Jack’s family love to go camping at Seahorse Bay – a tiny, secluded cove on the south coast of Victoria in Bass Strait. It’s not easy to get down to, but they love having the whole place to themselves, to fish and dive, and collect crayfish and abalone. Jack and his dad Vince, mum Carla and sister Tanya plan to spend a lot of the summer there. Vince’s dad was an Indigenous man who taught Vince to swim as a child right there in Seahorse Bay.
One day while the family are snorkelling and diving around the reef, Jack finds a boat at the bottom of the bay, just offshore. He and Vince investigate further and discover a new, intact boat which looks like it was deliberately sunk. On the same day Jack notices an odd-looking man watching the sea with binoculars. They report it to the police, and it turns out the boat was stolen six months previously. As it has already been claimed on insurance, they are able to salvage it. Vince and Jack raise it from the seabed and plan on restoring it.
Meanwhile the odd-looking man turns up more and more, and eventually confronts the family and makes threats. Fortunately, the police arrest him soon after and it turns out he is a small part of an international drug-smuggling ring. The family learn more about his past and resolve to try and help him during his prison sentence.
This adventure story, told in third person, past tense is short, simple and suitable for younger readers. The language is very Australian, with plenty of vernacular thrown in, giving the characters a distinct and authentic voice.
Bruce Pascoe is descended from Bunurong, Tasmanian and Yuin peoples, and he grew up on a remote island in Bass Strait.