Some of you may think ‘ The Java Gold’ is a little heavy on airplanes. Well, to show you there’s more to the book here’s a fragment from chapter 13 …
… within an hour the Mary F was alone again on the gentle swell of the Indian Ocean, on a course for north Sumatra.
The sun shone through a faint haze that softened the bright colors of sea and sky. A long swell out of the southwest slowly heaved the ship with a gentle soothing motion. Flying fish leapt from the bow wave, their silvery wings fluttering in the sunlight. They soared far ahead of the ship until their wings dried and they splashed back into the ageless ocean.
The ships wake stretched straight as an arrow across the calm sea back to the horizon under which the island of Ceylon had sunk a couple of hours ago. The ship was strangely quiet. The muffled beat of the diesel engine and the hum of the generators were hardly audible over the swish of the water around the hull. A couple of half-naked sailors were unhurriedly painting one of the deckhouses.
It was all like a scene from a Joseph Conrad novel and Peter unconsciously looked for pig-tailed Chinese coolies sitting on the hatch covers.
He sauntered onto the bridge where he found his old friend Lenny the bosun at the wheel. While they chatted Lenny kept his eyes on the compass, nudging the large steering wheel a bit every now and then, to keep the ship on a steady course.
‘What’s the weather forecast?’ asked Peter while he looked at some wisps of cloud on the hazy horizon.
‘Good for the next twelve hours. After that we might catch some wind and rain.
There was some movement in the little chart room behind the bridge and Peter looked inside. The mate was there, bent over a large navigation chart of the eastern Indian Ocean. Peter noticed the course that seemed to aim for Burma and the Andaman Islands, rather than Sumatra.
‘Why are we going so far north?’
The mate looked up. ‘Captain decided to stay in the regular shipping lanes for a while. We’ll turn south here,’ he said and pointed to a spot on the map roughly north of Sabang. ‘There are still some Japanese minefields around and we’re less likely to hit them if we stay in the regular lanes.’
Peter suddenly realized that it takes a long, long time to really finish off a global war…