“Diego Garcia!—August 1975
Time is but an illusion.—Einstein
Relieved to have finally crossed the equator after so many wild days at sea, I washed a bucket full of dirty clothes, hung them on a line to dry, and sat on deck reading while the fresh ocean breeze dried the laundry.
I spotted a bright orange ball starboard. “Look,” I said pointing it out to others. “Is it a buoy?”
“Looks like one,” Charles said.
“A buoy in the middle of the ocean?” I asked.
“Could be weather related,” Charles said. “Collecting data for reports.”
“Or marking a navigational hazard,” Alon added.
“Let’s find out,” Dylan said. The men moved to adjust the sails and steer the yacht in the direction of the big ball.”
“By the time we reached the buoy, the men decided they had to check it out. Alon lowered the sea anchor bags to keep the boat in place, and lowered the ladder into the water.
Charles and Alon put on swim fins and lowered themselves into the ocean. Donning masks, they swam around the buoy to see what they could see in the water below.
When they surfaced a few minutes later, Charles said, “Can’t tell what it is, it’s tied to something further down.”
They snorkeled around the bouncing buoy again, pulled on the attached rope, and tried pulling the object loose. It didn’t budge. They surfaced to report they had no clue what it was or why it was there.
“We would need scuba tanks to go further,” Charles said. “It’s tied tight to something quite heavy.”
“Look,” I said, pointing to a large ship appearing on the horizon. “We have visitors.”
“They’re speeding our way,” Dylan said, looking through his binoculars.
“Coming straight toward us,” I added.
Charles and Alon scrambled up the ladder and placed it and “the anchor bags back on deck.
“Looks like a military vessel,” Dylan reported. “They’ve appeared out of nowhere.”
“Uh-oh,” said Charles. “Wonder what’s down there?”
When the ship got closer, Dylan identified it as a Russian military ship. It did a broad sweep around the Zozo and without delay sped away, heading east, and disappearing from view.
“Spooky,” I said to Charles. “Don’t think they’re collecting weather data. They must have been alerted when you pulled on the rope.”