Harry the Thief, Episode 22, Odysseys in Paradise

Harry held a revolver. “I hate to do this, mate, but I’m taking your boat. If it is true what you say about the repair, you will be able to sail to safety.”

“What’s this all about?” Rich said.

“It’s about diamonds, mate,” Harry said. “I – well, let’s say, I came across some in Chile. I made my getaway to Easter Island on a boat full of archeology students and their professors. Learned enough about archeology to know I don’t want to be an archeologist. Planned on flying from Easter Island back to the land down under. The police were watching the airport, so I confiscated a sailboat. And this happened. You came along and I knew it was all meant to be.”

Harry climbed into the dinghy. “All the best, mate. I’ll inform others of your misfortune and where to locate you.” He returned to The Odyssey.

Rich watched The Odyssey sail east from the island and after 15 minutes turn southwesterly.

“He’s going to Adamstown,” Rich said.

Rich grabbed a small shovel from the tools he brought from The Odyssey. He dug a channel around the keel of the beached boat and out toward the sea.

As he dug he called out, “Dear God, please may I have a strong wind from the west.”

The tide began to come in and fill the small channel.

“If I had another two hours, I know I could dig a deep enough channel,” Rich said.

He waited on the roof of the cabin. As the tide slowly came in he felt the boat jostle. The boat began to float, yet it was not upright. The keel remained in the sand. He hoisted the sails and—a prayer answered.

“Blow!” Rich shouted to the wind. “She wants to move. I can feel it.” Rich started the engine. He felt the boat level, but no forward motion. “One more horsepower. A horse a horse my kingdom for one more horsepower.” Rich tied a line around his waist. He jumped from the stern into chest high in water. He put his back to the boat and dug his heels into the sand. He pushed hard. The boat rocked. He timed his effort with the receding waves. Suddenly a forward motion and then it gave way. It pulled Rich behind. He laughed. “Thank you, God!”

Rich pulled himself on the boat and sailed safely beyond the sandbars and into the open sea. He, likewise, aimed the bow toward Adamstown; this time using only dead reckoning to chart his course.

Rich sailed nonstop.

It was from memory of studying the charts that he was certain the only bay on the island lay on the north side. In sixty hours of sailing, he spotted Adamstown off his port side. It reminded him of the top of a mushroom.

He was certain Harry would be there. As he sailed closer The Odyssey came into full view. It docked at a stone mooring in a small harbor. Curiously, a twin-engine seaplane anchored in the harbor also.

The plan was simple; if Harry was not aboard, sail The Odyssey out of the harbor. If he was on board, wait for him to leave and then sail it away; “just steal back what belongs to me.”

Rich dropped the sails and started the engine. He approached the harbor from the east rather than directly from the north. He maneuvered close to the opening of the harbor and cut the engine. Rich quickly hung over the pulpit to peer around the harbor’s opening. There appeared to be nobody on The Odyssey.

Rich tossed the aft and fore anchors. He inflated the life raft and paddled toward shore. Rich navigated the raft between some rocks and pulled it to shore. Peering over the tops of some rocks lining the shore, Rich was able to see into the portholes of The Odyssey. Again, it appeared abandoned.

He crouched low and hurried across the stone dock to The Odyssey. At the bow, he moved slowly along the starboard side. Voices came from the cabin. Rich heard two men and Harry talking.

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