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Dive Log- Entry #1- May 30, 2015

I woke up this morning to the sounds of our ship docking at the pier. Sure enough, it was a rough one- I feel like someone didn’t throw the anchor into the sea but instead just chucked it onto the dock… how else would you explain the noise? Then again, I guess I can’t yell at Chet too much. That stuff IS heavy, and I’d be lying if I said that I hadn’t made those same noises unpacking the gear myself. I hate leaving the guy alone to move all our supplies, but he hasn’t been pulling his weight lately, and I really needed a good rest. At least he managed to get them onto the dock, which is something.

We met up with Amy after all the arduous work was done- apparently, she had gone ahead and spent the morning in a nearby town before setting up our research station. I can’t really blame her- it’s her first time in this part of the Caribbean after all, and the sights here are wonderful. But so long as she gets it done, I suppose. And that she did: the station looks fantastic. I have no idea how she does it. After making sure everything was set for the area, we went back out to the ports to meet with the person who employed us. The messages said his name was Jim, and that he was the director of attractions or something for a cruise line. The company had hired us to scout out a potential diving spot for tourists off the coast, and even provided us a small dive boat to do it with. Seems simple enough, but I can’t help but wonder why they went with us instead of a bigger company. Maybe our little group is making a name for itself. Truth is the three of us, no matter how much we rip on each other, make a damn fine team when it comes to diving. I certainly hope that’s the case- I still have bills to pay.

We set up for a dive and I barreled into the water, with Chet holding the rope- say what you will about him, but he’s got a steady hand. The conditions of the water and area seemed fine, at least according to Amy’s dive computer. It’s alright, as far as diving this far out from the shore in the ocean goes, but for the life of me I can’t imagine any recreational diver or cruise ship activity junkie loving the place.

I only dived a fourth of what I normally do, about fifty feet just to test the waters- usually how far tourists end up going in places like this. But even then, I can’t see why anyone would want to go here: it’s kind of dark, even in light areas, and I couldn’t see too many colorful fish or corals. It felt like any other barren spot in the middle of the ocean- nothing awful, but nothing special to report. After I resurfaced, I sent Chet down while I held the rope- and he reported the same things. Jim looked a bit disappointed, but after we showed him on the computer he accepted it. While he’s still willing to accept the spot, Jim wants us to dive there tomorrow as well, just to be safe. Generally, I’d be against repeats, but this is for the safety of the tourists. As long as he’s the one paying for our meals and supplies, I guess. We’ll schedule the second dive for tomorrow just to be sure.

Entry #2- May 31, 2015

We went back out on the tiny boat provided by the cruise company for the second dive, with Jim in tow. The spot’s a long way out from the normal coastline diving, so we had a while before reaching our destination. As Jim went onto the top deck to take a call, I decided to share my thoughts on the location with Chet and Amy. As it turns out, Chet’s diving experience gave him the same ideas about the place- not exactly a ripe spot for tourists. Amy also thought the area was a bit iffy, judging by the recordings she took yesterday. We wanted to say something to Jim, but didn’t think it was too pressing an issue, so long as the three of us got paid. Just some paranoia about the location not being what he expected, I guess.

Jim seemed to be in good spirits today… he really does believe that he’s found the right place. Just from his excitement about this area we can tell he cares more about the money in it than the enjoyment of the tourists. Can’t blame him, what with how much cruise liners pay for this stuff.

We dived down again at the same spot- and what a surprise, there wasn’t much there. We tried to explain to him that coral and fish don’t just appear in an area overnight, but he wouldn’t listen- he just told us to try diving deeper. Although it definitely wouldn’t be safe for recreational divers at that point, we were obliged to do it under the contract. So, I jumped in, lowering myself down to about twice the distance yesterday. Things were still dark, of course, but there were a few corals and kelp-covered areas there. Nothing out of the ordinary, still- just a standard coral reef. I’ll admit, he was right about there being a few nice areas down there- but once again, nothing notably tourist-friendly.

As I resurfaced, Jim was staring at the dive computer. He looked flustered, more than the disappointment we saw yesterday. When I caught him starting to look irritated, he quickly calmed down and suggested we try diving there again tomorrow. Twice I can understand, but three times? Seems a bit like overkill to me. Maybe the next day I’ll have Chet do the diving instead, so I can get a closer look at what was making Jim so angry.

Entry #3, June 1, 2015

Chet took the dive today while I managed to persuade Amy to let me handle the computer. I took a good look at the surrounding area while Chet was underwater- still not much a difference in terms of sights, but I noticed that there were missing patches from the coral that I encountered yesterday. Maybe a coral-eating species dwells in the area? A school of parrotfish is a pretty sight, but it’s still not enough to warrant dragging tourists out to a place like this. After Chet resurfaced, we spent a little time talking about the situation. It DID seem strange that Jim was certain about the area, considering there seems to be nothing important here.

At this point Jim was clearly mad at us when we questioned him about the area. He was sure this was the point we were looking for- and if we wanted our pay, we would just have to do this every day until Jim was satisfied. I was about to slap him across the face, not only for acting like this but for wasting our time, but reigned myself in. He seemed to understand, though, and decided to give us a day off.

As I studied the computer again, watching the replays of Chet’s dive, I saw something for a split second reflecting his light. Playing it back slowly for Chet and Amy (Jim had stormed off the boat the moment we reached the dock), we took it apart frame-by-frame to see if there was anything peculiar. It was Amy that caught a brief frame where Chet’s light seemed to be reflected on something deep in the water. Was there something down there that Jim wants us to find? And if so, why hasn’t he told us already? Unfortunately, we’re not 100 percent sure what it is, or if it’s involved with Jim’s little tantrum at all. I’m talking with my partners about doing a dive on our own during the day off… maybe that will yield some answers?

Entry #4, June 2, 2015

We spent the first part of the day asking the townsfolk about the area- our thought was that it had some cultural significance that would make Jim interested in it, or maybe there were stories of a treasure in that area- but no luck. Mostly everyone who had been there commented on the same things- the lack of fish, the low light, and the sparsity of the coral. However, when we brought up the patches of coral, some of the older residents told us there used to be a lot more…. I wonder if a new species was introduced that fed on it?

During the evening, we prepared to go on our secret dive while Jim was away. I decided to be the one heading underwater for the expedition- if there’s anything dangerous down there, I’d rather the more experienced diver check it out. It’s a good thing Jim can’t be bothered to stay with us during the day off or he probably would be able to punish us for going out there without him. But fuck that- if there’s something Jim’s hiding from us, we should know.

I brought along our best light, considering we were going down into the depths. I will have to admit, while I was never one for doing things against our employers…. Sneaking out like that to do some investigative work felt kind of good. If Jim does have some ulterior motive for this, we could be at the center of some sort of huge scandal- and I hear those result in lots of hush money.

As I lowered down, looking into the depths, I noticed a few differences in the spot that we must not have noticed yesterday. For one, there were a few more holes in the coral formations we previously spotted. I wanted to blame the parrotfish school we thought was nearby, but then that wouldn’t explain what I saw next.

I had shined my light on a school of tropical fish (Yellow Tang, if I remember correctly) that I had spotted in the distance, and as I got a closer look at them, I saw something… unusual. While most of the Yellow Tang were acting normal, one member of the group seemed be swimming strangely. Not only was it moving in reverse, without facing the back, its fins seemed to be moving frantically forwards, to no avail. The rest of the group seemed to move on, unknowing or possibly trying to escape whatever was sucking the poor fish in. I watched it for a while, trying to focus the diving camera on it, wondering what could have possibly dragged the little thing away. Maybe Amy could make something out of it…. I never was the marine biologist of the group.

As soon as I reached the bottom, I was surprised in multiple ways. Not only was the area clear, with no corals or kelp much like the upper zones, but it seemed like even the larger bottom-dwelling creatures were staying away from the area. I noticed a rock formation nearby that I wanted to investigate for any signs of predatory species or pollution that could have caused all this but noticed that my oxygen was running a little low at that point. I had to focus and follow the glint of the reflected light.

I followed the reflection of my diver’s light away from the rock formation and back to my objective. Treading water towards the glint, I shined my light to the area- and was both curious and infuriated by what I found at the bottom.

It was… a wreck. The wreck of a metal ship. A metal ship that happened to have the logo of a cruise company on it. The same cruise company that Jim claimed to work for.

That son of a bitch.

Entry #5, June 3, 2015

I spent the long night thinking about how the three of us were going to break it to Jim that we knew his little secret… or, parts of it at least. True, we found a sunken ship from his company down there, but we’re still not sure why he was hiding the fact or even the real purpose of the expedition. If it really was to find that thing, then why wouldn’t he let us go deep enough to do so? I must have pondered a little too long, though, because the next thing I knew Chet and Amy had left to go meet up with Jim. I rushed to catch up to them but came at an inconvenient time: when I went to the rendezvous spot. Amy was already showing Jim the footage I had captured the day before. She’s a great researcher, but damn can she be impulsive when she makes a discovery. It took both me and Chet to hold her back when she started to chew him out for lying. It even seemed like Jim was more afraid of Amy’s wrath than he was of being found out.

Much to our surprise, Jim did come clean…-I imagine there’s not much else you can do when you’re presented with evidence of a lie. As it turns out, he wasn’t entirely lying about things, per se- he really was working for the company, but not for the reasons we thought. It turns out he’s a private investigator who specializes in marine cases. See, the cruise company WAS looking for a decent place off the coast for scuba diving, but the first boat they sent over disappeared before it could make landfall. Jim was hired to investigate the cause of the disappearance, but when he couldn’t find any signs of hijacking he figured it must have sunk somehow… which is where we came in. He wanted us to slowly descend until we found the wreck with his supervision, but I guess that plan is through now that we found it on our own. Our new mission is to go back down and take a closer look at the wreck, to see if there’s any evidence that it was damaged or sabotaged before it sank.

Jim must have been shaken- I guess he didn’t think we were clever enough to go searching on our own. He told us to take it easy for a few days, because now that we knew the real mission, he’d be pushing our group to the limit and constantly sending us to the bottom of the area until we figure out what happened. On the bright side, at least we wouldn’t have to slowly descend.

I wish we could pull out now, before we really know what we’re getting into, but I suppose now that there’s an investigation going on we don’t really have a choice in the matter. I guess we’re in this for the long run, whether the three of us like it or not.

Entry #6, June 6, 2015

Now that Jim’s little secret has been exposed, he’s been far more serious about exploring the depths: rather than go off to do his own thing, he’s been studying the dive computer with Amy and working to find anything strange in the area that I didn’t notice during my dives. They told me and Chet that we would have to start examining the sunken ship area some more…. It seemed like the main point of focus was still the cause of the boat’s sinking, but a few other things I spotted in the water were of interest to the two. The holes in the coral had grown since the last time I focused on them- but strangely, not nearly enough to point to a roving group of Parrotfish like we suspected. If it was a school, that coral would have more missing than just small pieces. It’s almost like something is trying to pull it out of the reef but can only manage a few tiny chunks at a time.

More of interest was the strange movement of the Yellow Tang I had recorded- the one that seemed to be desperately trying to swim away from something. Sure, some fish can swim backwards, but according to Amy they don’t usually do so unless it’s necessary, and either way it’s mostly a response to cramped conditions or stress. That begs the question, though, of what a single individual in a school would experience that the rest of the school didn’t.

I shared my thoughts with Amy and Jim- that at this point I believe that something was pulling the fish away. Maybe it’s the same thing pulling chunks out of the coral? The theory is on the table, they say, but we’re probably going to need more examples of abnormal movement to confirm it.

The rock formation was another object of interest- especially because it was so close to the barren areas. Closer inspection of the area revealed what looked like an opening in one of the rocks- almost like a cave entrance of sorts. How strange. Jim doesn’t want to take any chances, I guess, because he said that eventually we’ll have to go cave diving to see if there’s anything in there that might have led to the ship’s sinking or the mysterious force that’s driving life away from the area. Could it be a new species of sea creature has made the area its home?

Chet’s the diver for tomorrow’s expedition. I’m a little nervous for him now, given the circumstances. He’s a strong diver, sure, but if our theory is true and there really IS something down there, I worry that this job could cost more than it’s worth.

Entry #7- June 7, 2015

I wish we had pulled out while we could. Things are starting to get worse. Chet nearly got sucked away during today’s dive, and while we managed to save him, it looks like whatever happened already took its toll.  He’s going to be out of commission for a while- but the information we gathered from his experience is definitely going to help us understand what the hell is going on here.

When Chet submerged today, we wanted him to check for any signs of damage or sabotage to the cruise company’s ship- our thought was that if we could figure out the cause of the wreck we may have a better idea of the situation. Shortly after he reached the wreck and began to examine it, we found the reason the ship sank: there was a massive fissure in the bottom of the boat- almost as if something had torn into it. We analyzed the damage, and it doesn’t seem to line up with any of the typical damage you would see from an animal’s teeth. It looked more like something collided with the boat, then was dragged through the hull.

Jim ordered Chet to head back to the bottom, focusing in on everything that we could find that seemed strange. We saw the coral again- same old story there, a few more chunks gone. It seemed like the area was slowly being cleared of every sign of organic life.

As he started going down onto the seafloor, we noticed a strange phenomenon- kelp, a small forest’s worth, drifting by Chet’s legs, a couple of strands at a time. At first, we didn’t see it as much- some bottom-dweller probably snacked on the kelp’s ends and set the rest adrift- but when more and more of it started to come and cloud our vision, we began to suspect something was afoot.

It wasn’t until the fish started moving backwards, very similar to the Yellow Tang I ran into a few days ago, that Amy, Jim and I started to grow concerned. The moment I saw coral start to drift past Chet, I couldn’t help but panic. I wanted to scream for him to get out of there, to forget about the mission and just come up to the surface before he got sucked away to wherever the hell all those fish went… But I knew I would be too late to help as I saw through our cameras that Chet was being jerked towards the source.

There are times in the diving business that can be terrifying, even for an extremely experienced diver- running low on oxygen, for instance, or finding yourself face-to-face with a shark outside of a cage. At times the most advanced in a skill can slip up and let their emotions overcome them, which usually leads to losing focus and ends in a less than favorable situation. Knowing how long I’ve been in the water, and how much the possibility of losing my cool frightens me…. I’m horrified to think of the situation from Chet’s perspective. It was bad enough watching it happen-imagine really experiencing that nightmare.

We could feel the diving line tugging at our boat- whatever is pulling everything in certainly had a reach. If it was so powerful that we could feel it up here… Chet must have been trying to swim away from a massive current. Eventually Jim realized what was going on and began to pull Chet out of the water. The three of us tugged at the rope with all our strength, and we could feel that Chet was trying his best to help by shooting up through the water as fast as possible… But we were afraid that it might not be enough. Looking through the camera we saw Chet edging closer and closer to the massive rocks we spotted earlier- my previous hunch was correct in assuming that they might be the source of all this. But I had no time to celebrate- I saw through the cameras that our young friend wasn’t the only thing being sucked in. Lots of things from the sea, including broken pieces of ships, were heading straight for him.

We could only watch, powerless as Chet was dragged and pummeled from every direction- it appeared that the suction itself wasn’t the only weapon this mysterious source was capable of using. As we struggled with the rope, desperately trying to shake Chet loose from the current, we could feel sudden jerks and shakes. Viewing the camera, we saw that the situation had gone from bad to worse- from our view Chet was shaking and being hit by the pieces of broken wood and metal and seemed to not be moving around to try and escape as much. It was only when we saw a piece of his suit, followed by a stream of red flowing into the depths, that we fully realized what was happening: something, maybe a metal part of the sunken cruise boat’s hull, had clonked him on the head and stunned him, giving the rest of the debris the ability to strike him in a defenseless state. The moment I saw blood, I grabbed the rope and started pulling his body up away from the current. I didn’t care about the mission at this point- we needed to save our friend. NOW.

We yanked on the rope as fast as we could, dragging the unconscious Chet through the water in an attempt to rescue him- but glaring through the camera Amy and I could see that Chet being unable to breathe was taking its toll. The diving helmet had shattered by then, and we noticed the bubbles rising as we finished pulling him out of the current. It was rough, but the current seemed to be dying down- otherwise we wouldn’t have been able to save him. I wasn’t sure whether to thank god or curse him at this point… though we may have saved Chet from whatever the hell lurked down there, the damage that the expedition did to both his body and mind might just make Chet wish it did end up swallowing him.

We managed to drag him out of the water, but the speed at which we did it would definitely give him a nasty case of decompression sickness, and a damaged suit wouldn’t help matters. Having the bubbles under my skin before, I knew about the pain that came from it- but combining that with a barrage of wood and metal would only make matters worse.

We abandoned the site and rushed back to the island we were staying on- as much as Jim protested, we had to make sure Chet was stable before we continued. After dropping him off at the hospital, I started thinking about our plans for tomorrow, the most important of which would have to be a serious talk with Amy about the current. At this point my concern wasn’t just Chet- but the entire ecosystem of the island as well. Maybe it was just me, but it seemed like the current’s power would fluctuate- how else would I explain how it can move a ship one day and then only coral the next? There’s got to be something here we’re not seeing- and we’d better find it soon.

Entry #8- June 10, 2015

These past few days have been a doozy- dealing with Chet’s injury and still needing to find out what the hell is going on down there at the same time really takes a toll on you.

Unfortunately, it seems like Chet will be out of commission for a while- possibly forever. Due to the depth of the water and how fast we had to yank him out, he’s got a serious case of the bends in the joints, and even worse, in the brain and spinal cord. The doctors said that Chet is paralyzed from the waist down, and has slipped in and out of unconsciousness since we delivered him to the hospital. He’s hurt bad, they said, and there’s a pretty high chance of him dying somewhere along the line. I guess the best we can do now is focus on the mission- worrying about him would only make things worse. But that dive wasn’t entirely for naught, at least according to Jim- Amy had been studying the footage Chet had captured with the camera, and Jim is fairly certain that she’s discovered the source of the current. They saw off in the distance that another current, pulling the opposite way, was sending whatever it had caught into a familiar area- the same area where our current appeared to be leading into. The center seemed to be the large rock formation near where we first discovered the sunken ship. I guess it just goes to show- always go with your gut feeling.

It seems there’s a first time for everything today- not only did Jim admit that I was right, but he had a decent idea to boot. While I was checking up on Chet in the hospital, Amy had noticed that we had scheduled all our dives at around the same time- which wasn’t too far off from the time the cruise company recorded their ship missing. Jim thought that maybe the current would only start up at certain times- and judging by what we’ve seen so far, that may not be a far stretch. He wanted us to do an experiment today, hopefully giving us some insight into what’s down in those rocks.  And thankfully, one of us wouldn’t have to go down to do it.

Turns out Jim had a secret weapon- a remote machine with a camera. He said it was a Diving Drone, top of the line new technology. That would have been nice to have had before Jim let my friend get paralyzed, but at least we have it now. I was to pilot it via remote control while he and Amy would monitor the area for any signs of the current’s source.

It’s a bit difficult to describe exactly what we saw down there- through the caves, we saw a tremendous whirlpool- well, it was less of a whirlpool and more of a tornado. A swirling vortex of junk, metal and wood, gold and coral. All rotating at blinding speed around a large gap… the eye of the storm, so to speak. How strange- almost like a void. Jim asked me to pilot the drone closer to get a better look at the center.

We took advantage of the occasional lulls in flying debris to get closer to the eye of the storm, and came across something unusual. This didn’t look like the typical whirlpool, even considering the size. A deep and dark blue hole laid at the center of the twister, and we watched as the tornado slowly fed into it. When a piece of debris would drift towards the hole, what looked like a sharp set of rocks would emerge from the center and shred the errant piece to bits. It seemed almost like a tremendous garbage disposal, designed to consume more than just scraps of food.

We were so intrigued by the mysterious disposal that we didn’t realize what time it was. The time we normally schedule our dives. When the current kicks up again.

We intended to see more with the drone, but then Amy noticed that the whirlwind was starting to speed up again. Jim asked me to move it out of there, but we couldn’t get it out in time- immediately we could see the twisted move at a blindingly fast speed, and saw the camera shake as a large piece of wood smashed into the drone. Turning the camera around we noticed that a stream of more debris was moving into the area, all moving towards the giant disposal. No doubt the current was pulling it all there to be shredded. We tried out best to shake the drone free of the currents, but no luck- if the current was powerful enough to tear a ship to bits, a drone wouldn’t stand much of a chance. We saw the giant, toothlike rocks swing around the drone and close in, and suddenly our feed went black.

We sat in silence for a while, and I started to think- what would this thing be doing in the middle of the Caribbean? But suddenly it hit me. Everything has a way to purify anything stuck onto it. And when you want to be clean, you get rid of everything around the area. It’s the same thing as when you want to wash dirt off your body but you also end up drowning the ant in the dirt.

We’re not victims of any malevolent sea creature. We’re just in the wrong place at the wrong time. The three of us are up against a primal force of nature, one that’s going to clean itself by removing everything on its body- even if we happen to be caught in the middle.

I don’t think anyone will believe it, but I believe we’ve just discovered how the ocean itself disposes of all the junk that gets stuck at the bottom. And it seems to be cleaning time.

Written by FilmCriticFrog
Content is available under CC BY-SA