Panicking, Bia stopped and frantically looked around for her brother. Then she saw his red message flash in front of her line of vision, a bright contrast to the darkness in front of her.
Javier: Bia stop. Do you see that?
She turned around and saw Javier standing a short distance behind her. His LED array, with its brightness increased, was aimed at an item lodged in the seafloor.
Bia: Meu Deus, Javier. Is that a parachute anchor?
He reached down and gently pulled the partially buried object out of the silt. It was a large, round piece of dull yellow fabric. Long lengths of braided polymer rope were uniformly attached around its edges. The ends of the ropes connected to a single metal ring that was coupled with a shackle attached to a longer piece of rope.
As Bia studied the heap of fabric and rope, a sense of dread weighed down on her, causing her body to shake. She looked up at Javier and spoke into her mask.
Bia: This looks like the parachute anchor from the Espírito. Why is it here?
Javier: I don’t see the float or the chain. It may have been ripped from the chain on the sailboat and then sank.
Bia: So they could be close to this location.
Javier: Bia, if they deployed the parachute anchor, they may have hit some pretty rough weather.
Bia nodded but said nothing. The missing chain was a good sign. There was hope. Her dread subsided, replaced by slight twinges of exhaustion. But she wouldn’t turn back now. She couldn’t. Somehow, she knew the light would provide an answer. It still beckoned her, pulled at her, like a flame that draws in the moth.
Bia: We need to continue. See if we find anything else that may have been on the Espírito.
Javier: Yeah. I’ll log these coordinates.
Javier started up his propulsion device and Bia followed suit. Their pace was slower now that they were scouting the ocean floor for more items from the Espírito. She hoped they wouldn’t find anything else that would indicate their parent’s sailboat may have encountered trouble. Javier left his LED light array on the brighter setting since they were searching for artifacts. Still, Bia could clearly see the blue, dome-shaped glow ahead in spite of the extra illumination from Javier’s lamp.
Before long, Bia noticed the terrain beneath them was starting to change. The flat expanse of mud and silt was becoming stony, with outcroppings of rock formations sprouting up randomly from the sea bed. Bia saw several types of fish dart behind the rocks when Javier’s LED array lit up their habitat.
Javier: It’s getting rocky. Be careful.
Bia: I’ll be fine.
Almost immediately, a large ridge of rock about 20-feet high was illuminated by Javier’s LED lamp. Bia stayed by his side as they both swam up the rocky wall that blocked their way. Bia stopped when they reached the crest of the ridge, mesmerized by the view beyond. The ridge was the side of a wide plateau where dozens of tall, slender rock formations stood in front of them like a small thicket of tall, thin stone spires. The craggy faces of the closest ones were brightened by the light of Javier’s LED array, while others behind them loomed in the shadows. The rocky copse was backlit by the blue glow of the light, which had become even brighter. After a moment, Javier messaged her, the red words intruding on the eerie, yet beautiful landscape in front of her.
Javier: You stopped Bia. What’s wrong?
Bia: I’m okay. Just startled by the view. It’s breathtaking.
Javier: Pretty, yeah?
Bia: Yeah. But we must continue. I think we are closer to the light.
Javier: We should go single file through these rock formations. Swim very slowly.
They turned off their propulsion devices and navigated through the stand of rock towers like two children playing follow the leader. When they finally neared the last of the protrusions, Bia saw another stone ridge illuminated by Javier’s LED lamp. This one was much taller than the last, about the height of a four-story building. Just above its crest, Bia could make out the dome of the blue glow. It was much more intense now and lit the top edge of the stony wall as though a flashlight on the other side was focused on it. Javier stopped at the base of the ridge and turned toward her.
Javier: I’m not sure what we’ll find beyond this ridge. It could be the search beacon from the Espírito or another boat.
Bia: I know.
Javier: If Mama and Papa hit some bad weather, their search beacon may have torn loose. It doesn’t mean their boat is gone.
Bia: I know.
Javier: Are you ready?
To be continued
Check out “Lost at Sea.” Bia and Javier search for their parents in the Atlantic Ocean. Will they find their parents? Or encounter something totally unexpected.Tweet
Written by Allorianna Matsourani