“Sure,” the girls chorused.
By six-thirty they were seated in the skiff. Danny put on full speed and the Pirate bounced across the water-covered sand dunes. When they reached the green channel alongside Crocodile Island, Nancy picked up the binoculars and stared ahead.
Suddenly a broad grin appeared on her face. “I see it!” she exclaimed.
In the distance she had discovered the periscope. It seemed to be motionless. The sub evidently was lying in the channel
Nancy asked Danny to race toward it as fast as he could. They had barely started, however, when the periscope disappeared.
“The sub is taking off!” George exclaimed. “Oh, I hope we can catch it!”
Danny followed the green waterway into the ocean. The elusive periscope had not appeared again, and the young people assumed that the sub was now in deeper water.
“Oh, hypers!” George cried out, using one of her favorite expressions. “Now we’ve lost it! Where did it go?”
They all knew it was futile to search in the wide expanse of ocean, The only possible way to spot the sub would be from a plane or a helicopter.
“We’d better turn back,” Danny suggested. “It’s a long way home, and I’m afraid we’ll have to run for it to make Biscayne Bay before low tide.”
He entered the channel again, putting on full speed. But when he turned into the shallow water beyond Crocodile Island he looked worried.
“Do you think we’ll make it?” George asked him.
“I’ll do my best,” he said grimly.
There was no more conversation as the skiff fairly flew on top of the water. Everything went well until they were about halfway home. Danny, who had been turning left and right to avoid the higher dunes, suddenly swerved very hard. He straightened the boat again, but within seconds it rammed into a long sandbank. The motor churned desperately for a moment, then stopped.
The impact had knocked all three girls from their chairs. They flew through the air and landed with a resounding splash in the water!
Drenched with seawater and covered with sand, Nancy, Bess, and George stood up alongside the Pirate. To Danny’s amazement they were not angry. Instead, they started to laugh. George said, “Thanks for the unexpected bath!”
Bess, looking at the skiff, remarked, “I guess we’ll have to walk home.”
“Or wait for high tide,” Danny told her. “Instead of waiting, however, you could walk to that key over there and investigate the wildlife. It isn’t far from here.”
“Does anyone live on it?” Nancy asked.
“No, it’s uninhabited.”
Bess chose to stay with Danny and dry out in the hot sun, but Nancy and George were interested in seeing the key, so they sloshed through the shallow water to the mangrove-lined island.
When the girls reached it, they scrambled over roots and coral rocks. There was nothing to see but bushes and trees.
“It’s a real jungle!” George said.
“I’ll say it is,” Nancy agreed. “Look over at that mangrove.” She pointed.
George stared in amazement. A fish was climbing up the bark!
The two girls watched to see how high it would go. To their astonishment it disappeared in the leafy foliage above.
“This place is absolutely spooky!” George muttered.
She had barely finished the sentence when they heard a dog barking.
“There must be somebody on this key besides us,” Nancy said. “But let’s go on. Maybe we’ll see something else unique.”
The dog’s barks were coming closer, and the girls wondered if he were friendly. If not, both of them would have to scramble up the next tree!
They waited for the animal to come closer. When it did, Nancy gasped. He was an Irish terrier, and on his right forepaw were six toes!
“E-fee!” Nancy cried out, recognizing the animal from Crocodile Island. “How did you get here?”
The dog came up to the girls at once, wagged his tail in delight, and barked in short yaps.
“Is your master around?” Nancy asked apprehensively.
The girls stood still, waiting for someone to appear. But no one did. The dog stayed close by, and acted so glad to see them that they were convinced there were no other human beings on the small key besides themselves.