Chapter 1: Captain Joe Returns
Marly and her friends stood at the end of the Summer Island dock, waving eagerly as Captain Joe’s boat zoomed toward them. It was eight o’clock in the morning, and they were heading home. But that wasn’t why they were so excited.
“Do you have the spyglass?” Sai elbowed Marly.
“Right here.” Marly held it up, then put it to her unpatched eye. She aimed the spyglass at the boat and adjusted the focus. Oh, wow! She could actually see Captain Joe at the wheel! He wore a blue shirt and dark sunglasses, and his curly gray hair was blowing in the wind.
“Can I see?” Isla asked. Her cat ears headband cast a shadow over the water below them.
“Sure.” Marly handed the spyglass to Isla and blinked a few times. But because she wore a patch over her good eye, everything remained out of focus. The patch was supposed to train her bad eye to work better, but while it was on her glasses, she had trouble seeing anything that wasn’t right in front of her face. Ideally, she’d be able to stop wearing it soon.
“What do you think Captain Joe is going to give us?” Sai asked as he bounced from one foot to the other. The letter they’d found yesterday, written by Harry Summerling himself, told them to give the spyglass to Captain Joe, who would then give them something in return. But what? They’d already received a tree house and a trip to Summer Island.
“I hope it’s information about where Harry’s been all summer,” Stella Lovelace said dryly. Stella was Harry Summerling’s attorney. She was the one who’d brought Marly, Isla, and Sai to Summer Island. Until they’d read that letter, everyone, including Stella, believed Mr. Summerling drowned in a storm while searching for treasure a couple of months ago. But now they knew he was alive!How can they go home without seeing or talking to him?
Marly wondered. Especially when he is probably close by!
Isla passed the spyglass back to Marly and Marly pressed it to her eye again. “I wonder if Mr. Summerling is somewhere on that boat,” she said. Captain Joe was getting close enough now that Marly had to back up to keep him in focus.
“Careful!” Stella put her hands out as Marly backed into her with a jolt.
“Oh, sorry,” Marly said, righting herself.
“Ahoy there, Treasure Troop!” Captain Joe waved as he cut the motor and drifted toward the dock.
“Look what we have! Look what we have!” Sai jumped up and down. He couldn’t wait until they were on the boat. “Show him, Marly!”
Marly held the spyglass above her head like it was a trophy.
Captain Joe smiled but didn’t take it from her. “That wouldn’t be Harry Summerling’s antique spyglass, would it?” He plopped a white captain’s hat on his head and began tying the front of the boat to a cleat on the dock.
“Yes!” Sai said. “I mean, probably? Mr. Summerling’s the one who sent us to this island and set up all those puzzles, right?”
Captain Joe didn’t respond. Or even glance up from the rope in his hands.
“We found it with a book about the history of secret codes and a letter from Mr. Summerling that said he was alive,” Marly added, lowering the spyglass to her side. Captain Joe moved to the back of the boat and the kids walked along the dock beside him.
“Not to be rude or anything,” Sai said. “But the letter also said you’re supposed to give us something for the spyglass.”
“Did you know Mr. Summerling was alive?” Stella asked.
“Do you know where he is?” Isla asked.
“Is he nearby? Can we see him before we go home?” Marly asked.
Captain Joe finished securing the boat, then reached for the spyglass. He tucked it into a tall, narrow pocket at the side of his pants. “Why don’t you all come aboard?” he said, offering a hand. “We have some things to talk about.”
They all gathered up their suitcases and Marly’s metal detector and hopped down onto the boat. It shifted in the water with each hop.
Captain Joe showed them where to stow their things and reminded them where the bathroom was. Marly took a quick peek down the stairs into the dark cabin below, wondering if Mr. Summerling was down there. She didn’t see him.
Once Stella and the kids were settled on benches and chairs at the back of the boat, Captain Joe took off his hat. “First,” he said, “I do indeed have some things for you.” He went over to a cabinet, crouched down, and opened the door.
The kids grinned at each other, and Sai squeezed Marly’s arm with anticipation.
The captain grabbed a basketball--size globe from the top shelf and gave it to Sai.
“Niiiice,” he said as he held it in his lap and spun it with his finger.
“There’s more,” Captain Joe said. He pulled out a teddy bear, which he handed to Isla, and a walkie--talkie, which he handed to Marly.
“Oh! Thank you,” Marly said. She and her old friend Aubrey used to talk to each other on walkie--talkies all the time. Unfortunately, Aubrey moved away at the beginning of the summer. And took the walkie--talkies with her.
Captain Joe had only given Marly one handset. “Is there another one of these?” she asked. “Or two?” It would be so fun to use walkie--talkies with both Isla and Sai.
Captain Joe gave her a curious look. “What do you think that is?” he asked.
“Uh . . . a walkie--talkie?” Marly said.
“No, it’s a satellite phone,” Captain Joe said.
Sai frowned. “What’s a satellite phone?”
“It’s a phone that gets its signal from a satellite above the earth rather than a cell tower,” Captain Joe explained. “It allows you to get service in places where a cell phone doesn’t work.”
“Oh,” Marly said, wondering what she needed a satellite phone for. She didn’t even have a cell phone.
“Aw! Someone sewed Harry’s name on the bear’s foot. Isn’t that cute?” Isla wiggled her teddy bear’s floppy foot.
“There’s one more thing in here,” Captain Joe said, stretching his arm deep inside the cabinet.
Marly glanced at the phone in her hand, the teddy bear in Isla’s arms, and the globe in Sai’s lap. “I bet we can guess what that last thing is,” she said, suddenly making a connection.
Isla nodded knowingly.
“A daisy!” Sai exclaimed as Captain Joe emerged from the cabinet with a plastic daisy. He handed it to Stella.
She blushed. “Why, thank you,” she said.
“So, what are we supposed to do with this stuff?” Sai asked, spinning the globe again.
Whenever Marly, Isla, and Sai had come upon a picture of a globe, a bear, a telephone, and a daisy, they knew they were nearing the end of one of Mr. Summerling’s treasure hunts. They would “make a T” and stand on the spot where two imaginary lines drawn between the four pictures crossed. They always found something important beneath that spot.
But not this time.
They were done with Mr. Summerling’s treasure hunts. Next week, Marly, Isla, and Sai would be starting fourth grade. And Stella would be back in her office doing whatever it was attorneys did.
“These are souvenirs, right?” Marly said. “To help us remember the fun summer we’ve had.” Not that she would ever forget!
“Maybe,” Captain Joe said with a twinkle in his eye. “But if you spend some time with each of these objects, you may find there’s a little more to them than you first thought.”
The kids looked at each other.
“What does that mean?” Isla asked.
Sai leaped to his feet. “It means we’ve got another treasure hunt!” he shouted. Chapter 2: Everything We Need
“There can’t be another treasure hunt,” Stella said. “We’re going home.”
“Unless we’re supposed to do the treasure hunt on the way,” Marly said. They had a two--hour boat ride back to Seattle, then a three--hour flight home. That was plenty of time to solve some puzzles.
“Actually,” Captain Joe said, rubbing the back of his neck. “Your flight has been canceled, so . . . you’re not going home quite yet.”
“What?” Stella cried.
Marly, Isla, and Sai gaped. They weren’t going home?
“How do you know that?” Stella asked. “Do we have a new flight?”
“You’ll have to call the airline,” Captain Joe said. He put the hat back on his head. “And unfortunately, you can’t do that from here. There’s no cell service on this island.”
“But you just gave me a satellite phone,” Marly said, holding it up. “You said it would work where a cell phone wouldn’t.”
“Yes. If you know the number to call,” Captain Joe said. “But you can’t use it to access the internet.”
Marly turned to Stella to see if she knew the number for the airline.
“It’s in my email,” Stella said.
“I can take you over to George Island,” Captain Joe offered. “You’ll have both internet and cell service there. But even when you do talk to the airline, I’m guessing you won’t be able to get another flight until tomorrow.”
“Tomorrow?” Stella said. She did not look at all pleased.
But Marly and her friends were thrilled. Another day on Summer Island. Maybe even another treasure hunt. That was wonderful news!
“Should we get our stuff and go back to the cabin?” Sai asked.
“Not yet,” Stella said. “Let’s get our flight squared away first. We also need to call your parents and let them know the change of plans.”
“Don’t worry, Stella,” Isla said. “Our parents will understand.”
“Yeah, it’s not your fault our flight was canceled,” Sai said.
Stella winced. “Please take us to George Island,” she said to Captain Joe. “Once we know when our new flight is, we can figure out what to do next.”
Captain Joe nodded. “It’ll take us about forty--five minutes to get there.” He opened another cabinet and took out some life jackets. “Put these on and we’ll be on our way.” He passed them around, then went to untie the boat.
“By the way,” he said as the boat drifted away from the dock. “If you’d like to see Harry today, you should know that you currently have everything you need to do that.”
“You know where Harry is?” Stella asked.
“No,” the captain said, not quite meeting her gaze. “He moves around a lot. But as I just said, you have everything you need to find him. And now, because your flight was canceled, you also have the time.” He tipped his hat to them, then went inside the wheelhouse and started the boat.
Stella let out a big breath of air and sat back in her seat. But Marly, Isla, and Sai were growing even more excited as they turned everything Captain Joe said over in their heads.
“So, not only do we have another treasure hunt,” Sai said, “it sounds like this time Mr. Summerling is the treasure!”
“Captain Joe said we have everything we need to find Mr. Summerling,” Isla said as they roared across the open water, their hair blowing across their faces. “What do we have?”
“A globe,” Sai said, tapping on it with the palm of his hand. “A teddy bear, a phone, and a daisy.”
“We also have a spyglass,” Marly said. “Maybe.” They’d given it to Captain Joe. Was it still in his pocket?
“I don’t know,” Isla said. “I think our first clue is in the stuff Captain Joe gave us rather than the thing we gave him.” She hugged the bear to her chest.Isla is probably right
, Marly thought. She turned the phone around in her hand. “Maybe we’re supposed to call him on this,” she said.
“We don’t have a number,” Isla pointed out.
“I think we have to make a T,” Sai said, springing to his feet. He hopped over to the bench across from Marly and Isla, then gestured toward the seat to his left. “One of you go sit over there so you’re across from Stella. Then we’ll have our T. And where the lines cross, we’ll find . . . something. Maybe a phone number for Mr. Summerling!”
“I doubt it,” Marly said. But she got up and sat down across from Stella anyway. “Right now, the T is there.” She pointed to a spot in the middle of their square seating area. “If we go sit at the front of the boat, our T would be up there. We could make a T anywhere.”
“Marly’s right,” Isla said. “I don’t think we’re supposed to make a T this time.”
“But we always make a T,” Sai argued. He strode over to the cabinet where Captain Joe had gotten the four objects. “Unless the T is in there?” He opened the door and pulled out a couple more life jackets, a fishing net, and some rope. Marly and Isla wandered over as he tried to pry up the bottom shelf.
Stella turned. “I don’t know if you should be taking things out of that cabinet,” she said. “This isn’t our boat.”
The shelf didn’t budge anyway.
“I don’t think there’s anything we need in here,” Isla said. She helped Sai shove everything back inside the cabinet.
Marly went to sit beside Stella. She stared at the plastic daisy in Stella’s hand. “Hey, I wonder why you got a fake daisy instead of a real one,” she said.
“I’m allergic to daisies,” Stella said as she absently spun the daisy one direction, then the other. “Most flowers, actually. Harry knew that.”
“You’re allergic to flowers and I’m allergic to bees,” Isla said, dropping into the seat next to Marly.
Isla had actually gotten stung by a bee on Summer Island. It was one of the scariest things Marly had ever seen. And plunging an EpiPen into Isla’s leg was one of the scariest things she’d ever done. But she’d done it. And now Isla was just fine.
Sai plopped down across from Marly, Isla, and Stella, and for the next few minutes, they sat in companionable silence. Then Sai leaned curiously toward Stella. “What is that?” he asked.
“What is what?” Stella asked.
But Marly saw what Sai meant. “It looks like there’s a paper or something taped around the stem of your daisy,” she told Stella. Why would there be a paper wrapped around that daisy stem?
Copyright © 2021 by Dori Hillestad Butler; Illustrated by Tim Budgen. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.