“Now, when can you start?” asked Mr. De Vere, after this point had been settled. “Or, rather, when can we start, for I intend to go with you, though I can’t do much with this broken arm
“We can go whenever you are ready,” replied Jerry.
“Then I’ll give orders to have the Ripper provisioned, for I am going to pay all expenses. By the time we get ready I think this storm will have blown over,” for the wind and rain had continued for three days.
Under Maurice De Vere’s directions preparations for the cruise were soon completed. On the fourth day the storm blew away and there was the promise of settled weather, though some old sailors, down at the dock, said there were liable to be high winds for some time yet.
The Ripper was overhauled, a plentiful cargo of provisions and supplies had been stowed aboard, and, having bid good-bye to their friends, the Seaburys, the boys were ready for their cruise.
“When will you come back?” asked Rose, as she and her sisters went down to the dock to see the party off.
“When we find the derelict,” answered Jerry.
“Good luck!” said Nellie.
“Don’t let a sea serpent catch you,” cautioned Olivia, as she waved her hand.
Jerry threw on the switch, Ned turned the fly wheel over, there was a throbbing of the cylinders, and the Ripper was off on her long cruise after the derelict brig.
Hunting the derelict
“Well, now that we’re under way,” said Jerry, who had assumed charge of the engine, “in which direction do you propose going, Mr. De Vere? We are under your orders you know.”
“There are to be no special orders given on this cruise,” was the answer. “I regard you boys as my partners in this enterprise. We will all do our best to find the brig, and if any of you have any suggestions, I hope you will not hesitate to offer them. To be frank with you I do not know where to look for the Rockhaven. She is somewhere in this vicinity, floating around, but at the mercy of wind, wave and cross currents. All we can do is to cruise about, hoping to get a sight of her.”
“I thought when you searched for anything on the ocean you had to have the longitude and latitude,” said Rob.
“So you do usually,” replied Mr. De Vere, but, in this case it is impossible to get those figures. If it were it would be an easy matter to pick up the brig. But, in the case of a derelict, that is floating about, going in no particular direction, and making only such speed as the wind or the currents give it, there is no telling where it will drift to. It might be at one spot at night, and many miles off the next morning.”
“We are prepared for a long cruise,” spoke Ned, “and it doesn’t matter which way we go. How would it do to go about in big circles, taking a new one every day?”