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Tuesday, January 3, 2017

The Island Part 1

     It was a glorious sunny day and a light breeze blowing as we packed up the boat for a day trip on the mighty blue ocean. It was Helen, Peter, Dr. Wesley, and myself who were going for a trip out to a designated location by the doctor to do some research. Once we were all packed up and set to go, we untied the ropes and were off on our adventure. No one knew where we were going except the good doctor. We sailed out of the harbor and onto the deep blue ocean. Helen sat by the boat side watching the dolphins trail along the side of us and I watched as land disappeared from sight. Peter was navigating the boat and following the directions of the doctor.
     It was so nice out on the water and the color of the ocean such a magnificent deep blue. Once we were past the white crests of the breaking water, the ocean became so serene and quiet. It was as if we traveled into another realm with all of its mysteries to be discovered. By Peters recollection, we were about eight miles off of the coast and still heading Southeast. When I asked Doctor Wesley how much further, he said about another two hours to go before we reach our point. With that in mind, I sat with Helen watching over the water and admiring the beautiful day at sea.
     Doctor Wesley was a well known Marine Biologist who discovered new species and labeled them for taxonomy purposes. I was a student of his all throughout my college years and learned quite a bit from him. I wanted to be a Marine Biologist on my own as well and just needed to finish my dissertation to get my Masters Degree and this trip would assist me with that. I wanted to be a part of this expedition with the chance of learning the doctor's techniques and more. It would be a good learning experience for everyone here. Helen is a Biology major working on her Bachelor's degree and Peter is Doctor Wesley's assistant. This trip is expected to be a day trip as long as we stay on schedule with nothing hindering us.
     We finally stopped out in the middle of nowhere on the deep blue ocean and all the doctor did was look around and then keep glancing down at his compass. When I asked if there was a problem, he ignored me the first time, but then finally responded to my question with "no problem at all". We sat there quietly while listening to the mumblings of the doctor while he kept frantically looking around. We had no idea what he was doing nor did we know why he was doing it.
     Then out of nowhere, the doctor loudly whispered out "there it is" and pointed his finger straight out over the bow of the boat. When we looked, there appeared to be a small island sitting in the distance that wasn't there a few minutes ago. Doctor Wesley was so excited to see this little island that he almost fell out of the boat with his jumping up and down. Helen and I looked at each other in confusion as to where this island came from. Peter looked the map over and couldn't find this little island anywhere on it. We were all baffled by this discovery, but the doctor was hiding something that we were not aware of.
     Doctor Wesley called out to Peter to sail towards the island for a closer look. Peter started the boat up and gently propelled it forward towards the island. As we got closer, you could see the island's detail clearer. You could see the lush green landscape of trees and bushes falling over rich brown cliffs. You could see the few tropical blue waterfalls that are in the distance. This place was a beautiful paradise. The closer we got to it we could hear the waves breaking on the light brown sugar colored sandy beach. This place looked amazing.
     We asked the doctor, "what is this place?", and his response was that is was a discovery he made several years ago. He was out on a charter boat doing some research when he happened across this mysterious unchartered island. He described it exactly the way it looks right now, it hasn't changed since he saw it last. Doctor Wesley said that the island would only be there for a short period of time and then it would disappear again. We were all in awe of this discovery but a little excited on the inside too. We were fascinated by it and very much wanted to go ashore, but the doctor advised us that it would not be safe to do so. When we asked him "why?", he informed us of its disappearance and that it was not known as to where it disappeared to or for how long it would be gone.
     I turned to Doctor Wesley and stated that this would be a unique discovery and that it wouldn't hurt to go ashore just for a few hours and then return to the boat before the island disappears. The doctor thought it over for a moment, and then decided it would be alright to go ashore just for a couple of hours to take specimens and samples. So, we pulled the boat ashore and grabbed our gear and stepped out of the boat onto the gritty yet smooth silica sand. We paused for a minute to listen to the calls and noises of several different birds and creatures of this unknown island. It did indeed seem like a natural paradise. I took in the aroma of the salt air and flowers that were found right off the beach which acted as a barrier to the lush, full, green jungle that was behind it.
     We walked a short way down the beach until we came across a dirt path leading into the jungle. We were hesitant to follow it but it seemed to be a guide for us to get back to the beach. Doctor Wesley led the way as we followed him down the dirt path. Helen was busy taking pictures, as I was grabbing soil samples and other biologic items to study back in the lab. We walked for what seemed like an hour before coming to a clearing in the jungle. Once reaching the clearing we noticed large stones circling the edge of the clearing. We split up and began taking samples and making notes. Peter came across a creature that resembled a hairy centipede. It looked like a centipede, but also a cross of a caterpillar. One would say that it is a one-hundred legged caterpillar also. Peter grabbed the creature and put it inside a specimen container and then into his bag. We all walked around the great clearing and noticed in the distance a loud rumbling. We looked at the direction of the rumbling and saw that of a great volcano spewing smoke into the bright blue sky.
     As we wondered about the jungle we lost track of time. There were so many amazing things to see that when we finally did notice the time, it had been several hours since coming ashore. Doctor Wesley nervously called to us to head back to the beach. It was hard to pull away from such beauty and awesomeness.  We so desired to explore more but the doctor hurried us along. As we walked back on the dirt path which brought us from the beach we felt the ground rumbling beneath our feet. We were in fear that the mighty volcano would be erupting at any time which made our feet walk faster. All the rumbling was causing branches to fall that we were dodging onto the dirt path. Helen was tripped up by one of the branches, falling and twisting her ankle. I went back for her while the others kept going.
     I got to Helen and leaned down wrapping her arm around my neck and lifting her up becoming her crutch. We walked with her limping to try and catch up with the others but they were nowhere in sight. Once we had gotten to the beach, we looked over the sandy shore and couldn't locate our boat. I saw the others in the distance down the beach and headed their way. Once we arrived at their location, Doctor Wesley was distraught and mumbling incoherent words. I assisted Helen in sitting down on a nearby stone before heading over to the doctor.
     I walked up and put my hand on the doctor's shoulder and asked him what was wrong, and if he knew what happened to the boat? He kept mumbling for a minute before answering me. He stated, "we were too late". His response puzzled me and again I asked him what he meant by that. Doctor Wesley turned to me and with a distraught look on his face, he stated again "that we were too late getting back to the boat". I looked around and asked where the boat was and the doctor said it was gone. I asked him "gone, gone where"?
The only answer I could get from him was that we were stuck on this island and that it had disappeared from what we knew as home. He said the boat is exactly where we left it but we have disappeared along with the island. Helen overheard the conversation and became very hysterical about our situation. Peter just stood there looking around scratching his head and began mumbling to himself.
     I looked back at the doctor and asked him how long before we reappear and can go home? The doctor scratched his head and did some calculations in his mind before telling me it could be about eight months by his calculations. I stepped back and put my hand on my head repeating what the doctor just said to me. "It couldn't be possible." "We can't survive here for eight months, this is ridiculous." Everyone sat for a moment trying to gather their thoughts and comprising an action plan of how to survive until the next reappearance of the island.
     The only thing we could possibly do is set up camp and make shelter against the weather. We need to make weapons and items to use for hunting and a nice fire for warmth and cooking. We split up into teams, one team scrounged up wood and branches to make a fire and shelter, while the other team started looking for items to make weapons and gathering any berries and fruits to eat. We were here and we were going to have to make the best of it. We were unsure of any animals that might be on this island so we had to prepare.
     Once we gathered all the items, we quickly started making camp and lighting a fire. Most of our supplies were still on our boat but we did manage to bring a few things to eat with us. We settled down for the evening listening to all the strange noises before going to sleep and hopefully tomorrow will be a better day.

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