Biggles Makes Ends Meet by W E Johns

Biggles Makes Ends Meet by W E Johns

Author:W E Johns [Johns, W E]
Language: eng
Format: epub
Tags: Adventure
Published: 2012-03-09T10:37:29+00:00



BERTIE took the Otter to its objective, completing the journey as silently as it is possible for an aeroplane to fly. That is to say, having glided the last few miles he finished by cutting the ignition and made his final approach at little more than stalling speed, touching down not at the flat end, but off the hilly northern end, at the greatest distance from the actual landing strip. The absence of surf round a rocky islet, as they passed low over it, indicated calm water, as indeed it turned out to be.

As the keel kissed the water—its wheels raised, of course—the ripples gleamed like blue fire with the phosphorescence for which certain areas of the Indian Ocean are famous, although the phenomenon can, on occasion, occur anywhere. As the aircraft surged to a halt some two hundred yards or so from the shore. Ginger could see the fiery trails of fish as they darted through the water. Having seen this sort of thing before, however, he did not comment on it.

“Nice work, Bertie,” complimented Biggles. “We’ll sit here for a bit to see which way the breeze or the tide takes us. At the same time we’ll watch the shore for signs of anyone moving. If we were seen or heard coming in someone will soon be along to investigate.”

Ten minutes passed. No challenge came. No light showed. The Otter was appreciably nearer the island.

“That’s fine,” observed Biggles. “It saves us putting out the dinghy.”

As the Otter continued slowly to drift in Ginger watched the land, although as yet it was no more than a vague silhouette, revealing no details except on the skyline, where an irregular line of palms, their fronds motionless, stood like watchful sentinels. The moon was bright, and the ripples round the hull danced like disturbed quicksilver. Where tiny wavelets were dying on the sandy beach the phosphorescence made a fascinating pattern of living fire. From time to time the usual strange, spicy aromas, thrown off by aromatic shrubs, were wafted on the almost imperceptible breeze. In short, it was one of those still, perfect tropic nights, when the whole world seems at peace.

The broad plan of the operation had been discussed on the way out. It was to be no more than a close reconnaissance for the purpose of obtaining as much information as possible. Should it be successful the Otter would return to its base there to await instructions from the Air Commodore. That he would request further particulars was almost certain. Biggles would, he hoped, be in a position to provide them.

Ginger saw a shadow detach itself from the island nearer the south end, and from the shape of its huge lateen sails, of which two were being raised, recognized it for what it was. He touched Biggles on the arm and pointed.

“A dhow,” murmured Biggles. “Heading west— with a load of contraband on board, I’d bet. That must have been lying in close when Bertie was here, but being dark in colour he probably wouldn’t see it.


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