Case 156 - The Case of the Ghost Net
Updated: Jan 9
Lightfin - Scott Allen ( Insta: @ScottAllenVO / Twitter: @scottallenvoice )
Narrator - Isabel Landivar
Humphrey - Jeremy Adsit ( www.JeremyAdsit.com )
Old Carl - Nicholas Con ( https://www.bigmouthvoices.com/voices/nicholas-contreras )
Sasha - Cynthia Dominguez ( IG: @dominguezcyn )
Garry - Cody Blate
Story - Mike Sinclair
Sound edited by - Mike Sinclair
Lightfin, the shark detective, was swimming around, thinking that maybe it was time for a snack. His last meal had been 3 days ago and he was starting to feel a bit peckish. He was close to the Mariana Trench, which at almost 10 kilometres in depth, the deepest point in the ocean, although Lightfin had never swum all the way to its bottom himself. He was more interested in the number of good sushi restaurants nearby.
Before he could pursue that thought, he was interrupted by a thrashing and roaring sound.
Ahead, he saw that it was Humphrey, the blue whale, who was the source of the massive thrashing in the water. Clearly, Humphrey was in some distress. The cause looked to be a long fishing net that was entangled in his giant tail.
Lightfin wanted to help his old friend Humphrey, but he also didn´t want to get turned into fish paste by that mighty tail.
Narrator: In response, Humphrey´s thrashing eased a little.
Lightfin: Humphrey! Hold still! I’ll see if I can help you.
Narrator: Humphrey stopped thrashing entirely, and turned to see who it was coming to his aid.
Humphrey: Oh Lightfin! Thank Goodness. Can you please get whatever that is off of me?
Lightfin: Sure, just don´t make any sudden movements, okay?
Narrator: Lightfin swam around to Humphrey´s tail, which took a little bit of time as Humphrey was huge. He was 29 meters long. That´s like seven cars parked end-to-end, huge. He also weighed almost 170 tonnes – so about 30 elephants, huge as well.
When Lightfin reached the tail, he could see the net had wrapped itself around Humphrey’s tail flukes. It would not be easy to remove, but as a shark, Lightfin had a good set of sharp teeth. So, he carefully bit into the net and swam forward and only forwards as sharks can´t swim backwards.
The net strained against Lightfin´s teeth and jaws, but he kept swimming and swimming as hard as he could. Just when he thought it would never loosen, the net suddenly came free and Lightfin shot forward.
No longer entangled Humphrey let out a full-blown whale cry, the sound of a happy whale, Lightfin hoped. Humphrey was very, very happy.
Humphrey: Thanks Lightfin.
Lightfin: Not a problem. But tell me, how did you get that net wrapped around your tail? It´s unusual that nets are found this deep in the Ocean.
Humphrey: This is a ghost net, part of the rubbish left here by fishermen. They are always floating around.
Narrator: Lightfin studied the net he’s spat out. It didn´t have any weights attached, so it could not have sunk deep on its own. On closer inspection he could see a number of the ropes had been cut and not cut in the same rough manner that his teeth had sawed through them but rather seeming to be snipped cleanly through.
Lightfin: Where did you get tangled in the net? Were you close to the surface when it happened?
Humphrey: No, no, I wasn´t. I was actually down there in the trench
.Lightfin: Odd. Have you had any problems around here?
Humphrey: Now that you mention it, a couple of animals have been upset with me recently. I didn´t think of it because being so big it´s not unusual that I upset others.
Lightfin: Oh ?
Narrator: Lightfin had never really thought about the challenges, which came with being a whale of Humphrey’s size. He could now see how tricky life might be.
Humphrey: Old Carl the Giant Spider Crab was really mad at me the other day. He said I had scared away all of his food. And Sasha the Leopard Seal, she got really irritated with me because she said my singing was so loud I was giving her a headache.
Lightfin: A Leopard seal, all the way down here?
Humphrey: Well no…. that happened closer to the Island over that way.
Lightfin: Anything else?
Humphrey: ummmm …. Oh yes, Garry the Goblin shark, he was very angry the other day. He said that the current from my tail had knocked him silly and sprayed dirt in his gills. He says I cut him off, but honestly, I just didn´t see him. I can tell you, he was in a full-blown fit of swimming rage.
Lightfin: OK, let me check them out. We can´t have sea animals using dangerous human rubbish like ghost nets to harm other animals.
Narrator: And so, on a mission to solve this mystery, Lightfin swam off to go and chat with the other creatures to find out who was one who had caused his friend so much trouble.
Down in the start of the Mariana trench, the first he came across was Old Carl the Giant Spider Crab, or rather Old Carl almost bumped into Lightfin. Giant spider crabs are very large, although not blue whale big. Still, their leg span, from one claw to another claw, can be up to 5 meters across, even if their bodies are only 40 cm long.
Old Carl: Watch out there, whipper snapper!!
Lightfin: Excuse me, Carl?
Old Carl: What do you want? I don´t need any of what you’re selling.
Lightfin: I am not selling anything; I was helping out Humphrey the whale, as he got some fishing nets wrapped around his tail.
Old Carl: Good stuff…. That whale has been around here too long, eating all the krill and chasing away my own food. Make him go away.
Narrator: To emphasize the point Carl stabbed down into the sea bed with his claw and popped a sea sponge into his mouth with his razor-sharp pincer.
SFX: Tapping and popping sound.
Lightfin: It´s a free ocean Carl... I can’t do that. But, would you know how the net like that came to be down here?
Old Carl: Ha ha ha, sonny, no I don´t. Couldn´t hardly see you coming along… so how would I know about that? I heard that Goblin Shark screeching and moaning about the whale the other day too… why don´t you go bother him?
Lightfin: He is on my list of those I need to talk to. Do you still make it up to the shallow water nowadays?
Old Carl: Be careful what you’re implying youngster, I might not be able to see much but I can still whip you into shape, even at my age. I walk up to the shallower areas of the ocean and back to here in the depths of the trench. I have to do that twice a day now days to get something to eat since that whale is chasing everything else away. Just came back earlier today. Fit as a fiddle I am. Now be off with you – before I lose my temper!
Narrator: Lightfin turned to leave but by then Carl had started ranting at a large rock on the seabed so he might not have noticed the shark leaving.
Sasha the Leopard seal was sunning herself on a rock nearby. Lightfin´s big head popped out of the water, and she lazily opened one eye and yawned, display her own set of razor sharp teeth.
SFX: Sound of waves lapping on a beach and seagulls.
Sasha: Oh… it´s you.
Narrator: Lightfin has had run-ins, or rather swim-ins, with a number of leopard seals over the years and they have always been a surly and unpleasant lot. He almost preferred penguins to them.
Lightfin: Hello Sasha.
Sasha: Can´t a girl catch some rays without being bothered by the likes of you?
Narrator: Sasha was sounding pretty brave being on land, while Lightfin was stuck in the water. If they both were in the ocean the conversation might be a very different.
Lightfin: Do you know what happened to Humphrey?
Sasha: The whale? No… what happened to that noisy blubber bum?
Lightfin: Somehow he got tangled up in a loose fishing net that was left down in the Mariana Trench.
Sasha: Hahahahahahaha. Serves him right, always making such a racket with his singing. As much as I wish I had something to do with it… I don´t go that deep into the ocean. I need to stay closer to the surface you know – no gills and that’s not where my food is.
Lightfin: You notice anything else going on with Humphrey lately?
Sasha: Aside from the noise? Okay, okay … stop giving me that deadeye stare. Garry was around here the other day coughing and spluttering – saying something about Humphrey throwing dirt in his gills. He is sort of your distant cousin, why don´t you try him?
Lightfin: Maybe I will but don´t go anywhere – I might want to catch up with you later.
Narrator: Back in the deeper water Lightfin felt more comfortable. Sticking his head out above the water to talk always left him light-headed. He swam his way next to Garry´s territory. While he wasn´t Garry´s actual cousin, he did know him and somewhere way back they might have had a great, great, great grandparent in common.
Garry was swimming around the top of the Mariana trench, a hundred meters or so down. So Lightfin was lucky to catch him as Goblin Sharks often swim to extreme depths of up to 1 kilometre under water.
Garry was smiling, his long nose sticking out in front of his face. He was looking very happy with himself. His teeth looked like long fishhooks and rusty nails sticking out of his mouth.
Lightfin knew that while the teeth may not be very good at cutting cleanly, a Goblin sharks jaws were among the fastest in the whole ocean when it came to snapping up food, and perhaps other things.
Garry: Lightfin, my shark! How ya doin´?
Lightfin: Garry. What’s up? You look happy?
Garry: Hehehehe – you hear what happened to Humphrey? Got himself tangled in some old fishing net.
Lightfin: Yeah, although I hear it may not have been by accident.
Garry: Don´t know about that, sharkey. That whale is never looking where he is going… Could swim into anything. Lucky he hasn’t hit a boat or something. Would be bad news for the boat, right?
Lightfin: You been around the surface lately?
Garry: No ways man, you know me – I don´t go near the surface. With my tiny eyes the light hurts. It´s better to stay here in the dark.
Lightfin: So you wouldn´t know anything about who might have wanted to give Humphrey some payback?
Garry: Don´t be looking at me like that! I didn´t have anything to do with it. If you want to check someone out, check out Old Carl. He was moaning that whale the other day and how he was making it difficult to get a meal. Or check out Sasha the leopard seal. She is always causing trouble round here.
Lightfin: Alright, alright. Don´t you go anywhere though…
Narrator: Lightfin had gathered all the information he needed and he felt sure he knew who the culprit was and how the fishing net had become entangled in Humphrey´s tail.
and you? Can you guess who the culprit is and what happened? We will give you 15 seconds to make your best guess.
Well, did you figure it out? Let’s see.
Lightfin sent word to Garry, Humphrey, Sasha and Carl and asked them to all meet him on the edge of the Mariana trench. Once they arrived, he eyeballed eight of them, weighing them up. Garry still had that crazy grin on his face, Sasha looked like she was about to start having a sulk and Carl was staring off into the abyss.
Lightfin: One of you brought a ghost net down here from the shallow waters, and it became entangled in Humphrey´s tail causing him a lot of pain and almost getting me flattened into a shark pancake. I have reviewed all the evidence and I know who the culprit is...
Lightfin: Sasha, while I don´t trust Leopard seals and you were particularly nasty about old Humphrey’s troubles, you couldn´t have been the culprit as you can´t swim deep enough and your teeth are suitable for making the clean cuts I found on the net.
Narrator: Sasha looked like she was about to leave, a satisfied look on her face, but then she decided it might be worthwhile to stick around and find out what will happen next.
Lightfin: Garry, while you are a particularly nasty piece of work and obviously were very upset with Humphrey, you never go near the shallow waters and again your teeth are not a match for what made the clean cuts I found. That means … the culprit is you, Carl the Giant Spider Crab.
Narrator: Carl suddenly opened his eyes wide open and turned to scramble away but in his haste he didn´t see the net lying there on the ocean´s floor and his spindly legs quickly became tangled and criss-crossed until he fell over and lay on the ground unable to move sputtering in anger.
SFX: Sound of bubbles and scissors knocking against each other.
Lightfin: Yes, you regularly go between the shallow waters and the deep trench and your razor-sharp pincers are perfect for cutting through that net’s ropes.
Old Carl: Argh. I just wanted that great big beast to leave so I could eat in peace.
Lightfin: Well be that as it may, no one should ever try entangling a fellow sea creature in a horrible piece of trash the humans left to float in the sea. Therefore – as punishment, it´s your job to clean the barnacles off the underside of Humphrey before he leaves the trench. Don´t make me come back and check your work.
SFX: Stomach growling sound.
Narrator: Then just as Lightfin finished, his stomach let out a growl and he realized it was probably time for that snack….