seated, I grabbed Mathew’s arm and we walked straight out again, as I did not want to cause a scene in the restaurant. Once we did finally get to eat, we returned to the research vessel, and once I had retrieved the lap top from the bridge, and returned to the dining mess, I began working out an idea for a research expedition to Exmouth for the UWA Oceans Institute, while Mathew read the daily newspaper that he had bought. After about an hour, I had worked out a 4-day, 1418 km journey, with a short stop at Port Dennison, before heading to the Abrolhos Islands for an overnight stop, then on to Denham for another overnight stop, and refuel. Day two, we will be travelling to Coral Bay for another overnight stop, and the final day was travelling to Exmouth. I had worked out that there would be four hours of daylight after arriving at the Abrolhos, four hours after arriving at Denham, and five hours at Coral Bay. This could of course be extended by a stay at some or each location where required. Once I had worked out the journey timetable, I added the costs of accommodation and the fuel levy, before sending it to the Director of the UWA Oceans Institute. “Hey, Anton, there is an article in the paper here that might interest you,” Mathew said to me, when he saw that I had finished. “Read it out to me please,” I responded. “Freight transport required from Fremantle to Geraldton, Carnarvon, Barrow Island and Port Hedland. Must be able to carry up to 150 tonnes of freight, and take no longer than 7 days from Fremantle to Port Hedland,” Mathew said as he read the article. I smiled on hearing this, “We can do that in just over half that time - 4 days to Port Hedland, if we have overnight stops at the 3 ports in between, and with just one stop on the way back at Carnarvon, we can be back in two days with 15-hour days of sailing,” I replied as Mathew handed me the newspaper article, before I pulled out my phone and called the number on the article. Ten minutes later the call ended with an appointment set for the following morning for the Logistics company to inspect the vessel. So, we relaxed for the remainder of the day, since we had nothing else to do. “Simon and crew should be back here, tomorrow shouldn’t they?” Mathew asked me as we ate dinner that night. “Yep, probably late tomorrow, is my guess. I wonder what Anita said when Jasper arrived in Jurien,” I said with a big grin, and Mathew and I chuckled about this. “So, if we take on this coastal freight trip what are we going to do with the mini sub? Won’t it be in the way?” Mathew asked me. “We better organise a storage shed for anything that we don’t use for the freight trips, or we could use the crane to lift the mini sub up to the Upper deck, and secure it to the very back of the upper deck, behind our cabins,” I suggested. “I like that idea best, so we have it available if need be. Could we also advertise cabins available for the journey up the coast?” Mathew asked me. “I knew you were my boyfriend for some good reason. Good thinking, Mathew. Now should we charge the same amount that I quoted to the Oceans Institute - $220 per cabin including food and soft drinks?” I asked Mathew. “That is $110 per person, which I think is a fair amount, and will cover our costs, shouldn’t it?” Mathew stated, and I nodded my head in agreement. The next morning after we had eaten breakfast we cleaned up the galley and mess, before we began to pack away all of the research equipment, which consisted of a dozen computers and other equipment in the two work rooms. We stored it all into the two small offices, along with all the chairs, and fold up tables. This cleared the way for more storage space for any supplies that might be needed to be transported north. As we sat down to rest, we heard movement on the aft deck, so we headed outside, to see two men in suits, standing aft looking around. “Good morning, gentlemen. My name is Anton Hamilton, owner and skipper of the Beyond Frontier. This is the ship’s medic, Mathew Banning. Welcome aboard,” I said to them as we approached. Over the next half hour, I gave them a detailed tour of the main deck. I explained that the vessel was designed for research, but we had cleared the two main work rooms, to make space for extra freight. “What are on the decks above here?” the logistics manager asked me, as we sat down in the mess and Mathew handed us a cup of tea each. “The upper deck is the bridge and senior crew cabins. We also have two crew cabins at each end of this area. The mid-deck above us, has the medical room, a multi-use room, plus ten twin-bunk cabins with their own bathrooms, for guests. We are a high-speed vessel, built just south of here at Henderson five years ago, cruising speed of 35 knots, with a maximum payload of 160 tonnes, but I prefer to sit on about 30 knots, so we don’t get bounced around too much.” We can get to Port Headland in two full days with good weather, with overnight stops in Carnarvon, and short stops at Geraldton and Barrow Island for unloading of freight. From Port Hedland, it is a two-day journey back, with just one overnight stop of Carnarvon for fuel,” I replied. “That is better than we expected. Where is the rest of your crew?” the logistics manager asked me. “They are returning from a charter to Jurien Bay, and they should arrive later today,” I responded. “Very good. I will return later with the contract. We already have 100 tonnes of freight ready to go, so if you can get loaded later today from Berth 12 of the Inner Harbour and set off tomorrow that would be good,” the Logistics officer stated. “That is fine. We will require a deposit before we embark. Usually it is 45%, but since we are starting in a new industry, we will accept 25% before we embark, to be deposited into the company account, which details I will give to you later today. The rest must be paid no later than 7 days after confirmation that all the deliveries have been made,” I stated. “That sounds fair enough. You have a deal there. The trips will be approximately two to four weeks apart, depending on the demand for supplies in each area. We will see you later,” the logistics manager said as he shook my hand and they stepped off the vessel. “Well, that is better than I hoped. Regular trips up to the northwest gives the vessel regular work, so it is not just sitting around unused,” I stated as we watched the two men leaving. “Should we set up the research equipment in the research offices, so they are ready for use, just in case we have that research contract with the Oceans Institute?” Mathew asked me. “That is good thinking. We could hear from them at any time. We can fit them in between the freight trips if we could have them fly up to Exmouth. That would give them the time to do their research as we slowly return to Fremantle,” I replied. We were busy setting up the equipment when my phone rang. I smiled when I saw that it was Simon calling. “Hey, buddy! How are things on the catamaran?” I said to Simon. “Hey, boss. We decided to leave the cat in Jurien bay, and we came down with Jasper and crew on the tri,” Simon replied. “I see. Well, how far away are you from Fremantle?” I asked him. “About an hour, mate, according to the skipper,” Simon replied. “Very good, Si. We have some news for you guys when you get here. Bye for now,” I said and I ended the call. “You didn’t ask about their surprise arrival?” Mathew asked me.
  7. OB Chapter 1

    Thanks for all of your comments
  8. BF Chapter 1

    I am sorry to those who are Texan, I have not been to the USA, so I am not aware what that Gay friendly cities are there, maybe I should have done some more research on this. I just chose Texas because of the mostly Ranch country, which I felt may be a non gay friendly place. Once again I am sorry. Quokka
  9. Outback

    Hi Just letting all my readers know that Outback is back online, with a re-edit of the first chapter complete Regards Quokka
  10. OB Chapter 1

    The first chapter has been re-edited, hope you like the changes
  11. Beyond Frontier

    This is the continuing story of Anton Hamilton and family.
  12. BF Chapter 1

    5 years later - Graduation Day University of Western Australia “Congratulations, Anton. We are all very proud of you,” Gramps said to me, as I met up with all my family and friends, once the ceremony was completed, and I shook everyone’s hands. Anita, who is now a sergeant, and husband Jasper were present along with Nathan and their 4-year-old son Micah, Gramps and my two brothers, plus Isaac and Simon and Finn (his boyfriend), Toby and Alex (his boyfriend), plus Mathew (my college mate and now boyfriend), and finally Kirk and Leon. A lot had happened over the past five and a half years. Jasper had asked me to buy back the catamaran, which I was happy to do for him. I gave Simon the skipper position to the catamaran, and Jasper took over as skipper of the trimaran, with Kirk, Leon, Toby and Alex as main crew. With my assistance Toby gained his 1st mate ticket, Alex and Finn both gained certificate 4 in commercial cooking and Finn a diploma in hospitality, and Mathew did a bachelor of science in paramedical science. I also helped Simon to get a degree in mechanical engineering, having graduated a year earlier, which he was pleased to be able to put to use with the new vessel in the fleet, Beyond Frontier. This research vessel could accommodate 8 crew and 20 scientists, and was fully kitted out with oceanography, marine biology, meteorology and marine ecology equipment, which included a remote controlled deep-sea mini submarine. I offered the use of the vessel to the Marine Science department of the university for the period of my studies at the university, and averaged 4 open ocean excursions, each year for four years, since acquiring the vessel near the end of my first year of studies. With me as skipper, Simon as my engineer, Finn as the ship’s chef, and Mathew as a paramedic and hospitality steward to help Finn, we occupied the two senior crew cabins on the bridge deck when we were out on 5-day ocean excursions with the university. The students and two lecturers had to clean up after themselves, and Simon took over the role of skipper, since I too was one of the students. Although I knew I was reasonably good with studies, it wasn’t until I was half way through my first year that I realised that I could easily take on a bigger work load. As well as the bachelor of science degree in marine science, I also enrolled into a bachelor degree in zoology. After my third year at university, and with one more year to complete both courses, I decided to spend another year of studies to gain a master’s in environmental science, and that was what my last graduation ceremony was for. As a member of the UWA Oceans Institute, I was asked if my vessel could be used for a three-week marine expedition around Rottnest Island during the Summer holidays, leading up to my last year of studies. This I was happy to do, and I donated the use of the vessel and its operating costs, so the institute only had to pay for food and drinks for the three staff and 18 students. During that expedition I was able to relax a lot, as I was not part of the Oceans Institute expedition team, so I concentrated on skippering the vessel. Simon enjoyed spending time down in the hulls, watching the engines and generators, plus helping in the galley when needed. I had made one of the mid-deck multi-use rooms into a medical room for Mathew to have a place to deal with minor injuries or upset stomach’s, and he was thrilled to have his own special work area. The other multi-use room, had 4 high-up fold-down benches, that could also be used as beds, plus two small store rooms, so it was used as a work office, extra accommodation, or as a hospital. Beyond Frontier had a semi-permanent berth at the Success Boat Harbour in South Fremantle, and for the day of graduation it was also where the two yachts were moored. It was the first time all three boats were together, as Simon and Jasper had sailed both yachts down for this special occasion. Simon sailed the family back to Jurien Bay the day after graduation, while Jasper and crew remained in Fremantle for another day, as they had a charter. As a celebration we drove to my apartment where I had arranged a catering company to put together a celebration meal. It was a wonderful family time together. The company website now had the two yachts and the research vessel on the website as being available for charter, although the Frontier was now only occasionally used for charters. I was looking forward to a rewarding career in marine science where I felt I would be a lot happier than when I was doing yacht charters. With Jasper and family still living in my home in Jurien Bay, since Anita was still stationed there, it was decided that the trimaran should remain based there, offering charter from Fremantle to Exmouth including the Abrolhos Islands. They were kept busy with regular charters. Meanwhile we had decided that the catamaran should remain based at Fremantle, to do short charters from Fremantle to Busselton, and around Rottnest Island, with Simon and Finn living on board. They loved it as it was like a floating hotel all for themselves. This would also keep Simon and Finn close by, so that they would be available when they were needed as crew for the research vessel. I had arranged for the lease of a berth next door to the research vessel, so they could remain close together for security purposes. Realising that I really needed two more crew to have the research vessel operating smoothly, I put the idea out to my family and friends during the party for suggestions, but no one came up with any right away. When the party came to an end, Jasper and Family returned to the trimaran for the night, while Isaac, Gramps and the boys stayed on the catamaran. The following morning, with Anita and her two boys aboard the catamaran, they set sail for Jurien Bay as Anita had to work the following day, while Jasper and his crew made preparations for the arrival of their guests for their 3-day charter to Busselton and back, via Rottnest Island, followed by a 5-day charter to the Abrolhos Islands and back via Rottnest Island, with one day free in between each charter. It was during breakfast that Mathew made a suggestion. “Why not see if some of your former class mates at university would want to take a job as a crew member on the research vessel?” “That is a good idea, but I don’t have contact details for any of them,” I responded. “What about at the Ocean Institute? You could post a message up there and see if anyone is interested?” Mathew suggested. “Now that is a brilliant idea. Let’s take a drive up there straight after breakfast,” I commented with a big smile and a quick kiss as we continued to eat. Although we had a great vessel available, there was not exactly a huge demand for its specialty use, and that was worrying me a little. As we drove up the northern suburbs coast I thought about other ways we could use the vessel. “What are you thinking? You have been very quiet for the past fifteen minutes,” Mathew asked me, and I gave him a smile, as I continued to drive. “Oh, just thinking of other ways to use the research vessel to get better use out of it,” I responded. “Ah, I see. Well, I will put my thinking cap on too, and see if we can come up with something,” Mathew replied. We arrived at the Ocean Institute shortly after, and made our way to the administration area, where I presented my membership / access card, and asked if I could speak to the IOMRC director. Once in the Directors office, which I hadn’t seen before, I waited for Director Carrington to finish what he was writing, before I spoke. “Mr Hamilton, isn’t it?” he said with a smile. “That is correct, Sir. This is my life partner, Mathew Banning,” I responded. “Do you still skipper that research vessel – Beyond Frontier, I think it was called?” the Director asked me. “Yes, Sir, I do. Mathew is the ship’s medic. He is a qualified paramedic,” I replied. “Good. We are finalising some funding and I was hoping to use your vessel for a research expedition up the coast to do some monitoring of the Ningaloo Reef. Can you give me some details about your vessel, its guest capacity, equipment on board, and facilities that you have, and finally costs?” the director asked me. “Well, Sir, we have room for twenty guests in ten small twin bunk cabins. Each cabin has its own bathroom. There is a galley and dining mess with seating for 26. There is also inside main deck seating for 18. We currently have four crew and are looking for two more, which is why we are here. We have two research offices, two large research work rooms, with a variety of research equipment, a medical room, guest recreation lounge, a deep-sea remote control mini sub, two shark proof cages, scuba gear for twelve people, and a tank refill facility. “The main deck outside is 12 metres wide by 32 metres long, of which one third is under cover, with side access doors, and a below deck hatch between the pontoon hulls, and there is a heavy duty lifting crane. We charge a basic $220 per cabin, per day, that includes food and non-alcoholic drinks. I will donate my crew’s time and use of all the facilities and equipment, and there is a charge of $360 per day to cover vessel costs of diesel fuel. We are planning to install a small wind turbine and solar panels to reduce the environmental impact, for keeping the power generators operational, which we find very efficient on our other two yachts,” I replied. “Right, I have that all written down. I’ve also had positive feedback from other staff who have been on your vessel, when you have offered its use while you were a uni student. Do you have a business card so I can contact you when everything is finalised?” the director said to me. Mathew smiled as he handed over a card which he retrieved from his wallet. “Now, Sir, may I ask if it is permissible to leave a notice on the main board, to see if anyone is interested in a part time job as crew of the research vessel please?” I asked the director. “Yes, I see no problem with that. Do you have it with you and I can sign it at the bottom?” the director said. Mathew pulled out the A4 size notice from his jacket and handed it over. “Crew wanted for a 57-metre catamaran research vessel based at Fremantle. Shared twin cabin accommodation. Meals and non-alcoholic drinks included while on charter. $90 per day after tax. Must be non-smoker. Discrimination of any kind not tolerated. Scuba and first aid qualifications, plus deckhand experience preferred. Contact Skipper of the RV Beyond Frontier”. “What if we did scuba diving charters, around Rottnest and Carnac Islands? There are plenty of reefs around those areas, and it is not far out from Fremantle,” Mathew suggested as we drove back down the coast. “We could do that on the catamaran too, and there would be cheaper operational costs on the yacht, but if we were able to get a freight contract with the Rottnest Island Board, that might be worth it. We can easily fit two 10 metre freight containers onto the aft deck,” I replied, and from the corner of my eye I saw Mathew smiling and nodding his head in agreement. Once back in Fremantle we went to the jetty where the trimaran and research vessel were moored. Jasper and the crew were busy preparing for the guests. “Hey, Boss, how are you this morning?” Jasper said as soon as he saw us arrive. “Good, mate. What time do your guests arrive?” I asked Simon, as I saw the 4 lads appear all in their uniforms. “Any moment now, Boss,” Jasper replied. “That’s good to know. While you are on the charter, think about changing the uniform. I think we need to have a snappier uniform. We will have a meeting when you get back, and by then I will have some design options. “I would also like to have some new photos taken of both yachts and the research vessel, with all the crew in uniform,” I said to all the crew who were now gathered to listen. “That’s fine by me,” Jasper said to me. “And us too,” Toby announced. “Us too, Boss,” Kirk and Leon chorused. “Good. Have a good trip and I will see you all in a few days,” I said and Mathew and I stepped off the boat. “Oh, by the way, I have added new information to the terms and conditions for charters, being a little more detailed in regards to discrimination. Any breach, will result in a verbal warning, followed by termination of the charter, and dropping off at the nearest marina or port, for a second breach,” Jasper said to me. ‘Sounds good, Skipper, considering that you have two couples on your crew,” I replied happily. “I just have this nasty feeling that we will have a repeat of the Cocos to Christmas Islands situation. These guests are American and also Texan, like the previous troublesome guests, so I wanted to be prepared,” Jasper said to me. I waved goodbye and followed Mathew down the jetty, when I saw some guests approaching. “Get away, you little fag,” I heard one of the men say, giving Mathew a shove. He lost balance and went flying into the shallow water. “Excuse me! That was not called for,” I said in a very annoyed manner, thinking of what Jasper had just said. I looked over the edge to see if my boyfriend was ok. When he saw me, he gave the thumbs up, to say he was ok, and I turned to the guests. “What gives you the right to assault someone you have never met before?” I asked the man who shoved Mathew off the jetty, and when I saw Jasper approaching, I signalled him to stop. “What is it to you? Are you a fag too?” the man growled at me. “That, Sir, is none of your business. May I ask if you are the guests for the Last Frontier?” I asked him. “Now that is none of your business, so step aside unless you want to end up in the water as well,” the man demanded. “How do you know that what I asked is none of my business? I could be the skipper of the vessel, considering that I know the name of the yacht that you are heading too, but, no, I am not the skipper. The gentleman 20 metres behind me is the skipper,” I replied, as I signalled Jasper to approach. “My name is Jasper Adamson, skipper of the Last Frontier trimaran yacht. May I remind you that when you accepted this charter you agreed to the terms and conditions of the charter,” Jasper said to the gentleman in front of me. “That we did, but we have not boarded the yacht yet,” the man said with a smug smile.
  13. Hi

    I have a betareader who doesn't have Microsoft word, and I can't convert what notes he sends me.

    Do u have any ideas?

    Regards Quokka

    1. mogwhy

      mogwhy

      check your e-mail

    2. Sweetlion

      Sweetlion

      only used word, what is he/she using?

  14. Outback

    Sorry folks having some editing problems with Outback, so it is on hold for now
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