story is a part of the continuing series featuring Serena Harrison, a marine
archaeologist on the hunt for a six hundred year old wreck, the San Isabella.
"Four inches and a
half," said the distinctive New England drawl of the Seaviewís captain,
I stopped, halfway up the
ladder to the bridge.
"Thatís not very
impressive Lee, considering mine is nearly five and three quarters."
That was the Admiralís
distinctive bass. I was anxious to go topside and get some badly needed
sunshine. We had been running submerged for three days now. As an marine
archaeologist, I was used to being out and about on deck not sequestered inside
the bowels of a submarine, despite the fantastic windows in the bow. Confined
to the inside for more than a few days and I started to get a little stir
crazy. I had been invited to come topside but now I wasnít so sure.
"Iíve got you both
beat. Six and a quarter," said Chip Morton. The temperature in the conning
tower suddenly shot up several degrees. Serena, you are way in over your
head. What on earth are they doing? I had been warned that the command trio
of Seaview were good, close friends, but this sounded like a level of closeness
that I didnít need to know about.
"Mr. Morton, I think
youíre stretching the poor thing," came Nelsonís replied.
"No sir. I donít want
to hurt it even if we are going to eat them."
EAT THEM? That did it. I
swarmed up the ladder and up onto the bridge.
Crane was the first to
"Oh, hello, Dr.
Harrison. Nice to see you finally made it. We could use an impartial
"You could?" I
asked weakly as Chip turned to me with a small six-inch ruler.
"You measure and tell
us what you think," he said to me and handed me the ruler.
I licked my lips and put on
my bravest face.
"And what am I
measuring?" I managed.
"Fish, Doctor Harrison.
We decided on fish for dinner. Fresh caught smelt. Deep-fried, thereís nothing
else like them. We started tracking a large pocket of them a couple of hours
ago and decided to surface and catch a mess of them," Lee said, picking up
his rod and reel from the deck to cast another line over the bridge.
Admiral Nelson glanced up
from his side of the bridge and favored me with the lopsided smile of his.
"What did you think we were doing up here?" he asked.
On the deck between Morton
and Nelson were three small blue buckets, each about half filled with silver
fish, each about three or four inches long. I shook my head and choked back the
wild giggle threatening to erupt.
"You wouldnít believe
me if I told you, Admiral. You really wouldnít."