Islands in the Stream Part 3, Chapter 5 Summary

Ernest Hemingway

Part 3, Chapter 5 Summary

Thomas Hudson guides the cruiser to the island, where a radio shack is partially hidden by a wrecked ship. He maneuvers the boat safely through the reef and anchors in the shelter of a half-moon beach. All that can be seen at the radio shack is a new Cuban flag flapping in the breeze. He finds the drums of gas where he had left them. Terns are flying overhead, calling sadly. Thomas Hudson guesses that someone is hunting terns’ eggs for breakfast.

Thomas Hudson wonders why the Germans did not take the island when they could have conquered it so easily. Then he sees the Lieutenant coming down the path to the beach. He greets Thomas Hudson, who invites him on board for a beer. The Lieutenant declines and tells him that his supplies, beer, and ice were delivered a few days previously. The ice is buried, and the supplies have been delivered to his house.

The Lieutenant tells Thomas Hudson that a German submarine was sunk, but it is not the one Thomas Hudson is seeking because this happened ten days previously, before he left. Another submarine supposedly shot down a blimp two days before. Also, a pig that was brought especially for Thomas Hudson swam out to sea and drowned. The Lieutenant expresses his regrets about the pig. He is under orders to do anything he can for Thomas Hudson, with the stipulation that he is not to ask any questions.

Thomas Hudson asks if the Lieutenant has seen any sponging or turtle boats from the Bahamas. The Lieutenant replies that it is unlikely they would come this far when their own waters are so well stocked, but two turtle boats did in fact come recently. This interests Thomas Hudson when he learns the helmsmen were white. The Lieutenant signaled them but received no reply.

Thomas Hudson asks the Lieutenant to radio three messages for him. He plans to load the supplies on the boat as soon as possible and go back out to sea. The Lieutenant surprises him by stating that chickens are among the supplies. Thomas Hudson offers to split them with the Lieutenant. He tells him that if any more perishable supplies arrive, he is to use them himself. Thomas Hudson then warns the Lieutenant to stay in a state of defense. The submarine that fired at the blimp is most likely still near. The Lieutenant agrees to keep his eyes open.