It was slow work, but every stroke carried us farther away from the shoal and nearer the shore, till at last the shooting died down, and when the moon did come out we were too far away to be in danger.
Two other Whitehalls followed us, and as the moon now shone brightly, we easily made out the oyster pirates on their lonely shoal. As we drew closer, they fired a rattling volley from their revolvers, and we promptly retreated beyond range.
One o'clock came, and two o'clock, and the pirates were clustering on the highest shoal, waist-deep in water.
Was it the shoal made where the stone-boats sank in the year of the great drouth--a long shoal that lasted three floods?"
"There were two," said the Mugger; "an upper and a lower shoal."
"On the lower shoal my well-wisher"s craft grounded.
"Say, dad, it looks 's if we wouldn't hev to lay more'n two weeks on the Shoals. You'll meet all the comp'ny you want then, Harve.
Harvey understood from the Eldridge chart that the Old Virgin and a nest of curiously named shoals were the turning-point of the cruise, and that with good luck they would wet the balance of their salt there.
Men can't come down the cliffs, even if there were any men; and the shoals
to seaward would knock a ship to splinters.
South of the shoal an easterly current had set them down upon it; north of the shoal an equally swift westerly current had clutched the ship and was sweeping her away.
All these islands, reefs, shoals, lagoons, entrances, and distances were marked on the chart of his memory.
It enters the river in immense shoals
, like solid columns, often extending to the depth of five or more feet, and is scooped up by the natives with small nets at the end of poles.