A bubble shooting up through the primordial boil of the lake burst on the surface, creating reverberations. Like in the mud puddle scene from Jurassic Park just before the T-Rex snatches the lawyer. I half expected to hear heavy footfalls in the surrounding jungle, followed by a primitive roar from a time before the Age of Man. I would have welcomed it. A working journalist always has a camera handy.
No lawyers were available. I doubt there was a lawyer on the entire island of Dominica off the coast of Venezuela. My sons David and Michael and I were fortunate enough to discover the island before it turned tourist-commercial. We were SCUBA-diving wrecks and wall-diving. Visibility underwater was like swimming through air, streaking along underwater stream beds watched by some puzzled blowfish and propelling off the edge of a cliff that disappeared into infinity hundreds of feet below.
The island’s inhabitants had not yet been spoiled by cruise ships and a commercial runway. Delightful people, women in colorful sarongs and men in bright smiles and shirts. In few places around the world have I felt so heartily welcomed. In fact, some places I’ve been shot at.
Between dives, the boys and I struck out on our own to bathe in a hot-and-cold running waterfall, the half of which pouring off the top of a cliff is ice cold while the other half is almost scalding. We roamed the tropical rainforest photographing colorful birds, stopping to pick tiny wild bananas and chew on stalks of wild sugar cane for lunch.
The entire island was once a giant volcano. David and I climbed through a land so primitive that some streams ran like black ink and fissures in the earth hissed steam, climbing to the center of the island and the cone that at some past aeon belched fire and lava. The boiling lake nestled at the bottom of the old volcano where ambient temperatures rose, steam filled the air, and the lake bubbled like a pot left on flame.
Peering into the mist, hearing the lake mutter, I listened to the reverberations from a time regretfully long gone. I mean, since I wasn’t a lawyer, to actually see a T-Rex. . .
Tracers from Kraut machineguns flashed not more than six feet in front of his P-51 Mustang as Jim Carl rolled in ahead of the moving locomotive and strafed the train all the way back to its caboose. . .
From Two Fronts, One War by Charles W. Sasser. Dramatic eyewitness accounts of major events in the European and Pacific theater of World War II. Published in London by Frontline Press, the most prestigious publisher of military history in Europe. Available in the U.S. through Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com and selected history bookstores.