Within minutes the Blew Bayou was gliding south toward the deep channel. They needed to get across the northern shoal of the island without hitting ground. Now the lighthouse beam lit up the port side of the boat markers that would guide them to the water that surrounded the island. Spider sat on the fishing throne keeping watch. As they motored toward the west side, the moon rose to twelve o'clock high and cast its light across Egmont Channel. Victor hiked a knee onto the seat next to the cabin door, so he could face the hull, while Kurt held on to the ladder. He told Evan to punch it.
The Bertram trudged out across the outer shallows of Egmont Key, trailing the skiff behind it. From here Victor could see that the island was small, maybe four hundred acres tops. But this east side, away from the lighthouse, was cast into darkness. The running lights on the boat lit up the water directly in front of them, but the coast was nearly invisible. Now Victor understood why Cuda had chosen the dark end of this island and had waited for the full moon to transfer his load.
When they spotted the ruins, Kurt told them to cut the engines and the lights. They would motor slowly toward the partially submerged relics, remnants of the Spanish-American War fortifications. Some of the ruins were large enough to hide a boat that didn't want to be found, especially if the seekers were coming from the north. The silhouettes of the ruins and an unlit moored vessel would appear virtually indifferent. But it would be far easier for Cuda to spy the forty-six-foot Bertram motoring toward them. Evan inched the Bertram along the coast, as close as it could get without running aground.
They'd just passed the first ruin when a spotlight shot out from nowhere. Kurt hit the deck. "It's a fishing spot!" he yelled. Victor followed Kurt's lead and fell to his hands and knees. But Spider, true to his word, gripped the pistol with two hands and spun around, trying to figure out where the light was coming from. He took cover beneath the throne and then fired a shot into the air to scare off the intruders. What followed was a shower of bullets aimed right at Spider. He plunged to the deck and landed face down just beneath the fishing chair. Evan flicked on the running lights.
"It's the Sea Booty!" Kurt hollered. The boat was less than forty feet away from them. "They've got my grandfather!" He scuttled out across the deck and found his revolver in Spider's back pocket. He then jumped up and started firing at the boat. This round of bullets spawned another storm that pummeled the Bertram. Victor dove headfirst into the kid, taking them both down. But it was too late. Kurt had been shot. Evan trumpeted the boat horn, five short blasts. He waited a few seconds and then fired five more. The shooting stopped.