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Journey to the Centre of the Earth Creative Writing Chapter 9



At first I could barely see anything. My eyes, no longer used to the light, quickly closed. When I was able to open them again, I stood there, more confused than surprised.

“The sea!” I cried loudly.

“Yes,” replied my uncle, “The Lidenbrock Sea, and I suppose no discoverer will ever dispute my claim of naming it after myself, having discovered it myself.”

It was a vast expanse of water, spreading far away beyond the reach of the eye. The shore was lined with some soft shining sand, scattered with shells. On this slightly sloping shore, about two hundred yards from the edge of the waves, was a foot of large cliff which stood tall to an enormous height. Further on, the eye was drawn by their shapes clearly outlined against the hazy horizon in the distance.

It was quiet an ocean, with the irregular coastlines of the surface, but It was empty and looked horribly wild.

If I was able to look far away over this sea, it was because of a special light which brought to view the smallest details. It was not the light of sun nor was it the pale light of the moon. It was like an aurora borealis, a continuous cosmic phenomenon, filling the cavern so big, enough to hold an ocean. The sky, if I could call it so, seemed to be composed of vast clouds, which were moving and which, due to condensation would surely burst into torrential rain on certain days. But today the weather was fine.

In reality we were imprisoned in a vast excavation. The word ‘cavern’ is also insufficient to describe this immense place. I reflected upon these wonders in silence. Words alone could describe my feelings. I felt as if I was in a different planet. I looked, I thought, I admired, in a stupefaction mingled with a certain amount of fear.

The unexpected spectacle had brought back the color to my cheeks. It was therapeutic! The

vigour of the very dense air was reviving me, by providing more oxygen for my lungs. It was infinite ecstasy to breathe a moist air loaded with saline particle after being confined in a narrow gallery for forty seven days. I was very delighted to leave the grotto. My uncle, already used to these marvels, was no longer astonished.

“Do you feel strong enough to take a small walk ?” he asked.

“Yes, certainly, nothing can be more delightful.”

We strolled along this new sea. On the left, we saw huge pyramids of rocks,

Innumerable waterfalls wound down their sides, a few light vapours, springing from rock to rock, pointed to where hot springs lay; and streams flowed gently towards their lagoons. Amongst these streams. I recognised our faithful travelling companion, the Hans-Bach, which disappeared peacefully into the sea.

“We shall see it never again,” I sighed.

Suddenly, my attention was drawn to an un-expected sight. Five hundred paces away, at the turn of a high cliff, appeared a thick, dense forest. It consisted of trees of medium height, shaped like parasols, with exact geometric outlines. The air currents seemed to have no influence on their shape, and they stood firm even in the midst of the strong breeze. I hurried forward. I could find no name for these singular creations, however, m

uncle named them immediately.

“It is a forest of mushrooms,” he said.


There were thousands of them. There was complete darkness beneath these domes, no light could pierce their dense cover. We continued our walk.

We wandered about for half an hour, the vegetation of this subterranean land was not confined to mushrooms. Further on, we saw groups of tall trees with colourless foliage, ordinary shrubs of the earth, of gigantic size, lycopodiums, giant sigillarias, tree ferns as tall as pines.

“Magnificent, splendid!” cried my uncle.

“Look, Axel, and admire it all!”

“Yes, Uncle. It is an immense conservatory.”

“You are right, but it could also be a menagerie.”

“A menagerie?”

“Yes, without a doubt. Look at bones scattered on the ground and the dust under your feet.”

I looked down and picked up the remains, it was the lower jawbone of a mastodon.

“These are the molars of a dinotherium,” I said. And these look like bones of the megatherium.”

I continued to survey the open space with scrutiny. A little later I felt tired and sat on rock and gazed at the vast sea in front of me.

Where does this sea lead to? Where does it terminate? Will we ever know anything about the opposite shores? After spending an hour in contemplation, we returned to the grotto and fell asleep in the middle of these strange thoughts.

Thought Orbit: Can you draw a picture of this extraordinary place that was described by Axel.

The next morning I woke up completely cured. I thought a bathe would do me a lot of good, and so went and plunged for a few minutes in the waters of this Mediterranean Sea. Such a name, surely, suited the sea better than any other.

I returned with a good appetite and had breakfast with my uncle and Hans.

“Now,” said my uncle,” it is time for the high tide, and we must not miss the opportunity to study this phenomenon.”

And we stepped out again to take a walk along the shore. The waves were slowly creeping up the shore.

“Look, I see a tide rising,” I cried and we continued to walk.

“Where are we now?” I asked my uncle.

“ 1200 miles from Iceland and 120 miles below the surface of the earth,” he replied.

“So, the Scottish Highlands are above us,” I said after examining the map.

‘Yes, replied the professor.

“What are your plans, Uncle? Are you not thinking of returning to the surface of the Earth?” I asked curiously.

“Return, No! My intention is to continue our journey, since everything has gone so well so far.”

“But Uncle, how do we go down this liquid surface?”

“I have no intention of diving into it. But if all oceans are nothing but lakes, since they are surrounded by land, then this sea too must be surrounded by land and I am sure we will find a fresh passage on the opposite shores,” he replied.

“Now, we have no time to lose, and will set sail tomorrow in good well-made raft.”

“A raft!’ I cried. “A raft is just as impossible to build as a ship, and I can’t see. . . “

Just then I saw Hans working on a building a raft. By next evening, the raft was ready. It was ten feet long and five feet wide. It was made of planks of fossil wood which were braced together with ropes. It had a mast made of two poles which were spliced together and a blanket was used for a sail.

At six o’clock the professor gave the signal to embark. Our provisions, luggage, instruments, and weapons, along with a good supply of fresh water collected among the rocks, were already on board. Hans had fitted a rudder which allowed him to steer the raft. He took the tiller attached to the rudder and unmoored and soon we were afloat.

As we were leaving the little harbour, my uncle, decided to give it a name and proposed mine.

“I would like to suggest a better name,” I said: “Gräuben. Port Gräuben will look very good on the map.”

“Port Gräuben it is.”

And that was how the remembrance of my Virlandaise became linked to our adventurous expedition.

The wind was blowing from the north-east and we sailed with it at a very good speed.

After an hour, my uncle had been able to estimate our progress.

“If we continue to sail at this speed, we will be able to cover eighty miles in twenty-four hours, and it won’t be too long before we reach the opposite shore.’


We had soon lost sight of land, without any point of reference, and had it not been for the frothy track of the raft, I might have believed that we were totally motionless.

At about noon, we saw gigantic patches of seaweed floating upon the sea. Our raft swept along the whole length of the seaweed, they were three to four thousand feet long, just like serpants stretched beyond the reach of sight.

Evening came, after supper, I slept at the foot of the mast.

Friday, 14 August – There was steady breeze from the N.W. The raft progressing rapidly in a straight line. The intensity of the light was the same and the weather was fine. At noon, Hans tied a hook to the end of a line. He baited it with a small piece of meat and cast it into the sea. After about two hours there was a pull at the line, it was a struggling fish

‘It’s a sturgeon!”

The professor looked at it carefully, it a flat face which was rounded in front, it had no eyes, no teeth, a bony anterior and no tail. And after careful examination he said:

“This fish belongs to a family which is now extinct, and of which only fossil traces remain.”

“What! Have we captured alive an inhabitant of the primitive seas?” I cried.

“Yes we have,” said the professor. “This fossil fish has no identity with any living species.”

This ocean was surely filled with fossil fish, for next couple of hours we caught large quantity of fossil fish and some other extinct creatures.

I took the telescope to find some of the saurians, I scanned the whole horizon. It was deserted. There was no doubt that we were no where close to the shores.

Nevertheless, though I could neither see nor discover anything, my

imagination carried me away into wild hypotheses. I had a wild waking dream and I saw a whole fossil wor;d I was so lost in my imagination that although my eyes were wide open, I was oblivious of my surroundings. My eyes were fixated upon my uncle but I saw nothing.

“Axel, what is the matter? ” asked my uncle. “Are you feeling sick?”

At that moment, Hans seizing me firmly. Had it not been for him I would have fallen into the sea. same time, I feel myself seized by Hans’s firm hand.

“No,” I replied. “I had a hallucination. Is all well on board?’

“Yes, we are sailing rapidly and we shall land soon,” he replied.

Saturday, 15 August. The sea all around, no land in sight. The horizon seemed very far away.

My head was still dull from the effects of my strange dream. My uncle, was in a bad mood. After examining the horizon and he stood with his arms crossed.

“You seem anxious, uncle,” I said.

“We are not going down, as we ought to be,” he said. ” We are losing time. I wonder if we are following the correct route? Did Saknussemm ever cross this sea? ”

Sunday, 16 August. Nothing new. Same weather.

The sea was truly infinite. My uncle tried deep sea- soundings. He tied the heaviest pickaxe

to the end of a rope, and allowed to run out to the extent of two hundred fathoms.

When we finally dragged on board, Hans looked at it and drew our attention to some marks on this piece of iron.


“Teeth!” I cry with loudly, examining the iron bar more closely.

Yes, those were marks of teeth imprinted upon a metal! What sought of creature is this ?The jaws they possess must have extraordinary strength! I was unable to get my eyes off the pickaxe. Is there a monster beneath us? These thoughts upset me all day.

Monday, 17 August.- My imagination scarcely calmed after several hours’ sleep. I shuddered at the very thought of these monsters. No human eye has ever seen them alive. I couldn’t get my eyes off the sea. I was afraid that one of these inhabitants would suddenly emerge.

Professor Lidenbrock too shared my fears and opinions, his eyes also navigated the sea.

Tuesday, 18 August. Evening comes, Hans is at the helm. During his watch I fell asleep.

Two hours later, I am awakened by an awful shock. The raft had been lifted up and thrown down again.

“What is that?” cried my uncle.

Hans pointed at a huge dark monster, about six hundred yards away, rising and falling with heavy plunges.

It’s an enormous porpoise!” I shouted loudly, totally petrified.

“There is also a huge sea lizard! I can also see an enormous crocodile and a whale!” cried my uncle loudly.

We were all amazed, stupefied, horrified at the sight these humungous sea monsters. They had supernatural dimensions; the smallest of them could crush the raft with a single bite. Hans was at the helm, he tried tried to manoever the raft to get away from this dangerous sight but he noticed some more terrible enemies. There was a tortoise about forty feet ,and a serpent, about thirty long. I picked up my rifle and was about to fire. But Hans stopped me.

The serpent and the crocodile pass within a hundred yards of the raft, then hurl themselves at each other with ferocity that prevents them from seeing us. The battle starts three hundred yards from the raft. We could distinctly see engaging in a deadly battle. Soon the other animals took part in the struggle. They attacked each other with ferocity.

One hour, two hours pass. The struggle continues unabated. Suddenly the two monsters disappear below. A few minutes pass and an enormous head darts out, it is the head of the plesiosaurus (serpent). The monster is mortally wounded. I can no longer see its armor, its long neck shoots up and drops back. It writhes like a worm that you tread on and finally drops dead. The ichthyosaurus , did not reappear. Has it gone down to rest in his cavern; or will it reappear on the surface of the sea?

  1. Why did the professor name the sea after himself ?

Why was the professor sure that he would find a new passage on the opposite shores

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