Cape of Good Hope. Join the Navy and see the world!
3 July 1942. As Abbekerk leaves Durban, there had been no shore leave for the engine room staff, again.
After Bunbury to Abadan (where I spent one evening ashore) then to Durban (no shore leave at all) and now to Trinidad. “Join the Navy and see the world”, you would think. The weeks became months with always the same faces to talk to. I must say there was never an unseemly word between us. I still wonder today what we talked about. After so much time there would appear to be nothing left to talk about. Anyway, there it was, and for now there was the wide horizon beckoning us again
Assistent engineer Adriaan Kik
We joined the Navy to see the world
And what did we see?
We saw the sea
We saw the Pacific and the Atlantic
But the Atlantic isn’t romantic
And the Pacific isn’t what it’s cracked up to be
Fred Astair (Read more: LetsSingIt – Your favorite Music Community)
One day after departure we again slipped into our work routine. Even the main engines sounded as if they had never stopped. We passed Capetown and started on the long crossing. We had already noticed that the growth on the hull of small shells and weed below the water-line had started to be felt. The long period in tropical waters had speeded up this growth. One could say that the ship had developed ‘a full beard’.
During peacetime the ship would have gone into dry-dock and have this growth removed. The speed with the same fuel consumption was considerably less. In peacetime our trips were never longer than four months after which the ship went straight into dry-dock for repairs and a scrubbing. During wartime one can’t afford to lose even half a mile of speed. The German U-boat designers did not sit still and the latest boats were sailing at more than our seventeen knots per hour. When fully loaded we could only achieve our top speed with a clean hull.
Assistent Engineer Adriaan Kik