“Keep your eyes and ears open. I’m going to try to run along the side of the jetty and find the harbour. If you see a red spar buoy, sing out. Sing out if you see anything at all. Everyone keep a watch. We’re going to eat dinner in the harbour or know why!”
The cruiser moved slowly on once more, her nose turning sharply. Then she paused, went back and again moved forward, Steve turning the wheel slowly with his eyes on the compass. “Now watch on the starboard side, Phil!” he called.
“Which is that? My right?”
“Yes, you land-lubber! Hear anything?”
“N-no! I didn’t hear anything before until we were almost on the breakwater. Sometimes I think I can hear—”
Phil’s voice died away to silence.
“Hear what?” asked Steve.
“Well, water sort of lapping. It may be against our boat, though.”
“Neil, you go forward, too, will you?” said Steve. Neil joined Phil and for some minutes the Adventurer stole quietly along through the grey void with little sound save the slow working of the engine below deck and the lazy thud of the propeller. It was so quiet that when Perry suddenly worked the fog-horn Han almost fell over the wet rail on which he was sitting. It was Ossie who broke the silence finally.
“Well, I guess we’ve got to eat, whether we run ashore or stay afloat. I’m going to put some potatoes on.”
“All right,” replied Steve quietly. “But if you feel a bump, put out your alcohol flame the first thing you do, Ossie.”
“Sure, but you can bet I won’t wait down there to see whether the potatoes are done!”
“How about it, you chaps?” asked Steve presently.
“Don’t hear a thing,” answered Phil.
“All right. I’m going to bring her around now. Yell the minute you see anything. You needn’t worry. She’s only crawling and I’ll have her going astern before you can shout twice.”
Very slowly Steve moved the wheel to starboard. In the stillness they could hear the gear creak under the deck. No warning came from the two lookouts and, after a moment, Steve again turned gingerly. For all the watchers could tell, the Adventurer never altered her course, but Steve, his gaze on the compass card, knew that she was headed now straight east. Now and then he peered questioningly forward, but his gaze was defeated by the fog. At intervals Perry sent a groaning wail from the fog-horn. Presently Steve heard the boys talking on the bow and in a moment Neil’s voice hailed him:
“Surf off to starboard, Steve! Not very near, though.”
The others listened, but there was just enough noise from the engine to drown the sound heard by the lookouts.
“Tell me if it gets louder,” called Steve. “Still hear it?”
“Not so well,” answered Phil. “I think we’re going away from it.”
“Waves against the end of the jetty,” explained Steve. “I think we’re all right now.” He moved the wheel over slowly, spoke by spoke. “Keep your horn going, Perry. We’re entering the harbour. Watch for buoys, fellows. Take it on this side, Joe.”