02 Oct PARADISE LOST
Jeannie was floating – literally on her and her husband Mark’s yacht, Marjean, which was anchored off the Great Barrier Reef in the Coral Sea off Queensland. Mark was scuba diving on the reef, shooting a video of the beautiful coral and the fishes. She had been sunbathing and was just preparing lunch for them both. Normally she would have been with him exploring and marvelling at the many exotic marine fish and plant life, but with the confirmation of her pregnancy with their first child they thought it would be wiser for her not to go diving.
When Mark returned they would have lunch and watch the video footage that he had shot that morning. Later, relaxing on the sundeck, as they always did, she knew would lead to a romantic afternoon of delight under the warm sunshine. Miles from anywhere they would go swimming naked in the sea to cool off. Jeannie smiled at the thought.
The roar of a large airplane brought her back to reality and she watched as a large four engine plane about a mile away skimmed along the surface of the sea scooping tons of water into its tank. With a roar the pilot opened the throttles to lift the fully laden aircraft into the air.
The huge Bush fires in Queensland had been raging for days and the authorities had sent in heavy duty fire fighting aircraft to assist the ground crews.
‘Foxtrot one to control, loaded to full capacity, request exact location for drop zone’ The pilot and co-pilot had been drafted in from Western states and were not familiar with the area. ‘Just head for the bloody fire and dump it in the middle’ was the reply from the exhausted controller.
The smoke was rising thousands of feet into the sky, concealing the root of the fire, so they flew in low to assess the best place to drop the water. ‘I won’t go too low or the debris when we drop could hit us’ they approached the fire the heart of the blaze was obvious. ‘On my count of three, release the doors’. The plane flew as low as it could through the smoke and burning fragments. ‘One, two, three!’ The co-pilot pulled back the release lever and tons of water dropped on to the fire. With the sudden release of weight the plane lurched upwards. ‘Bombs away’ shouted the co-pilot with a grin. They circled the fire to view the effect of their work. ‘Control to Foxtrot One. Good job done, another couple of loads in the same place should do it’ ‘Roger control, returning for another load’. The plane peeled off from the fire area and headed back out to sea.
Mark had been so engrossed in his video work, that he was quite surprised when he surfaced, that he was such a long way from their yacht. He imagined Jeannie preparing the lunch they had brought with them, allowing his thoughts to flow he thought about the afternoon and the pleasures that were promised for them both. He waved towards the yacht, realising immediately that the likelihood of Jeannie seeing him was remote. With a roar like a thousand waterfalls, the plane was on him and Mark was scooped up into the tank……….