It was the Grand Canyon of my youth: deep, dark, and scary as hell. It took me and my 10-year old friends years to conquer our fear of the wilderness in our backyard. They set me on a path in life that serves me to this day. They were the canyons of my youth but they are long gone.
Most science fiction movies are based loosely on science. Usually, this means they make a few technical or impossible leaps to move the plot forward but generally adhere to the basic laws of science. But in most cases, filmmakers are forgiven for their science-defying sins as long as the story makes up for it. In contrast, Endless Descent (aka The Rift) seems to delight in making so many impossible and incredulous scientific leaps, that they grow to a level of absurdity that transcends the believable.
There is a legend, spawned deep in the mysterious kelp forests of southern California, of the killer abalone. On extremely rare occasions, conditions align with a violation of the abalone code that triggers the rare spawn of the trio of terror in the abalone universe: the red, the black, and their offspring, the pink abalone. So it was during the El Niño of the early 1980s that such an event occurred, much to the detriment of all those involved and future world peace.
“What’s your depth?” echoed down from the surface radio, unanswered for the third time in a row and sounding increasingly desperate. It was 2002 and I was riding inside the scientific submersible Delta, heading towards the seafloor off Anacapa island in an area known simply as the “footprint,” a deep-water fish, coral and sponge hot spot…
The idea of the Kraken appears in Melville’s Moby Dick in 1851; played a major role in Jules Verne’s Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea in 1870; and appeared as the Watcher in the Water in Tolkien’s The Fellowship of the Ring, lurking in a lake beneath the western walls of Moria. The truth is that the giant squid, which may have been the basis for most of these myths and legends, has a real-life story almost as mysterious as unicorns and dragons.
As a marine biologist and surfer I have spent a lot of time on and in the ocean. And while surveying the shore, riding waves, scuba diving, or being underwater in a submersible, I have developed a great respect for the sea. She is all-powerful, magnificent, unpredictable, inspiring, and terrifying all at once. And there are moments you face the realization that you are helpless, the sea is in control, that you may die; all you can do is surrender to its power. It is a completely sublime, humbling but ultimately a life changing experience.