The adventures of two friends on a scuba diving vacation that went horribly wrong.
When Josh Alexander and his friend Jimmy embarked on a scuba diving vacation in the Bahamas, they knew they were in for the adventure of a lifetime. Sailing aboard the Sea Explorer, many amazing sights and exciting times were in store for them.
What they couldn't know was that the ocean held not only a beautiful alien world of wonder but the ominous reality of natural forces at work, moving the dive boat towards its dangerous destiny. Seven days of realism at the mercy of the sea. Seven days of virgin sands and ocean life beneath the waves. Seven days before fortunes became important.
For those dreaming of life on the sea or wondering about the spectacular creatures beneath it, The Final Voyage catapults the casual reading traveler into watery depths only true divers could perceive. You won't be able to come up for air.
At first, the dive was one of wondrous, impressive beauty. It was a mountain of corals, surrounded by sand, all alone in the middle of nothing else. It was massive. It stretched for about two acres in a circular dome shape, rising from the bottom at 50 feet deep, to a height of 20 feet.
Hundreds, perhaps thousands of coral heads had coalesced into a mound that was honeycombed with tunnels and swim-throughs; crevasses and grottoes. The multiple colors of hard and soft corals were dazzling. Gorgonians and Sea Fans waved slowly back and forth in the slight current. It was one of the most variety laden reefs they had ever seen. Numerous species of fish were teeming on this one spot. Its beauty was unlike anything they’d seen before.
Jimmy was in the lead, shining his dive light into the crannies, when they found the opening to a cave at the bottom, right at the edge of the ‘mountain.’ It was a coral cave, the entrance just slightly larger than their bodies, and it proceeded deep into the mountain as far as the light beams could go.
Jimmy entered first. It was a tight squeeze, his scuba tank scraping the coral above him. He went in about ten feet, and then the passage took a left turn, and went up at a slight incline as it went on even deeper into the coral.
Josh tried to follow, but the kicking of Jimmy’s fins had stirred up the sand and silt so badly, his visibility dropped to zero. He felt the sting of panic trying to creep into his brain, but he fought it off. Feeling claustrophobic now, with the walls of the cave touching both shoulders, and seeing nothing, he stopped. He couldn’t chance going any further. He could get lost in a passage, or worse, stuck in a narrow confine and surely drown when his air ran out.
He hollered out for Jimmy to stop, and he clanged on his tank to get his attention, to no avail. Jimmy was far beyond him now, alone.
Josh tried to turn around but the cave was to narrow. Fear rising now, he had one single minded purpose: to get out! He must get out of this cave! The silted chamber still blocking his visibility, Josh scooted backwards, pushing himself with his hands. He knew he’d only gone in a few feet and felt sure he would back out into the open water quickly.
As his feet, then his back, and finally his head emerged from the cave entrance, Josh felt reassured when he was at last back in the sunlight. But Jimmy was still in there, and going in even further.
Getting really scared now, Josh swam over the surface of the domed shaped coral, searching. He could see Jimmy’s bubbles rising through the coral, getting deeper and deeper into it.
“No, my God, no,” he thought as he swam over them. He shone his light down, through the small openings, but could see nothing.
Desperately, he searched across the surface of the mountain, hoping to find another large opening, a place where Jimmy could exit. But all he saw were small pockets, no bigger that a person’s head, punctuating the reef, like so many craters on a moonscape. He could see no exit for him!
Still the bubble trail showed that Jimmy was going ever deeper into the maze of the coral cave. Josh just couldn’t see how his friend could ever find his way out!
Professional Reviews A story only a Master Scuba Diver could tell!
The Final Voyage of the Sea Explorer by Douglas Boren is a book of fiction in motion that is threaded with descriptive and vivid reality. It is a story that only a master scuba diver could tell, and one that is aimed at young adult readers. Danger, adventure, and mystery lurk throughout the pages, but this is balanced by the delight of young, blossoming love, bonding friendships, and the feeling of independence that young adults enjoy when they are on vacation away from their parents.
And how did this scuba diving vacation in the Bahamas come about? Josh Alexander is given this vacation as a special graduation present—one set up by his father. His best friend Jimmy joins him in what they expect to be a fabulous seven-day vacation of scuba diving while aboard the Sea Explorer. However, the two young men quickly learn that diving in the ocean is quite different and much more dangerous than diving in the lakes of Kentucky back home.
Potential readers who are skeptical of curses and fortune tellers might possibly change their minds after reading this book. There is a scene where Josh and Jimmy tangle with a drug dealer who becomes infuriated when he fails to talk Jimmy into making a “buy” from him. He announces that he is putting a curse on these two Americans—promising that before three days pass, death will fall upon them. A fortune teller later predicts that the two young men will be facing dire circumstances, offering some advice that Josh comes to fully understand at the end of the voyage.
Is there any book written about deep sea diving that doesn’t touch upon a buried treasure? Probably so . . . but readers won’t be disappointed when reading about this treasure and the legend behind it. Josh and Jimmy briefly view the remains of a shipwreck that had occurred centuries earlier—a ship that supposedly carried a treasure of Spanish gold worth millions. When Josh discovers that this is the ship linked to an ancestor of his, he is stunned. But he doesn’t have much time to think about this as he struggles for his life—everyone on the Sea Explorer faces a life and death situation. Some survive; others do not.
As an older adult, I found this story intriguing as it gave me a picture of ocean depths in vivid detail. The scenes described in the book are literally breathtaking. I can now understand my own son’s passion for scuba diving. Though not a book of many pages, it is exciting, fast-paced and will continuously have readers wondering what is going to happen next.
It is often difficult for a writer to go back into time and portray the feelings of the younger generation . . . to understand them in the present, apart from his or her past. However in The Final Voyage of the Sea Explorer, this author, during seven days of a vacation, literally becomes Josh, the main character. The ending provides a perfect opportunity for a treasure hunt and a sequel to this adventure. If it is written, I believe readers will be eagerly awaiting the publication.