Coral Reef

Sweat ran in my eyes as I crouched by the engine. I stared hard at it, hoping to solve the unsolvable. I couldn’t, the engine was dead. The starter motor had fallen to pieces, literally. The pieces lay sullenly in the putrid mix of diesel, oil and salt water that lived contentedly in our bilge.

I put the wooden covers back on and massaged my stiff back as I climbed up into the cockpit.

The picture that met me was textbook, idyllic. Blue sky, clear, deep, tropical water. Anchored in a deserted coral atoll, a thousand miles from civilisation. Who could complain?

Jenny my wife sat gazing out over the water. She had a bottle of wine ready, glasses beside it. A celebration.

“Fixed darling?” she asked cheerily.

“Yes! Oh, actually no. Sorry this tropical paradise business has softened my brain”

“Gotta love that tropical paradise stuff. I can’t get enough.”

We both stared off over the water. The sun was getting low and the water was that magical shade of turquoise that tourist brochures feed off.

“So,” Jenny announced in her best boardroom voice, time for a status report?”

“By all means” I agreed, keeping my eyes on the horizon. You never know after all.

She counted off with her fingers

“Awe inspiring tropical heaven.”


“Perfect weather.”

“Check. In fact looks like we’re in for another perfect sunset.”

“Man and woman, ever so much in love.”

“Don’t you know it!”


“Ah, no.”

“Sails?” she queried on false alarm.

“In shreds, I’m afraid.”

“Hmmm, let’s see, radio?”

“Batteries are flat, so no.”

“How about an emergency beacon?”

“Wait!” I sat forward in mock surprise, “Oh no, my mistake. We did have one but it floated off somewhere, over there” I gestured with my hand vaguely.

“Was it switched on darling?”

“Not completely”

“More information?

“Not at all.”

“Mmmmmm, now what’s next on the check list?”

“Water?” I offered.

“Yes, that’s it.” She snapped her fingers, “Water?”

“I can say, we are now officially, out of water.”

“Well,” I said as I reached for the wine bottle, and offered it to Jenny for approval as a waiter might in a swish restaurant.

She peered over the top of her sunglasses at the label and gave a satisfied nod, then continued. “Well, it would appear, that we are totally screwed.”

I poured the wine and we sat quietly for a few minutes.

After a while Jenny said “Do you think anyone will miss us?”

I sipped my wine slowly before answering.

“I don’t know. Do you want them to?”

“Yes.” she said softly.

I reached out for her hand and we sat looking at the sky, it really was a beautiful sunset. People would be jealous.