Perie Banou III – A cautionary tale for these unusual times

Mariner Jon, a distinguished member of the S&S 34 Association (ie my brother Jon Sanders) as most would know has circumnavigated the globe 7 times in a yacht, rounded Cape Horn solo 5 times, crossed the Great Australian Bight 31 times, transited the Panama Canal twice and the Suez Canal 4 times in yachts etc etc, and has the intrepid occupation of “Professional yachtsman” delivering small boats for clients. [This is a story not an ad although he is always looking for more clients]

Anyhow, he is just back from delivering a 58ft cruising yacht from Sydney to Malta. The journey had its upside, balmy great days off the Great Barrier Reef and the Maldives, matched against a long very hot and stormy spell in the Arabian and Red Seas, not to mention a late night close encounter with a motorboat crewed by persons with questionable intentions, and a gear-box failure which required sailing the boat for an untimely stop in Jedda, Saudi Arabia. But that is not the purport of this story. _

Jon and his crew-hand duly delivered in October the yacht to its owner in Malta, then with him took a short holiday in Ireland. However, around two weeks ago while Jon was in Ireland my telephone rang ominously at 3.10am dragging me from a dreamy sleep.

I answered the phone to be quickly told in powerful and loud tones that this was Melbourne Airport and they (who ever they were) wanted Jon Sanders urgently, and that meant “now”. Further they wanted to know why a package addressed to Jon via my address had arrived from Malta and who was Jon Sanders, what did he do, where was he, and wherever he was why was he there? Question upon question. All not really difficult questions to answer but in the early hours of the morning and not knowing the bona fides of the caller, I dragged out my response. Moreover, I was not anticipating a package, and the caller wouldn’t tell me what it involved anyway. The questioning finished at 3.35am and I returned to bed very perplexed and no wiser.

The worry was resolved fortunately at 8.00am as the telephone went again and this time it was Jon in Ireland. I immediately asked whether he had got a call from Melbourne Airport or whomsoever as I had given the “urgent” caller Jon’s mobile number. I had been” “sceptical that his mobile would be on, because for a long periods at sea he keeps it tucked away. And that was the case. “No I’ve received no calls, the phone is in my sea-bag. I am simply ringing for some information about coming home”.

“Well then what was the package air-freighted to my address from Malta” I asked. “That’s my charts and sextant, they are too bulky to take on holiday. I bundled them up with some of Nathan’s (the crew-hand) gear and air-freighted them to you”. I instantly realised the problem:
Unaccompanied Charts with course routes of – the east and north coast of Australia, the Torres Strait, the northern and western Indian Ocean – Christmas and Cocos Islands, the Arabian and Red Seas etc.

Dont leave your charts around! But that was not the end of a good story. It turns out, that Nathan’s gear comprised a surfboard neatly packaged in a bag within which during the voyage he had kept his clothes for washing. Oh! and it seems that he also kept his washing powder in that very same bag.

We are reliably informed that on arrival in Melbourne Airport surfboard and all were liberally covered in fine white dust. Now that is a no no. Nathan’s mother was called out around 3.40am the same morning as me to try and conjure up a plausible explanation for officialdom.

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