They tried reaching the Haitian authorities for most of the night. There was no answer. Was there something wrong with their radio? Were they out of range? They couldn’t tell. Jonathan even tried using the satellite phone. Nothing.
A little after 3:00 am the rain stopped, and so did the wind. Belinda had no choice, but to start up the diesel. She kept it on a low speed, because they were running low on fuel. She and Robert took turns at the helm, or what was left of it. Elaine tried to sleep below deck, but kept waking up with nightmares. They heard her scream in her sleep several times, and Jonathan ran to her side. When he wasn’t next to his wife, Jonathan was working on the communications, or trying to.
At about 4:30 am, they noticed a vessel on the radar, moving quickly, from the exact direction of the attack. Was it the pirates? Usually fishing vessels traveled in groups, and it looked to be about the same size as the pirate vessel. They weren’t sure, but they were all awake now, and they all shared the same worried look on their faces.
At 5:15 am, Jonathan remembered the number to call, to reach a friend in the Dominican Republic. Col. Jorge Rodriguez. The Rodriguez family had been Jonathan’s friends since college, and owned a resort on the northern coast of the Dominican Republic, called Costa del Sol. The phone rang repeatedly, and Jonathan was losing patience. “C’mon!” “Pick up the phone.” He said. Then suddenly it was “Jorge!” The two talked in Spanish, while Jonathan explained what had happened. Col. Rodriguez promised he would get them some help. He wasn’t sure what kind of help yet, but promised that it would be quick. Several governments had been looking for the pirates, for months. Their favorite method, was to bait tourists and travelers with a distress call, and then attack.
At 6:05 am, the sun was coming up, and they noticed the vessel was following them. It was less than 25 miles away, and closing in. It was Elaine that first heard the jets. Two F-18 fighters came down out of the sky, with a roar. Would they attack?? No, they flew over, within 500 ft. of the surface, pulling back on their throttles so that everyone on the Escape would know, they were on their side. The jet thunder was deafening, and as they flew over, the four people on the Escape held their ears, then whooped and hollered for joy! “Yes!”, Jonathan yelled – “Go get em’ guys!”
What he did not know was that one of the pilots was Lt. Cmdr. Jacqueline Lopez. Her sidekick, in the other F-18 was Lt. James Jacoby. Their friends called them JLo and JJ. JLo was one of the best fighter pilots in the Atlantic.
When they got close (several miles away) to the pirate vessel, they could plainly see on their infrared camera, a swivel mounted, twin barreled machine gun, mounted in the bow. The plan was to come in low, and hit them with air to surface rockets. At one mile out they heard the enemy machine gun spring into action. “Break off!!”, It was JLo giving the command, and the jets split off to the left and right, pulling upward. “I’m going to enjoy frying these idiots”, JJ announced over the radio. “Not if I get them first!! And remember our bet!!” JLo was serious too. She wanted that expensive dinner out and he was going to be buying!
To be continued.
Writing and Image © Copyright 2015, nicodemasplusthree
Blessings to everyone.
“If you love nature, you will love people.”