The Treasure Of Zealandia – Island Exploration.
The Doctor led the way into the tunnel at the back of the beach inside the huge cave, slowly edging into the darkness, shining his torch ahead to light the way. Behind him Scott and Nicole followed on; Scott carrying the grappling equipment while Nicole had the search tools.
‘Good luck!’ shouted Brad, saluting Scott as he looked nervously back over his shoulder before disappearing into the murky tunnel.
‘They’ll be fine,’ said David, ‘just keep an ear out for any rock falls or other loud sounds!’
‘Well, that’s a given,’ said Brad, ‘now, shall we get to work combing this beach? You got that metal detector in the boat?’
‘Sure do, let’s get started,’ replied David.
Slowing down, the Doctor turned to Scott and Nicole, ‘Look at this, there’s a stairway back there!’ he said, pointing into the gloom.
The torch light played on the ancient stone steps, spiralling upwards and out of sight.
‘Wait a second, Doc, I think we should attach ourselves to the ropes now so we don’t lose each other,’ cautioned Scott.
‘He’s right,’ affirmed Nicole.
‘Okay, let’s do it,’ said the Doctor.
The three of them attached a climbing rope, which Scott had taken from his bag, to their belts.
‘If there’s any ravines or cliffs up ahead,’ explained Scott, ‘and one of us falls, the other two should be able to stop them from hitting the ground!’
‘Better not to fall though,’ said Nicole, ‘but it’s a good insurance policy!’
‘It’s all we got,’ smiled Scott, relishing the tension.
‘Okay, okay, that’s enough, let’s go!’ said the Doctor.
The three of them crept up the stone stairway with one hand dripping the inner wall. The stairs were thick with ancient dust and their boots left footprints as deep as on a ski slope.
‘Careful!’ whispered the Doctor, ‘look there!’
Scott and Nicole stopped, and looked over his shoulder.
‘Wow!’ said Scott.
As the stairs rounded a corner the outer wall had fallen away and exposed an enormous black void. The Doctor shone his torch into the emptiness but it didn’t reach the bottom although it woke up a few bats that came screeching towards them.
‘Duck!’ shouted Nicole, as a cloud of the winged creatures flew over their heads and barrelled down the stairs behind them.
‘Ducks?’ said Scott, ‘I’m pretty sure they were bats!’
On the beach David and Brad had been sweeping the sand with the metal detector when they heard a terrible screeching whooshing sound coming from the tunnel and then suddenly a huge swarm of bats flew out of its entrance and scattered around the cave.
‘Holy Moly,’ said Brad, ‘hope they’re okay in there!’
‘Me too, wait, here!’ said David, ‘we got something!’
The two of them scrabbled in the sand to expose a panel of large wooden planks held together by thick iron buckles.
‘What’s that?’ asked Brad.
‘I don’t know, let’s get the spades from the boat and clear this sand,’ said David.
As the Doctor, Scott and Nicole reached the top of the stairs they were met with a huge stone door.
‘Right, now what?’ asked Scott.
‘This looks tricky, Doc!’ said Nicole.
‘Anyone bring any dynamite?’ joked Scott.
‘That would be suicidal,’ warned the Doctor, ‘it would bring this whole place down!’
‘So, what’s the plan then?’ said Scott, looking up at the huge door.
The stone door was a vast, round rock that had been carved to fit perfectly into the wall face. It’s enormous metal hinges were a foot thick but it didn’t seem to have any lock or handle to open it with.
‘Bizarre,’ said Nicole, ‘it kinda looks like what I’d imagine Aladdin’s cave door would have looked like!’
‘What are you up to Doc?’ asked Scott.
The Doctor had dropped his backpack and was on his knees, digging in the sand with a small trowel.
‘I read about this door,’ mumbled the Doctor, half to himself, half explaining, ‘there should be a mechanism somewhere under the sands, or at least, that’s what the legends say.’
‘Right,’ said Nicole, ‘come on Scott, let’s help, what are we looking for Doc?’
‘I’m not sure,’ said the Doctor, ‘it should be some kind of lever, a few inches under the sand.’
The three of them sifted carefully through the sand around the door at the top of the spiral stairs.
‘So, what do you think?’ asked the Captain, looking out across at the island, ‘you really think that’s a good idea?’
‘Yea, why not?’ said Kyle, ‘I’m game, if it’s possible?’ he said, looking over at Jay.
‘What you think, Jay, can it be done?’ asked the Captain.
‘Theoretically, but it is risky,’ cautioned Jay.
‘Can it take his weight?’ asked the Captain.
‘Oh yea, no problems, it’s just, well, okay, why not, let’s go for it!’ replied Jay, ‘I’ll get the drone ready.’
Watching Jay run down the bridge’s stairs onto the deck the Captain was shaking his head, ‘This is a little crazy, old friend, but if you’re sure, we may as well give it a shot, I mean, what’s the worst that could happen?’
‘Well, I guess I could fall and be dashed on those sharp rocks, but apart from that, it should be fine!’ said Kyle, winking at the Captain.
‘Okay, go down with Jay and get ready,’ said the Captain, ‘oh wait, here, take this with you!’
‘Thanks Captain,’ said Jay, looking at the rabbit’s foot, ‘I’ll strap that to my belt!’
The Captain and Jay stood on the bridge.
‘Ready?’ asked the Captain.
‘Yes, Sir!’ said Jay, ‘it’s all ready.’
‘Okay, lift off then!’ said the Captain.
Jay expertly manoeuvred the drone upwards off the deck, hovering a dozen feet above it. Beneath the drone, Kyle was strapped in an old parachute harness, dangling in a sitting position below the four propellers, spinning like food blenders, pulling him up in the sky.
‘Careful!’ said the Captain, ‘it’s windy.’
‘I’ve got it,’ said Jay, pulling the drone upwards into the sky, angling it against the howling wind.
Kyle was giving the bridge a double thumbs up, grinning wildly as the drone rose up into the air, reaching a few thousand feet in altitude as it drifted through the sky towards the top of Ball’s Pyramid.
‘Well done,’ said the Captain, it seems to be holding steady enough.’
‘So far,’ replied Jay, engrossed in the screen and his control panel, watching the island come into view on the monitor.
As Kyle dangled from the drone, he watched the island’s peak come into view, trying to make out the door way. The drone lowered down over the ledge at the top of Ball’s Pyramid and hovered a few feet above the ground.
‘Damn, he’s a good pilot,’ said Kyle, as he unbuckled himself from the parachute harness and dropped carefully to the ground. Turning around, he reached up and un-clipped his backpack, and then gave the cameras on the drone another thumbs up.
The drone pulled up into the air, moved to the left and inched its way onto the far side of the ledge. Kyle put up his arms and crouched beside the wall to protect himself from the flying dust until the drone’s propellers had come to a standstill.
Kyle stood up, turned around and began to examine the doorway in the rock. The ancient wooden boards had all but disintegrated in the salty sea air and rough weather. Carefully, Kyle lifted his boot, and kicked the door. It flew inwards off its hinges to expose a dark cavern behind it.