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Occasionally they sang softly; occasionally they turned cartwheels down by the moving streak of phosphorescence.

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    No one turned cartwheels down, they did that down by the moving streak. – Yosef Baskin Sep 3 '20 at 14:35
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'Down' is linked to 'by', not to the cartwheels: they turned cartwheels down by the phosphorescence. In other words, they performed circular sideways handsprings (as Lexico defines cartwheels) beside the moving streak of phosphorescence.

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