CHAPTER 6: The Greek Islands
"But will this channel fill up one day?"
"Very likely, Professor Aronnax, because since 1866 eight little
lava islets have surged up in front of the port of St. Nicolas
on Palea Kameni. So it's obvious that Nea and Palea will join
in days to come. In the middle of the Pacific, tiny infusoria
build continents, but here they're built by volcanic phenomena.
Look, sir! Look at the construction work going on under these waves."
I returned to the window. The Nautilus was no longer moving.
The heat had become unbearable. From the white it had recently been,
the sea was turning red, a coloration caused by the presence
of iron salts. Although the lounge was hermetically sealed, it was
filling with an intolerable stink of sulfur, and I could see scarlet
flames of such brightness, they overpowered our electric light.
I was swimming in perspiration, I was stifling, I was about to be cooked.
Yes, I felt myself cooking in actual fact!
"We can't stay any longer in this boiling water," I told the captain.
"No, it wouldn't be advisable," replied Nemo the Emotionless.
He gave an order. The Nautilus tacked about and retreated from this
furnace it couldn't brave with impunity. A quarter of an hour later,
we were breathing fresh air on the surface of the waves.
It then occurred to me that if Ned had chosen these waterways
for our escape attempt, we wouldn't have come out alive from this
sea of fire.
The next day, February 16, we left this basin, which tallies depths
of 3,000 meters between Rhodes and Alexandria, and passing well out
from Cerigo Island after doubling Cape Matapan, the Nautilus left
the Greek Islands behind.