The mood tempered in Pago Pago. Rich relaxed, restocked The Odyssey, and pondered where to sail next. The fear loomed about running into the Soviet submarine on the high seas. “They may have somehow found out they had been duped. The Soviet frogmen might put me on the receiving end of their weapons. After all, the Soviet Union’s political machine is lubricated with grudges.”
Rich returned to the Naval air station after three days. He talked with Oaks over coffee and danishes. Oaks had no information about the Petruskins. Rich figured even if he did know, he would not reveal anything to him. Rich knew the intelligence community ran on a need to know basis and he had no need to know. He had only idle curiosity and wanted only to possess the satisfaction of knowing all was well with them.
Oaks arranged for a jeep to return Rich to his boat.
As they walked to the waiting jeep Rich said, “I’m going to leave in the next few days, so I thought this would be a good time to say goodbye.”
“Where are you going next?” Oaks said.
“If I told you I’d have to kill you,” Rich joked.
“If you ever think about settling down, the Marine Corps is a good place,” Oaks said.
“I’d make a terrible Marine,” Rich said.
“Yeah,” Oaks said, “but a heck of a friend.”
Rich shook Oaks’ hand. “Take care, Major.”
“You too, Rich,” Oaks said.
Rich climbed into the jeep and it headed back to The Odyssey.
Later Rich rested beneath the canopy over the cockpit. He thought, “If not for the pearls I must deliver, the inclination is to sail further north and west. That takes me further from New Zealand; I should work my way closer. Fiji, that sounds appealing.”
Rich dashed below to the chart desk. He spread out the map and grabbed the protractor. “A little more than 600 miles to the Fiji Islands.” Rich grabbed a world almanac from the shelf above the desk and looked up Fiji. “Over 330 islands, that’s a lot of island hopping. English is spoken, that’s good.”
Rich leaned back with his fingers laced behind his head. “I don’t like to overthink things. I wonder what Zeke would say? I’ve had enough of Samoa and she’s had enough of me.”
Rich sprung up the companionway, jumped ashore, and tossed the lines on board. He motored out of the bay and into the open waters. He hoisted his sails and cut the engine. And once again the sails spread full and robust. The Odyssey did what she was born to do, sail freely.