Foreign News: Like Columbus

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A blunt Dutch nose, slimy with seaweed, poked upward from the depths of San Francisco bay last week, was followed by the emerging bulk of Her Netherlandic Majesty's submarine K-XIII.

Soon the news spread that the K-XIII had sailed over and dived through 10,000 miles of brine since leaving Helder in the Netherlands, had scored a distance record never before approached by an unconvoyed submarine.

Able Commander van der Kun, squeezing, sprucely attired, from his conning tower hatch, said: "We left Helder on May 27 and seldom steamed our maximum of 18 knots, since we are making a long distance run and cannot risk accidents. Because of our slow speed our voyage was similar to that of Columbus. Although, in case of an accident we would have been helpless without a mother ship, the men never showed a, qualm when we passed out of sight of land. . . . I am always pessimistic on a submarine, for that is safest. I do not let even the men become optimistic. The regular rations of Holland gin which our navy gives to every sailor is prohibited by me on the submarine. On a surface ship it is all right. On a surface boat the men may drink gin and get optimistic if they like, but under the water they must be serious and take no chances.

"Each day we dropped for a period of from three-quarters of an hour to two hours under the sea, where Dr. Vening Meinsz of the Dutch Geodetic Committee studied gravity under the water. He made pendulum tests daily to ascertain the truth or falsity of the German theory of floating continents leaving gravity deficiencies in their wakes. I might say that we found no evidence of a deficiency of gravity to support this hypothesis. These pendulum tests bored the crew. . . .

"From San Francisco we shall continue to Honolulu, Guam, Yap, Manila, Ambon, Banda, Bima and at last arrive at our final destination, Surobaya, our great naval base which protects our rubber, tea and spice trade in the East Indies. . . .

"Every nation is working on the submarine. It certainly has not been outlawed. Great Britain, who complained so severely of submarine warfare ten years ago, is now building some of the world's finest undersea vessels. Japan is following suit."