Dugal Joughin’s Lost Treasure tells how, in 1765, The Crown bought the feudal rights to the Isle of Man for the princely sum of £70,000 (almost twelve million pounds today). Not that The Crown wanted a little island 36 miles long and 12 miles wide but, because it was the centre of smuggling for the whole of Western Europe, it was costing the British Exchequer millions a year in lost revenue. So, the day after the deal was done, they sent in their customs men to clean the place up.
One of the most effective smugglers was Captain Dugal Joughin who, as the customs men closed in on him, sank his treasures in the depths of Kilpheric Lake. Unfortunately he had no means of ever retrieving them. Today, Noah Callow does. And so he goes looking.
But he’s not alone because ruthless businessman Albert Lynch is out for blood, and sees this as a way to settle a longstanding debt. Meanwhile, when the body of Dodgy Dave Finlay is found floating on the lake, the police become involved and Chief Inspector Mick Duckworth sees his chance to resolve old scores.
Throw into the mix a dead car driver and a couple of sexy business women, and you have all the ingredients for another humdinger of a plot.
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DUGAL JOUGHIN’S LOST TREASURE
With no warning, an accident threatened their lives. A mass of air began to escape from the twin tank valve that linked Sarah’s two air cylinders. The manifold that was screwed to both tank valves acted to unite them so that the diver drew air from both cylinders. Now, it was spewing a mass of pressurised bubbles at a frightening rate. Sarah looked at Penny for help. The valves were located level with the top of her shoulders so, while she could feel that things had gone wrong, she couldn’t see what the issue was.
Penny grabbed the manifold and tried to see where the problem lay, but she was limited to one hand, as she held her torch in the other. And to make matters worse, the escaping air caused a mass of high-pressure bubbles, hiding the source of the problem. She tested the locking nuts with her hands, but they were all tight. Divers’ air valves were made in stamped brass, they were then machined and chrome-plated to a certified standard. This block was, Penny knew, designed for 230 bar use. That meant that the cylinders could be filled to 230 times the air pressure on the surface. At the rate the air was escaping, Sarah had only a few minute’s air left.
Then Penny spotted the source of the leak. It wasn’t the threaded nuts that screwed onto the air tanks, it was the outgoing joint from the manifold, that led to the twin regulators which fed the air to the diver. Regulators – the valves that divers breathed from – operated on a ‘demand’ basis, delivering air only when the diver breathed in. Divers who wanted to stay alive always dived with two regulators in case of a problem with one. But the issue here wasn’t the regulator itself, rather the link between the air hoses and the manifold. Penny guessed that maybe the small rubber ‘O’ ring gasket that usually created an airtight seal had blown. It was rare, but it could happen.
She checked Sarah’s pressure gauge. It was already down to 50 bar – the point at which a diver would normally be thinking about exiting the water. They had to get to the surface quick. But how to do it without killing themselves with decompression sickness – the bends?