The scene was picturesque. Clear, cool waters flanked by cliffs both low and high, both too tall to climb, or accessible (and sometimes happen to have a traversable incline or steps) and in one place leading into a large cave; it was the stuff seen in posters, vacation brochures and the like.
However, almost no one knew that this place was once an important naval trade passage, and that many battles were fought here. Thus, many broken hulls rest under the waves and many treasures were forgotten underwater, forgotten as the empires that they were from were eaten by time.
A human teenage girl, sporting shoulder-length, untied dark purple hair, made her way towards a clearing that is almost level with the water. She wore a plain white T-Shirt, brown short-shorts, and carried with her a net containing a mask, snorkel and fins. Once she was on the edge of the water, she laid down her net and stared into the deep water. While obviously not very deep, it was deep enough to make ships go and come about freely. A blurred reflection of her face shows in the water, and the reflection of her blue eyes stared back.
She stood up and took out the contents of her net, setting them out on the stone surface. She then went a short distance away from the water and took off her clothes; first her short shorts then her T-Shirt, revealing a purple swimsuit with white straps of average thickness. The suit covered her shoulders partially but left her legs, and her arms, uncovered. The suit’s straps crossed at the back, forming an x-shape which covered her back partially.
Setting down her clothes next to the net, she then took it and slung it around her left shoulder (the sling itself improvised from a Velcro strap and two stainless steel links) before picking up her mask, snorkel and fins. Making her way towards the water, she sat down on the edge of the rock plateau, letting her legs hang in the clear, blue water. It was cold enough to trigger a person’s submersion reflex, but not cold enough to actually cause any danger of cold shock unlike ice water.
She rinsed the mask in clear water before putting it on her head and adjusting the strap to fit. Next, she attached the snorkel to the mask’s polycarbonate frame. Afterwards, she took her pair of purple fins, strapping them onto her foot, left side first. The girl breathed in and out slowly several times, holding her chest as she felt her heartbeat slow down. The world also seemed to move slower from her perspective. Readjusting her snorkel, she put it into the mouth, using the snorkel’s mouthpiece to keep it there.
She then pushed herself over the edge of the clearing, right into the clear, cold water. Immediately, her half-exposed body was subject to large amounts of cold water at once. It felt nice and soothing, a contrast of the biting sting of ice water. Swimming towards the middle of the lagoon, she took another deep breath and held it before diving downwards, straightening her legs like masts before they sunk downwards slowly until she was completely submerged.
The treasure-hunting free-diving girl swam downwards gently, feeling the water rushing past her half-exposed body and legs. She continued swimming downwards gently until she was about ten metres from the surface. She glanced up and saw the surface of the water, along with a school of fish swimming by. She looked down again, to see her search area.
It was a wooden ship full of holes large enough for people to swim through, even wearing full dive gear. Of course, there were also wooden sails, also full of holes, hanging in the water, just below her depth. The hull rested comfortably, in one piece, as if untouched by nature.
The girl swam downwards, into the hull of the ship. She reached the open-air (well, open-water) deck area and spotted an open door leading downwards. Her chest convulsed for air as soon as she entered the ship’s lower decks. Gotta be quick; my body won’t last forever, she thought.
She swam along the covered lower decks of the sunken ship. Piles of treasures, plundered from battles forgotten and empires lost to history, still in pristine condition as if never touched by human hands, d the cells that used to hold prisoners, or at least before the ship’s owner (or company for that matter) decided that transporting treasure was preferable to prisoners. In her mind, she was relieved that she had brought along her net (which was originally used to put her fins, mask and snorkel), with her into the dive. Of course, another convulse (this time slightly more painful) interrupted the girl from her thoughts, and immediately, she began to work.
Swimming towards an open cellar, she fetched a small jade statue from the piles of treasure there, along with a silver ornamental medallion, a small ceramic teacup (undamaged despite the years of submersion), and two lumps of raw, uncut jade. Once she put them back inside, she swam out of the cellar. Unfortunately for her, the cell to the next of the one she was in was rusted shut, so she swam to the right of the shut cellar and entered that one. With her air running out and time ticking, she filled her net with treasure from this cell before heading out of the lower decks, and heading straight up for the surface (leaving from where she entered), slinging her net over the left shoulder and extending her arms upward as she flutter-kicked her way up towards the surface.
After around three quarters of a minute, the surface finally is within reach. Tilting her head backwards, the girl tilted her head further backwards upon breaking the surface, displacing the water of her snorkel and allowing her to breathe again. She let the snorkel off her mouth and broke the surface with her head, gasping for air through her mouth as she did so. After her heart rate had restarted it’s normal rhythm, she used the snorkel again and retreated her head back beneath the surface of the water. She then swam towards the clearing she got into the water from, keeping her head underwater as she flutter-kicked there, breathing steadily by the snorkel.
Once she was next to the rocky clearing, she climbed up with both her hands before pulling herself out of the water, with fresh water still flowing down her body and her swimsuit. Turning backwards to face the direction she went, she sat down and took off her slinged net, looking at the small fortune she made.
I don’t know how much this will get on the market, but it’s got to be a good amount. I really enjoy working as a treasure freediver after all…