Guests who visited
A group of four arrived by sea plane one Saturday. Two women, both in their late fifties or early sixties, who had been friends for years I soon discovered, together with the daughter of one and the son of the other, stepped out of the Grumman Mallard into the punt, not quite sure of what lay ahead. The tentative looks upon their faces mirrored many who had gone before and of those yet to come.
Over dinner that evening, I spent a fair bit of time chatting with the new group at their table. Jo, the daughter of the Australian woman, worked in the film industry. A few years earlier she had worked on the production of “The Man from
Over dinner, I drew him into the conversation. He’d not long turned nineteen years of age and was taking a year’s “sabbatical” before going to college. During the following week of the group’s stay, I continued my attempt to draw Jamie “out of himself” at every opportunity. I realized it must have been a bit difficult for him being on holidays with his mother, her best friend and Jo, the daughter, who was in her late twenties. Not an ideal age group with whom a young man should be spending his holidays. On top of the obvious, Jo appeared to be in “recovery” from some unspoken malady, broken-heart or both, so she wasn’t the brightest of company for anyone, let alone a lad of nineteen. The day of their departure arrived. I took Jamie aside and told him if he ever wanted a job during his stay in
A pleasant surprise awaited me on the end of the telephone line a couple of weeks or so later when I received a telephone call from Jamie asking me if my job offer still stood.
“Of course it does!” I answered. “I’m so glad you made the decision. When can you get here?”
Within a few days, Jamie arrived to the island. At first, my staff was wary. Bronnie, for one, said to me when I announced that he would be joining them, “You mean that guy who was holidaying here a couple of weeks ago…the good-looking one?”
“Yep..that’s him,” I told her.
“But, he’s stuck-up!” Bronnie retorted petulantly.
“How would you know that, Bronnie? You don’t know him. Just because he’s a handsome young man, it doesn’t make him “stuck up!” I said, more than a little agitated by her prejudicial attitude. “Give the boy a chance when he gets here. I expect…I want you and the rest of the crew to give him a “fair go”. Don’t judge a book by its cover. I got to know Jamie when he stayed here, you didn’t! He's a lovely young fellow...you'll see!”
In no time at all, the staff, both male and female fell in love with Jamie. He was such a fine young man one couldn’t help but fall under his spell. He had absolutely no airs or graces about him whatsoever. David, my wild, cleaver-swinging chef and Jamie became great mates. It was the best thing that Jamie could have done, come to work at the island resort. It certainly made his visit to
Late one afternoon as I approached the restaurant area after changing into my evening attire (smart-casual), I heard a lot of ruckus and much loud laughter. There in the pool in front of me, David and Jamie, dressed up as pirates, were sailing one of the island’s small (tiny) catamarans. They were smaller than a Hobie cat! I blew a fuse, even though inside I could see the funny side, but at the precise moment I kept a lid on it. I ordered them out of the pool and to take the craft back down to the beach where it belonged. I’ll never forget the look on their faces. They were like two little boys being harshly reprimanded by their mother! To this day, I laugh about it, each time I recall that afternoon.
It wasn’t really about them that made me angry. Only a couple of days before their innocent hi-jinx, a guest, unbeknown by me, had sailed one of the small wind-riders out far beyond the island’s permitted perimeters. Restrictions had to be put on to the area guests could sail. I didn’t have the necessary safety and rescue teams in case of emergencies. The small craft were really only suitable for playing around in close to the resort beach.
Bob, the skipper of the powered Reef Cat that was contracted to the resort to deliver guests, provisions etc., to the island and who also took the island guests for day trips to Ramsay Bay, the Brook Islands, Garden and Goold Island, and when the winds permitted, Zoe Bay, was coming back to Hinchinbrook from a day out with guests at the Brook Islands around 3.30 pm one afternoon when he passed the guest heading out to sea. Bob hailed the lone sailor asking if he’d like a tow back. The errant sailor shook his head and said he didn’t need any assistance. Bob continued back to the resort where he reported his sighting to me. I growled. I couldn’t believe anyone could be so stupid, but on second thought, I knew I should never be surprised by what some people will do!
I scanned the ocean, but could only see the outline of the Brook Islands on the distant, eastern horizon. There was no sign of the lone sailor. Dusk fell, followed quickly by the darkness of night. Ted jumped aboard “Lady of the
Around that night, Ted pulled into
So when I spotted David and Jamie in the pool with the sailing craft so soon after that incident, I saw “red”. Their actions made my words to the foolish guest redundant. Anyway, my anger didn’t last for long. We laughed about it once they returned the boat back down to where it belonged. Jamie’s time on the island was good for everyone. He won the hearts of my staff, both male and female. Also, I think it served an important time in his growing up.
It was a Saturday. A journalist from the “Townsville Bulletin” was expected on the Reef Cat, which was arriving around . He was visiting the island that day to gather information for an exposé he was writing about the island for his newspaper. I planned to lunch on mud crabs with him as we discussed the business of the day. The telephone in my office rang. A friend of Jamie’s was on the other end of the telephone, calling from
That evening the staff got together and a small party “for” Jamie eventuated. We toasted Jamie's future and in his absence, we wished him well.
Some of the staff and I heard from him a couple of times after he returned to the States, but as life has a habit of interfering, contact was eventually lost.
(I don't know why a portion of my post came up in smaller font...I've tried to correct it, but for reasons known only to blogger, I'm unable to rectify the situation!)