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                                                       THE HUNTING FOR THE RUBBER BALES

Three German blockage runners, carrying rubber were sunk and the bales of rubber floated on the surface of the South Atlantic Ocean. The USS Carib, along with the USS Seneca were sent to the site to recover the rubber. We lowered the Higgins boat into the water and used it to gather up the bales of rubber.

We returned to the ship to hoist the bales to the deck of the Carib, and then resumed gathering more bales. When we finished the assignment, I believe the Carib had 1001 bales of rubber aboard. The Seneca had a similar amount, I believe.

At the end of the day, the Higgins boat was hoisted aboard the Carib. The hoisting was a slow process and I wanted to get aboard quickly so I grabbed a line (rope) that was hanging over the gunnels of the ship. The only problem was that the other end was not secured (tied) and into the ocean I went. The officers on the bridge observed this and ordered "Stop all engines." I was fished out of the ocean a little embarrassed.

The interesting part was that one of the crew told me he had seen sharks in the water. I ignored the comment. Then about 55 years later I was at a reunion of fleet tug sailors and one of them commented that he remembered that someone had "fallen" overboard during the rubber recovery assignment and he remembers sharks around me. I then said, "That was me."  We all had a good laugh about it.

Fleet tugs Carib and  Seneca return to Recife with thousand of rubber bales from German Blockade Runners sunk in mid South Atlantic. 29 Jan 44.Carib in the background with Higgins boat. Seneca at foreground. Picture sent by Evan Lindner

Carib and Seneca seen at Recife harbor soon after their arrrival loaded with precious captured rubber bales from 3 German Blockade Runners sunk early in January 44. Pictures sent by Evan Lindner.


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