I have now grown tired of catching the morning train from Subiaco to Fremantle only to walk it's streets and alleyways in search of some good news. Hopefully this was the last blind venture in and I would return back at the Dazzler's with a smile.
Optimism levels were low as I made my way along the coastal road to the Willhelmsmen offices, my eyes were acutely focused on the face of Dariusz as I entered his office. 10 days of wandering, searching and pleading around the busiest port in Western Australia, downtrodden with blisters on my feet, surely my efforts would be rewarded?
The Thumb was now walking further along the coastal road with three thoughts in his head: 'I don't like cargo shipping companies', 'how on earth am I gonna get off this massive island' and 'I fancy a cheese and onion sandwich!'.
Willhelmsmen, my last hope, had failed to come through and my only lifeline was a freight airline service that delivers livestock to Singapore, a firm I got on reasonably well with earlier last week. I was not partial to the odds of a positive answer but would gladly sit amongst a plane load of chickens to get going.
As I was kicking stones along a beach path away from Fremantle my eyes fell upon a huge yacht club with a grand building at it's entrance. With nothing to lose, I wandered in and spouted the usual banter to the receptionist and was told to wait for half an hour for a guy called Brian to return.
The chat I had with Barbara seemed to result in my need for a job, I couldn't be bothered to try and rectify the loss of translation and sat with a three dollar Coke, the most reasonably priced transaction I have made since I have arrived. A pint of larger is £10 in Perth, a loaf of bread is £4, it is ridiculously expensive here.
Brian finds me sitting in the sun gazing out at a quiet yet full marina twirling my ice cubes around. Their is one boat within view with someone doing something on it, I was watching him as Brian called out: "Grady is it?" "it is," I reply. Again the banter of the mission at hand forces itself out. Brian is obviously the man to talk to, as he regales me with his wise take on the difficulties I am only too aware of, he nods at the boat I have been staring at: "Peter's leaving for the Cocos Islands in the next couple of days, go and ask him. There's nothing else leaving here for weeks as far as I know". So that's exactly what I do.
Walking along the jetty towards the boat I notice the owner putting his back pack on and heading for land, I catch him as he steps off his boat 'Shadow'.
"Peter is it?" I ask, and so the story comes out again. Peter loved the Thumb's story yet was caught off guard as well as being in a hurry, we exchanged email addresses and left him with my farewell comment - I will go anywhere as long as I get off this island.
"Give me 24 hours to have a think about it," was the response.
That same evening I receive a very professional list of requirements along with a criteria of what my expectations should be regarding a voyage across the Indian ocean to the Cocos islands, if all goes well it would then be onto Singapore. I have no alternative, the time scale of such a journey will chew up precious time yet I have exhausted all avenues, I have already decided if Peter will have me I will go.
The next day I head down to the Marina to get acquainted with Peter and his 38ft yacht 'Shadow'. Of course the order of the day had a serious element to it given my only previous experience of sailing was holding my winter coat up, and leaning forward into the wind on the school play ground as a kid. The day passed into evening as drinks and fellow Yachties kept coming aboard to see what I was about and to also wish Peter well on what I was beginning to understand was no sail in the park. With constant monitoring of the prospective weather being critical, departure had been scheduled for Sunday or Monday morning.