I had a wife and hope. I have since lost both, but recently regained the latter.

I’m blogging from the onboard lavatory of a private jet en route to a private boat, which will take me to a private tanker and down into a private underwater station before descending into the depths of the private sea.

Thank you, everyone, for your support.

For those who don’t know my story, I am glad. I wish that no one knew it, least of all me. But all that is in the past. Today Sebastian Maltraitence, Nessa Vodyanoy, and I are traveling from Côtes d’Armor to Paris and from Paris to Moscow, where we will refuel before continuing on to Siberia. There we will switch planes and board a four-seat seaplane that will land us in the Sea of Okhotsk, just southeast of the large Russian port city Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk. That’s where we will board the supertanker Atargatis. It serves as both the communications tether for the Daedelus undersea station and as a floating factory, refining the rare earth minerals through acid leaching.

Did you get all that?

From the supertanker we will descend to a depth of approximately 3500 feet and decompress on board the Daedelus. That is where we will receive our final instructions about the expedition and meet the rest of the Sea Monk crew. The Sea Monk is the successor to the La Dignite, our chief means of exploration, as we attempt the same journey that claimed the lives of Liz and four others.

“Sea Monk” is an unusual name, originally given to a crypto-zoological wonder that resembled a drowning holy man. Legend has it that when people approached the creature to rescue what they thought was a cleric, it would spring up, gobbling them whole.

Later, scientists discovered that the sea monk (or monk fish, as it was sometimes called) was actually an angel shark, a manta-ray shaped carnivore that can attack furiously fast. But I can’t shake the impression that God made a fish that preys on good intentions. It is a funny mental picture, a shark for a bishop, and makes me think of all the religious phonies who might as well be saying, Let us prey before Mass.

Who knows? Maybe the Sea Monk is waiting for our devotion to get the better of us as well.

Our mission has three primary objectives: first, Sebastian hopes to recover the rare earth minerals that can be processed and sold on the open market. I’m foggy on the details, but he tells me that those of you who contributed to the Elisabeth Mann Resurrection Fund will benefit from some small profit-share. (Your donations to the Fund could turn out to be very lucrative after all. :) Second, since we are just west of a major subduction zone and the Sea of Okhotsk is heavily volcanized, we will be studying hydrothermal vents and their emerging ecosystems. According to Nessa, these vents will likely be the means of our future survival as a species. Each one acts as its own kind of miniature sun, giving life to a wide range of species that can be produced for food, raw materials, and medicine. In the event of dramatic global overpopulation, ecological disaster, or solar flare out, these vents will provide the next hope for humanity on planet earth. Finally–and this, I know, is the reason so many of you have partnered with us–we are going to look for any signs of Liz and Dignite. We all know we might come back with nothing, but I choose to be a believer. Pessimism is easy. Realism is slightly more difficult to achieve. I’m going down there to prove the ocean is half-full.

Once again I want to thank all of you for your generosity. We couldn’t do this without you, and I am humbly aware of it. I go hoping that I will commune with Liz when I’m down there. Burying an empty coffin was no grace, and I have a feeling that just being in the place where she left this world will allow me to feel close to her one final time. And if fate–or God, if He’s still in charge–wills it, then maybe my camera will go offline in the same place, at the same time.

I am gnawed by sad curiosity, an insatiably mnemonic starvation. I want to be with Liz. I know that’s impossible, but it is all I have worth knowing. I do not understand the world in her absence. I’m useless, a twit, a boob. Dead wife. Dead parents. No notoriety. My chief value in the world is as the abandoned companion to a cadaverous genius. I’d like to change my status, from widower to one wed-again in the deep.

But, despite resurrection being the starting point for everything in my life-my spirituality, my education, my outlook on the world-I find it difficult to imagine even a metaphorical resurrection for Liz. My only real hope is that I will somehow be resurrected into a person of joy and happy memory once I am loosed from the bonds of unknowing, absence, and loss.