Monday, 4 February 2013

Al Noteman's New Blog Site.

This is Al Noteman's new Blog Site.
Al at sea in Hout Bay, Cape Town. by R. McBride.
After the Novel 'Stolen Time' was published as an eBook on Amazon Kindle, Al and his wife Sonia returned to South Africa for a holiday for the first time since sailing away from Cape Town in 1993 on their home built yacht Jacana. While there seeing family and friends Al met up with his long-time sailing buddy Roy McBride who offered Al the chance to do a spot of sailing on a Dix Design 43-footer built on the west system by CKDBoats. Roy is the founder and owner of CKD Boats, a company specialising in building and supplying Dix Designed kit boats and who have exported now to more than 33 countries. It was Roy who gave Al his first taste of Ocean Sailing when in 1985 he asked Al to fly over to Rio to help him deliver an Endurance 37 from Rio back to Cape Town after the boat had taken part in the Cape to Rio International Yacht race. Roy and Al made the non-stop voyage across the South Atlantic Ocean in just 32-days on what was a heavy cruising boat.

For Info on CKD Boats etc. see Roy's Blogsite, click here; -

The novel was first published with the first cover shown below and was downloaded by over 400 people however, Al thought the cover needed to convey more detail about the actual story so he decided to add a few words to it. He therefore re-named it, (click on the title to see the book on Amazon where you may read to chapter 8 for free!

Please note that if you are using Internet Explorer as your Browser then you may not be able to see the whole blog right to the end? The end shows a notice for an auction for the sale of Slaves on St. Helena Island, so if you don't see that then I suggest you switch to Google Chrome, Firefox or Safari as your Browser, there is something wrong with Internet Explorer that they can't or won't fix it! If anyone out there knows how to fix the problem please let me know.

One of the reasons for the change of name was that there were several other novels with the words 'Stolen Time' in their titles so to avoid confusion the extra descriptive words were added.

 This is the original cover.
A copy of the new cover can be seen below.
Sunset photo's by Dee Hickling. Composition
by A. Noteman & Photoshop.


This is a work of fiction!

However, many of the characters are based on real people who inspired me is some way or other that I decided to use these people as a base for some of the characters in this work of fiction. However most of their names have been changed, all except Skip Breeze who is very much described as he was at the time we visited Ascension Island in 1994/5.  All the events are also a work of fiction, though some of the places are described from actually visiting them during our 16000-mile voyage. The foul and racist language used by some of the characters would not have been used by any of the real people that the characters are based on. But it has to be stated that South Africa in the apartheid days was home to many people who used this sort of language on a daily basis.

We sold our home and business in 1993 and moved onto the yacht then left the country in April 1994 just before the elections that brought freedom to millions of people of all races. The majority of whites and expats welcomed this, as South Africa was their home no matter who was in control, this includes our three children who have all returned and settled there. We re-visited South Africa in Jan to March in 2011 and found that massive changes had taken place, most that would benefit the poorer majority and a few that enhanced the lives of only the ones in control. Though the changes have been mainly beneficial to the vast majority there are still people on both sides of the fence who are not very happy and this is a worrying development. There is still much to be done before majority rule can claim to have been a real success!
The most amazing aspect of the change was the complete lack of bitterness towards whites and the fact that an entire functioning country changed hands completely without a major war. The leaders of some of the middle-eastern countries now going through the early stages of civil war would do well to look at South Africa. The greatest fear among the people we talked to was that it could become another Zimbabwe if events being played out right now are not controlled by the leaders. South Africa has an amazing future, with assets similar to those of Brazil and ripe for exploitation if only the new politicians get their act together.

There is no suggestion that the living people on which some characters were based carried out any of the actions or spoke any of the words attributed to them in this fictional work.
Copyright exists on all parts of this work.
©-1993 -2005-©.

Al Noteman is the pen name of Alex Notman, the ‘e’ was taken from the family name Noteman in the 17th Century; I have just restored it as my pen name! I started writing this novel while sailing from Cape Town – South Africa during the period 1993 to 1995 then continued writing it while in England and later while in Spain throughout 1996 to 2003 when it was at last completed on New Years Day 2003. Further editing continued after proof printing by UPSO Ltd. right through to Dec. 2005. I expected printing to commence in 2006. Unfortunately, UPSO went into liquidation before the book went into print and this is why it has taken so long to be launched as an e-Book.
I wish to dedicate this work of fiction to my wife Sonia, my two daughters, Simone and Lisa and to my son Dion, who was my first mate on board Jacana during the voyage. The whole family was involved in some way during the 8-years that it took to build our yacht and get it prepared for the voyage of a lifetime. Through these years, what time should have been devoted to the family was instead devoted to boat building and the RCYC Bar then later to writing! Again, the money that should have been lavished on the family was instead spent on yacht fittings and booze at the RCYC Bar. I thank all of them for putting up with me during all the years of skimping on the little luxuries that would have made their lives so much better.
Al Noteman.

A Brief Synopsis of Stolen Time; By Al Noteman.

Samantha McManus and her lover, Pete Ford are contracted to deliver the super-yacht ‘Chameleon’ from Cape Town to Brazil. En-route they are diverted to the diamond coast where a huge heist is in progress. The Peoples Liberation Army of Namibia - (PLAN), are attempting to move a huge cache of uncut diamonds from Namibia’s largest mine at Oranjezainia. The gems are needed to finance the overthrow of the recently elected SWAPO Government of Namibia a plan if successful would lead to further bloodshed in Africa. 

Recieving reports of this from their man in Oranjezainia, Directors of the Azainia Mining Company meet in Johannesburg to decide how best to recover their stolen gems but find they are faced with only two choices. The legal choice would be to alert the Namibian authorities and risk being landed with a huge fine, extortionate legal bills and a massive tax bill as well as having to share any remaining profits among shareholders!

Choice two? Though illegal was to keep quiet about the theft and recover the gems in their own way! Lofty Lowland, the tough head of mining, persuades the Chairman that the second option makes more sense and will be more profitable to the Directors, leaving them free to sell the gems quietly thereby avoiding the huge Namibian diamond tax as well as avoiding flooding the market with diamonds. After much boardroom infighting, Lowland gets his way so sets into operation a daring plan. He recruits one, Karl Muller, an ex-mercenary who Lowland tasks with recovering the gems for the company. Muller’s efforts involve armed helicopter assaults, high-speed sea chases and battles. All this takes place in Namibia, Angola and the South Atlantic Ocean. However, it is in the Amazon City of Manaus where Muller encounters the organisation behind one of the most chilling and audacious plots to undermine the third world.

Arriving there, they learn that some of the diamonds will be used to finance a gruesome life extension operation for the terminally ill Chairman of the Azainia Mining Company. Doctor’s Andrade and Narunski, who run the secret Clinica Manaus, have perfected an operation that promises to be the fabled fountain of youth but with terrible strings attached and a price tag that only the super rich can afford.

Pedro Escadore, the Colombian drug lord and owner of Chameleon, finances this clinic to launder the vast profits from his other activities. To further complicate events, word of these life-extending operations reaches SWASP, a little known branch of the CIA. Ben Polinski, its evil director decides to take control of the clinic so that he can use the procedures on third world dictators to further his aims of a New World order. He plans to create a new American Empire, starting with the puppet regimes that SWASP already controls, Polinski figures that with the promise of a longer life for these tame despots, their economies, armies, minerals and labour force, could be exploited for the benefit of the new US Empire. The logic behind his thinking was since the new longer life span offered depends on annual servicing by the medical team at the clinic, there would be no disobedience.

It seems Polinski’s plan is unstoppable. Karl Muller and the crew of Chameleon decide to take a closer look at the Clinica Manaus. What they find is beyond belief, but the involvement of the drug lord, SWASP and the CIA, suggests a connection to the very heart of the US Government. Muller’s small team is no match for such organisations so the British MI6 on neutral Grand Cayman is alerted in the hope that somehow SWASP and its evil director’s ambition can be foiled before an American version of Hitler’s Third Reich is established!

Warning: This story is set at a time before the elections in South Africa that led to independence and equality for all the people in South Africa. Though things had been improving during the apartheid years there were still people who used the language spoken in this story? Therefore the story reflects the language used by real characters. Some of these were not at all politically correct! I do apologise in advance for any offence caused to people from all races that will find this language unacceptable, even in a novel.


Chapter One: Cape Town - South Africa - July 1966.

Sergeant Finney was tired and preparing to go home after a late shift when the radio crackled into life. It was past midnight and one of his patrol vans was reporting in as usual.
 'We've found another! Much bigger and almost complete this time,' the officer reported.
 'Oh shit, better get it down to the SPCA then, Dirk,' Finney responded.
 'I don't think so Sir, you'd better come and see this one,' the patrolman countered. Finney sighed, then noted the officer's location; he was due off at two-o'clock and didn't fancy being tied up all night with another stinking carcass.'OK, I'm on my way,' he replied. The Sergeant gunned his old Ford Fairlane up DeWaal Drive to where the officer had reported finding the carcass. A flashing blue light announced the location of the patrol van; it was parked up a rough mountain road used by fire fighters. Turning on to the wet rutted track he winced as his car bumped and skidded its way to the rendezvous. Cape Town in July is cold, wet and windy, it was all three that night as Finney got out of his car. Pissed off at being dragged out in the dead of night again, he slammed the car-door and struggled against the horizontal rain, to confront his underlings.

THIS IS DE WAAL DRIVE CAPE TOWN, You can see the fire break track and Port Jackson tree where the body was found at the bottom left of this picture. by Al Noteman.
'OK Dirk, where is this bloody thing?' Dirk led the way up the track to a bend he stopped under a Port Jackson tree and shone his torch on to an old army blanket that was covering the shape of a body. Finney shot a look of utter contempt at his officer.
'You've wasted my time Dirk! Its just another drifter, no wonder he's dead with this bloody weather; poor sod must have died of hypothermia. Just take it to the City morgue as usual man.' With that Finney pulled down his cap and walked back down the track, hurrying to get out of the foul weather and back into his warm car.

'Wait!' Dirk called. 'I'll uncover it for you.' Finney cursed as he turned back to face the blowing rain and strode back to where the body lay.
'This had better be good,' he snarled. Using a dead branch, Dirk gently lifted the old army blanket to expose the cadaver below.
 'Jesus Christ!' Finney shrieked. 'What the hell is that?' reeling at the sight and the awful smell of the monster lying below the blanket. 'Cover the bloody thing up and get it in the back of the van quick, we can't let the press get wind of this one.

The three men rolled the body up in a plastic sheet and carried it down to their patrol car.
'Where do we take this one to then boss?' Dirk wanted to know. Finney thought for a minute.
 'Well, we can't take 'this one' to the City morgue or the SPCA, so you'll have to bring it back to the station while we think it through.' Returning to his car, the sergeant wound down the window. I'll see you boys at the station then, bring it around the back and we'll dump it in the garage for now,' he shouted, then drove off. The Sergeant made sure there was no one in the lane behind the station before opening the disused garage door. He was busy moving aside years of junk when the patrol van approached and skidded to a halt in the cleared space. The men opened the rear door and Finney helped them lift the body out of the van.

'Where do you want it?' Dirk's muffled voice asked, through a scarf covering his nose.
'Hold it there a minute boys,' Finney responded as he spotted an old pool table, 'right, stick it on here.' They did as instructed then got out of there as fast as they could. Finney was fascinated. He lifted the plastic sheet to take another look then drew back as the revolting smell hit him again but his curiosity compelled him to look once more at the horrible apparition below the sheet. He shuddered and felt the bile rising in his throat so covered the thing up again quickly before he threw up. Locking the door behind him, he made his way to the two men in the patrol van waiting outside.
'Now listen you two,' he said, through the open window, 'not a bloody word to anyone, if this gets out, you two will be looking for new jobs, do you follow?' They nodded. 'Right then, get on with your patrol I'll deal with this now.' Finney didn't sleep too well that night so was at the station early. He made coffee then at one minute past 08:00 he placed a call to a number that he had been given should more unexplained body parts turn up. The telephone was answered by the usual brusque voice.
'Colonel Marais here.'
'Oh yes, Colonel, this is Sergeant Finney at the Woodstock Police Station.'
'Yes, what is it now Sergeant?'
'Well Sir, my patrolmen have found another strange body on the mountain.'
'Where is it now?' the Colonel asked.
'Here in the station Sir,' Finney confirmed, 'its in the old garage.'
'Has anyone else seen it?'
'Only my men, and whoever killed it!'
'OK stay there with it, I'll send someone to collect it from you right away,' the Colonel ordered.' In the meantime, do not mention this to anyone, especially the press. Do you understand me Sergeant?'
'Yes Sir,'

 Twenty minutes later, a covered Chevy pickup truck pulled up at the rear of the police station and two huge men got out.
 'Where is it?' they demanded in Afrikaans. Finney opened the garage door and pointed to the pool table. One of the men pulled back the plastic sheet.
  'Holy shit,' he said holding his nose. 'How the hell did this one escape?' Finney overheard them cursing the mental hospital security system.
  'We'll take it from here Sergeant, you never saw a thing, if you know what I mean, this is a 'Boss' matter now.' Finney nodded he knew that you never crossed the boys from the Bureau of State Security, if you wished to remain healthy. The Boss men loaded the body into the back of the Chevy, slammed the doors and sped off in a cloud of wet spray and petrol fumes. Finney placed another call, this time to his contact at the mental home.
 'I've just had the Boss boys around here again,' he said.
 'What was it this time?' his contact asked.
 'You're not going to believe this,' Finney replied.
 'Try me the man on the phone replied.'
  'Well, its human I think, dead of course and rotten, must have been dead a week or so, not sure what sex, we never got a proper look at that part. I suppose the Boss boys will find out and establish a cause of death but whatever killed it did it a favour.'
  'How do you mean, did it a favour?' 
'Well, it was some sort of freak, it must have been created up at that lab in the funny farm again, its just like the others but this one is complete and has two bloody heads!
'Two heads! God in heaven, what have they done now?' Finny heard then the line went dead.


 Well, you are able to read up to chapter 8 by looking inside the cover on Amazon Kindle, to visit the page where the book is just click on one of the links below the cover image and at the end of the blog. However, here are two sample chapters from deep inside the book about one of the stranger characters hired to deliver an old tug from up the Amazon river that will collect drugs and medical samples from the Indian tribes living along the Amazons then deliver these to the clinic in Manaus.
Following this chapter is chapter Nineteen, where the super yacht Chameleon runs into heavy seas between Cape Town and the Island of St. Helena and how the young crew deal with the heavy Trade Wind sailing. These are authentic descriptions from our own encounters of this trade wind area where huge swells and high winds are common.

Chapter Eighteen: The Amazons.



COPACABANA BEACH IN Rio de Janeiro Brazil.  
        Jimmy Magnus arrived in Rio de Janeiro aboard the schedule Varig flight from Cape Town. He was met by one of Escadore's goons who escorted him to a cheap hotel in the Marina de Gloria district of Rio's Centro area.
'I'll collect you in the morning at ten so don't get pissed tonight,' the Brazilian told Magnus as he dropped him off at the hotel. Jimmy waved as the driver sped off then entered the hotel to find the receptionist. A large middle-aged woman with jet-black hair and a moustache, sat behind the desk.
'Tenho uma reserva feita,' Jimmy said to the woman in his best 'Collins' Portuguese.
'Nome?' the woman inquired.
'O meu nome e Jimmy Magnus,' Jimmy confirmed, reading from his crude translations.
'Aqui esta a confirmacao!', the moustache requested. Jimmy pushed the confirmation slip across the scruffy desk. The woman scrutinised it then asked him for his papers.

'Posso ver o seu passaporte?'
Jimmy fished out his US Passport, which the woman took and without inspecting it, locked it in a small wall safe.
'Queira preencher esta ficha, faz favor,' she added. He filled in the form that she handed him and told her he would only be staying the one night. The woman smiled then pressed a button. A small boy appeared and took Jimmy to his room. It was small but clean with a tiny en suite bathroom and a large old-fashioned double bed that almost filled the room. An open window allowed a view of the marina on the other side of a six-lane highway. Part of the huge Guanabara Bay was just visible beyond. Jimmy tipped the boy and asked his name and if he spoke any English,
'Oual e o seu nome, fala Ingles?'
'Sim, falo Ingles,' the boy replied, 'but just a leetle,' he added, 'my name is Lorenzo.'
'OK Lorenzo, that's better than I can do in Portuguese. My Spanish is not bad but this lingo's weird boy, say, can you organise me a cab after I get washed up?'
Sim, nao problemo Senhor, I will get my beeg brodder he has the best cab in the whole of Rio, he will look after you very well Senhor, and will get anything you want, OK?'
'OK!' Jimmy smiled at this offer knowing how things worked in this part of the world.
'Well Sonny, I'll call you when I'm ready, thanks a lot.' Lorenzo left a happy chap, he knew his brother would include a percentage commission for him in the cab fare and whatever else he might arrange for this Gringo tonight.
Jimmy looked around the cramped hot bedroom and to his amazement found there was a small refrigerator by the bed.
The temperature outside was around forty degrees centigrade so he opened the fridge door and found it stacked with booze. Selecting a can of Antarctica beer he ripped the tag off and downed its contents in one then after a quick cold shower, Jimmy dressed in his best blue shirt and casual denims then called Lorenzo on the intercom to order the cab. Lorenzo proudly introduced Jimmy to Georgio, his cabby brother.
'Where to Gringo Jim,' Lorenzo asked, all business-like.
'Lord Jim's London Pub,' Jimmy told them, 'it's my dad's,' he winked at Lorenzo.
'Take my big Gringo friend here to Lord Jim's,' Lorenzo instructed his elder brother, 'make sure he gets anything he wants and comes to no harm, compreendo?'
'Compreendo Lorenzo.' Georgio had to smile at the young Turks cheek. Jimmy climbed in the front and sat next to Georgio and was relieved to find that he spoke reasonable English and knew Rio like the back of his hand. The cabby handed Jimmy a card with his mobile number and told him to call him anytime.
'I cover the whole of Rio,' he said, 'you won't find a more honest fare in town.' They pulled up
outside what appeared to be a typical English pub complete with old-fashioned red telephone box outside.

Jimmy paid the fare and walked into the pub. Inside, four men were playing a game of darts in one corner while people queued three deep at the bar waiting for their pints to be drawn from old style draught beer pumps. The beer pumps, optics, bar counters and fittings, in fact the whole building itself had been brought stone by stone all the way from London to this amazing bit of England in Brazil.
Jimmy ignored the crowded bar and went up a flight of narrow stairs to the second floor where a small restaurant was situated. A few couples sat at cast iron; wooden topped tables eating fish and chips and other typically English food. Jimmy found an empty table and waved the waitress over.
'Uma cerveja por favor,'
'Sim Senhor, Antarctica ou Brahma chop?' the young waitress inquired.
'I'll have the draught,' Jimmy replied. The Brahma arrived and Jimmy sat sipping the icy beer served in a frosted schooner while he waited for his date to arrive. Hope Georgio got it right, he was thinking to himself when a very attractive dark skinned girl emerged from the ladies room and glided over to his table.

THE LORD JIM PUB IN IPENEMA Rio de Janeiro by Roy McBride.

'I'm Nice,' she said, 'you must be James.'
'You sure are honey,' Jimmy chuckled, 'is that your real name? Here sit down, please,' he pulled out the bench seat.'
'Yes it's my real name and it's nice to meet you James. Georgio sent me for you, shall I stay?'
'You bet, what would you like to drink?'

'Scotch, J&B porfavor,' she replied. Jimmy winced; real scotch was the most expensive drink in Brazil because it was imported while most of the other shorts including the local whisky were produced from sugar cane. Blended in Brazil the local spirit came in special bottles fitted with a glug-glug, a one-way valve to prevent tampering and diluting the contents. You knew you were getting the real stuff when there was no glug-glug in the bottle neck. Jimmy ordered the whisky and a bottle of Club soda.

'Fumar?' Nice inquired, offering Jimmy the cigar box.
'No thanks, I don't use them any more,' Jimmy replied, 'but you go ahead, I really don't mind.'
Nice pulled out a long thin cigar and lit up, blowing a cloud of blue smoke over Jimmy's head.
This is going to be an interesting night he thought as he watched her with the glass of scotch in one hand and the smouldering cigar in the other.
'Nice you sure are an interesting woman,' he whispered conspiratorially. She just smiled. 'Muito obrigado Senhor, but there are far more interesting things we could talk about, tell me about yourself.' Jimmy knew all about Brazilian Carioca women, they were reputed to be among the best in the world at making a man feel like a king. They genuinely treated their men with respect and did everything they could to please them, in most cases for a few drinks and a night out.
Jimmy rambled on about his life at sea, which most European or American women would have been bored stiff with, but Nice just stared dreamily into his eyes, asking the odd question and touching his arm affectionately from time to time.
'How about a bite to eat, I'm starving,' Jimmy suggested.
'Yes, but not here,' she replied, 'this is all very well for Brazilians, they like to eat English style now and again but I want to show you how we Brazilians eat.' She pulled out her mobile phone and dialled Georgio. He will collect us outside in five minutes,' she confirmed. Jimmy called the waitress over and asked for the bill. She shot him a blank look. 'Quanto por favor?' Jimmy added, and the bill promptly arrived.
Georgio was as good as his word and was waiting for them parked up with two wheels on the sidewalk as they emerged from the pub.
'Mario's Churrascarias - Ipanema,' Nice ordered the cabby.
'Sim Menina,' he replied then stabbed his foot down slamming the couple deep into the rear seat. His erratic driving must have been part of the plan as it threw the rear occupants all over each other, breaking the ice in the most natural way. By the time they arrived at Mario's Churrascarias, Jimmy and Nice knew each other so much better. Nice paid the cab then led him towards a restaurant with a few people waiting outside.
'There's always a queue here,' she said, 'it's one of the best restaurants in town, but don't worry we will get a table soon they know me here.'
As they queued, a waiter appeared from inside with a silver tray of small glasses of wine and beer, he offered the people queuing outside a drink 'on the house' while they waited.
'Now that's what I call civilised,' Jimmy beamed, taking a glass of beer for himself and handing Nice a glass of white wine. After a few minutes, they were shown inside and a place was found for them at a long bare wooden topped table. They sat opposite each other at the end of the table and greeted the other people as they joined them there. The place was buzzing, a Brazilian band belted out 'Lambada' above the dance floor on which young people were gyrating to the sexy music. Large wooden steak boards were placed before them and the Maitre d' arrived to explain the menu. Nice ordered the food and a bottle of wine for them both without consulting Jimmy

'I've ordered the Churrasco misto, it's a mixed meat barbecue, you'll love it, it's the best dish in the house and it comes with a bottle of one of our great vinhos. You can't keep drinking beer with this meal James or you will never eat all they bring you,' she chided. The wine was served and a large circular tray with many sections was placed on the table. This held a variety of nuts, tomatoes, onions, green peppers and hot sauces. Flames leapt into the air at one end of the long room as what appeared to be four cowboys in white aprons and Gaucho hats tended the long meat laden skewers over red-hot coals. One of these approached their table with a laden skewer and banged down the sharp end onto the table while holding the other end vertical. The hot glistening meat suspended between, then using a long, razor sharp sword he dramatically sliced off a thick piece of perfectly barbecued steak that fell onto Jimmy's board. A second Gaucho arrived with a similar skewer but with a whole leg of pork on it. From this, he sliced for Nice then added a smaller slice to Jimmy's board. A third man appeared with steaming pots of roast potatoes and hot vegetables.
'Bon Appetite James, they will bring more meat whenever you ask,' she explained. Jimmy had never experienced anything like this before and started on the juicy steak with gusto then noticed that Nice had an extra piece of strange, burnt looking meat.
'What's that?' he asked.
'Carne de Sol,' she said, cutting a thin slice and putting it into his mouth.
Jimmy crunched into the burnt crust and found tender succulent steak below the crispy surface. 'Mm that's great, what the hell have they done to it, it is steak isn't it?'
'Yes, it's salted then dried in the sun first then barbecued to perfection here. Interesting dish don't you think? However it's best that you don't see it hanging in the sun.' She poured them each a glass of the smooth red wine to take his mind off that last remark. At last, they were satisfied and it was getting late so Nice asked for the bill, which she handed to Jimmy. He looked at the total and noticed it came to only fifty $Real. 'That's about forty dollars,' he said incredulously.

Nice was amused and pleased that Jimmy found it so reasonable and hoped he would find her other charges reasonable as well.
'I'll call Georgio,' she announced, 'would you like coffee while we wait? He may be a while, it gets very busy at this time of the night.'
'Yes that's fine, it's about all I could manage after that feast,' he replied.
'Cafe porfavor, um puro, um com nata.'
She ordered one with cream for Jimmy. The cab duly arrived and they were treated to the same wild driving all the way back to the hotel. This time there were no inhibitions at all. At the hotel Jimmy paid the cab but noticed, it was twice what Nice had paid for their earlier trip. She quickly explained that the cab fares were always double after midnight.
The hotel lobby was deserted except for a mangy looking cat sat on the register. They climbed the stairs quietly up to Jimmy's room.
'Drink?' he offered.
'Scotch please,' she replied, kicking off her shoes and pushing them under the bed. Nice sat down on the end of the bed and fished around in her handbag then while Jimmy was pouring the drinks she rolled a joint. Jimmy passed her the scotch and placed his own on top of the fridge while he took off his jacket and shoes. Sitting on the opposite side of the bed, he watched as she lit the joint. Taking a long drag from it, she passed it to him. He took a quick puff then sipped his scotch, all the time watching her intently. She took another long drag on the joint then removed her dress, wriggling out of it sensually and letting it slide to the floor, all the time returning Jimmy's dumb struck gaze. He blinked and reached for the joint, this time taking a longer draw. He felt the tensions ease.

'Good stuff,' he said, 'where's it from?'
'Peru! Please help me here.' She turned her back towards him so that he could release her bra clip then turned to face him, shaking her shoulders tantalisingly allowing the bra to fall onto the bed, inches from where Jimmy sat. His eyes were transfixed as she stood over him and started to remove his shirt then his trousers. Conscious of looking comical in his boxer shorts and socks, he quickly pulled them off.
'Oh dear that won't do will it, she said, looking down at Jimmy's limp member. It appeared to be suffering from the advanced stages of brewer's droop.
'I'll have to do some work on that poor thing,' she said, sliding her panties down and straggling him while smoking the joint. Jimmy watched in amusement as her breasts wobbled around as she squirmed up and down his stomach and chest in her attempt to raise the dead. This tactic wasn't working, so suddenly she jumped off him and bounced into the shower cubicle. Jimmy watched her soap herself all over then tiptoe back all wet and slippery dripping warm soapy water all over him.

This time she straddled him the other way round then lay down with her mouth just touching his still limp member and her rump in Jimmy's face.
He raised his head so that his mouth was just an inch from her glistening pubic hair then grabbed her hips and pulled her onto him, thrusting his tongue into the mass of dark wet hair. A squeal of delight told him he had found his mark and a sudden tingling told him that her mouth had found its mark and was doing the intended job on his booze slugged schlong. Within seconds he could hear her gagging on the increased size she was trying to swallow and knew that the old thing had not let him down, his worst fears had been allayed once more.
Nice tore her mouth from him, spun around so that she was facing him and slowly eased herself onto the engorged shaft which only a minute ago would have been like fucking a slug. She squirmed around in this position for ages while sipping the scotch and even rolled and lit a second joint that she put between Jimmy's lips after taking a drag herself. This seemed to trigger something wild inside her and she allowed herself to roll over pulling Jimmy on top of her, gripping him with her long slender legs, her head now hanging off the edge of the bed. Jimmy hadn't been in such an energetic love making session for years and wasn't sure he could keep up with this young nymph for much longer but he tried not to disappoint her.

He plodded away in his own old fashioned manner until she produced a small silver box, removed the lid and placed it under his nose.
'Take a good snort,' she told him, 'it will help you, and me as well I hope.' She took a pinch herself, sniffed it in and waited for the results. That magic powder made things happen all right, they went wild with lust and passion Jimmy was like some rodeo cowboy riding a raging cow and all the time shouting, 'Go baby Go,' in his American twang, while ignoring the pain in his back.
When the affects of the narcotics wore off later, the pain came back with a vengeance, his back had gone out again. He slid to the floor in agony and had to spend the rest of the night there covered by a sheet while she slept like a log in the double bed.
Jimmy was a happy man, sore but happy as he paid Nice for her services the next morning. Before she left, she had one more surprise.
She offered him an 'extra' service. Jimmy winced, he knew he could never rise to the occasion again, powder or no powder.
'No not that she laughed, just lie down on your stomach on the floor. Go on do as I say, I'll help your back.' Jimmy grinned and did as she ordered. She sat down in the middle of his back and took hold of one of his legs, bringing it back as far as she could until he was groaning. She repeated this several times, alternating his legs, then did the same thing with his arms. After that, she thumped his backbone with her fists; pulled his head back till he thought she was going to strangle him then walked up and down his spine with her bare feet.

'Right, now turn on your side lover,' she ordered. 'Bring your leg right up as far as you can and hold it there. Now turn on the other side and do the same and keep alternating like that for the next hour.'
She bent down, kissed him and said goodbye.
'Next time you're in Rio James just call Georgio, he will bring me to you and hey, 'thanks' I enjoyed myself.' Before she left him with his leg around his neck, she tossed him a small bag of the powder.
'If the pain returns, try that it's 'Amol' you can buy the stuff all over Brazil and it doesn't hook you like Charlie or 'H'.
When Jimmy finally managed to get off the floor he found that he could stand up without pain, his back was fine. He shoved the Amol in his holdall, went for a shower, dressed then went down to the lobby to wait for Escadore's driver.
The receptionist with the moustache greeted Jimmy at the desk.
'Bom dia Senhora,' Jimmy responded brightly. She pushed the account over to Jimmy.
He checked it and did a swift double take.
'What's all this?' he shouted. The woman pressed the button and Lorenzo appeared.
'Problemo Jim?'
'Yeah, this is more than twice the rate you quoted me yesterday for that room, what's going on here?'
'Let me see, oh yes I see you had drinks from the fridge, see there they are shown, and also there is the full charge for the double room, you were not alone Senhor?' Lorenzo questioned.

Jimmy grudgingly paid the account realising that they knew all about his debaucheries last night and had charged him accordingly. Made too-much damn noise, he thought as he collected his passport.
The car arrived dead on time and Jimmy climbed in the back. He was whisked away by the same man who had delivered him the day before.
'Where are you taking me now,' he asked.
'To the airport of course, you have a plane to catch.' They pulled up outside the departure hall of 'Aeroporto do Galeao' and the driver handed Jimmy a ticket.
'Your flight to Manaus is checking in at eleven o'clock, be sure you're on it! Mr. Escadore has a very short fuse and he don't tolerate late comers.'
Jimmy boarded the plane with time to spare and settled down in a window seat ready for the eighteen hundred mile four hour flight to Manaus. The stewardess was one of those Brazilian beauties with cat like features, olive skin and long blue-black hair. She reminded Jimmy of a sphinx and he realised that this girl owed her stunning looks in part to the South American Indians who's ancestors had managed to cross the Bering Straits all those years ago. As he was fantasising, the stewardess pushed her hand towards his crotch and with a cheeky smile told him to fasten his seat belt.

The flight was into its second hour when the pilot announced that they were to make an unscheduled landing at Brasilia to collect some VIP's. Jimmy resigned himself to the fact that he would be late in Manaus and hoped that Escadore would make allowances for his own state Airline's lateness. The stop in the new Capital was very brief, with the plane hardly halting at the make shift boarding ramp to allow the VIP and his bodyguards to board, then within twenty minutes they were airborne again. After lunch was served, Jimmy prepared to take a nap to try to catch up with the sleep he had lost the previous night. He was settling down when a huge hairy man who looked as though he had been squeezed into his suit, came down the isle and stopped by his seat.
'Senor Magnus?' the man inquired. Startled at the mention of his name. Jimmy answered with a stuttered, 'y-yes.'
'Come with me!' It was not a request. Jimmy followed the man down to the forward part of the aircraft and into the first class section. There were two men in this section apart from Jimmy and his escort. 'Sit down please, Mr. Magnus,' one of the seated men ordered. Jimmy did as he was told and sat down next to the man.
'I represent the company that has hired you, there has been a change of plans and I have to give you these new instructions.' He handed Jimmy a thick A4 envelope.
'When we land at Manaus you must go right to the private aircraft hangar and meet this man,' he handed Jimmy a small business card. 'You will find him in the pilots lounge, this will get you in there,' he gave Jimmy a security pass and electronic swipe card. 'Once you have boarded the other plane you can open your instructions, they will tell you what to do when you arrive at your destination.'
'And where might that be Sir,' Jimmy said without a trace of sarcasm.
'Where the hell is that?'
'That is in my country,' the man said, 'in Peru.'
'Peru? I thought I was going to deliver some Tugboat to Manaus, what's Peru got to do with it.'
'Keep your voice down Mr. Magnus, it is not healthy to speak so loud in this part of the world, especially when you are working for Mr. Escadore, comprender amigo?'
'Si amigo, la comprender,' at least he speaks Spanish Jimmy thought. The meeting was over and the hairy man nudged Jimmy to return to his seat in the economy class. The dark-haired beauty didn't miss this exchange and was now sure that Jimmy must be a major dealer or a very important Gringo to be visited by those scary men in the first class section. For the rest of the flight, he received her special attention.

As the aircraft lost altitude on its approach to Manaus Jimmy could make out the shining rivers snaking in and out of dense jungle. The trees were so thick that it seemed the plane could land on the verdant canopy. The atmosphere inside the aircraft became humid and smelled like a hothouse as it crossed the latitude of four degrees South of the equator.
It was like being hit in the face by a hot wet blanket as Jimmy stepped from the plane. He walked as fast as possible to the terminal building in the hope that it would be air-conditioned, it was but it made little difference it was still like a sauna inside. After collecting his holdall from the carousel Jimmy headed for the private charter compound as instructed and used the pass to enter. He was amazed that there was no customs or immigration post to clear. Then he remembered that Manaus is a duty free Port.
It took a while to locate the man named on the card, but eventually he found him working on a twinengine aircraft.
'Boa tarde Senhor Magnus,' the man said, then in English, 'I'm your pilot Hans Vogel, how was your flight?'
'Not bad,' Jimmy replied, 'German hey,' he added.
'Ja, my father came out here after the war, I grew up in the Amazons, went to Germany once but it's not for me, too many people and too many rules. The people there in Europe all seem to run on rails. I like it here where there are fewer people and no rules at all, only the laws of the jungle.'
'Well I'm starving,' Jimmy said, 'I could eat a scabby horse, is there some place we can get a bite?'
Hans laughed. 'Well you may have to in these parts. Look, it's too late to fly out now and anyway I still have to finish off this service so we can get an early start tomorrow, come on I'll take you for a snack.'

The charter section had a small canteen where the mechanics and pilots could eat between flights. Hans guided Jimmy to a grubby table while he ordered drinks and suggested the pato no tucupi.
'What the hell kind of a dish is that?' Jimmy asked.
'Wild duck and tacaca broth with manioc starch, you'll love it, the manioc leaves will numb your tongue so you can't taste the scabby horse they use to make the broth with,' Hans joked.
'We'll have to get off early tomorrow, it's quite a flight for a light plane and takes longer the way I fly.' Jimmy looked askew at this remark.
'Howdya mean, 'the way I fly.'
'Relax amigo, I mean I'm not going direct, I fly up the river, it's just a habit, don't need to now with GPS and all but I've done it for years and like it that way. Anyway, you'll get to see the best part of the Amazon from the air before you bring that old tub down it.' Hans shoved an A4 map of the area at Jimmy.
'That's the route, let me know if there's anything you need to see along the river tomorrow so I can get down low. It's always best to check out your route on the way up then you'll have some idea what to expect on the way down.'
'How far is it to where I pick up this boat? Jimmy wanted to know.
'About fourteen hundred miles by air, it's a bit longer coming back for you though. We should do it in about seven hours but I expect it will take you at least three weeks, depending on how many pick-ups you have to make,' Hans explained.
'Pick-ups, what pick-ups?'
'That's the whole point of your trip down river my friend!' 'You have to stop at each of the feeders to collect samples that have been brought down by dugout, it's all timed so there's a minimum of sample decay.' This started to sound very complicated to Jimmy who had not opened his instructions yet, but he supposed they wouldn't be paying him so well if it was an easy job. That night while staying in the spare bedroom at Hans' place, Jimmy read-through his instructions. He checked the map of the Amazon between Manaus and Atalaya and noted that there were numbered crosses at all the junctions where tributaries joined the main stream of the Ria Ucayali between Atalaya and Orelana. The notes said he had to stop at each of these, make a connection with the traders and load their cargo onto his boat. A list of names and places was included detailing where he might meet these traders. There was a sealed plastic packet with currency in it, he broke the seal and counted five thousand $Real. A note said it was for food, fuel, and expenses and to pay any crew he may need. It warned that a full account of expenditure would be required.
A slamming door jerked Jimmy awake at six am. It was Hans with a mug of sweet black coffee.
'We leave in half an hour,' he said. Jimmy found the bathroom, did his thing and splashed his face with cold water, dabbing at the sore red splotches where mosquitoes had been dining off him during the night. It took less than twenty minutes to get to the airport where Hans lifted the cowling and made some final adjustments to the motor
'Climb in and make yourself at home, stick your bag in the back there.' Hans buckled himself in and started up the port engine, once it was running he cranked the starboard engine, which burst into life with a cough. Hans cleared with the tower then taxied onto the deserted runway. After going through his pre-flight checks, he pulled back both throttles at once then released the brake and the little plane shot forward rising slowly into the morning breeze.
As soon as they were airborne, Hans headed due east down the Rio Negro as far as the major confluence where it meets the mighty Amazon. Here, Jimmy stared down in awe at the turbulent waters. He wondered how he would navigate this major junction and hoped that his boat would have sufficient power to get through it. The dark rushing waters of the Rio Negro were visible as it joined the crystal-clear waters of the Amazon. Jimmy noticed how the dark waters did not mix with the clear water but flowed in separate currents for miles.

'I'd like to get a closer look at these pick up places,' Jimmy said, pushing the map marked with crosses in front of Hans.
'No problem, but It'll be a while before we reach your last stop,' he replied as he banked the plane right, sweeping around on to a westerly heading to follow the Amazon towards the border with Peru. They flew at low level just above the treetops for sixty miles until they came to another major confluence where the Manacapuru joined the main stream.
'That's where your last pick up will be, it should be an easy one it's quite civilised this far down,' Hans pointed to a small village on the northern bank. For the next four hours, they flew at high level until they reached the small town of Tabatinga. Here, Hans put the plane down on a private strip some miles from the town.
'We need to fuel up here,' he said, 'I need full tanks from here on if I want to get back. From Tabatinga! Hans flew directly to Orellana, cutting some miles off, then flew just above tree height each time they approached one of the pick up points to let jimmy see for himself. At last they reached Atalaya and landed just before dark on a small dirt strip in a jungle clearing to the south of the town.
As soon as the plane came to a halt an old Land Rover with two men dressed in camouflage pulled up alongside where Jimmy was ordered to, 'get in'. There was hardly time to say goodbye to Hans before he was whisked away. An hour later the Landrover pulled up alongside a rickety dock on the Urumbamba River, Jimmy winced as he looked at the old tug tied to it.
'Shit it's a bloody coal burner!' he exclaimed. The two men never spoke but climbed on board and unlocked the sliding door to the bridge.
'Hope you're not expecting me to stoke this rust bucket as well,' Jimmy said.
'Just check her out,' the larger of the two men snarled.
'Oh you can talk then?' Jimmy replied.
'Check your charts, we leave at dawn,' the big man said. 'You'd better take the bridge bunk, we'll use the forward cabins, now be ready to leave at six.' It wasn't as bad as it first seemed, the bridge had been completely refitted and there was every modern piece of equipment one would expect on a modern trawler; the twin Morse controls told Jimmy that this was no coal burner. Jimmy spent the next hour inspecting the engine room, prop shafts, generators and fuel tanks until he was satisfied that all seemed ship shape. He then inspected the electronics and charts. There were charts covering the entire river system as well as the coastal regions of the East Coast of Brazil to the north and south of Belem. The logbook said that the last service had been carried out three week before, in Iquitos.
Well not much more I can do tonight, he thought as he climbed up onto the skippers bunk. Deadbeat from the long journey, he was fast asleep in minutes. That night however, the dreams came again, this time they were bad ones where Jimmy found himself in turbulent waters with two morons on a raft which was breaking up, a plane was buzzing him and he reached out to swat at it.
 'Fucking mosquitoes,' he groaned in his sleep.


Chapter Nineteen, Trade Wind Sailing.
The trade winds had arrived with a-vengeance. Chameleon was screaming along at 20 knots and for the last few days the crew had spent most of their time trying to keep the big cat sailing down wind without broaching. Though they had gybed often to keep the wind from being dead aft, it was no easy task, as the on-board autopilot couldn't handle the mountainous swells they had encountered. Sam was at the wheel as they rocketed down another monster swell, she checked the wind speed indicator and was shocked to see it peak at fifty knots.
'Christ Pete, get those buggers out of their bunks, we need some help up here,' she shouted over the howling wind. Pete wound in more of the huge foresail but there was no decrease in speed.
'There's just too much windage on that 'A' frame mast,' he shouted back above the din of flogging sails.
'If we don't slow down soon,' Sam shouted, 'she's going to broach, I can't hold her much longer Pete. Straining against the pull of the wheel, Sam did her best to keep the cat running true down the face of the curling swells. Pete looked astern and was amazed at the sheer size of the following seas. Each time they crested one of the huge swells all he could see for miles were the white topped foaming mountains of water moving like an express train.
'The problem is we're trying to outrun these swells,' he said to Sam as he came to take the wheel from her. 'We should be allowing the seas to pass under us instead. I'll take it for a while, go and see if you can rouse Muller from his bunk to give us a hand.'

'Karl, Karl!' Sam screamed into Muller's bunk trying to overcome the thundering sounds below but nothing happened. Muller was dead to the world. She took hold of his huge arm with both her tiny hands and found that she couldn't encircle even his forearm.
'Man, it's a giant we have here,' she said aloud tugging at his arm until eventually he grunted half-awake.
He looked up at her as if in a dream.
'Wat nou Meisie?' Muller muttered in his strange tongue.
'Karl, we need someone up topsides to give us a hand now, do you feel up to it?' Sam asked. Muller shook his head and stared at his surroundings, then realised where he was and sprung out of the bunk cracking his head on a beam. 'Donder en Blits,' he said to himself then looked at the tiny child like figure in front of him and wondered how such a delicate thing could survive this pounding.
'How can I help?' he said at last holding back the terrible feeling that the violent movement was inducing into his head and stomach. The feeling of guilt as he looked at this little girl coping with these terrible conditions, had him out of his bunk in a flash .
'We're into a storm force southeaster with big seas,' Sam told him. 'Peter and I have been at the helm for twenty four hours non stop now and we're completely shot, we have to slow the boat down to get some rest and we need your help to do that,' she said.
'No problem Meisie,' he said, 'just show me what you want me to do.' Sam led her big helper by the hand out of the hull and onto the bucking deck. Muller's eyes opened wide, he had never seen seas like this before.
'Are we going to sink?' he asked. Sam chuckled,
'No Karl, not if you do your job right.' Muller gripped the handholds and crept after Sam as she led him to one of the forward lockers.
'Open that hatch Karl but watch for water from ahead,' she instructed. 'If you see us dive into a wave, slam it shut till we're through it, OK? Now can you see a big coil of rope in there with what looks like little parachutes on it?'
'Ja, I see it, what must I do with it?' he said retching for the first time in his life.
'Pull the whole thing out in one but don't let any bit of it slip over the side or we've had it, now get it back to the aft deck as fast as you can.'
'Ja Meisie, ek kan.'

With a super human effort on the bouncing fore-deck Muller hoisted the one hundred metres of
twenty-millimetre nylon line from the locker then secured the lid shut again before staggering aft with the heavy coil. Pete watched from the cockpit as he battled to keep the boat on track with the wind speed increasing to sixty knots throwing white foam over the decks.
'Take the wheel Sam,' Pete shouted over the crashing din, 'I'll rig the drogue with Muller. Sam took the wheel while Pete furled in the remaining foresail so they were now running under 'bare poles'. Sam knew that the big cat racing guys would be loving this right now, flying bags with the crew screaming their delights as they rocketed down the swells. However, racing tactics would not be used with this small crew, especially if they wished to deliver the clients boat in one piece. Sam kept an eye on the following sea and could see the men rigging the series drogue on the after deck. Each time she looked back a new mountain of water appeared to be advancing menacingly towards her.

Balancing on the starboard sugar scoop up to his waist in white water Pete instructed Muller to pass him the free end of the drogue then he passed this through a heavy fairlead. He brought this back onto the after deck where Muller was waiting. 'We have to secure a weight to this outboard end to keep it down in relatively still water as the line is deployed. If we don't, the line will just skip over the tops of the swells and do us no good at all.' Muller was about to ask why, but the cat ploughed into a trough and the whole yacht shuddered as ten knots was knocked off their speed. Muller and Pete went crashing head over heal into the Saloon through the open doors.
'You OK down there,' Sam shouted from the cockpit. There was no answer right away; just a loud guffawing as the two men untangled themselves then emerged from the saloon holding each other up like drunken sailors.
'We're OK love,' Pete shouted as another huge swell thundered past.
'OK Man!' Muller said, 'you were going to show me what to do.' Pete fitted a spinner to the inboard end of the line then tied the other end of the line through a length of lead pipe which he then fed out through the aft starboard fairlead and into the sea.
'What's your boat speed Sam?' Pete shouted.
'Still over twenty knots,' she replied.

'OK let's see if this gadget works as they say it does in the sailing books. Put the line around that big winch Karl and keep feeding the rest of the line to me making sure as it comes, those bits of nylon are able to open like a parachute.' Pete fed the rope and its chutes over the stern and into the sea while Muller kept tension on the winch and made sure that it fed in smoothly so the small parachute like drogues were not fouled and would open on contact with the water. The idea was simple enough. As the rope was fed into the sea the chutes would open and create an increasingly large drag, this would slow the boat down to prevent a broach and possible roll over or pitch-pole. Pete let out twenty metres of line so there were about six of the chutes now in the sea.
'What's your speed now Sam,' he shouted up.
'Still twenty,' she said, 'but it's made a difference, she's easier on the helm.'

Pete let out more line while Muller took the strain on the rest of the rope. Suddenly Pete stopped feeding, returning to tie the inner end of the coil to a cleat with a red face. It seemed like ages to Sam sat on her own in the cockpit fighting the wheel. However, as the men at last had the drogue fully deployed she was amazed at the transformation. The boat speed fell to eight knots and the motion was now tolerable.

'Woowee,' Sam shouted, just look at those swells passing harmlessly below us.' Pete nodded his thanks and Muller looked pleased with himself, the action having stayed off his looming seasickness, thus avoiding what to him would have been a huge embarrassment. At that moment the two bewildered and green looking South Americans surfaced.
'Typical,' Muller scoffed, 'only come to help once the rough stuff's been done.' The wind continued to increase all that day and right through the night, but with the drogue deployed and secured by a bridle from both hulls the auto pilot was able to handle the helm to keep them on course for the Island of St. Helena.

'It's just as well we stored those slabs before we hit this shit,' Pete said, as they sat down to their first decent meal since the wind came up. The four men had worked all one day trying to make the polyurethane slabs look like a part of the engine room insulation. They removed the electric drives, cables and auto navigation equipment from the rubber boat so that it now resembled a normal if somewhat long thin inflatable. They could tell the customs it was for towing the kids around with when on family charters. After the meal, Pete and Muller went down into the engine rooms to inspect their handiwork. Satisfied that all was well below, Muller cornered Pete and asked him, who was the new guy, that would be joining them on the Island.
'Lex Lexington, he's one of the worlds top boat designers, responsible for most of the hull form design on this vessel.' An Aussie genius and a good man, you two should get on well, he's also a nutter.' Muller took this as a complement and just grunted
'It's going to alter the balance of power a bit though in our favour, I hope,' Muller said.
'You still don't trust those two do you?'
'Would you trust men who changed sides as fast as they did? What's to stop them changing back again when it suits them, such as if we get uninvited company along the way?'
'Why, what sort of company are you expecting?' Pete growled. 'Don't you think you had better fill me in if there's something else about this caper you haven't told us.'
'Relax Pete,' Muller countered, I don't know a hell of a lot more than you do, but no one in his right mind allows a haul of gems like this to be taken away from them without putting up some sort of struggle. It was all too easy, so I'm sure we haven't seen the last of the bad guys yet. If your friend Lex is going to be on our side then so much the better.' 'You'd better have a word with him once we arrive at the Island to let him know that this is no ordinary delivery job.

The storm force winds lasted for a further two days then on the third day Sam spotted the massive bulk of the Island of St. Helena dead ahead. Just where 'Henry', their GPS said it would be. Standing high in the cockpit, she called the others to come and see. Muller strained his eyes but could see nothing but a big cloud where Sam was pointing.
'Just to the right of the cloud, on the horizon, you can make out the dark cliffs.' From this distance, the Island appeared as a dark smudge on the horizon. Only Pete could make it out as he was familiar with this landfall but it took another twenty minutes before Muller or the South Americans could identify it. Pete checked their position on the chart and worked out they were still twenty-five miles away.
'At this speed we'll be there in three hours, just before dark, he said.'
'Just in time for the evening session at the Consulate,' Sam grinned.
'I don't know about that with this lot,' Pete chided, 'we should get the customs sorted out first before we go boozing. In any case someone must be aboard at all times and I'm not sure we can trust those three to look after the boat on anchor if the weather turned foul.'
'Four,' Sam said, 'you're forgetting Lex, he'll be there now waiting for us with the hardware that Muller ordered and maybe something for us from Katling?'
'You're right I'd forgotten Lex. I'll bet he's been at the Consulate bar getting pissed since arriving,' Pete smiled.
'Muller,' Pete shouted to the big Afrikaner who was still looking at the Island as it grew clearer on the northern horizon.
'Ya, I can see it much better now Pete,' he replied.
'No man, I need a hand down here to take in this drogue, can you and the others come and help, it's going to be hard work.

'I'm going to try to get some slack on this line as Sam turns the boat into the wind, it's going to get very wet and bumpy but it's the only way I can get it around the winch. OK Sam, head up now!' Pete shouted. Sam switched off the autopilot and took the wheel, turning the big cat into the wind and the huge swells for the first time since leaving Namibia. There was a crashing sound as the curling tops slammed into the twin bows and showered spray over the bridge deck, soaking the men on the after deck. The motion was so violent as the cat pitched and rolled that all three newcomers lost their balance and fell over onto the wet teak deck. Pete waited while they found their feet then explained what they had to do.

'Right, we're almost at a stand still so I'm going to try to get some slack on this line.' Pete pulled at the rope streaming behind like a circus tight rope. It was bar-tight and would not budge an inch. Muller came to help and between them, they managed to get a couple of turns around one of the big winches.
'Karl, since you are the gorilla here, you man the winch handle, it has three speeds so select the one that suits your strength and wind the bugger in,' Pete instructed.
'You two tail the rope as it comes off the winch and feed it all into that sail bag.' Sam held the cat in irons while the men toiled away as they wound in the hundred metres of line with its sodden chutes. Muller wound like an organ grinder, sweat running down his face and the veins of his neck standing out like creepers around an oak tree.

'Man oh man, this is hard work,' he groaned.
'Put it in a lower gear, you 'dikkop', Pete scoffed in Afrikaans, 'and stop showing off.' Muller
scowled at Pete but slipped the winch into its middle gear and immediately it became easier to wind though now the line came in at only half its previous speed. At last, it was all coiled into the sail bag so Pete nodded to Sam to get back on track. The big cat shot off like a rocket now released from the drag of its handicap.
'Man, we're doing fifteen knots already under bare poles, lets hope the wind drops around the corner at the anchorage,' Sam shouted with glee above the roar of the passing seas. At this new increased speed they rapidly closed the Island and could now see the great rocky cliffs, the first impression when approaching from the South.

'No wonder poor old Napoleon could never escape from this fortress, Pete said. As hoped for the wind died away as they rounded the end of the Island and headed for the little anchorage at Jamestown. The last mile took them under the huge cliffs and past the old battlements built by the British during their days of glory. Those were the days when the English Man-o-Wars managed to steal half the world away from the French and Spanish fleets. They then had the audacity to lock up France's favourite Emperor on this rock. The sight of all this history absorbed Muller; he had never seen anything outside Africa before so this was to be his first foreign landfall and would call for a celebration later.
Pete started the motor; it fired first time in spite of the long period of idleness.
'Sam, take the wheel please, I'm going to rig the ground tackle, would you like to help Karl?' Muller followed his new teacher to the fore deck like a willing student.
'I stow the anchors below out of the way while we are at sea so we'll have to get one of them out now.
'It's going to be quite a handful getting it over the bow roller.' Opening one of the deck lockers Pete stood inside it and messed about for a while moving things that had been thrown around by the seas. At last he strained and lifted a huge CQR anchor that weighed over sixty pounds complete with a twelve-millimetre chain attached to it.
'Take this off me Karl and for Christ's sake don't drop it, it'll go right through this bloody deck if you do,' Pete ordered. 'Take it forward and place it over the starboard bow roller and make it secure with that stainless pin you see fitted to the stem head.'
Muller hadn't a clue what those terms meant but he could see only one place where he could lay the heavy anchor down, so he struggled on and managed to get it right first time. While Muller was picking his way forward over the gently bouncing deck, Pete fed out the chain ready for their final manoeuvre that would hook them to the land below the sea.
While the men were sorting out the anchor Sam motored into a fairly sheltered part of the bay stopping opposite the portal like entrance through the old town wall. It would be a bit further to the landing place in the tender but the sea was flatter here and there were not so many local craft anchored. She called to the men on the fore deck.

'You can let it go right there, we're in eight Metres.' Pete removed the retaining pin from the bow fitting and let the huge CQR hang over the bow, then went to the windlass and released the clutch. The weight of the anchor pulled the chain from its locker, and there was a clanging din as the chain ran out. Pete let thirty Metres of chain out to be sure, as Sam eased the cat into a slow reverse. He watched as the chain paid out slowly and he could feel it start to bounce over the rough bottom. All at once, the bouncing stopped and the chain became taut as the anchor found a soft spot and dug in.
'I think we're hooked,' Pete shouted, 'Give her a bit more power.' Sam increase the engine revs in reverse gear and the cat picked up speed, until the chain seemed to be bar tight, this pulled the bows around, halting the cats rearwards movement completely.

'OK, that's well in,' Sam confirmed. All that was left was to fix the chain hook and bridle to ensure they rode at anchor head into the wind.
'Well, we made it so far,' Sam said, 'we can afford to relax a bit now so I'm all for a frosty, how about you lot? Castro, you know where the fridge is can you get us all a beer Man,' Pete requested.
'Better get a couple of extra beers while you're at it,' Sam called, 'we're going to have company.' 'Christ said Pete 'I hope this is not going to be more trouble?' It was the customs boat approaching.




Below is an Auction notice of a slave sale under the trees on St. Helena Island.

The author wishes to acknowledge and thank, The Virginia Foundation for the
Humanities and the the University of Virginia Library for making the above image available.
By Clicking on the link above this Image you will be taken to their website where more
information on the subject of slavery may be found.

If you have read this far without falling asleep, why not buy the book while it is available at such a low price? AVAILABLE NOW ON AMAZON KINDLE, CLICK THE LINK OR Just search for,  
From Blood Diamonds to Immortality? A chilling tale of Stolen Time. By Al Noteman.

Thanks for reading so far, Al. Noteman.