Southern Ocean Early March
SUCKING in a final breath, the whale dived. Reflexes snapped shut the sphincter muscle around his nostrils, blocking out the probing tendrils of the searching sea. A rainbow of droplets swept skywards as his great tail lifted high into the air. A continuous motion of grace and power rolled forward. Cutting into the gray flecked wave, his great weight plunged him down away from the latent power of the high swells. Away from the white wave tops, flicking and curling. Away from the heaving and rolling rhythm of the great mass of water known as the Southern Ocean.
He felt safe now.
Six meters below the surface, it was quiet. The movement of the swell had dissipated to stillness. The sunlight’s intensity deteriorated rapidly as the whale pressed on downwards. Deeper and deeper through the twilight zone at thirty meters. Down and down into the blackness at four hundred meters. No sound. No movement. No swell. Nothing could be seen.
Descending further and further he ignored the schools of fish. Sensing the slight decrease in temperature, he felt the incredible increase in pressure. It would become a crushing one hundred and thirty seven times greater on the bottom, twelve hundred meters below.
He sensed the activity on the sea floor. Shellfish, crustaceans, sea lice, fish, eels, squid and octopus working at great depths. Unique, special, remarkable adaptations allowed each to survive the incredible conditions. Some used phosphorescence to provide light, others had sensitive feelers to feel and select, while others withdrew into protective shells to hide. The whale’s favorite food, the squid, and its near cousin, the octopus, had, over the aeons, evolved to not only survive but also to use the conditions to their benefit. Soft, pliant and flexible, the squid’s boneless body of eight sucker-soled tentacles attached to a central bulbous head allowed it to cross the ocean floor quickly and silently. Growing to more than sixteen meters in length, it was the monster of the deep. In their domain they had no peers. Their only fear, was their sole enemy, the sperm whale.
Driving relentlessly down, the whale felt an involuntary twinge of anticipation quiver through his body.
Saturday, 13 March 2010
Part 1 - Mizu (Water)