Monday, April 29, 2013

Yolanda on the Yellow Sea

by M. J. Joachim

Yolanda yearned to sail her yacht on the Yellow Sea. As a marine biologist, this was something she dreamed of since her youth. Being from Yukon Territory, her journey would begin by heading south out of Icy Bay, then southwest from the Gulf of Alaska to the Pacific Ocean, before continuing west across the Pacific Ocean into the East China Sea. The Yellow Sea is the northernmost tip of the East China Sea. Yangtze River, the third longest river in the world, dumped out into the Yellow Sea.

If all went well Yolanda’s plans to gather more information on the endangered Yangtze River Dolphins would go off without a hitch. She’d been researching them for years and had dreams of photographing them in person. She also looked forward to seeing some beautiful country in the process.

As her days wore on at sea, Yolanda became very fatigued and out of sorts. What started out as basic flu-like symptoms soon ravaged her body with fever, severe abdominal pain and constant diarrhea. Her crew and staff were also getting sick. No one suspected everyone had been exposed to yersiniosis, a bacterial infection caused by eating undercooked meat products and drinking contaminated water.

Weak as she was, Yolanda made her way to the stern of the ship with her camera in hand one day. She was determined to take a few photos of her trip, even if she didn’t have energy to search for dolphins and study them. As she stood there holding the rail, a shadow appeared, then two and finally three more. Yolanda let go of the railing, raised her camera and started snapping pictures. To her amazement, a family of Yangtze River Dolphins flew through the air, chirping and singing to her as they flipped and dove in and out of the water.

Years of research were complete. She dropped her camera on the deck, then staggered and fell over the railing, the dolphins there to catch her. Carefully, they carried her swiftly down the river, back into the Yellow Sea, far away from her yacht. She was one with them now. No one ever heard from Yolanda again.

Thank you for visiting FlashTyme.

M. J.

Photo credit:  Qutang Gorge on Yangtze River, Tan Wei Liang Byorn, GFDL
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