A Fictional Series by J Quisumbing

Chapter 5

It was zero fifty thirty hours.

GPS had Oceanus’ position about half a mile past the mouth of the bay. The propulsion thrusters had been running on three quarter speed for about 3 hours because the incoming tide was stronger than expected. It was slow going through the mouth and based on sonar readings, the stern submerged pontoons just cleared the bottom by just 2 fathoms.

Jona was enjoying the wee morning wind on the starboard wing. He had his glasses on Caringo Island west of them. The sky was light enough to make the sandy beaches sparkle. He was reminiscing when Mae, the kids and him took a Boston whaler to the reef sanctuary on the lee side of the island where they did some snorkeling then hit the small town for the local version of pizza.

Migs was wondering where his replacement was. He was the swing shift engineer for the number two propulsion thruster. He stretched and yawned on his duty station monitoring the six display monitors. Then he noticed on one screen that a hydraulic pump pressure had increased from yellow to orange. Orange meant that he had 5 minutes to release the pressure before it turned red which meant critical. So, he called one of his crew to take his station. He dashed down a couple of ladders and head to the hydraulic pump room. When he opened the hatch, he knew things were really wrong because the compartment was filled with smoke. The first thing he did was going to the nearest alarm box. He elbowed the glass cover, breaking it. Then he pulled down the fire alarm. Not wanting to wait for support, he went to another nearby cabinet where he found a face mask, then dashed into the smoky chamber.

Jona was thinking about turning-in, when he heard an alarm beeping sound.

“What’s going on?” he asked a bridge crewman.

“Sir, fire alarm at the engineering station of number two propulsion.”

A phone rang and another crewman picked it up. “Director, the fire is in the hydraulic pump station. The chief engineer is requesting to shut down number 2 thruster.”

“Very well. Anybody hurt?”

“Yes, sir. One man. He was brought to sickbay.”

Jona nodded his head. He went over to check Oceanus’ position. He was not too happy that they were too close to the reefs of Caringo Island. With one thruster down and a strong tide still coming in, they could still be pushed against the reef.

“Helm, turn port by ten degrees. Shutdown number 2 and decrease number 3 to quarter speed. Increase number 1 to three quarters.”

“Aye, sir,” said the helmsman.

Then Jona got his radio. “Mathilda, Belinda, this is base, come in over.”

“Mathilda here. What’s up, chief?” “Belinda here too.”

“Ok guys. Thruster 2 is down, we need you guys to pick up the slack. Can you handle it?”

“Can I handle it?” asked the Belinda captain. “I can do it better than Mathilda by myself.”

“Oh, really? … ” The competitive bantering started all over again, but Jona tuned them out. He then passed the conn to the second officer on duty.

“I’m going over there. Keep your eyes on our position and radio me if we begin to get any closer to those reefs, contact me right away. Meanwhile, get Admiral Reese from his cabin to take over here.”

“Aye sir.”

Jona head below and found a zodiac waiting for him. The zodiac took about 9 minutes to zip across the lagoon to the stern. It took him another 4 minutes to reach the number two engine room. When he got to the hydrolic pump chamber, it was already cleared of smoke. He found Robby there with the chief engineer.

“Robby… what happened?”

“According to the chief, the rubber O-ring seal from a secondary gasket stripped away causing hot liquid oil to leak. Then, the gasket heated up causing enough friction to warp the shaft running the pump. It should only take an hour to replace the damaged parts. We’ll get number two up and running.”

“Who got hurt?”

“Oh, it was Migs. His feet slipped on the spilled oil and knocked himself out when his head hit the bulkhead. He’s up in sickbay. Doc said he’ll live and entertain us in the next talent show.”

Jona smiled at that, remembering how bad Migs was on stage. He was about to leave when a thought hit him.

“Hold on, Robby. How is it that the O-ring was defective? Those things were all brand new, right?”

“That is the question! The chief is ‘miffed’ about it and I agree. This shouldn’t have happened.”

Jona was thoughful about this as he went back up to sickbay.

To be continued…


Note from the author:
Oceanus Adventure is a fun effort on my part to enter the wonderful world of creative writing. It’s a story of a group of people who launched themselves into the Pacific Ocean on an artificial island to solve the Great Pacific garbage patch. My hopes is that this will end up into a TV series.

Comments and idea suggestions will be most welcomed. I hope you enjoy.


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