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| Home | Reading Room Tom Swift And His Submarine Boat

Tom Swift And His Submarine Boat
or Under the Ocean for Sunken Treasure
by Victor Appleton

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Chapter Twenty-Two

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

more steadily."

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

word, Boldero.

"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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