‘I need to call in to the Mission tomorrow,’ I said to the skipper.
‘Okay Taubada. Quick way - straight up this channel. Leave early, we go with tide. Be there when the sun overhead.’
‘What about the main channel? How long will that take?’
‘We go out to sea first. Then we enter channel. Then we be pushing upriver but tide coming down. Maybe we get there in dark. But weather is okay.’
The skipper was a crusty old Kiwai, born to a sea-going life and long experienced as crew in small government coastal ships. Now he was skipper of this half-cabined work-boat named Urunga after the NSW north coastal town where it was built.