They heard the plane take off again from the lake. They knew that the people who want their treasure back were going to be searching. They paddled hard for the refuge offered by a large Balsam Fir that was leaning far out over the river.
“Just our luck if it falls while we’re under it,” Solly said.
“Meanwhile, it’s hiding us from the plane, so don’t be such a negative putz!” Rob said.
They could hear the plane circling, looking for any sign of anything. They would assume that it would be a small vessel, otherwise it would have been unable to negotiate the narrow, shallow creeks. Twice, they buzzed by at low altitude, right over the two hidden canoes and four worried teenagers. Soon the sound of the plane faded into the distance and the canoeists pushed off again.
They came to a place of open water. It was a small lake that they would have to cross to get to the next small tributary they would need to travel to get to their car. There was some discussion about what route to take. The short way was to paddle straight across the lake to the mouth of the continued tributary. The safe way was to hug the shoreline where they could hide in foliage. There was virtually no wind, so they would be neither helped nor hindered in crossing the lake and getting on with their run, so they took the fast way instead of the safe way.
They were less than half way across the lake when the dreaded sound of the amphibian aircraft returned. A minute later it passed over them, and they knew they must have been seen. The plane circled to make a landing on the water where the young people were. At the same time, Rob commanded that they were to stroke like hell for the other side. It was a race to get into foliage before the pontoons touched the surface.
The plane landed as close to the canoes as it could, then revved up the engine to plow along on the water toward them. Just before the canoes could disappear up a narrow, weed filled creek, they could hear gunshots over the roar of the plane’s engine. Only one bullet came near them, and made a small splash a few feet away from them just as they were able to disappear into overhanging bushes. They hoped the plane would be stopped at the shallow mouth of the creek.
The plane’s engine was shut off, and they could hear angry shouts. It sounded like the pontoons had run aground, and some guys had to get wet pushing the plane off the shore and turning toward open water. Meanwhile, a steady stroking of the four paddles carried them toward safety. They heard the plane take off and fly away, and they were able to settle down and paddle.
While the boys handled the canoes from their stern seats, the girls got some food out of the packs and made peanut butter and jam sandwiches so they could each have something to eat without stopping. After a few hours, they heard another engine nearby. It sounded similar to the plane engine, but different.
“It’s a damn air boat,” Rob Snitzer said.
“What the hell’s an air boat,” Caroline Rich said.
“It’s one of those tubs, you know, that zips through swamps with a big propeller on the back,” Solly Cohen said.
“Oh, god, no!” Phylis Snitzer said. “We’re in deep shit now.”