The Dive

The Dive: Chapter VI

A week later I once again loaded up my boat. I started the motor and rode the waves out of the bay. When I reached the spot I put on my tanks and face mask and flippers and was about to throw myself overboard when…I stopped. I looked at the cool green water, and felt the spray of the waves on my face, and tried again. I couldn’t. I looked at the water, dismayed, as a growing sense of fear and dread overtook me. Sadly, I took off my tanks. I took off my mask. I took off my flippers. I started the motor and headed back to the shore.

Back at my little beach cottage I moped and paced, trying to shake off this fear. Nothing helped. I forgot to eat. I tossed and turned all night. In the morning I woke with huge dark half-moons under my eyes. As I splashed my face with cold water, I thought over the situation. I couldn’t stay afraid of water for the rest of my life! I decided I’d try once more.

I walked down to a deserted part of the beach. I waded in up to my ankles. Then up to my knees. Then up to my waist. The water came up to my chest, and stopped rising. I couldn’t force myself to go in farther. A cold ball of fear settled in my stomach. I wanted to scream, to shout at the unfairness of it all, but instead I quietly turned around and went back home. I knew I would go back to my job as a curator after all.

That evening I moodily walked along the water line, scuffing my toes in the sand. Then, as though through a fog, a voice reached me. Continue reading

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The Dive: Chapter V

When I came to I was lying in the bottom of a boat. Underneath me I felt the water slapping on the bottom of the boat. Evidently it was moving fast through the water. My head swam for a moment, but then cleared. I raised myself on my elbows, coughing violently, and saw a man at the tiller. When he saw me move he stopped the engine and knelt next to me.

“Thank God you’re awake!” he exclaimed. “Take it easy, now. There. You okay?”

“O-okay, I guess,” I stuttered. My lips felt thick. “Wh-what happened?”

“I found you floating on the surface, unconscious. I pulled you onto my boat and when I couldn’t revive you I knew I had to get you to shore in a hurry.”

“I-I blacked out. I didn’t have enough air. Do you have my bag?”

“Yes it’s right here. You’re oxygen mouthpiece was still keeping it up.”

“Who are you?” Continue reading

The Dive: Chapter IV

And so there I was. I had discovered the wreck. I had found a sunken treasure. But I wanted to find out more about it and maybe bring up some of the metal bars before I reported it to a local university.

The next day I loaded up the Sunshine again and headed out to the open sea. When I reached my destination I heaved the heavy anchor overboard and watched it sink until it disappeared into the greenish-blue depths. I hauled on my oxygen tanks and pulled on my face mask and flippers and flipped overboard, carrying a canvas bag with a parachute material hood over it attached with strings. As I sank beneath the surface I caught my breath at the awe-inspiring underwater beauty. But today was no site-seeing trip. I was here to do business. I swam towards the wreck, checking my watch every few minutes. Continue reading

The Dive: Chapter III

Six years later I graduated from the college in St. Louis. I had my degree as a museum curator. I planned on joining a museum in St. Louis within the month.

I had grown used to St. Louis. I had even begun to like it. But as I finished high school I had a nagging memory of the wash of the surf on the beach and of shells and clams and of scuba diving. But when I started college these memories were pushed into the back of my brain, temporarily forgotten.

In my new job, I was curator of the quarter of the building titled: ‘THE SEA SECTION’ in bold letters over the archway. I worked there for a year and a half. I attracted the attention of the manager by my excellent explanatory skills and he placed me in a higher position. After working for another six months, I was granted a month’s vacation. I spent a few days with my parents and my sister Kit, who was now married, and then, after consultation with my parents, decided I would spend the rest of my vacation by the ocean that I loved. Continue reading

The Dive: Chapter II

My name is Kate Cornea. I grew up in a small town in the west side of South Carolina, far from the ocean. My parents were both lawyers, with many jobs and little time for me or my sister, Katherine. So, every summer we would go to the seaside, where my aunt and uncle lived. But whereas Kit liked to go shopping and spend time with her friends, I spent every moment on the beach. I learned to row and to surf, to dive with only a face mask and flippers, and to avoid stingrays, sea urchins and sharks.

When I was twelve years old, my uncle taught me how to scuba dive. That was the greatest thrill of all. To go underwater and be able to watch the fish and the other underwater creatures for extended periods of time was one of the happiest memories of my childhood. Continue reading

The Dive: Chapter I

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. Continue reading