One lucky bastard

Imagine a deep sea entrepreneur of sorts in an exploratory ocean submersible. He’s diving a trench searching for a rare form of life, a spectacular squid that no one has ever seen alive. He’s already past the sunlit zone and descending slowly, going down to the trench floor where the creature is speculated to live. Back on dry land, some edgy restauranteur assured him that there are clients willing to pay top dollar for a freshly captured specimen. Alive if possible, if dead just okay. So he went to a manufacturer that sells submersibles for biologists and somehow managed to rent one.

He said he was going to a trench that was at most 3 km deep, but they knew the trench he was talking about and it was 10 km deep. They said no way it could survive that depth, it could only take 4 km max. He said, whatever you’re all wrong anyways. They would turn him down but he had credit and insurance and a few credible letters, so he got the submersible. And then he set off.

At this point the tiny vessel is passing 3 km and his crew of two henchmen are getting nervous. Relax, I know what I am doing, he assures them. They wonder about his contentiuos calculations, maybe the trench really was 10 km. They reluctantly agree to press on. Things start to creak and strain under the pressure, and the metalwork starts clamoring above their heads. Then, thud. The vessel hits bottom, and a moment of relief ensues. The lights, which had been pointed downward during the descent, are turned horizontally for the eager crew to have a look about. The light fades after a few meters, but they don’t see much at all. No trench walls or anything. The leader takes controls and moves laterally a bit. Nothing. Then again with more commitment. Nothing again, entirely flat and devoid. Where are they?

So he engages full throttle and they glide along the sea floor for several hundred meters. Suddenly they see a flash a light and then many more just beyond the reach of their flood lamps. In a few seconds, an entire ecosystem comes into view with geothermal vents and sea creatures galore. None are the fabled squid, but all are exotic and unknown to the surface. What’s more, there are thousands! Even if they filled every specimen tube, they could only bring back a small sampling of what is down here.

They scoop and suction up as much as they can, and they make an effort of tracking their general location while heading to the surface. Once they breach the air and make it back to civilization, they present their morsels to the restauranteur. He’s impressed. It wasn’t exactly what he wanted, but he could make it work. Plus they assure him they can supply him for years to come. So win-win. He doesn’t think they really found the trench, but doesn’t care either. Where ever this seafood came from, it is good stuff. And right now he claims a monopoly on it. So he tells the bastard who is lucky to be alive to get a fleet of submersibles and go back to the depths.

This is the story of Christopher Columbus in a nutshell.

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