They Say Oct22


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They Say


Pam paused from dead heading her roses to watch a scuba diver come ashore from his early morning dive.  She had expected to see him carrying a lobster.  She had seen one every day this week,  but he was empty handed.

As set his tanks next to his fins on the grass at the bottom of her hill and began to pull off his wet suit, he noticed Pam watching and commented on her pretty roses.

“I didn’t think roses would grow this close to the salt water, but yours are doing great.”   Pam explained that they took a little extra care, but she liked them, so they really are worth the work.  “No lobster today I see.”  Pam said to make conversation.

“Oh they are there but the season just ended.  I couldn’t take a chance with the man in Tan.’  He laughed, his eyes going to the top of the west hill where the man in Tan with a badge on his chest and a patch on his arm, often sat looking down at the ocean watching for fishing offenders.  You know what would happen if I came in carrying an out of season lobster.”

“A ticket?”

“Almost never.  He would simply confiscate the lobster and all of my equipment; tanks, mask, fins, wet suit and all, even gloves if I had them, and I usually do if I go after those feisty lobsters.  That is worse than a ticket.  So no I was just paying a little short visit to Lobster Town.  You know that small under water place where lobsters are born and all of the underwater life who can, like to sit around out of sight, breathing air for relaxation.”

“No I don’t know.  I live right here and I’ve never heard about anything like that.”  Pam stopped and stepped closer to look him in the eyes.  “Are you putting me on?” She questioned him.

“Not at all.  I’ll bet only one person in ten has heard about it and one in a hundred has taken the trouble to go see it for them self.  Because It is definitely not that easy to get to.”

“I’m trying to take you seriously, but… “  Pam told him, “ You are making that up.  Right?”  She was still not convinced.  The diver took on a serious attitude and asked her.

“Do you dive?”    He set his equipment out to dry and sat down on what passes for grass on this side of the sand, just before it becomes Pam’s garden the rest of the way up the hill to the house.

“Not for ten years.”  She admitted, thinking it seemed more like twice that.

“Well if you decide to go again.  I can show you the way.  You must start right there on the other side of Splash Rock.”

“I look at that rock formation every day, and I see divers swimming around it.  Are they looking for the way in?”

“Maybe, but I doubt it, because they would only be going in if they had someone to lead them. Nothing about it is that obvious.”

“Pam  looked up at her house and back at this diver with that interesting new information. Then made him an offer.

“ I’ll go up and bring you down a cold drink and a sandwich, or something, if you will take the time to tell me about it.”

He reached up and pulled down a back pack he had parked higher on the hill, before the dive and pulled out a beach towel. Pam was used to having her yard used like part of the public beach and said nothing.

“It’s a deal.”  He smiled,  “My name is Eric by the way.”

“Okay Eric I will be right back down.  My name is Pam and I live right up there, so it won’t take me very long.”  She carried the garden tools back up the steep steps to the house and dashed in to wash her hands and make that sandwich, thinking. “ I should have asked what he liked.”    But she just did the fastest thing and threw a slice of ham, Swiss cheese, crisp lettuce and a pickle piece or two on the biggest center slices of the sour dough bread with some honey mustard dressing and wrapped it in a napkin then grabbed two cold cokes and several cookies and went back down the hill.  She really wanted to hear about this crazy little Lobster Town, even if he was just inventing it.  Pam had the strange feeling that he might be telling her some real facts.

Eric had gotten comfortable on his towel in his dry jeans and a blue tee shirt.  His wet suit was spread out to dry in the sun.

Pam arrived out of breath, quickly handed over the food and drinks, then rested while he opened the first can and drank down most of the cold coke.   Just as she thought he was thirsty after that dive.  She always was too. That was why she came with two cans.

“That was good.  Thanks.”  Eric looked back out to sea and the Rock he was going to start his story with.  The tide had gone out a bit and more Rocks were above the water now.

“Look at that tiny bit of rock,  you can almost see on the far left.” He told her.  “ That is where you must start.  The trouble is you must swim behind it and come this way, and find the passage while wearing your goggles and swimming by the other rocks between the waves and as you know, waves can make it almost impossible.  However, the only opening goes straight down for maybe six or seven yards.  The rock is such that you think it is only about four yards high.  No one would even believe you can get that deep this close to shore.  But if you are in the right place you can.”  Eric paused wondering if he should admit this part.  Then he did.  “It is too scary to just go straight down head first, like one might be inclined to swim.  So I go feet first with my head up.  I can’t explain it, I just feel safer that way.”  Eric took a bite of the sandwich and thought for a minute.  When he looked up he grinned and said,  “Hey this is good.  You make a mean sandwich, Girl.”

“Thanks.” Pam said, as she was waiting breathlessly, thinking of going down under those rocks feet first.  At least with your head up you could chicken out and go back up easier…maybe.  Eric went on.

“Once you feel your feet having more room, your fins and tank just barely fit through, you push down from the top and find yourself standing on the sand again, so you can look for the opening to your left which means you are kind of swimming toward town, but under the water with rocks over your head.  If you don’t have a leader you could panic and fear not being able to return to the top, because your next move is to go deeper down. As soon as you see the big arch, you swim up through that arched tunnel, and you are almost there.”


“In Lobster Town. You come up out of the water.  The air is all around you and you can stop breathing from your tank.  The big difference is the sky.  Ten feet or so above you are the rocks that surround the Town everywhere you look.  In other words you are in an enormous cave back under the highway or maybe even the town.  I’m not sure how far back we go”

“Where does the light and air come from then?”  It was beginning to sound a lot too strange to be true after all.

“Well there is a kind of a glow about the Town, so it is not like total darkness and it is not a town like with stores and stuff.  I don’t know who first called it Lobster Town, but that is what it feels like when you can walk around and see the other creatures relaxing like they own the place and don’t mind you being there at all.  They say… in Lobster Town you are one of them.”  He tried to explain the feel of it.

“I look up, and try to figure it out.  The rocks must have cracks to let in light and air, in hidden places with more rocks blocking your view.”  He thought for a second or two then tried again.  “You know how early in the morning when the sun is still out of sight, the sky is light all over.  The photons of light are bouncing against each other and the light even filters into your room through the windows.   Or at night when the sun is down and the light sky is called twilight.  That is what it is like.  Twilight by photons.”

“Okay.  I’ll buy that.”  Pam told him, so he would go forward with the story of the little under water Town, but disbelief was creeping in, so she quizzed him .

“So you can get there from the outside.  Right?”  If that was a yes, Pam was thinking, maybe she could go there after all.”  But his answer was not encouraging.

“It must open to the land, but I have never gone looking, because it is probably beyond our downtown somewhere.  Some say it is under Big Bend Rock.  You know where that is.”

“Of course.  No one can miss that!  It is the largest granite boulder I have ever seen that is not in Yosemite.  But you don’t think someone could get into the Cave from back up there by that huge, gigantic, boulder … even though the air and light can?”

“We could take a walk up there someday and look for an opening.  I knew some people who have, but so far with no luck. I do know how to swim in right there”  He pointed, “ So, since I can also swim out, I really never cared.”

“Tell me what you see there and why is it called Lobster Town?”

Well the lobsters are born there in that salty pond.  And the little land creatures sit around everywhere on the smooth boulders, or some even nest in odd tiny caves.  You’ll see squirrels, rabbits, gophers, possum and raccoons.   Now and then a bird flits in, but not often.  It is pretty quiet for being so popular, as they all sit around chatting with the Octopus, Crabs and Seals.

Every now and then a coyote wanders in looking for an easy rabbit or something small to take home to the cubs.”

“Well if a coyote can get in it must be large enough for you.  Why don’t you follow him out?”

“Are you kidding!  Have you ever tried to follow a coyote?  They won’t lead you where they have the cubs.  You would just be led to some dead end and get lost.”

“Okay.”  Pam had to laugh. “ Who am I to make suggestions when I have no idea what you are talking about?”

It occurred to her that,  “Just listening to Eric is probably the closest she will ever get to Lobster Town.”  She decided to ask why the divers didn’t take Lobsters from there.  Or for that matter, Crabs?  But he was adamantly against that!

“ You just don’t!  That’s all.  It would be like fishing in a barrel.  You just don’t go to someone’s home and steal them.  You would never be allowed to return.  To be one of them is a privilege.”

“That sounds fair.”  Pam tried to sooth over her dumb question.  But Eric was still telling her what they say.

“The Coyotes are not very welcome either.  They just go the same as everywhere else they go.. kind of sneaky.  But some little Bears and  some Cats both wild and tame wander around.  Also a few Sea Turtles, if they are not too big. Dolphin and some Fish come as far as the large pond at one end .  They all come just like we do,  to enjoy it.

The Lobsters all go out every year to find a mate in the open sea.  They prefer a mate from elsewhere and Lobsters come from as far away as the Channel Islands, Catalina, Santa Barbara, San Clemente, and whatever the other Islands are called.”

“Well,”  Pam sighed, “It sounds very interesting.  I would sure like to go see it, but I’m sure it is beyond my ability”  She got up to go in adding,.

“Thanks anyway, for telling me about it, Eric.”  She took the papers and the empty cans back to the house with her.

When she got to the top of the steps, she looked back and saw that Eric had gathered his things and walked up the path to the street wearing his back pack. She didn’t know if he was a distant neighbor or had driven here. He was very nice. Pam thought to herself.  “Maybe I will see him again one day and I hope I will remember his name.  Then she saw the note pad in the back room and simply wrote ‘Eric’ on it.


Early one Saturday morning Pam’s door bell rang and she was surprised to see Eric standing there.  He sort of stammered a “Good Morning.”  Then began at once to explain why he was here so very early.

The fat curlers still in her long hair must have given him the idea that he had awakened her, though she was dressed in jeans and a long sleeve print shirt.

“I thought you might like to take an early walk in the top of the Canyon, where we could look for signs of an entrance to the Lobster Town Cave up on the hillside.”

“I would love that!”  Pam told him. “I love early morning walking. In fact I was just about to walk to Town, but I like your idea better.”

“Good then we can walk back by way of town and I’ll buy breakfast.”  Eric explained further.

Pam blushed as she pulled the curlers out and ran a brush through her hair pulling it into a pony tail, as she snatched up her straw hat, then I hung a tiny purse around her waist with a cheery,  “I’m ready now!  Do I need anything else?”

“I only carry a waist sack also with a knife and some small stuff, just in case, and my wallet,   Oh and I brought two waters.”  He patted where they hung at his waist”

“Then you lead the way.” Pam said, locking the door and dropping the key into her bag and zipping it closed.

She walked by his side at an easy pace, as he turned from the road and went straight up the hill from her house.  Driving would have meant going down to the Canyon Road, but this was a walk, so Eric went as the crow flies straight at the destination, on sidewalks, dirt paths and empty fields to the top of the rolling hills.

They talked about the things they passed as they went.  Pam was pleased that Eric was interested in so much.  It seemed that lately all of the guys she met were only interested in their job and nothing else.  So far, she had no idea what sort of a job Eric had… or if he even had one.

The sky was clear… Pam noticed and wondered, What is morning twilight called?  Maybe like the National Anthem, “The dawn’s early light.” She murmured

“What did you say?”  Eric asked,

“The sky made me think of the song, she sang softly,’ Oh..oo,  say can you see, by the dawn’s early light?”  Then she smiled, I just noticed that right now it is, “The dawn’s early light.”

Eric stopped and looked around.  There was still no sun to be seen and not a single cloud.  “You’re right.  I love this time of day I just never called it anything before except early.   From up here on the hill, it almost seems like the light is coming up from the ocean far below.”

“Shall we call it “the sea’s early light then?”  Pam asked,

“Why not? Then both of us will know what we are talking about.  Even if no one else does.”  He began to walk again, humming the song Pam had almost begun then sang out loud and clear.  “oh say can you see by the dawn’s early light what so proudly we hail….” Pam joined in with a light musical whistle of the tune.

That stopped Eric.  And he spoke surprised,

“Hey!  You can whistle!  That is great!  I can whistle that “pretty girl going by, two note thing”, and that is all… but not a real tune.”

“My whistling is much better than my singing.”  Pam told him.  “My kids would let me whistle them softly to sleep.  But when I sang they all but covered their ears… or wished they could.”  She laughed. “But they have flown the coop, as they say… all grown up now.”

So as they walked, Eric happily sang the song and Pam whistled the melody.  He did have a good voice, she noticed.

Soon they were at the top and it was time to begin to pay attention to the area near the giant boulder up ahead .  Pam had never seen it from this top view.  It was even bigger than it appeared at the sharp turn the Canyon Road was forced to take around it, called Big Bend.

Beyond the huge rock a stand of nice green trees grew and just down between them a small brook still flowed.  It hadn’t rained lately.  What was the source of that water, Pam wondered.  She soon discovered that a good size lake was just beyond the boulders that framed the main big one.  It was not large enough of a lake to go boating, but large enough for watering the cattle that once grazed here.  In fact with no higher mountains to melt snow into it, it was still a mystery.

In fact, looking at the lake reminded  her that she had read that on the other side of the Canyon Road, there was once a wild animal compound and a single baby hippo had once gotten loose and was found lolling in that lake.  There was a picture of him being tempted with food to try to get him to come out and be led home.  But he loved the pond and refused to budge.  It was quite awhile before that lump of a hippopotamus was back on his own side of the street in the compound.

Pam asked Eric if he remembered that time.  He did. But neither of them knew what had happened to all of those wild animals.  They were just quietly moved out.  Perhaps having one escape was the reason.

They stood looking at the small lake.  Finally Pam said out loud,

“Where does the water come from?”

“They say, it was dug by a bull dozer to hold water for the cattle who once grazed here.  It is probably still kept full the same as then… with a connection to the fire hydrant.

Pam followed, him toward the boulders,  but wondered who was willing to pay the water bill now that the cattle were gone.

Eric took the downward path behind the Big Boulder.  They both brushed aside stems of plants trying to see if there was a path deeper down.  The only paths were the ones the cattle once made and now people followed those same paths for their walks.

“They say… Cattle will always automatically take the course of least resistance and that is why they make good people paths.”  Eric informed his walking companion.  She just smiled. This guy was full of interesting facts.

Then seeing a cave in the boulders, her attention was drawn to the task of seeing if it went anywhere.  In fact, as cave like as it seemed, one could not even get out of the rain inside of it, as the top slanted away leaving no overhead and the bottom was trashy like some homeless man had slept under what little protection it offered and cigarette butts were everywhere along with a half dozen beer cans.

Pam’s instincts led her to pick up a plastic potato chip bag and begin to put the cans and other debris into it.

Eric helped and soon the area was pristine again.  Eric kept the bag until they came to a convenient Park Trash container.

Another cave was deeper but not by much it showed signs of having animals living inside.  Maybe a Bob Cat.  Which was why it was not people trashy.  Just chewed on animal bones.

“Where do the coyotes live I wonder.”  Pam asked.

“In caves like this.  But probably in the soft hillside somewhere.”

“Where are they now?”

“Sleeping it off out of sight.”

“I sure hope so.” Pam said with a shudder.  She now stood beside the lake and knelt to taste the water.

Eric looked at her puzzled.  “I have bottled water.” he said.  “Don’t drink that stuff.’

“I’m not.  But come taste it.  This is salty ocean water. Not treated water from a faucet.”

Eric came, tasted and agreed.  They stood and looked around. “How does it get way up here?”  They asked each other.

“How deep does it go? “  Pam pulled off her shoes and waded in.  The bank dropped sharply and was at her knees very quickly.  They looked around for someone to ask.  Usually a group was walking with a docent to answer questions, but they were still alone.  The sun was above the horizon now and others will be on this trail soon.  Pam rolled her jeans down and put on her shoes and socks.

“Is there any way this could be welled up from below?”  She asked Eric.  He was sure that it could not be. “ How far down does it go? Pam had another question for him.

“Can this be the opening we are looking for to the cave?”

“It could be hiding an entrance.  But it is certainly not a source of air and light. And unless it is a gravity free zone, it cannot be that ocean water.”  He pointed to the Pacific Ocean 2 or 300 feet below them.  And it cannot be what was here to water the cattle before.  This in fact, is almost unexplainable!” Eric insisted.

“That is what I was thinking.”  Pam agreed.  She took a second taste to be sure she was right.  “Something has to pump this water up from there”  she pointed to the same Pacific Ocean Eric had.  “But who, why and how?”  Pam stood hands on her hips looking at the two salt waters, one huge and one small.  Maybe the answer is in the undiscovered entrance.  “Go wake up a coyote and tell him to go in and show us the way.”  Pam laughed.

“There a rabbit!  Maybe he is about to go into the cave.  Let’s follow him.”

But as soon as she said it, the rabbit disappeared into the brush in a wink.  Pam had to laugh again.  “Okay, Eric find us a nice slow critter like a turtle to follow.”

Eric didn’t laugh, or even smile, he was looking around for a slow animal to follow.

Pam was looking to see where the rabbit disappeared to.  Deep in the brush she found his scratchy trail and moved along it, as far as she could.  Then it was gone out of sight into a tiny rabbit hole.  But that hole could go to the cave.  Those rabbit holes were all connected, she knew that. So she searched for more.

One day when she was trying to smoke them out of her Rose garden she build a fire in a hole and watched the smoke pour out of the connected holes.

She gathered dry brush and put it into the rabbit hole.  “Have you got a match?”  she asked Eric.  He turned to say yes then looked around.  Not up here.  We could burn Laguna down for the third time.”

“No I just want to smoke this hole.  As soon as I light it, I will push the dirt in after it.” The smoke will then come out of any other holes connected.

“I don’t know.”   Eric looked worried.  “We can’t take any chances.” So Pam backed away.  Remembering twice in her life, they had to water their house to save it from burning.  when 300 or more houses had burned to the ground in those two other fires, years  before.

Pam had to agree.  The City has had too many problems without me accidently starting another fire.  So much for testing the Rabbit holes.

In their search for an open area to the Cave somewhere down below, which they knew not exactly where it began and ended, they kept coming to sections of black rock much like the ones that made up the spurs of solid Lava extending into the Ocean and under their homes on the cliff.  Many people had noticed that if you fly over this area you see what appears to be lava from a long ago volcano leading out into the Pacific.

Thus the theory that the actual dead volcano was under water.  Since a cone had never been found to account for those lava flows.

They sat for a drink of Eric’s bottled water and discussed the black chip of lava in Eric’s hand.

“You know this is an extremely interesting area.”  Eric was explaining.

Pam listened.  She knew much about what he was saying, but hoped to hear a new theory to add to the many tales she had heard..

Eric was happy to try to explain it to someone who cared and questioned those same things.

“Here we sit on the very edge of a Tectonic Plate that is turning the bottom half of our State enough to twist those very mountains we are looking at out of line with the rest of the Range.  Most of all we see was once under water, even those low mountains.  Just out of our sight there is a much larger Range of mountains called the Rockies, all still in a straight line from north to south.  Still it was once under the Ocean also.  Sea Shells and Fish Fossils, even Whale skeletons prove that.  Yet,”  He tossed the lava rock up and caught it again.  “Yet they haven’t found where the volcanoes were that left all of this lava rock.”

“I look for signs every time I dive and all I see is more lava.  And up north the rest of California is still split between several Plates all doing their own thing.  It’s crazy.”  Pam agreed by explaining her experience with learning about their State’s past.

“I took some classes in Geography a couple of years ago and then later went to another and between the two the story had changed.  Or at least the Professors had different ones.  Remember when Howard Hughes said that California was due to fall into the Pacific Ocean, so he went to Nevada to buy up the future Water Front Land.  Lots of people left this State with him.  That was crazy!  I still enjoy my water front home and Howard died without ever having one.”

“What other classes did you take?”  Eric asked.  Pam explained,

“Mostly Nursing and Medical stuff for my jobs.  But the Astronomy was for fun and if I thought the Geology was always changing, you should see how fast the information about the Stars and Galaxies differed each year!  Sometimes I am tempted to go back and see what’s new now!”

“I’d like to try that.”  Eric said.  “Maybe we can sign up for an Astronomy class together.”  Then he looked back at the mountains in view.  “You know as I sit here I can almost feel that mountain trying to turn a bit more West.”

“Maybe we had better finish our hunt for the Cave entrance before it goes west.”  Pam smiled as she stood and stretched.  “If it hasn’t already, that is.”

As they walked past the lake looking all around it for a break, Pam remembered something else odd about that lake.  So she decided to bring it up to see if Eric had any idea about that.

“Maybe you can answer this for me, you know water. Eric.”  If the sun is heating a small body of water… or maybe any size I don’t know, wouldn’t the top be the warmest and the water get colder as you went down deeper?”

“How deep is it?” he asked, “That would make a difference.”

“Quite deep.  But say, if I am standing in the water up to my knees and my knees are rather cool, but my toes are burning hot.  Isn’t that backwards?”

I would think so, yes.  The deep should not heat as fast as the part in the sun.  But the sun was not up yet when you stood in the lake.  That might make a difference also.”  But you see I hurried out because my toes were burning hot, not just warm.

“Let’s go look at it again.  That is too odd.  Maybe you were on a stone shelf or something different.”  Eric explained. That lake was not his problem. He was making that illusive Cave Entrance his problem and that was enough. This time Eric also took off his shoes and they both stepped into the lake and eased out deeper.

Both stopped short of going all the way in and swimming in the bath tub warm water.  Pam decided to sacrifice her jeans and go deeper.  She would let the pants dry on her before she went home.

However, at waist deep her feet were too hot to remain in or go deeper.  Eric’s longer legs took him in deeper yet and his feet faster out!  That bottom sand was baking hot!  And she was right that was unbelievable!

Something else is doing that job of heating the deep water.  What and again why?

The two of them walked the edge of the lake on the soil trying to find a hot spot on the ground, to no avail. The heat was rising from as deep as the water was.  So the obvious question was now,  how deep is the water?

“I wish we had some string to measure it with.”  Eric half complained.

“Well let’s go back down to my house and get some.”  Pam said firmly.  “I am curious about this hot Ocean water lake.”


Going back down was easy and quick.  They gathered some supplies from Pam’s house and ate a quick brunch then got in Eric’s truck and drove back by way of the Canyon Road.  The Public parking lot was fairly full on this Saturday, but they found and easy parking place as far to the back as possible.  The cattle trail took them back to the lake and they found two groups having lunch on the lake’s banks.  But no one was even wading in the water.  Most had learned that the shore was very short with a steep drop down.  One child had a small sailboat on a string, which he dragged around the water’s edge.

Pam and Eric chose the opposite bank to put a weight on a heavy duty string and trying to not draw any attention, let it fall into the water and go down slowly.  It gave the impression of fishing without a rod.  When the boy with the boat finally got to their side he said rather matter-of-factly,

“Daddy says there are no fish there anymore.”  Eric knelt down to speak with the boy.  He asked pleasantly,

“Did you ever catch fish in here?”

“Back when I was little, I did.  But the water got too hot and the fish all died.  It was awful with dead fish floating on top of the lake and it smelled terrible.  We didn’t come back until the dead fish were all gone.”

“What happened to them?”  The boy shrugged, “I don’t know, but I think the gulls ate them, because I could look up from my house.”  He pointed down the hill,  “And they were flying around and around way up in the sky.  When they stopped, it smelled better. So Daddy bought me a boat play with.  I named it Fishing Boat.”

He proudly dragged the toy fishing boat on around the lake.

The string had reached bottom or was hung up on a side, but it was no longer going down.  Eric began to slowly wind it in calling out the feet as he passed the marks they had put on the string during brunch.

When the tied on thermometers reached the top, Pam was standing at the shore to quickly pick it up before the thermometer could change.  She’d call out the temperature softly for Eric to write on the notebook, until the last of the four had surfaced.  They were the type of thermometer that kept the highest reading reached… stolen from her nursing equipment.  They now knew the temp. at the very bottom, or where ever it stopped, and three more levels.

They had what they needed and packed up to drive home.  The analyzing would be made with help from U.C.I.

Eric wanted another look at Lobster Town to get a real reading on just where it was located.  He and Pam both wanted to know if the cave and the lake had anything in common.

For this Pam decided to go with him.  Even the super long string all marked in feet would go also.

It was decided that it would be another early morning trek.  Pam went to the dive shop to rent equipment and be ready when Eric returned.  She was torn between going back in the water breathing from a tank.  It had been so long. And her desire to see the Cave for herself kept her going.  That was why she rented what she would need to prove that this was a onetime deal.

Everything fit so she went to sleep early to be rested for the coming dreaded adventure.

To her surprise she slept well.

Putting it all together came easy.  As they say… once you can ride a bicycle you can always ride a bicycle.

Eris knew just what to do and made a good leader.  So before she could worry about it she found herself looking in amazement at the huge, much larger than she had imagined, and very beautiful Cave.  The pond was even larger.  A pair of dolphin came up to greet her.  That was her first experience of being just “one of them“  Now she knew why Eric had called it a privilege.

Eric was letting her look around while he rewound the string.  Then they both made notes about what the Cave was built like.  This could be very important.  Where the GPS said they were and where the pond was located in that cave.  The water in the pond had its temperature taken and so did the various small side caves.  The critters were normal and friendly.

“Are we missing anything?”  Pam asked.

Eric looked over the notes of what to do inside of the Cave.

“Everything we planned.”  he told her.  Just then the cave began to shake, gently at first but growing stronger.  It lasted for five very long minutes  by Eric’s watch.  Then it stopped abruptly.

The very much relieved couple looked at the animals and they were noticeably unimpressed.

“As if,” Pam said, “ they were used to it.”  Eric agreed,

“If this happens often enough, they would take it for granted and not care or panic.  When there is an Earthquake animals usually do run and hide.” Eric said.  “What did you think it was?’

“An Earthquake.”  Pam answered.

“Me too.”  Eric replied.  “But I will go on the contrary and say that it is going to prove to not have been an Earthquake, judging by the animal’s reaction or lack of one.”

Pam thought he must be right. “I wonder how often it happens that they no longer notice.”

“Daily is my guess.”  Then Eric jumped up and went to the far corner of the pond where he suddenly noticed that the water was still moving in growing little circles.  He put his hand into it and jumped back shaking it.  “That little puddle is hot!” Eric complained.  Quick take it’s temperature!”   Pam grabbed the first thermometer handy and plunged it in carefully.  But it was hot for sure.  Which in her mind made it somehow connected to the hill top Lake… but how? The rest of the pond was cool. But the solid rock wall behind that corner was also vibrating with heat.

It was time to leave to have more than enough time and air for the trip back out.

There was nothing to do but think all the way back to her Cove and home as they were breathing from the tanks.

They both arrived back in Pam’s house tired and ready to rest.  But anxious to trade thoughts.  They chose to stay there and eat ham and eggs for supper, or whatever meal it was time for, as neither knew.  They just wanted to eat and talk about what? and why?


Tomorrow they were going to keep an appointment at UCI to share the information with more knowledgeable Professors, both friends of Eric’s.

Between them, all of the conclusions and numbers they wrote down might make some sense.    The first surprise was the lake. It was very deep almost but not quite down to sea level on the far wall side.  The Cave Pond was kept fresh and cool by the movement of the Ocean tides, but the bottom of the lake had been eroding ever since it was filled more than eighty years ago when the cattle were introduced.  Then the hot water from the Geyser loosened it even more long before it broke through the already soggy soil that killed off the fish life suddenly last year, as the little boy with the fishing boat told them and few others noticed because the change was deep out of sight.

The heat was the result of a hot volcanic hole that had worked it’s way up from a long lost volcano deep in the center of the Earth.  The hot hole went past the pond in the Cave and worked its way toward the top, pushing volcanic gasses upward, which could take many, many, years or not ever even get through at all.  They are so random.

Some stay low and become bubbling hot springs that can be found in Tahoe and Yellowstone, for example.    But this one climbed up and because it found a source of water on its way,  it became more like Old Faithful in Yellowstone, a Geyser that builds up until it has so much hot gas pressure that it blows everything inside of it out the top.

However this blew into an existing lake, bottom just above it.  Heating the water from the bottom up resulting in the loss of fish life there.  Otherwise going unnoticed.

This Geyser’s water source was the Pacific Ocean by way of a strangely located pond of ocean water.

Like old Faithful, which is not that faithful as it turns out, Old Faithful just sits building up that pressure then up it goes wildly high and spectacular enough to become famous.  This little one blows hot sea water into that cattle lake water and goes unnoticed..

After the area was made a Park and the cattle were removed,  they kept the lake filled with purchased water.  However once it began to draw water from the ocean just often enough to keep it full, no one complained.  They were just happy to not have to pay for water any longer.  No one cared where it came from.

Professor Carson was satisfied with the conclusion made with the help of his friend Eric and his friend Pam.  He only wanted to suggest that it be kept quiet and not get a crowd searching for it.  It is simply not that kind of an attraction.  He explained that,

“This small Geyser only keeps the lake filled,  but it does not blow high and wide to draw a crowd to see it.  Those of us who know why the water is hot, may even sit in it and enjoy it.

But to build it safe enough for the public to use would be expensive and senseless.

It may even stop tomorrow and then the lake will dry up and we will either need to fill it with water again or use it for a compose keeper until it is full of soil once more.”  Professor Mizell wanted to take more tests and mentioned them to Eric and Pam.

“I would like to put a monitor in the Cave to tell us how often the pressure builds up enough for it to blow water into the lake.  Do you know of a way into the Cave from the out side?”

“Not yet.” Was Eric’s answer.

“Then please let me know if you find one.”  Professor Mizell requested.

“We will.”  Eric answered for himself and Pam, the only two people looking for one at the moment, but who may not ever look again.  Something more curious may come along that will require their full attention.  You know what they say…