“A vessel!” cried Bob. “Look out, Jerry, or we’ll be run down.”
“That isn’t a vessel,” said Rose, with a worried look on her face. “That’s the bell of the shoal buoy. We are quite a way out to sea!”
“And lost in the fog,” added Nellie.
On the rocks
With a quick motion Jerry shut off the power, and the Ripper drifted through the mist, slowly losing headway. The sound of the bell became more distinct, and in a little while something dark loomed up before the anxious eyes of the boys and girls.
“Lookout! She’s going to hit!” cried Ned.
“That’s the buoy,” declared Nellie.
“What’s its location?” asked Jerry. “Can’t we get our bearings from it?”
“Well, it’s about eight miles off shore, I’ve heard the fishermen say,” replied Nellie, “and it’s about four miles down the coast from San Felicity.”
“It doesn’t seem as if we came as far as that,” said Bob.
“This is a very fast boat,” commented Rose.
“Is the buoy anchored to rocks?” asked Ned.
“No, it’s on a dangerous shoal,” answered Olivia “But there is no harm from that source to be feared to this boat, as it doesn’t draw much water.”
“It ought to be easy enough to start in the right direction for San Felicity, with this buoy to guide us,” suggested Bob. “Can’t you, Jerry.”
“I guess so, if you think it will be safe to travel in the fog.”
“No, don’t,” urged Nellie. “I’m afraid we might have a collision. I don’t know much about this bay, and there are dangerous places in it, I’ve heard the fishermen say. We had better stay here until the fog lifts.”
“That’s what I think,” agreed Rose and Olivia.
Bob and Ned, however, were for going on, but Jerry rather sided with the girls.
“Well,” he finally said, in answer to the urging of his two chums, “Which way would you say the dock was, Ned?”
“Off there,” and Ned pointed over the port rail.
“No, you’re wrong,” declared Bob. “It’s there,” and he indicated the opposite direction.
“There, you see,” remarked Jerry. “It can’t be both ways. The fog has you puzzled, just as it has me. We should have looked at the compass when we started out. Maybe the girls can advise us.”
But they, too, were equally at loss regarding in what direction San Felicity lay.
“We’ll have to drift around a bit,” decided Jerry. “It’s not very pleasant, but it’s better than running any chances.”
In spite of their dismal situation the boys and girls managed to extract a good deal of fun out of their experience. They laughed, joked, told stories and sang songs.
“Well, well!” exclaimed Jerry, looking at his watch. “Here it is noon, and we’re not home for dinner.”
“No, and not likely to be,” added Ned rather gloomily. “I’ll admit I’m as bad as Bob this time. I want something to eat.”