1825, Polynesia: Amelia Yorke is a destitute teacher with a petunia in a flowerpot outside a dingy Sydneytown cottage. Guy Richmond is a botanist searching for orchids in the rainforest and heir to vast lands in New South Wales. They should never have met yet come together on the deck of a sailing ship overlooking a spectacular tropical lagoon. They can only watch as a man paddles desperately towards them and freedom. He is overtaken by pursuers. Soon aquamarine water is stained by his blood.