Richie's family is invited to Panama to join his uncle in the launch of his yacht toward the South Atlantic Ocean. On the final day, far out to sea a storm hits and Richie is washed away from the boat. The family has to sail back to Panama without recovering Richie and they set up a large reward for anyone who can help find him. Richie washes up on shore of an island where the natives are unaware of the outside world. They think the sea has given them back a young boy because the sea took one of their young boys a year earlier. Richie is adopted by that family and quickly learns their language. He becomes close friends with a young girl named Keeta. Keeta and Richie build their relationship during the many adventures they experience. Men who come on ships to trade with the natives see Richie and recognize him from the posters in the port they just left. As they try to kidnap him in order to collect the large reward, they are led on a chase around the mountainous terrain by Richie and Keeta. In this adventure they have to survive monster snakes, lizards, killer bees, quicksand, and a bear. In the end Richie is reunited with his parents but after a year on the island, Richie feels like he belongs there as much as he does in Wichita, Kansas where he resumes his schooling. In this first book, Richie builds a relationship with the island people and in the next book of the Richie and Keeta Series by Jack R. Peterson, Richie will find a way to go back.