Part 3, Chapter 14 Summary
There is a heavy storm overnight, which prevents Peters from hearing anything over the radio. The humidity brings out sand flies that are worse than mosquitoes. Thomas Hudson sprays bug repellent over Peters, waking him, as well as the rest of the crew. He hears two planes flying high overhead. Perhaps they are bombers, he thinks. He wants to get this mission over with. There is only one bad place left to sail through, and then they can go on to Guillermo.
At daylight they are underway with Gil watching the shoreline. Ara wonders where the Dawn Patrol is. Willie says it must be Sunday because they don’t patrol on Sundays. Thomas Hudson fears the Germans on their turtle boat have sailed through the pass at Guillermo and beyond their reach. Willie and Henry bicker until Thomas Hudson stops them. They see nothing but terns and gulls feeding. Ara wants to sail a little more closely to the shore. Antonio says they have enough depth to sail through.
Although they search Cayo Guillermo diligently through the binoculars, they see nothing. The sea is become rougher, but Thomas Hudson knows where the wreck is that they must avoid. Ara announces that he sees smoke but no ship mast. Thomas Hudson tells everyone to go to their stations. As they come around the wreck, he sees a shack with smoke coming from it, but there is no sign of boats. Antonio and Ara land and walk toward the shack; a woman comes out. Another woman with a baby also comes out to talk to the men. The men return to the boat and say the women are wives of fishermen, who are out fishing. The woman with the baby saw a turtle boat go into an inside channel about an hour and a half ago. The tide is dropping fast, but Thomas Hudson decides to go ahead and follow the turtle boat into the channel. Piloting carefully with Thomas Hudson at the wheel, the cruiser moves through the shallow waters. As they approach Cayo Contrabando, the channel becomes narrower. They follow stakes that have been placed to mark sand bars. Thomas Hudson knows this situation is not good, but he reasons that it is not good for the Germans either. He asks Antonio’s advice but does not agree with Antonio’s suggestion that they wait until the tide rises. The east wind is blowing the water out. Thomas Hudson curses the east wind. This is a great blasphemy for the watermen, but he does not apologize; he only repeats it. Eventually, despite their best efforts, they run aground in the channel.