Astrid Maxxim and the Mystery of Dolphin Island – Chapter 12 Excerpt

The following morning, Eleanor and Océane took the speedboat into Tahiti. Astrid and Penelope spent most of the morning helping Adeline clean up the damage from the hurricane. The few trees had lost many of their branches and the young women soon had a pile of wood for which to make future beach bonfires. Some of roof tiles had been damaged and they did what they could to repair it with the single hammer, box of nails and one tube of roof cement.

They went swimming in the lagoon in the afternoon, but the dolphins did not put in an appearance. Afterwards the young women warmed themselves on the beach. Penelope had just suggested going inside, when the speedboat sailed into the lagoon.

“We brought take-away!” called Océane, as the boat touched the sandy beach.

“Take-away what?” wondered Astrid.

“That’s what Europeans call takeout,” said Penelope.

“Yes,” continued Océane, hopping down from the boat’s side. “Chinese food!”

“Yay!” Astrid shouted, suddenly realizing just how hungry she was.

After pulling the boat onto the sand and tying it down, they all went inside to eat, leaving the unloading of supplies until after.

“We got Dinner B for five,” said Océane excitedly. “It’s my favorite. We have won ton soup, egg rolls, fried shrimp, steamed rice, cashew chicken, and sweet and sour pork. And because the two of you are here, we also got egg foo young and sesame chicken.”

“I’m glad we could be helpful,” said Penelope.

They all filled their plates with heaps of Chinese food. Feeling like they had been underfed for the past few days, they ate until they could eat no more. Then they lay back to let their food settle.

It wasn’t long before Astrid dozed off. When she woke up, the others had already finished unloading the supplies. It was too late to take the boat out by then, so the girl inventor used the time to check over her equipment. Aunt Penelope talked her in to going back out to the beach and playing in the surf for a while. For dinner, they ate the remains of the Chinese food, which was fine, since nobody was really very hungry anymore.

For breakfast the next morning, they had toaster pastries that were not toasted, which to Astrid’s mind, made them almost inedible. Eleanor turned on the generator long enough to check the status of the new replacement generator online. Astrid used the opportunity to recharge everything. Then the whole crew climbed into the speedboat and headed out into the ocean.

Adeline knew of several locations the dolphins frequented for hunting. They tried two of them with no luck before spotting several dorsal fins cutting through the waves between two tiny atolls.

“This is tricky diving here,” said Eleanor, as she threw the anchor over the side. “The pass here has a fairly strong current.”

“This is also a popular hunting spot for sharks as well as dolphins,” added Océane.

“I always kind of wanted to swim with sharks,” said Penelope.

Eleanor stayed topside, while the other four young women donned their scuba gear and dropped one by one into the azure blue water. Astrid followed the others down into the depths, holding the translator gear in her right hand. The visibility was amazing.

It didn’t take long before they found the dolphins. One shot right past Astrid’s shoulder. She thought it was Catherine, but she wasn’t sure. It didn’t take long before she spotted sharks either. There were dozens of black tip sharks cutting through the water in formation. She could see more sharks down in the depths but couldn’t make out just what species. A large fish shot just by her left, and it took a moment before Astrid recognized it as a yellow fin tuna.

It wasn’t long before the girl inventor saw what was drawing all the hunters. A large school of anchovies was being herded upwards by the dolphins. The sharks and the tuna were taking advantage of the situation by shooting into the cloud of small fish from the sides.

Astrid could hear the clicks and whistles of the dolphins, but nothing came out of the translator. The microphone must not have been able to pick up the calls from the distance between her and the marine animals. She dove down deeper and moved closer to the action. Finally, the translator offered a hint at the conversation in the depths.

“John hunt!” came the words from the device. “Anchovies up.”

Astrid saw two very large dolphins shoot up and into the cloud of bait fish. She didn’t need the machine to tell her that it was John and Alister. Carefully aiming the microphone around, she could pick up the calls from the other dolphins.

“Rachel anchovies! Catherine down around! James hunt!”

Suddenly the translator spat out another word.

“Alister, Adaline!”

Astrid looked around. She saw Océane and Penelope just to her left, but she didn’t see Adeline at first. Then she spotted her, she had been caught by the current in the pass and had been swept across the reef. She had managed to stop herself but was now swimming in a cloud of what looked suspiciously like blood. Worse, there were a dozen black tip sharks circling around her.

“Alister! Sharks!” the translator said again.

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