“Run her? Well, I guess we can,” declared Ned.
“Didn’t we tackle the Atlantic in the Dartaway, a smaller boat than this?” asked Bob, “and isn’t the Atlantic worse than the Pacific?”
“I don’t believe it is, a bit,” said Olivia. “Everyone thinks the Pacific ocean is very peaceful, because the name indicates that. But old fishermen here have told me there are terrible storms, which come up quite unexpectedly, and that at times there are dreadful fogs.”
“Well, we’re not afraid,” boasted Bob. “Are we fellows?”
“Oh, I guess we can manage to run the boat,” replied Jerry, who was critically examining the machinery. “If you girls want to go for a spin, I think I can guarantee to get you safely back.”
“Oh, we’re not afraid on a day like this,” replied Nellie. “There’s no sign of a storm. Come on girls.”
She and her sisters got in, followed by Ned and Bob. Jerry was already in the small cabin, set aside for the engineer. He was testing various wheels and levers, seeing that the oil feed cups worked well, and looking to the sparking system.
“All ready?” he asked.
“Let her go, Captain Jerry,” called Bob, as he cast off the lines, and the Ripper, with her new commander and crew, started off.
Jerry found he could manage the engine about as well as the one that had been in the Dartaway. He soon had the motor going almost at full speed, and the way the boat cut through the water was a revelation to the boys. They had never ridden so fast in a motor boat before. Straight out to sea Jerry headed the craft, and the weather was so pleasant, the water so calm, and the sense of swift motion so enthralling, that, before they knew it, they had gone several miles.
“Oh!” suddenly exclaimed Rose, as she came from the small cabin, and glanced back toward the shore, “I can’t see anything.”
“It is a bit hazy,” admitted Ned.
“Must have blown up a little fog,” spoke Jerry. “I guess we’ll put back. It didn’t look as it was going to be thick weather when we started.”
He swung the boat around and headed for what he supposed was the shore. As the boat speeded on the mist became thicker, until they could scarcely see two hundred feet ahead of them.
“Better slow down; hadn’t you?” suggested Bob. “We might hit something.”
“Yes, for goodness, sake, don’t have a collision,” begged Nellie.
“We ought to be pretty near shore,” remarked Jerry. “I’ll keep on a little longer, and we’ll come pretty near the dock, I think.”
He tried to peer ahead into the fog, but it slowly settled down in lazy, curling wreaths, that made it as hard to see through as though a white blanket had been hung in front of him.
“Hark! What’s that’?” asked Olivia, holding up her hand.
Out of the mist there came the dismal clang of a bell.
“Dong! Ding! Dong!”