Stow away

a short story about the relationship between ocean and atmosphere for middle school students

Katie clutched her backpack close as she crept along the dock. The R/V Explorer loomed ahead, loading supplies for its next research voyage. Katie's heart pounded. This was her chance to sneak aboard and join the science team as they studied ocean currents around the world! 

At 14, Katie loved science. But with her parents always working, she spent most days alone, dreaming of adventure. She'd been fascinated when the Explorer had docked in her coastal town. Through the portholes, she'd glimpsed labs and computers. What she wouldn't give to be part of real scientific discovery!

Now Katie slipped behind crates on the dock. She waited for the deck to clear, then scurried up the gangplank onto the ship. Descending a hatch, she found a small storeroom and hid behind boxes. Soon, the engines rumbled to life. They were underway!

As the ship sailed south, Katie cautiously explored. One room was filled with computers and weather gear. This must be where they monitor ocean and atmospheric currents! She studied the screens eagerly. Cool, nutrient-rich ocean currents flowed north and east from Antarctica. Warm currents like the Gulf Stream flowed poleward from the tropics. The ship was tracking their endlessly swirling dance.

On the galley TV, Katie learned about the Explorer's mission. Its scientists studied how currents distribute heat and impact Earth's climate. She thrilled at such important research. See explored one of the maps on the computer screen - just below. If only she could see the currents firsthand!

Late that night, Katie slipped onto the moonlit deck in her life vest. Suddenly, a huge wave washed over the ship, yanking her into the swirling sea! As she sputtered to the surface, powerful currents tugged her away from the ship's searchlights. Katie's heart sank. How would she survive alone on these perilous open seas?

Just then, the dark water erupted with dazzling bioluminescence! Ghostly blue lights swirled around Katie in the black depths. Phosphorescent creatures sparkled in the mysterious deep currents! Suddenly, Katie bumped into something. To her shock, a dolphine surfaced beside her! It gazed at Katie with a kindly eye, then let loose a call. Across the water, answering calls rang out.

The dolphin nudged Katie gently onto its back. Soon they were joined by more dolphins, their skin shimmering like constellations. Linked by some bond, the dolphins were guiding her onward through the night. 

As dawn broke, the spires of a deserted island jutted from the sea ahead. The whales delivered Katie safely to its shores before slipping back into the sparkling deep. Finally, the Explorer appeared on the horizon, spotting Katie's signal fire. She waved excitedly. After her thrilling misadventure, she couldn't wait to share everything she'd experienced! The researchers' work seemed even more wondrous now. Who knew what adventures still lay ahead? With a future on the waves, and the whales as her guides, this was just the beginning!

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Tags: geocomic earth ocean currents atmosphere FK8