Inspiration for this novel came several years ago, while sailing from Miami to the Little Bahama Bank, and on to Abaco Island. The water was magical and the marina at West End offered a host of unforgettable characters. Since Ben's first four adventures started off as scientific projects, it seemed appropriate to send him his next challenge while on vacation with Rebecca in the Bahamas. They had a convenient block of vacation time between the end of the third book (sailing out the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay) and the beginning of the fourth book (starting their Miami-based Amazon adventure).
As the fifth story took shape, I went into "research mode," sailing back to West End to reexplore the town on bicycle and to explore the flats and reefs by outboard-powered inflatable. On-site research is always the greatest fun. More fun still was the search for ways, within the story, to bring the region's economics, politics and culture into play with its geography and oceanography. Upon completion of that goal came the realization that the fate of the Bahamas is influenced by several timeless factors — the proximity to Florida, the Gulf Stream, the "shallow sea" (baha mar), the lay of the islands and the infertility of its soil. This has been true since the days of Black Beard the Pirate. I let Ben discover this in the final chapter, after he and Rebecca fought for their lives against a new breed of pirates.
It was fun to have Rebecca and Ben working together as a team, dealing with the recalcitrant police sergeant, maintaining an innocent posture under the scrutiny of their marina neighbors, doing their best to piece things together, and using all their wiles to react to other "matters arising." I hope you will enjoy my story.
— Dirk Wyle
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