At the Wreck
"Well," remarked Mr. Damon, as the submarine hurled
herself forward through the ocean, "I guess that firing
party will have something else to do to-morrow morning
besides aiming those rifles at us."
"Yes, indeed," agreed Tom. "They'll be lucky if they save
their ship. My, how that wind did blow!"
"You're right," put in Captain Weston. "When they get a
hurricane down in this region it's no cat's paw. But they
were a mighty careless lot of sailors. The idea of leaving
the ladder over the side, and the boat in the water."
"It was a good thing for us, though," was Tom's opinion.
"Indeed it was," came from the captain. "But as long as we
are safe now I think we'd better take a look about the craft
to see if those chaps did any damage. They can't have done
much, though, or she wouldn't be running so smoothly.
Suppose you go take a look, Tom, and ask your father and Mr.
Sharp what they think. I'll steer for a while, until we get
well away from the island."
The young inventor found his father and the balloonist
busy in the engine-room. Mr. Swift had already begun an
inspection of the machinery, and so far found that it had
not been injured. A further inspection showed that no damage
had been done by the foreign guard that had been in
temporary possession of the Advance, though the sailors had
made free in the cabins, and had broken into the food
lockers, helping themselves plentifully. But there was still
enough for the gold-seekers.
"You'd never know there was a storm raging up above,"
observed Tom as he rejoined Captain Weston in the lower
pilot house, where he was managing the craft. "It's as
still and peaceful here as one could wish."
"Yes, the extreme depths are seldom disturbed by a surface
storm. But we are over a mile deep now. I sent her down a
little while you were gone, as I think she rides a little
All that night they speeded forward, and the next day,
rising to the surface to take an observation, they found no
traces of the storm, which had blown itself out. They were
several hundred miles away from the hostile warship, and
there was not a vessel in sight on the broad expanse of blue
The air tanks were refilled, and after sailing along on
the surface for an hour or two, the submarine was again sent
below, as Captain Weston sighted through his telescope the
smoke of a distant steamer.
"As long as it isn't the Wonder, we're all right," said
Tom. "Still, we don't want to answer a lot of questions
about ourselves and our object."
"No. I fancy the Wonder will give up the search," remarked
the captain, as the Advance was sinking to the depths.
"We must be getting pretty near to the end of our search
ourselves," ventured the young inventor.
"We are within five hundred miles of the intersection of
the forty-fifth parallel and the twenty-seventh meridian,
east from Washington," said the captain. "That's as near as
I could locate the wreck. Once we reach that point we will
have to search about under water, for I don't fancy the
other divers left any buoys to mark the spot."
It was two days later, after uneventful sailing, partly on
the surface, and partly submerged, that Captain Weston,
taking a noon observation, announced:
"Well, we're here!"
"Do you mean at the wreck?" asked Mr. Swift eagerly.
"We're at the place where she is supposed to lie, in about
two miles of water," replied the captain. "We are quite a
distance off the coast of Uruguay, about opposite the harbor
of Rio de La Plata. From now on we shall have to nose about
under water, and trust to luck."
With her air tanks filled to their capacity, and Tom
having seen that the oxygen machine and other apparatus was
in perfect working order, the submarine was sent below on
her search. Though they were in the neighborhood of the
wreck, the adventurers might still have to do considerable
searching before locating it. Lower and lower they sank into
the depths of the sea, down and down, until they were deeper
than they had ever gone before. The pressure was tremendous,
but the steel sides of the Advance withstood it
Then began a search that lasted nearly a week. Back and
forth they cruised, around in great circles, with the
powerful searchlight focused to disclose the sunken treasure
ship. Once Tom, who was observing the path of light in the
depths from the conning tower, thought he had seen the
remains of the Boldero, for a misty shape loomed up in front
of the submarine, and he signaled for a quick stop. It was a
wreck, but it had been on the ocean bed for a score of
years, and only a few timbers remained of what had been a
great ship. Much disappointed, Tom rang for full speed ahead
again, and the current was sent into the great electric
plates that pulled and pushed the submarine forward.
For two days more nothing happened. They searched around
under the green waters, on the alert for the first sign, but
they saw nothing. Great fish swam about them, sometimes
racing with the Advance. The adventurers beheld great ocean
caverns, and skirted immense rocks, where dwelt monsters of
the deep. Once a great octopus tried to do battle with the
submarine and crush it in its snaky arms, but Tom saw the
great white body, with saucer-shaped eyes, in the path of
light and rammed him with the steel point. The creature died
after a struggle.
They were beginning to despair when a full week had passed
and they were seemingly as far from the wreck as ever. They
went to the surface to enable Captain Weston to take another
observation. It only confirmed the other, and showed that
they were in the right vicinity. But it was like looking for
a needle in a haystack, almost, to and the sunken ship in
that depth of water.
"Well, we'll try again," said Mr. Swift, as they sank once
more beneath the surface.
It was toward evening, on the second day after this, that
Tom, who was on duty in the conning tower, saw a black shape
looming up in front of the submarine, the searchlight
revealing it to him far enough away so that he could steer
to avoid it. He thought at first that it was a great rock,
for they were moving along near the bottom, but the peculiar
shape of it soon convinced him that this could not be. It
came more plainly into view as the submarine approached it
more slowly, then suddenly, out of the depths in the
illumination from the searchlight, the young inventor saw
the steel sides of a steamer. His heart gave a great thump,
but he would not call out yet, fearing that it might be some
other vessel than the one containing the treasure.
He steered the Advance so as to circle it. As he swept
past the bows he saw in big letters near the sharp prow the
"The wreck! The wreck!" he cried, his voice ringing
through the craft from end to end. "We've found the wreck at
"Are you sure?" cried his father, hurrying to his son,
Captain Weston following.
"Positive," answered the lad. The submarine was slowing up
now, and Tom sent her around on the other side. They had a
good view of the sunken ship. It seemed to be intact, no
gaping holes in her sides, for only her plates had started,
allowing her to sink gradually.
"At last," murmured Mr. Swift. "Can it be possible we are
about to get the treasure?"
"That's the Boldero, all right," affirmed Captain Weston.
"I recognize her, even if the name wasn't on her bow. Go
right down on the bottom, Tom, and we'll get out the diving
suits and make an examination."
The submarine settled to the ocean bed. Tom glanced at the
depth gage. It showed over two miles and a half. Would they
be able to venture out into water of such enormous pressure
in the comparatively frail diving suits, and wrest the gold
from the wreck? It was a serious question.
The Advance came to a stop. In front of her loomed the
great bulk of the Boldero, vague and shadowy in the
flickering gleam of the searchlight As the gold-seekers
looked at her through the bull's-eyes of the conning tower,
several great forms emerged from beneath the wreck's bows.
"Deep-water sharks!" exclaimed Captain Weston, "and
monsters, too. But they can't bother us. Now to get out the
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Room | Tom
Swift And His Submarine Boat