Saturday, January 12, 2008

XI. The Leviathan Lair

Wed 16-Jan 1700 hrs
The Persistence left the dock at 1345 hrs heading out to the search area. A broken wire delays acquisition for a while until it is properly diagnosed and fixed. 1700 hrs - sonar survey underway.
1830 hrs: seas building 6-8ft with occasional 12+ft.
Side scan sonar image showing rock outcrops inside the Leviathan Lair. Water depth over 1000ft. Towfish cleared rocks by less than 10ft.

Flashback: Sat 12-Jan 2000 hrs
Line by line through the night and day, the captain, navigator and I evade the beast. My eyes are focused and hands steady at the controls as the captain brings the Persistence around on line for one last joust through the Leviathan’s lair. Communication is clear and concise. The teamwork between the operator, navigator and boat captain is crucial to our success. The towfish descends where the sentient beast is waiting and ready. This time, the beast reluctantly submits and the Leviathan retreats to its lair after being bested time and time again. The Persistence claims the victory.

A prolonged operation of any kind at or near their limits often leads to trouble and breakdown. The Persistence has operated under strenuous conditions for over a month without incident, failure, or breakdown of any kind. After the battle with the beast, the Persistence heads to the dock for some needed preventative equipment maintenance and rest for the crew. A couple days rest after nearly a month without ceasing is a welcome break for all.

Sat 12-Jan 1340 hrs
The progress of the past couple nights embolden the search team and fortified our confidence to begin work on the deepest portion of the search area. After the bathymetric survey, a plan of attack was drafted and we set out into the depths. The previous search areas gave us the impression the seabed was a worn, tired, old beast with a relatively subdued attitude and benign character. However, adventuring into the depths brought us straight into the grasp of a much different beast. We found ourselves in the lair of the Leviathan.

Descending into the depths, 3000 ft+ of cable spools off the winch. The Persistence slows as the towfish fades far behind the boat. After a long while, the seabed- smooth and welcoming begins to come into range. We descend further, but proceed with a tense sense of danger. It's suddenly clear the beast was waiting for us with baited breath. The towfish narrowly escapes being devoured, skirting between several massive fang-like rocks. A large curled stony-tongue extrudes beneath the sonar, passing through the beast's jaws. The Persistence quickly fires the throttles forward vaulting the sonar away from the sea floor. Without hesitation, the mighty beast gives chase with surprising agility. Skimming over ancient carbonate spines and a bifurcated tail of current-quarried rock the towfish takes flight, besting the Leviathan.

With the lessons and limits learned from the first pass, we strategically withdraw before moving in for the fight. Line by line, the Leviathan and the Persistence battle all night and through the morning. The beast knows that with one slip the towfish belongs to him. We know that if our assault is flawless, the Leviathan will yield its secrets.


Steve Holloway said...

I think about you guys many times a day. To do this day and night, day after day has to take its toll. May God continue to give you strength and protection. May He warn and guide you while you work. In Jesus name amen.

Anonymous said...

From Meridian, MS:

May God lift you up and give you strength until your task is complete. You are on the minds of so many and your honorable endeavor will be remembered forever. You have already triumphed in so many ways! I pray that it is God's will that you find Natalee.

Anonymous said...

Once again we wish to express our thanks for your wonderful efforts. We know the Holloway and Twitty families deeply appreciate your commitment. It's been a long time, but you've not wavered. Bless you.

BTW, Keith's writing is very interesting and descriptive!


Observer said...

I think of you guys often as well and I pray the rest of the search is succesfull. Than Kyou to everyone that is part of the Persistence Team!

Anonymous said...


God speed to our heroes in their quest to find Natalee. Our hearts ache for the toll this has taken on you. Know your efforts are appreciated, and we are in awe of the quest, and grateful.

Donnar2015 said...

From Franklin,IN

So many daily prayers for you guys and the Persistence. We are so honored by each and every one of you that you took on this task of trying to find and bring Natalee home. May God Bless You With Your Treasure And Keep You Safe. Amen.

sirensong said...

Awww, you are making Joran nervous, he just had a melt down on television!!

I love you guys, and what you stand for. God bless you and your loved ones for the sacrifices you are making. Persistance. That word has a whole new meaning to me. I find myself saying it everytime something frustrates me, thinking of the crew and realizing how small my sacrifices are, and how you all do your job willingly and without complaint. It makes me want to be a better person, and to persevere without complaint for just the good feeling that it gives me inside. thank you.

r&s_MA said...

God Bless! we think about you all every day,(many times) you are in our prayers!


Sharon/Tx said...

I cannot imagine not knowing where my child was. I cannot imagine wondering if my child were dead, alive or being tortured. The torture that Natalee's family has been through is unimaginable. Thank God there are kind souls like you helping. You have been gone a long time and we know it is hard. We are watching and praying for you Kyle and crew. You are heroes.

oldencrabby said...

May God be with you and grant you safety in your endeavors.

mayan_moons said...

I think of you guys everyday too and include you in my prayer at night. Just to have this deep sea search happening at all is a miracle in itself & you the crew are hero's of men to devote yourselves to finding our dear Natalee despite the rough waters & other suprises in the sea.

Anonymous said...

Maybe you're getting close? Just saw on MSNBC Van der Sloot throwing wine into the face of an investigative reporter following in interview on Dutch TV. Parents didn't even react, in fact they appeared pleased. Reminds me of the Dutch American saying, "You ain't Dutch, you ain't much." What arrogance! Hopefully the pressure is making them crack!!
Here's the link:

Mannah said...

By God,

this is just too much.

May the lord have mercy on your souls, crew.

God bless

Kienstail said...

God will judge!

Chris said...

The eyes of the world are on you.

Stay strong.

alabamamom said...

Bless all of you onboard Persistence. You have fought out of season storms, raging sea swells, and now, the jagged sinister depths that show the bottom of the seafloor.At 3000 ft., I can only begin to imagine! I am in awe of y'all and will continue my prayers for your safety.
alabamamom (frances)

Anonymous said...

Kyle, maybe Longfellow was also aware of those Leviathans, in fact, some communities located by the sea continue to tremble in fear over their own failure to confront the Leviathans right in their midst:

The City and the Sea

The panting City cried to the Sea,
"I am faint with heat,--O breathe on me!"
And the Sea said, "Lo, I breathe! but my breath
To some will be life, to others death!"

As to Prometheus, bringing ease
In pain, come the Oceanides,
So to the City, hot with the flame
Of the pitiless sun, the east wind came.

It came from the heaving breast of the deep,
Silent as dreams are, and sudden as sleep.
Life-giving, death-giving, which will it be;
O breath of the merciful, merciless Sea?

God bless you Persistence!
May the Angels rest upon your shoulders and the eyes of the great sky birds be upon you to protect you!


eryan1961 said...

from meridian, ms.
may God bless and protect the persistance crew in your dedicated and heroic attempts to find natalee.

promise2bnice said...

from meridian, ms

thank you for your hard work and your heroic efforts to find natalee. may God continue to bless and protect each of the crew.

texasmom said...

Kyle and Persistence Crew,
You are in my thoughts and prayers daily. I am in awe beyond words of the task you are undertaking and the attitude you are attacking it with. Truly admirable. I pray that God will keep you all safe and lead you to the answer we all seek. Thank you for your dedication to this effort, it is greatly appreciated by all who seek JUSTICE FOR NATALEE.

r&s_MA said...

We haven't had an update in over 24hrs. pray everything is well with you and the crew. Prayers and thoughts from our family to yours.

raz&sharon ,&family

Anonymous said...

Must be another couple of black out days. We miss reading your reports. I also want to apologize for calling Kyle "Keith". The second I hit the send button I knew I'd done wrong.

Prayers are still being sent.


Anonymous said...

We gave Kyle a few days off.

The Managment

r&s_MA said...

Glad you all had a refresher. here's another link on youtube regarding devries vs Joran and the wine incident.

look for the part where peter devries wife returns water to Joran.

Safe Sailing. God Bless.


Sharon/Tx said...

It broke my heart to see Beth on Oprah yesterday. I think our only saving grace is the Persistence and I am so proud of you. An appropriate song for you would be "Angels Among Us" by Alabama. See if the link works and listen - Godspeed!

wingnut said...

May God bless your endeavors and reward your selfless efforts. May the Holloways receive the blessing they deserve.

Anonymous said...

I really hope more than anything that we find her. Apparently, Joran's actions with the wine incident explains his knowledge about Natalee. Your efforts are so appreciated and we hope thoughout your journey there you will find her. Our prayers are with you everyday. Justice and Closure for Natalee and her family.

Anonymous said...

Thank You will never be enough for what you are doing for Natalee and her family, the unselfishness is Amazing! I will be passing on your website and encouraging everyone to donate - We will get justice for Natalee

Bama Mom said...

This is so heartbreaking. Natalee has become a daughter to us all. We are counting on you guys! You are doing a fantastic job! I pray that God continues to give you strength and guidence to finish the job soon! "Justice for Natalee"!!

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