GOING DOWN WITH THE SHIP, A Withrow Key Adventure Short Story By Eric Douglas (Epilogue)0
It took a while for the police, the Coast Guard and everyone else to straighten it all out, but eventually they did.
Glenn Downing got a lot of media attention and press in the next few weeks, but not the kind he was looking for. He was revealed to be a fool and a complete dupe of the company preparing the ship. While he wasn’t criminally responsible, everyone blamed him for being too trusting and naïve. He never worked around the water again.
Colin Parker, the director of Seashore Engineering was charged with conspiracy to commit kidnapping, murder, extortion and fraud. He was also charged with improper disposal of toxic waste. It turned out, Parker’s company had been dumping toxic waste at night in the general area of where they sank the Beauregard for several years. That explained the overall unhealthy look of the reef. He was planning to leave the country with the final take from this contract, but local authorities caught him at the airport in Miami just as he was boarding a plane. Ultimately, Parker revealed – in an effort to get a reduced sentence – that they had placed the chemicals on board, hoping that it wouldn’t leak out for a while, but that the leaking would help cover up the barrels and crates that were already on the site.
Jackson and Andrea hadn’t seen the barrels on their first dive because, over time, they had gotten covered up with plant and coral life. The hull of the Beauregard striking the bottom exposed several barrels.
Commercial salvage divers were able to raise the Beauregard off the bottom and move it away from the reef, onto the patch of sand nearby. As soon as the ship was repositioned, the divers set to work removing the barrels of toxic waste from both the ship and the reef. By all appearances, they would be busy for several months. Local divers were forbidden to dive on the new wreck until it was all cleaned up.
Eventually, the coral reef would recover from the Beauregard landing on it. It would probably take years, but it would recover.
Andrea Perez got the media attention that Downing hoped would be his. She attracted new attention to overall concerns with the health of coral reef systems and the importance of protecting them. She was offered jobs all over the country as a consultant to help create artificial reefs.
Jackson Pauley continued diving and working as dive instructor in the islands. He still didn’t want to be a hero or be famous and deflected any attention he received for his role in breaking up the plot surrounding the sinking of the Beauregard. He just wanted to be left alone. He never made a dive on the Beauregard again.
Andrea’s career took her around the world. But, she made an effort to get back to visit Jackson whenever she could.
Life is an adventure for Eric Douglas, above and below the water and wherever in the world he ends up. Eric received a degree in Journalism from Marshall University. After working in local newspapers, honing his skills as a story teller, and following a stint as a freelance journalist in the former Soviet Union, he became a dive instructor. The ocean and diving have factored into all of his fiction works since then.
Eric has made a career of the diving industry since 1998, working for PADI and DAN, and now writing about diving adventure and safety. He is a regular columnist for Scuba Diving Magazine, writing both the Lessons for Life and Ask an Expert columns.
He has published four dive adventure novels in the Mike Scott Adventure Series: Cayman Cowboys, Flooding Hollywood, Guardians’ Keep and Wreck of the Huron. He also has a series of dive adventure short stories set on the fictional Withrow Key in the Florida Keys. He also has two children’s books: Sea Turtle Rescue and Swimming with Sharks.
Visit his website at: www.booksbyeric.com to see all of his work, or to buy the full version of “Going Down With the Ship” if you can’t wait to find out what happens next.
Be the first to read Eric’s latest Mike Scott dive adventure “Heart of the Maya”. Available late May 2014.
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