Memories that could never be forgotten, that last time I looked at him… His deep eyes sparkling, he seemed to be crying but so was I… And as I sank into the deep waters he vanished from my sight. That day has and will always stay in my mind, Forever. I was 9 when it all started…
The fresh sea air filled my nose with a slight sting as I had ran along the vast shoreline; my long burgundy hair flowed across my tear-stained face. The sound of the waves crashing onto the clear, white sand running along the shore had reminded me of times my father was home and again my bright, blue eyes filled with tears. Slowly I stopped, tears falling to the ground- and then so had I. My head in my hands whilst tears streamed down my face as memories flooded my mind…
We used to dive in the late afternoon sun, searching the underwater depths. We would swim and explore every inch of the corals surrounding our favorite spot; a small submerged cavern. We called it the lagoon cave. Fish swam around us, they were of all shapes, colours and sizes and their millions of tiny scales had shinned in the glaring sun and glistened in the shimmering, blue waves creating a colourful light show over the silky sea bed. Their gentle company welcomed us in their comforting yet watery home. My dad would often salvage treasures he found half buried in the sandy floors and then we would come home to the sweet smell of my Mum’s famous cherry pie greeting us both into the cosy cottage. It had the most carefree ocean view of the Sydney waves and had the prettiest garden on the beach. These were the times I had treasured. Now, my dad was usually out at sea. He was the captain of a once great fishing vessel; the caverns nets. So now I was forced to stroll along the once blissful place I shared with my dad, alone.
There was a distant call from a little cottage as I sat staring out to sea so I run trying to dry my tears as I go. I embraced my mother as I entered my home. She instantly noticed the tears masking my cheeks and took me in her arms ‘He’ll be home soon Riley.’ she reassured me. Her tall stature towered above me and as I looked into her blue eyes full of longing, filled with loneliness her short blonde hair wrapped around her round face, then she smiled trying to hide her feelings-My dad had been due to come home in a weeks for a few days; unfortunately there’s always an excuse- Last time he didn’t come home my mother had told me a story of bad weather and raging storms. Something about her explanation had seemed wrong…
The first night it started, after an uneventful dinner, I went up to my room to plan my night’s explorations; I was going whale watching. I had packed my worn-out rucksack weeks ago and was ready to go, but that night was very special though, at that time of year the Killer whales had come to breed. Before I could even think about whales though, I had to make it out of the house. Then down to the bottom of the beach (were the lagoon cave is) without being spotted by elderly lighthouse keeper. It was going to be hard as there was a strict rule about going out at night. I felt nervous, but the risk of being caught was worth it.
As soon as I heard the door of my mother’s bedroom quietly close, I had clambered out of bed and slowly opened my door. Peering through the crack- I looked left then right. Empty. So I quickly tip-toed along the corridor and down the first step when I had stepped on a lose floor board. As if on cue it had begun to shriek. I froze on the spot; my mother moved in her bed. Then relief, because again my mother had begun lightly snoring. After that slight scare I had slipped down the creaking stairs easily and through the front room which had been decorated in a bright and wooden theme finished off with a grand fireplace. Then had made my way through the kitchen which was decorated with autumnal colours and woods with great ease. After I slipped through the back door and sprinted through the garden onto the sandy beach. Where I had made my four mile trek to the lagoon cave- the sea had sparkled, the sand was also soft against my bare feet and the air was warm against my skin. My rucksack had hung heavily on my back; its contents were a camera, sketch book and some biscuits to nibble. It had taken me around an hour to get to the lagoon cave. The entrance was gloomy and lead to a cramp staircase that had opened up to a colossal cavern, in which it had a bottomless pool leading out into the ocean and the moonlight, coming from a large crack in the ceiling, made the room sparkle. That is where I had sat hours on end waiting.
It had been clear then that there would be no whales that night so I made my way home before my mother discovered I was out of bed. Where were the whales? Had something or someone disturbed their mating path? Well, I would find out the next day.
Meanwhile, at sea, on a fishing vessel. “Reel in those nets, heave men “A gruff, bearded man had shouted over the torrential rain and the heavy waves crashing against the timbers of the boat. Men were running and working franticly around him, most heaving nets around the boat full of fish from the murky depths. Others grabbing nets and using harpoons. Some in the main cabin directing and steering, but the man I was interested in was in the middle of it all. My dad- the gruff bearded captain. “Cap! We have another one.” A man struggling with a net yelled
“Another dim-witted whale,” he moaned “shoot it!” Then with a wave of his hand there was a gunshot and a huge splash as the body of another innocent animal was dumped back into the ocean and he watched, with stern eyes, as the carcass floated slowly towards land.
I awoke to the sound of seagulls the next morning with a terrible headache and my bed wet with sweat. I had dreamt of whales and the worst Case scenario; death- extinction. A calf swam into the lagoon cave, to hide from the savage killers, but inside stood a figure. He was dark and was carrying an old style lantern, but the main feature that stood out in my mind was the scar through his green eye. Then my attention started to wander downwards and I realized he was holding a gun… that’s when I woke up.
At the start I completely ignored my dream shrugging it off by taking it in my stride and stumbled downstairs. I got out some strawberries and a glass of milk then sat down at the oak table in the kitchen. As I had looked at my surroundings my gaze was met by a black, old style cooker in the centre of the room with a sink, the fridge and a few pine cupboards surrounding it. The walls were decorated with orange and yellow tiles and the floor was made up of wooden paneling. There were also flowers in glass vases dotted around the room and it had a wrap around window with orange checkered curtains brightening my view. And lastly to the side of the room was a wooden door leading out to the garden filled with flowers. As I sat and ate my strawberries and drank from my glass I had begun to stare out the window expecting a clear blue sky and the sea waves rolling gently in and out, but my gaze was met by a deep cloud of black. Smoke. I dropped the glass half full of milk which shattered into pieces onto the floor and dropped the nearly eaten strawberries off the table as I fled out the back door and into the garden where I was met by a huge crowd all staring out into the ocean. I found my Mother at the end of our garden by a pink rose bush immersed in thought. At that moment I had tugged her loose black top and whispered “Mum… what’s happened?”
Yet she stood there in silence
Then after a while of silence, she finally answered “Riley a harpooning ship has been found in the west”
This was illegal in these parts, well that’s what I thought. But all I could do was look and stare, just like everyone else. After about ten minutes everyone except my mother and I had left. We just stared into the sky at the vastly growing black smoke. In my head the only question rolling in my mind was where and who was causing this death defying smoke. Suddenly I had been interrupted in my thoughts by my mother pulling me into her arms; I started to cry, thinking of all of the innocent lives of sweet and beautiful animals slowly dwindling away. “Dear… we will find out what happened!” she promised. I looked up at her but she would not meet my gaze, she knew something, it was staring me in the face but at the time my mother seemed so sweet and kind that her involvement in this tragedy was not plausible. This confused me and I had begun to feel frustrated, angry even, so I pushed away from her, sprinting into the sharp morning air. Tears had then again started streaming down my face, my legs had become numb and my fists were clenched in tight balls of fury. Then the entrance of the lagoon cave was looming and my spirits instantly lifted; this was my happy place. Blissfulness and contentment would fill my mind whenever I was there. I entered the dark cavern and began to climb the spiraling staircase, whilst water began dripping onto me from the rock formations hanging above, to the top of the cave to a small, secluded room where a shallow pool was glistening in the morning sun but there was tension in the air and it felt like a huge weight had been dumped onto of my shoulders, or was it a shadow. I slowly turned round to ease my discomfort and tell myself that everything was ok but was suddenly blinded by a bright light and two piercing green eyes staring into me like I was its prey. As my eyes had adjusted, I began to make out a jagged scar going through the middle the right eye, it was bloodshot and the pupil had disappeared. I had hastily shuffled back on the sharp, jagged floor and my leg scraped a nearby rock and began to bleed then as I tried to scream, no noise came out of my mouth. Silence… Then I had started to hyperventilate and shuffled back more and more, until rapidly… I fell further into the depths of water rushing towards me. I had just become submerged in the profound pool as I hit my head on the rocky edge of the ocean opening. I then felt a searing pain through my head. I struggled for breathe; I was drowning. I panicked… and then I blacked out.
Now as I sit here rocking in my chair, my wrinkles profound, my hair a strangled, silvery grey and my bones creaking away as I walk I can tell you my story… but as I say this you may think “how did you survive?” and I will laugh and say it was my sunken friend, swimming in the depths, a harpoon deep in his back and he too near his last breath. Yet as I was carried away from that cavern, the figure had come forward and revealed his gruff, bearded stature, his teary eyes still stern and his longing for me in his arms was vast... "goodbye daddy" I laughed, he didn't diserve me or my love... my family were whalers.