My breath came in sharply as I sped across the waters of the Atlantic in the predawn mists. The salty breeze had a whiff of excitement with it, as if it, too, was glad to be out in the early morning. In the bottom of my skiff, the Sunshine, was my face mask, an oxygen tank, an anchor a life jacket and a water bottle.
I came to an isolated spot. I turned off the engine and threw down the anchor. There’s nothing like the sea in the early morning, with the salty tang sharp in your nostrils. This morning was really still. The waves were sheets of glass, rolling, breaking, forming and breaking again. I put on my oxygen lungs, my flippers and my face mask and flipped overboard.
Underneath the surface of the water a whole new world opened up. Gorgeous coral reefs and elegant fans waved in the current, stretching as far as the eye could see. Shafts of sunlight danced and pierced the underwater gloom as the sun rose, while shoals of multi-colored fish swam like synchronized ballet dancers.
As I swam along, letting the currents take me where they would, I saw a dark, hulking shape off to my right. I tore free of the currents and swam over a lumbering old sea turtle crusted with barnacles. Coming closer, I saw a shipwreck, which showed signs of having sunken in a naval battle.
I swam closer and knocked on the side. A small octopus oozed out of a large hole in the side, pulsing red and purple with fear. After checking for anything else that could have been inside, I entered the ship’s belly and shone my flashlight into the forbidding gloom. I saw piles of shells and other matter covered over with sea moss. Swimming up to a pile I brushed it with a gloved hand. Clouds of sediment temporarily blinded me. When they had settled I found myself looking at strange metal cases. Using the edge of my flashlight as a crowbar I pried one open. It was filled with steel bars. I pried open another one. It was filled with a brownish metal.
Unable to stay my curiosity, I opened another. It contained a silver metal. The next one, too, was filled with silver. I determined to open one more before going up. It was filled with gold. It was a sunken treasure! I saw other cavities looming up in the darkness, but my oxygen was running low and I couldn’t stay any longer.
I swam back out, and up to the surface. I passed a fat fish swimming lopsidedly. I shouted to it in my mind: “I found a sunken treasure!” I was unable to repress my excitement.
I made it up to the surface and swam to my boat, which was twenty fathoms away. I reached it and climbed over the side. I took off my tank, my mask and my flippers. I started the engine and grabbed hold of the tiller. A broad smile lighted my whole face. During the whole twenty minutes I took to get back to shore all I could think of was: “I found a treasure, and I’m going to explore it!”
As the sun warmed my face, I thought back on all the details and wrote them in a small notebook I always kept with me. I wanted to remember exactly where, when and how I had discovered the wreck. I noted the exact position on the map, glad that I had learned how to use the tools of longitude and latitude. I couldn’t wait to come back and solve the mystery of the sunken ship!