One night, a storm was raging above the ocean. There were loud bangs and lightning flashes. Heavy raindrops disappeared into the furious waves.
The sea was wild and every living being was awake under the water. Colourful schools of fish swam from side to side, passing by turtles that were trying hard to keep on course. Octopuses were floating at the bottom and sea plants of various shapes, lengths and colours were dancing restlessly around them in the strong current. Dolphins were frolicking on the waves. Even sharks laid aside their seriousness and were playing clumsily between the rocks.
Nobody hunted or was hunted that night.
We are all friends in the ocean, but we are also aware of our fate, that is, that one day we’ll end up as lunch for another species in the food chain.
It was a good night. Special, stormy and vibrant.
Then morning came, calm and fresh.
And the daily struggle for life began again.
We had some krill for breakfast and set out on new adventures and encounters.
A short while later, Atli, Margot and I were talking about our favourite places in the depths and were laughing again when I suddenly bumped into something big and hard. I looked ahead and was shocked.
There were objects of various shapes and sizes that I’d never seen before. However, Margot was more knowledgeable and knew a lot from the birds about the above-surface world.
With her typical eagerness and unflagging need to talk, she started to explain.
“This must be one of the containers that birds sit on. And there are barrels over there and ... Well, that’s ...“
The biggest ship I’d ever seen was floating on the water like a giant black iceberg. But it was not moving. It was positioned strangely, smoke was coming out of it – as Margot explained to us – and those colourful containers, barrels and many other small strange objects were swinging around it. None of it seemed to belong in the ocean.
“Lupin, Margot,” Atli called, “come here! The water is even darker here than in the deep.”
“It must be flowing out of the ship,” Margot said when we came closer.
“It’s kind of sticky ...”
“Let’s get out of here, friends,” the small smart fish said. “It’s only going to get worse here.”
As we were leaving the dirty place, a shoal of Killer Whales crossed our path.
I’ve always admired them. They are great hunters, very smart and constantly keep together like a big family.
But there was something strange about them.
“Good morning, Killer Whales,” we greeted them.
And then it occurred to me. Their typical white spots, by which you can recognise them from afar and which make them look a little scary, were missing. There was only black and nothing else. Totally black Killer Whales.
“What happened to you?” Atli asked cautiously.
They greeted us sadly. “We’re all dirty, oily and it’s difficult to swim. Oh ... it’s the ship. Thick black water is leaking out of it. We’re afraid we can’t get rid of it. It’s annoying and limiting. How can we hunt like this?”
Margot was slightly relieved and swam out from under my fin (her species is part of Killer Whales’ menu).
“We can try to stir up the water and create a strong stream,” I suggested.
The Killer Whales nodded gratefully and formed a line.
Atli and I turned our backs to them and swished our tail fins. A few of the lighter and weaker Whales were carried away by the stream caused by us, but those who remained motionless were still as black as the darkest and coolest depths of the sea. We tried it again and then again ... Five times, but without success.
“I’m sorry,” I said. “If we can help you in any way, please tell us.”
“Thank you, Blue Whales, but we’ll have to get used to it, as usual ...” their leader sighed.
“But how can you get used to it when you can’t hunt?” Atli wondered.
The Killer Whales looked at each other in embarrassment and narrowed their eyes in resignation. They looked just like Grandpa Lep when he had set out to the deep for answers. And I’d never seen him again.
There were no more words.
We said goodbye and, embarrassed, left the sad school behind us.
“Dad used to say that life is about compromise,” I said in an uncertain voice.
Our journey continued ...