Juan and Pepe learn that you shouldn't take chances with a river.

Source : http://www.highlightskids.com/Stories/Fiction/F0196_guayasRiver.asp...

Danger on the Guayas RiverJuan and Pepe lived in Ecuador and loved to sail on the Guayas River. They always started from home, sailing downstream with the current. They headed to their favorite sandbar in the middle of the river. There, they tied the boat to an oar and sank the oar into the sand. Then they spent the rest of the afternoon strolling the sandbar, wading in the shallows around it, and swimming into deeper water.

The Guayas is not like other rivers. Most rivers flow only one way—downstream from the mountains into the sea. The Guayas flows both ways. When the ocean tide comes in, the sea floods the mouth of the river and sends the water flowing back upstream. Juan and Pepe always waited on the sandbar until the tide rose and the river changed direction, so the current could help carry them back home. Good sailors and strong swimmers, the brothers understood the river perfectly—or thought they did.

One day, just as the tide turned and they should have been returning home, they spotted old Flaco, a fisherman they knew, paddling his canoe upstream with the current. They decided to swim out and greet him. The current, now against them, was much stronger than they’d expected. When they reached the canoe, they were nearly winded.

Danger on the Guayas River“Hello,” said Juan, panting. “How’s the fishing today?”

“Climb in and see,” said Flaco. The boys hoisted themselves over the side and nearly rolled onto the body of a six-foot bull shark.

“Where did that come from?” breathed Pepe. “There are no sharks in this river.”

“There are today,” replied Flaco. “There are many swimming in from the sea. I suggest, boys, that you do not swim in this river.”

“No, sir,” said Pepe. “Will you take us back to the sandbar? Our sailboat is there.”

“With pleasure,” said Flaco.

Juan could not take his eyes off the rows of wicked-looking teeth in the shark’s gaping mouth. He touched the dorsal fin. It was as hard as wood and as rough as sandpaper.

When they reached the sandbar Flaco said, “I don’t see your boat.”

“Oh, it’s at the other end,” said Juan, “about a half-mile ahead, behind some driftwood.”

"I suggest, boys, that you do not swim in this river."Flaco looked doubtful, but when the boys assured him they were all right, he rowed away.

The water was ankle-deep as the boys walked toward the boat. “How odd,” said Pepe. “This should be dry sand. The river is the highest I’ve seen it.”

Juan did not answer. He was staring straight ahead. Pepe followed his gaze. There was the oar. But the boat was gone.

Juan grabbed the oar as it began to float upriver in the rising water. Flaco had rounded a bend by then, and the boys were alone on the river, too far from anyone to call for help. “We could swim holding on to the oar,” Juan suggested.

“The current would carry us home.”

“No,” said Pepe. “It’s nearly dark, and Flaco said sharks—” He broke off with a gasp and pointed out at the water. “Look!”

A few feet from the sandbar, the dark dorsal fin of a shark cut through the water like the bow of a speedboat. The boys huddled together and watched in horror as several more fins appeared and began to circle the sandbar. The sand shifted under their feet, and the water swirled up to their knees.

Just then, within inches of where the boys stood, one of the sharks surfaced and glided toward them. Before either boy could think, Juan swung the oar like a baseball bat and slammed it against the creature’s nose. Startled, the shark turned on its side, veered away from them, and sank beneath the water.

“That was too close,” muttered Juan, shaking his head.

Night fell. The boys could no longer see the dorsal fins, but they knew they were there. Not wanting to attract the sharks’ attention, they stood very still. “You did tell Mama and Papa we were leaving, didn’t you?” whispered Juan.

“I thought you did,” said Pepe.

“Well, you were supposed to,” answered Juan angrily.

Something heavy bumped their legs.“Let’s not quarrel now,” said Pepe. “We’ll only draw the sharks to us. Somebody will come,” he finished weakly.

“Nobody knows we’re here,” snapped Juan. “I say swim for it.”

“No!” Pepe shouted, holding Juan back. Then both boys froze. Under the black, swirling water a heavy body bumped their legs.

At that moment, a voice called faintly from upriver, “Boys! Are you there?”

It was Flaco. His lantern swung wildly from side to side as he struggled to paddle his canoe against the current. It seemed he would never reach them. The body bumped them again. As Flaco finally made it to the shallows, the boys galloped through the water and tumbled into the canoe. “Sharks!” they gasped. “Thank goodness you came back!”

Flaco explained that he had seen their boat drifting upriver and knew they must have been stranded on the sandbar.

“How can we thank you?” asked Juan as they turned back with the current and headed toward home.

“Don’t be foolish,” mumbled Flaco. Then he said, “Do me the favor of securing your boat better next time.”

“Yes, sir,” said the boys in unison.

“And no more swimming.”

“No, sir,” they chorused.

Juan stared at the shark Flaco had caught. In the flickering light of the lantern it looked alive. He shuddered and thought, “What if Flaco had not found our boat?” To Pepe he said, “Next time, let’s both tell Mama and Papa we’re leaving.”

“Very wise,” said Flaco.