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To the Bottom of the Ocean in a Minivan

Dream | November 14, 2008

It was about noon on a bright sunny day. We all climbed into the minivan. It was me and four Asian friends: two girls and two guys. We had spent the morning at the beach and now we were on our way to our next tourist stop. I sat in the front passenger seat and one of the girls was driving. In the back, one of the guys was fiddling with a camcorder and holding it like he was filming. On our right the bright golden beach was a thick line between us and the brilliant blue sea. In front of us was a zebu blocking our way.

“I'm gonna ram it." The driver said. I uttered “Ahh—" as a prefix to I don't think that's a good idea but she was already cranking the steering column shifter into drive. Her face made a determined look. The minivan rolled forward slightly. The zebu turned its head and looked at us prosaically.

Since our focus was on this animal obstruction we didn't see beyond it, so when she gave the vehicle some gas, the zebu casually strolled out of the way and we saw that we were on a rocky bluff that sloped steeply down into the ocean. In my mind's eye I saw a far-away, silhouette-style side view of our minivan driving briskly over the edge and down into the ocean. But in my actual eye I saw the vivid blue sea rushing up towards the windshield. A short drop and we plunged into the water.

Normally it would probably take a minute or so for the van to fill up with water while it floated and everyone screamed and tried to escape. But in the dream we hit the ocean fast and kept right on going!

Very suddenly everything was blue—a magnificent, cystal-clear sapphire blue. The rich undersea world was all around us. We were descending very rapidly along the sheer cliff face of the continental shelf. Clumps of coral whisked upwards. Curious colorful fish darted about.

Although I was still in the minivan with its panicking occupants, the vast blue space filled my vision and consciousness. It was just me floating down, casually watching the scenery as the dark void drew me down into its depths. We must have descended a hundred feet or more by now and I still couldn't see the bottom.

A rocky outcropping with intricate strata rushed by very close. The water had become cobalt blue. Details were becoming indistinct. The world felt dark and claustrophobic.

I'm not sure if we ever did hit bottom but at some point I was free and pumping my arms in a frantic effort to swim to the surface before my air ran out. The faint sparkling surface seemed hundreds of feet away. All I remember of this time was the brilliant blue sea getting lighter, the drop-off nearby, the heavy thudding of my heartbeat in my ears, and the endless struggling and struggling. Near the surface I was getting more and more desperate. My lungs were about to burst or collapse.

I broke the surface with a great splash and a gasping breath. Waves were crashing against the rocky shore nearby and a surging current was sweeping me around the point and into a wide bay. At the last moment I caught the edge of a rock and dragged myself onto its shallow concavity. For the first time I wondered if my friends would make it.

Within a few seconds one guy thrashed up, and then another, sputtering and wild-eyed. The current pulled them in my direction and I reached out one arm to grab his. The other guy managed to find purchase a few feet farther down from us in a rocky recession. The girls had just emerged from the depths. A weary breath of relief went around in our group.

Despite coming up last, the girls fared the current better and were able to climb up on the rocks in an ideal spot, near a natural stairway up the rocky bluff. Us guys however, had a bit of a time clambering around on the sharp, slippery rocks.

Eventually we all made it up and stepped, dreamlike, into the front door of a large house where I assumed my Asian buddies were living. The girls were already in the showers. While we waited I noticed one guy was messing with his camcorder and I remarked that he should put his footage of the whole nightmare up on YouTube and he'd get a million views within a couple days. He pumped his fist and said something like YouTube was gonna be his best friend.

Behind him was an open bathroom with a tub where I could at least wash my grubby feet. I took off my wet clothes and sat down on a chair, completely exhausted. The whole ordeal caught up to me and I dozed off.

Tags   Adventure   Fear

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