With the police boat well gone Rich set a course due south.
“What do you think,” Rich said, “Bermuda or The Bahamas?”
“Sounds like one of those country club conversation,” Salty said.
“Sam told me he sailed to Bermuda when he was young,” Rich said. “He might think that might plant a seed in my mind to go there.”
“So, we go to The Bahamas?” Salty said.
“Sam knows I’m a critical counter thinker,” Rich said. “So if he thinks I will go to Bermuda because of what he said, he will deduce that I will head to The Bahamas.”
“So, we should think the opposite of what he thinks and go to Bermuda?” Salty said.
“Before we even think about which one of the 360 degrees we take on the compass, we have to figure out how it was known The Odyssey was heading down coast.”
“That leaves me in a pickle,” Salty said. “There’s no reason for you to notify the police you are heading down the coast; that leaves just me in suspicion.”
“If you were the reason for the police approaching us, you would have been screaming your head off,” Rich said. “Either somebody spotted The Odyssey or there is a way of tracking our course.”
“How?” Salty said.
“There may be something on board that is sending a signal,” Rich said. “It could have been put on board at anytime. Smithson would have access to something like that; he’s a cop and has a lot of connections.”
“You mean there might be something on board?” Salty said.
“Let’s do a search of the boat,” Rich said. “That will satisfy a curiosity I have.”
“What are we looking for?” Salty said.
“I’m not sure,” Rich said, “but if it doesn’t look like it belongs on a boat…”
“I know about lookin’ for stuff,” Salty said. “You take one side of the boat and I’ll take the other and if nothing is found we switch sides and look again.”
“Sounds like you may have been a cop or investigator at some point in your life,” Rich said.
“No,” Salty said, “it comes from a lifetime of losing stuff.”
Rich started searching port and Salty starboard. Nothing was found and they switched sides. Nothing was found.
They sat on the benches in the cockpit.
“The most difficult thing to find is the obvious,” Salty said.
“Sam was good at hiding the obvious,” Rich said, “but once I caught on to him he was easy to read.”
“Than if there is a tracking device where is it?” Salty said.
“I know exactly where it is,” Rich said and ran his eyes straight up the mast.
Salty’s eyes followed.
“There it is,” Rich said. “There is something between the beacon light and the tip of the mast. I installed that light. It was installed directly on the mast with nothing in between. Notice, it’s painted white like the mast with a black stripe around it. It was made so obvious that it would appear as if it was supposed to be there.”
“What are we going to do about it?” Salty said.
“Let’s drop the sails and get them out of the way,” Rich said. “I’ll take the ladder and hook it onto the spreaders and pull myself up. Can you get the ladder for me, Salty, and I’ll get my tool belt.”
The sails were dropped. Rich stretched to hook the ladder on the first spreader. He pulled himself up until he could use the ladder to climb. Once on the lower spreader he grabbed the ladder and hooked it on to the next spreader. At last he was on the top spreader and used a Phillips screwdriver to remove the box and reattach the beacon light on the mast.
Rich made his way down the mast and they quickly hoisted the sails again.
Rich and Salty took the box below and opened it. Inside was a six volt battery fastened to a red wire and black wire connected to a gray metal box with a small red light at the top and toggle on/off switch.
“What are we going to do with it?” Salty said.
“First I’m going to turn it off,” Rich said flicking the switch. “From what I know about these things the receiver has to be within 20 miles to pick up a signal. I figure they caught the signal when I was still in the general area. They figured I was heading south. By the time they could react The Odyssey was too far to pick up a signal. From then on it was looking for a needle in a haystack. Smithson is a cop and probably concocted some story and alerted police along the coast.”
“Okay,” Salty said, “That still doesn’t tell me where we’re goin’ next. Wait – you haven’t got a clue, right?”
Rich smiled. “Since when does the captain have to share everything with the crew?”
“One thing is for sure,” Salty said, “as long as that contraption ain’t hooked up, they can’t track us even if they was next door.”
“That’s right,” Rich said, “and I got an idea.”
“I hope it’s a good one,” Salty said.