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Friday, September 28, 2018

Fact or Fiction?...Both! ~ by Joanne Jaytanie

I’m currently doing final edits on Salvaging Truth, book one of my new trilogy, Hunters & Seekers. For the most part, the main idea of my books stem from my life experiences. And while I have no personal experience regarding salvage diving or the military, many of my family members do. My immediate family has served in the Navy, Coast Guard, and Army, and include; my husband, step-daughter, step-son, brother-in-law, both my father and father-in-law.

Before even starting Salvaging Truth, I extensively questioned both my daughter, Julie and my husband, Ralph. 

Julie has served in the Coast Guard for 27 years. The first 10 years as active duty, and then she went into the reserves, where she still serves today. Julie served as a radioman and ended her active duty as an operations specialist senior chief. While onboard a Coast Guard cutter in 1994, her ship located and saved a boat full of Haitians. During their stay on the cutter, the crew even provided the Haitians, clothing and other personal items from their own lockers.

As an operations specialist, one of Julie’s duty stations was the San Francisco, Bay Area, including the Golden Gate Bridge. I’ll bet that was interesting. After her active duty, Julie went into reserve officer candidate school. She was an instructor at the Chiefs Academy and is now stationed in Memphis as a logistics officer.

My husband, Ralph is a retired career naval officer who has spent most of his life on or around boats and ships or under the sea. As a naval officer, he served as a deep-sea diver, a qualified deck officer, and chief engineer onboard one of the largest US Navy ocean-going salvage tugs. Ralph was a Navy salvage engineer for the Pacific Northwest, where he planned, supervised, and participated in diving and salvage operations. When at sea he served as officer-in-charge of many ocean tows, salvage, rescue, and deep diving operations around the Pacific Ocean, which included deep ocean recoveries, trans-oceanic towing of tandem barge tows, and a USN ex-aircraft carrier. 

I did gain experience from Ralph during the years we worked together in our forensic engineering firm. I was the business administrator of the firm. I also accompanied and assisted Ralph on accident sites. He was involved in more than 400 investigations covering mechanical failures, truck--semi, vehicle, bicycle, pedestrian, boating, SCUBA and slip and falls.

While my romantic suspense, Salvaging Truth is purely fiction, many of the details are based on facts. I’ve included an excerpt from my upcoming book, which will be released this fall. I hope you enjoy it.

Excerpt of Salvaging Truth:

Deep blue ocean stretched out before Dagger. Out in the distance, he could make out the white hulls of two Coast Guard cutters. The sea shimmered in the early morning light.
Dagger pulled the handset from its cradle.
“US Coast Guard Cutter Chinook, this is motor vessel Salvage Hunter approximately one hundred and fifty yards out. We’ve been contracted by SDPD to assist in the investigation. Over.” Dagger was home on the water. A sizzle of anticipation shot through him.
“Roger, Salvage Hunter. This is Chinook. Hold tight while we confirm your status. Divers in the water. Over.” The man’s voice commanded.
“Roger, Salvage Hunter standing by. Out.”
Dagger cut his engines. Figuring it would take them some time, he stripped down and pulled on his dry suit and checked his gear. The ocean didn’t allow second chances. One faulty gauge or leaky hose could mean your death.
“Salvage Hunter, identity and authorization confirmed. Be advised we still have divers in the water. Over.”
“Roger, Chinook. Requesting status of investigation. Over.”
“No survivors found. We have retrieved sixteen bodies. Crew manifest states a total of nineteen, including crew and research team. Over.”
“Were life boats put into the water? Over.”
“We found one life boat among the floating wreckage. My men believe it broke loose when the ship sank. Last night the weather was driving rain. My guess is the life boat wasn’t tied down properly. The other three boats are still stowed on the ship’s deck. Over.”
“Roger. Has the vessel been searched for survivors? Over.”
“Confirmed, none found. Over.”
“Request approach to begin investigation. Over.”
“Approach granted; stop at sixty yards out on starboard side. Out.”
Dagger hung up the handheld and started the engines. He moved into position and cut his engines as instructed, leaving the requested distance from the Coast Guard’s ship, and dropped anchor. He went up to the deck to raise the diving flag, then stopped and grabbed his phone to text his partners:
Coast Guard Cutter Chinook and a second ship on site. Starting diving operation. Will contact when heading back.
He hit send and locked the phone in the safe; not knowing exactly who might board his vessel.
Dagger headed topside, with an Alpha dive flag under one arm and a red buoy in his other hand. The red buoy was the universal sign of a claimed salvage site. He ran the Alpha dive flag up the flagstaff perched on the roof of the forward cabin. Moving to the stern of the runabout, he dropped the diving platform, sat down, and pulled on his dive hoodie and neck seal. He slid his MK3 knife into the neoprene holster and attached a spear gun to the back of his hips, right below his tanks. Before getting wet, he triple checked his breathing equipment.
He slipped into the water, grabbed the buoy and the five-pound weight equipped with a retractable line and swam toward the wreck. When he was over the site, he attached the clip on the line to the bottom of the buoy and released the buoy. He headed down to the wreck where he’d drop the weight on the ocean floor. 
The water was calm and a clear lapis color. A few feet under, Dagger swam by two Coast Guard divers and gave them a thumbs-up. The blue of the ocean darkened with every foot he descended. He switched on his light as the blue bled into a colorless gray. The dark outline of the eighty-five-foot research ship came into view. Pulling out his video camera he switched on the attached high-powered, compact light and started filming. He approached slowly, making sure to include everything.
The ship had come to rest on its port side at approximately a thirty-degree angle. While upright vessels were the easiest to work on, he couldn’t ask for a much better scenario. He thought of the contract they closed last week. The ship had settled on its deck, with the stern embedded into the ocean floor. He silently laughed as he recalled Stone’s colorful tirade over trying to move around inside without wanting to spew his lunch.
Dagger swam to the stern and then around to the port side, recording the scene. He glided through the water using his fins as little as possible to avoid disturbing the bottom.
Everything appeared intact until he reached the front third of the ship. A large ragged horizontal gouge ran a good nine feet along the side of the metal-hulled ship. It looked as though an object sliced the hull. What could have done this?
Dagger squinted and zoomed in closer. The gash showed no signs of paint transfer, and the edges of the ripped hull were bent inward and scorched. He slowed his breathing and filmed even more slowly.
Until next month...


ELF said...

Thank you to you and your family for your service and sacrifice, and thank you for the excerpt, this sounds like an exciting (and realistic) story!

J Jaytanie said...

Thanks for stopping by, E.L.F. I look forward to hearing what you think. Have a wonderful week.

Grace Augustine, Author said...

I'm so excited to read this!!!!

J Jaytanie said...

Thank you. I hope you enjoy the adventure. šŸ˜‰

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