"See what I mean? Invading."
"That there's a divemaster. One of the pros. Paid to be out, unlike me." The driver saluted before racing out of sight.
"You think he's after our loot? Only other boat we've seen since we ed here." "Different kinds." Abuelo chuckled. "Treasure comes in many forms. Natural ones hidden all over our coral reefs."
"I want the real stuff..."
"Sure you do. Couldn't wait a day past your twelfth birthday to go hunting, aye, matey?" He winked.
Over the summer he had paid for my scuba lessons and given me equipment. I'd just finished the course and was now officially a Junior Open Water Scuba Diver. I knew the lessons and my equipment had cost him a lot, but he never grumbled about it.
I raised two thumbs in the air. "Been waiting to get certified for a looong time." Like, my whole life long. Or at least since the first time I remember dipping my toes in the ocean. A school of minnows came to greet me. We played hide-and-seek, but Mami had to grab me when I tried to follow them into the deep.
Abuelo's expression turned serious, pulling me out of memory-mode. "You got no business having me as your dive buddy. I'm getting too old for this."
"Old?" I snorted. "You act younger than Dad." Way, way younger. "Where's your sense of adventure? It's what you always tell him."
Abuelo took my bait. "Listen, squirt. Back in my day, I could teach you a thing or two about diving and adventure." He shook his finger and his voice dropped to a whisper. "But your dad will have my head mounted on a wall like my sailfish if he gets wind of what we're up to. Too risky as far as he'd be concerned. Especially with the storm on the way."
"Relax ... You always say I practically have gills. It'll be our secret." I drew a finger to my lips. "As usual."
"I know all too well about them gills of yours. Ya got salt water flowing through your veins.
How you think you landed your nickname, Fin?"
I rolled my eyes, even though I was totally grateful for the nickname he'd given me. Fin was way cooler than the über-Latino name my parents—or actually, Mami—gave me: 'Fernando'. If I closed my eyes, I could hear Mami belting out Lady Gaga's song "Alejandro." Mami's version was heavy on the Spanish accent and super exaggerated rolling of the R's. Especially the part where she'd scream out my name when the refrain switched to "Ferrrrnando!"
Ugh. Made my skin crawl.
Abuelo interrupted my thoughts. "You were two years old. Even then you used to jump and swim out from my dock. No one could stop you. Used to scare the bejesus out of your dad. Think you learned to swim before you could walk. Born with fins, I always said."
I gave him my best cheeky grin. "Yep, meant to be diving. Besides, only forty feet deep here. Not risky at all. We didn't even have to stop and decompress. How much trouble could we possibly get into?"
The distant cannon of a thunderbolt fired off a warning.
"Get into position," Abuelo commanded. I hustled back to sit next to him in the captain's chair, which was big enough for both of us.
He rummaged through his duffel bag and pulled out his favorite Panama hat. Pressing the straw covering over his head, he added shade to a splattering of sunspots. "Let's go batten down the hatches. Hit the road." He revved the 150 horses of his Evinrude outboard to life, shouting over the noise: "Not much time left, and this Irma gal's a mean one! She'll be packing quite a punch coming in as a Cat Four."