OCEANUS ADVENTURE #35

A Fictional Series by J Quisumbing

Chapter 13

Tony Hallbright felt the swaying under his feet. He had been on an oil platform before and he hadn’t recall it sway this heavily. But, of course, the other platforms were anchored to the sea floor. Oceanus was not. He drew open the curtains and saw that the sky was overcast with angry clouds. He turned on his TV which automatically opened to Oceanus’ News Report. Bree Grover, besides being the school teacher, was also the news caster for the early morning broadcast.

“Well, folks, radar had been following a class 3 storm from the northeast and is expected to hit in about 2 hours. Expect strong winds, heavy rain and thunder. Temperature will go down to the lower 70s to upper 60s. This morning, the outer rings is now being battered with upto 30 foot waves. Production operations are suspended and gleaning teams are to stand down. And for all the kids, you’ll be happy to know that school is also suspended. However, homeworks are still expected by me.”

Tony noticed his email icon blinking and clicked on it. It was from Dr. Mae Quimby who asked him to join them for a brunch at the director’s residence after he does his morning routine. He looked at his watch then dashed out of his quarters. He went down to the mess hall and grabbed a muffin and a bottle of orange juice. Then he proceeded to where he stowed his diving gear. Twenty minutes later, he was diving deep to about 30 feet accompanied by another diver. Because of the overcast, Tony brought with him some lights. When they reached 30 feet, he turned them on and was greeted by a dimly lit landscape of coral.

If he did not know any better, he would have thought that he was swimming in any of the many reefs in the Philippines. But this reef was not embedded on a rocky shelf. It rests on the deck of a super semi submersible ship which was once a de-commissioned US Navy heavy-lift ship capable of transporting 2 naval ships at one time. Whenever he dived down here, Tony cannot help but appreciate the inginuity of artificially transplanting living coral reef on this hull. He once asked Mae and Jona about the reef eventually eating its way through the metal but they reassured him that the deck and the hull was covered with layers of recycled trash.

Tony and his dive buddy swam across the width of the reef checking on the reef’s growth. At the edge of the reef, Tony noted an undulating yellow mass of moonlighters or as is commonly known as blue banded snappers. Tony first recorded this school of fish about a week ago and took note that the mass was bigger. Then a pair of large blue humphead wrasse emmerged from a cave and torpedoed themselves through the mass of snappers. After they ate, they both retreated back into their hole.

After a while, Tony then checked his watch and signalled the other diver that he was going up. The other diver acknowledged that he’ll finish the rest of the survey. Tony gave the OK sign. He had one more stop before he had to get out of the water. He looked up and saw 3 rectangular shapes side by side on the surface. He ascended to the farthest one to the right. It was the admiral’s boat house. He asked him to check on the coral beds under his window.

Tony approached the 7 foot wide underwater round portal of the admiral’s boat house. Just below it was a double shelf covered with artificial rock and living corals. Light from the admiral’s bedroom was shining on the beds of coral. As he slowly approached the miniature reef under the window, a variety of small colorful fish scurried into the numerous crags and crannies they like to hide into whenever bigger fish swim by. He saw that the anemones and the other soft corals were still quite healthy even when the water’s temperature went down a few degrees. He was quite pleased when a pinkish shrimp he recognized crawled out from behind a brain coral. But there was no sign of the juvenile eel that the admiral had not seen for a week. He took his flashlight from his belt and peered into the crags of the second shelve. Sure enough, the eel that he sought stuck its bluish-green head out. He tried to coax it out but then the eel’s head shot right back into its hole. At the same time, he was slightly startled by a grayish bobbing head tapping his shoulder. It was Flipper, Mae’s trained bottle-nose dolphin and holding to its dorsal fin was her daughter holding up a slate with a message saying ‘You are LATE for brunch!’

To be continued…

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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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