This story takes place at a time when sea exploration was done on traditional sailing ships driven by the rowing power of men assisted by wind, driving the huge sails. Merchandise via sea was common, although risk prone. Most ships made it to the destination, but some unlucky ones went down to permanently lie with the ocean bed. Until they were found…accidentally that is!
And treasure diving as a profession quickly gained popularity. Sea diving to find natural pearls and corals was an established profession already and there were accidental discoveries of sunken ships that were pushed closer to the shore line by the sea.
Rich merchants constantly looked out for deep sea expert-divers who could fetch them the riches lost beneath the majestic waters apart from pearls. This was not an easy job and the divers were picked up after rigorous tests. The exploration for riches was driven more by hope and excitement of discovery than certainty. Not many succeeded with these missions and returned empty handed. Some divers never surfaced back. One merchant was particularly successful in this trexploration (as they called it in short for treasure exploration) and although his real name was not so popular, his successes made him come to be known as Mr. Trex in all the lands and over the seas.
Trex knew how to find the right divers and he conducted some tricky tests before he picked up a new diver into the team. He would test the ability of the divers to stay under water for a long time and how well they worked with each other. He would look for those who could “see-beneath-the-surface” as he called it. Although he had a good number of them, he had the knack of understanding if a specific set of divers were suited to the task at hand. And given the nature of the new lead he was after, he needed another expert diver to lead the team.
Trex announced this in the towns and cities where he found good divers and in those rare areas where he suspected lived some of the great but yet undiscovered divers. Many divers responded to his invitation to be part of his team. 50 of them to be precise, whereas he needed one.
The test was to be done in a location slightly inwards into the sea, where there was a hidden ocean ridge. There was a rift between the rockies below that was deep enough to test any expert diver. This was also contained so perfectly between the hills underneath that this resembled a lake formation underneath the sea. Trex being himself an expert diver of his time, found this spot accidentally in one of his adventures. He decided to use this environment for the test.
The date for the test was fixed and all the divers were asked to prepare. Among the 50 divers, 20 of them approached Trex’s team to understand the environment. The rest 30 came directly to the test and were eliminated without even letting them take the test. “First failure lies in not being curious about your playground. That is essential for preparation“, Trex told the others.
A rope that measured roughly 1000 feet distance of able bodied men was prepared. And the diver who could take the most part of the rope into the rift would be adjudged the winner. “You could find some unpleasant surprises in there, from this point onward you are responsible for what happens to you”, said Trex as the divers took turns one by one to jump. Some took caution and left the place.
The first few went as deep as 200 feet and came back to the surface. “It is pitch dark, the light is blocked by the ridges, it is impossible to see and no one knows what is coming at you, this is an impossible test”, they said. “We shall see”, replied Trex. A few more took the rope deeper than 250 feet and they were certain this will be the farthest that anyone could make it. “I almost got killed, I either hit a sea creature or the rock of the ridge, I can’t tell. No one can go deeper”, one diver said.
While the other divers continued to test their mettle, there were 3 shabby looking divers who remained silent and waited their turn. No one interacted with them as they thought these were goons trying to grab a meal with a shabby exhibition of their skill (Trex usually offered food for the day for all those who participated). Trex noticed them before but did not pay much attention. “I hope these lads don’t kill themselves for the lure of a meal”, he thought.
As the other divers finished, Trex motioned one of them to go next. “But sir, we do it together. Andy here will lead the dive and we will work with him in a line underwater tugging on to the rope and lowering him as he goes to the ocean floor”, said a man that called himself Tim. Andy was looking at the ground smiling. “Andy is good sir, he doesn’t fear water and darkness”, said Murphy who looked short and resembled a walking dolphin. “No one spoke about touching the floor, we don’t know how deep the rift is, you will go as deep as the rope would take you and come back before you die in there. I don’t want your death on my conscience”, said Trex authoritatively. “Don’t worry sir, we will do so. We grew up all our life at sea and we don’t fear it. Andy here can see beneath the sea better than on land”, said Tim and Trex noticed that Andy was blind.
The three men prepared to dive. Andy asked Tim and Murphy to find a heavy rock and tie it to one end of the rope. He took the rock, holding tightly to the knot and jumped off the vessel into the rift and after some rope went in like a snap, Tim held on to it and jumped right behind. Murphy followed shortly after and before he did, “when we give a signal, pull us back up, we rely on our courage to go in and support of our friends to pull us out“, he said. Trex let out a whistle in appreciation. “We will pull you back up lads, I will dive myself in to save the best team I have ever found”, he said as the other divers nodded in agreement.
As Trex and the other divers watched in amazement, the rope went quickly in by 800 ft in a span of few moments. And after a while, as the rope hit 900 feet, there a momentary pause and a strong tug was felt. “This is the signal, the rock has been loosened, pull the divers up”, yelled Trex and the rest of the divers put their might into hoisting the three brave divers out.
Andy came last and he was still smiling. “My uncle said I was washed ashore as a kid and was raised by the whales”, he said. “I never believed it, but I feel at home under water. Diving in our tribe is as much cooperation as it is courage and without your support the return is not possible”, he concluded as he picked up a small sack that he found at the bottom of the rift. “You are in, all three of you. I sunk this sack of pearls at this place a long time ago and did not believe someone would go as deep to recover it back. The measuring rope was a distraction. The real test was in picking up what you dived in for!“, said Trex. “Andy you will lead the diving exploration and your eyes Tim and Murphy will follow you along with the other divers”, concluded Trex as the others on board applauded the three.