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The Rock-itt : September 2011
If you caught the last instalment of ‘Hobart to Hollywood’, you will know that Sirocco has put into the port of Cairns in far north Queensland and Errol, in his own words, told us of a dust-up in the local Fan-Tan gambling joint in the township’s Chinatown. However, this wasn’t the only encounter with the Chinese. Through certain circumstances, Errol met a wealthy Chinese businessman by the name of Gabriel Aloysius Achun, who invited Errol and the crew to dinner one evening. Having enjoyed a good home cooked Chinese m eal they began chatting over the table and it occurred to Errol that Gabriel seemed extremely interested in the Sirocco. As they were leaving Achun drew Errol aside from the rest of the crew and invited him back next time on his own. Even though somewhat suspicious of his intentions, Errol decided to accept the offe,r curious to find out exactly what the Chinaman had on his mind. At the next meeting Gabriel Achun took Errol into his confidence explaining that he had a deal that would make the Sirocco fifty pounds richer if he were to except it. The deal was for Sirocco to sail five miles out of Cairns for Green Island where they would lay and wait for a Chinese steamer to sail past. There were certain members of the steamer’s crew who would drop a shipment of the drug, Opium overboard which would be retrieved by Sirocco and brought back to Cairns. Achun said that the authorities were watching him so he dare not make the rendezvous himself in his own boat, but Sirocco was not known by the authorities and would not be suspected. At first Errol baulked at the deal, drug running was not something which he condoned but because of the state of his bank account which was registering zero, agreed to the scheme if Achun would up the ante to seventy five pounds. The two men haggled until finally sixty pounds was agreed upon with thirty pounds now and another thirty pounds when the Opium was recovered and delivered back to Cairns. When Errol returned to Sirocco and informed the crew of the deal to smuggle Opium, all agreed with the exception of Trelawney Adams who began a heated discussion outlining the despicable act of being a dope smuggler. He told the others that degenerates dealt in that kind of business and the harm it brought to people who became addicted to its harmful ingredients was abhorrent. Sirocco under full sail This is how Errol would have seen Cairns in 1930 Green Island where Sir occo picked up the Opium drop