SS Dinteldyk - The Reyn Nunnink (Ashburn) Story

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Maritime Historian, Cruise‘n’Ship Reviewer, Author & Maritime Lecturer

Please Note: All ssMaritime and other related maritime/cruise sites are 100% non-commercial and privately owned. Be assured that I am NOT associated with any shipping or cruise companies or any travel/cruise agencies or any other organisations! Although the author has been in the passenger shipping industry since 1960, although is now retired but having completed around 680 Classic Liners and Cargo-Passengers Ships features I trust these will continue to provide classic ship enthusiasts the information the are seeking, but above all a great deal of pleasure! Reuben Goossens.



Holland America Line

SS Dinteldyk


The Reyn Nunnink (Ashburn) Story


A Holland America postcard of the SS Dinteldyk arriving in San Francisco in the 1960s

From the Author’s private collection


Photographs: All photographs except two images of the ship as marked were taken by the Nunnink family and provided to me by Reyn Ashburn, nee Nunnink.

This item was written from a Dutch perspective and I have not edited the main part of the story, which I feel has such a wonderful charm!

Reuben Goossens.

SS Dinteldyk was the second of a pair of passenger/cargo liners

From the Author’s private collection


Hello, my name is Reijnouw Ashburn and my maiden name was Nunnink. As an eleven year old I was aboard the SS Dinteldyk in 1962 for 28 days sailing from Rotterdam to Los Angeles when my parents decided to migrate to the USA.

Reijnouw Nunnink is seen here on the glass enclosed Promenade Deck of the SS Dinteldyk

Currently I am writing my story about growing up in Holland as a kid and how we came here to the USA. I was almost 12 at the time and I am 58 now. I found your website when I was doing some research for the story I was doing. I trust the find the story interesting!

Part One – Our first visit to the US

Coming to America with a “K”

In 1958, when I was eight, just after my Oma (Grandmother) had past away, my Mamma had inherited some money from her and she decided to go see my great uncle Dick in San Francisco. She said that if she was going to spend so much money on a plane ticket and all, she might as well see a little more than just San Francisco. So, a travel agent helped her to plan her trip. First destination was Los Angeles, because, she had to see Disneyland, then, on to San Francisco to spend some time with Oom (uncle) Dick, and to see all the sites there. And on the way back she would stop in New York for a few days. It was all planned and she was going to fly on a KLM, DC8, Flight 607-E. Quite the big deal back in those days.  She was so excited and told all the relatives and friends about it and they were all excited for her. The day before she was to leave, the travel agent called, and told her that she switched her to a different flight. It was going to Iceland and she knew how much Mamma wanted to see of this part world. There wasn’t any time to tell everyone she had changed flights and off she went on her adventure.

When she arrived at the hotel (the old Biltmore) in Los Angeles, the people at the front desk were in “awe” when they found out who she was. They’re mouths dropped and they said, “Mrs. Nunnink, you were supposed to have dropped in the sea”. And they told her, that KLM, Flight 607-E the flight she was originally on, had an accident and had dropped in the Atlantic with all ninety nine passengers and six crew members on board. Her spine ran cold, she got goose bumps all over her body and turned sheet white. The Hotel was so impressed with the whole situation, that they gave Mamma her own chauffeur and she was driven to all the famous sites. Disneyland, Knottsberry farm, Marineland and Hollywood, Etc., Etc.

In the meantime, everyone was calling Pappa to give him condolences on the loss of his wife and my Mother. But after he explained to everyone, everything was OK, there was a massive relief all around! To this day, when I tell the story, I get goose bumps every time. It happened on Friday the 13th, and from then on Friday the 13th was her lucky day, but it wasn’t for all those other poor people.

When she was with Oom Dick, in San Francisco, he told her that she had a cousin in Redondo Beach, just south of Los Angeles and that she really must meet her and her husband, whose names where Trudy and Stan. So, off they went on the Greyhound bus, to meet her new cousin, the cousin she didn’t even know she had. They got along splendidly and instantly became best friends, it was if they had known each other for years. She told my Mamma she had a brother, sister-in-law and two nieces and they lived close by. Boy, new instant relatives all the way in Amerika.

One day before my Mamma was due back from her trip. I had just gotten out of school. I was crying when I arrived at Pappa’s nursery. He asked me what was wrong and I told him, “I forgot what Mamma looks like”, just blubbering all over the place. He took me home right away and showed me a picture of her and every thing was fine again. She was gone a WHOLE month, you know.

After Mamma had returned, she could not stop talking about her trip and how she loved California. Especially Redondo Beach. She had taken lots of slides, even movies, and she had brought us all gifts. It was all very exciting for a while. A few weeks later “Aunt Trudy” and “Uncle Stan” came to visit us in Holland. They had come on a big Ocean Liner. We took them to the harbour, after a two week stay, to say good bye, and they were off on a ship to Australia, to visit Uncle Stan’s relatives there. On the way, Uncle Stan had a heart attack on board the ship, and sadly he died. It was all very, very sad. We had just met. We could only imagine the trauma my Aunt Trudy went thru.

A few years went by. We got news that Oom Dick in San Francisco had passed away and my Mamma inherited money from him. She was his only relative by then. We were all very upset and we all cried.

My Pappa always wanted to expand the business. His brother, with whom he was partners with, did not want that. He was too scared of failure and they argued a lot about it. So, one day my Mamma said, “let’s move to California” and that is when I knew our lives would change forever.

Well, to move to the USA is quite the decision to make. You just don’t pack up and move. There is lots and lots of paper work to fill out, before they give you a visa. Medical records to show, Physicals, shots, and a whole bunch off other, stuff that I didn’t understand. Finally, after more than a year, we all got a clean bill off health and now we had to make a decision of “HOW” we where going to get there.

The day came when we were to leave Holland and there were lots of parties, good byes and tears. I had to say goodbye to all my friends, but I don’t remember being sad, I was excited to take on this whole new life, and adventure, but some of them cried, and were very sad, and they all promised to write. I was eleven, almost twelve.

The captain of the ship was at that time Captain Cornelis Rol, J. M. Groenveld,Chief Officer. G. Koeing, Chief Enigineer. C.J. Van Saane, Physician. Theo. Van Dyk, Chief Steward.

Part Two – The Voyage

SS Dinteldyk

The Dinteldyk was the ship we came to Amerika on. She was a freighter and we only had thirty passengers, with almost forty(?) crew, including some eight chefs. Needless to say we ate very well. But the food was very different that what I was used to. For breakfast, a real small glass of orange juice, which I had never had in my life, but I liked it. I had had oranges before, and they were a treat only at Christmas time. A little bowl of prunes, Yuk! Fried eggs and potatoes, for breakfast? OK, I liked that to, but it was weird. A small compote with different fruit cut in to bite size pieces. I could deal with that too. But those little tiny fried fish, oh, my gosh, no way was I going to eat those. I could always eat those salted raw ones, But Fried? Lunch and dinner were very different also, but I liked most of it, and before you knew it, I was looking forward to all my meals. My Mamma gained fifteen pounds, Oh boy!

We have just boarded with our friends and relatives coming to see us off


Waving goodbye to everyone and Holland!

Taken by family in Holland


Here we are at the stern as we sail away

Taken by family in Holland

As I was the only child on board this did give me quite an advantage. I had the run off the ship ad I spend a lot of time up on the bridge and everyone was so nice and friendly. The First Mate was my shuffle board partner. We had picked up some passengers in Plymouth, England and a Horse. His name was Willy and he was a race horse on his way the Vancouver, Canada. He was in a big crate with a Dutch door. Every morning I would get an apple, at breakfast time, from one of the waiters, and I would bring it to him. He was always real glad to see me

When we were in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, just past the Azores islands, the water started to get real choppy and before we knew it we were in a full hurricane. Everyone had to wear there life vests at all times, even to bed. They gave everyone a little suite case with rations in it, even a thing that would turn salt water into fresh water. It was very scary and I remember thinking, “as long as I am with Pappa and Mamma, everything will be alright”. I was so sick and our steward would take care of me like I was his own. I couldn’t keep anything down. A lot of people got hurt. A lot of bruises and one lady broke her arm. Thank goodness we had a doctor on board. As for Willy the horse, they had gotten mattresses from some of the cabins that were empty, and had lined the inside of his stall, so he wouldn’t get hurt. I always wondered if he was sick too.

We were told that we had lost all radio contact and we had gone way off our course. It took four days to get back on track. The whole trip was supposed to only take twenty four days and now it would take twenty eight.

After everything was all calm and back to normal, we heard pounding and hammering going on one early morning. We hurried outside our cabin to look what was going on. We found out that they were building a swimming pool. A great big, what looked liked a wooden box. Then they lined the inside with canvas and put rope for a railing, so you wouldn’t fall overboard. Then it was filled up with sea water. They said they made it just for me, because, they knew I was the big swim star. Off course, later I found out they were only kidding. But I believed them, nevertheless. I was in heaven after that, because swimming was after all my passion. One Night, we had “Holland night.” All the food was Dutch, and Mamma, Pappa and I dressed in our national costumes. I played the accordion for everyone and everyone was taking pictures of me. I was a real celebration.

A couple of days later we arrived in Hamilton, on the island of Bermuda. We all got to go on shore for the whole day. It is beautiful there. My Pappa hired a taxi to show us all around the island. The taxi cab driver took us to all the famous sites and we had a great time. In one of the plazas there was a redoubt block, and we put Mamma in it, and told her that she had been bad. We took a picture and we all had a good laugh. We were glad to go back on board the ship. It had been a tiring day and we sure were hungry. Our next stop would be the Panama Canal. On the way there, we got glimpses of Cuba, Haiti and several other small islands. Two and half days later we arrived in the city of Cristobal at the mouth of the entrance of the Panama Canal. We toured the city by foot, and this is where I saw my first black person. Wow, I sure thought they were very strange, but very interesting, especially the children with such pretty white teeth and big beautiful dark eyes.

The next day we went through the Panama Canal and everybody was very excited. The chefs prepared a buffet on the main deck, the food was unbelievable, and they really outdid themselves. So, we didn’t have to miss a thing. It was quite remarkable how all those locks worked. little trains would pull us thru them, then we had to wait for the water to rise or descend, and we saw many other ships. The shore was so beautiful as we saw jungles with many exotic trees and its vast vegetation. Monkey’s, and all kinds of different birds. It was an experience I will never forget.

Photo Gallery

Mum and me. You can see a crate where a horse "Willy" was

transported in, just behind where we are holding hands


This was our wonderful Captain Cornelis Rol


The Lounge & Bar

From left to right, the ships doctor, unknown, the First Engineer, some other folk

then my Mom and Dad on the right and me between them


For a passenger cargo ship the Lounge was very comfortable

and here are some passengers enjoying a drink and a chat!


This is Mum in a redoubt block in Bermuda


It is getting nice and warm now and the Dinteldyk even had a portable pool - great!


The Head Chef busily preparing the buffet as we ready to sail the Panama Canal the next day


A warm evening out on deck having a buffet, what could be better?


Daytime cruising through the Panama Canal



Above and below: The passenger list signed by Captain Rol



Passengers in the Smoking Room


The three embroiderers on Promenade Deck, in the middle is Mevrouw (Mrs.) Cleveringa

We had seen many, many different fish during the trip. There were flying fish, which we would see everyday, and dolphins, even whales from time to time. But one day, there was this big gigantic fish, swimming along side, real close to the ship, going the same speed. We stood and watched from over the railing and he stayed there for about 3 hours. No one knew what kind of fish it was. It was not a whale, but big as a whale. It was not a big sea bass, they said. So I guess it will always be a mystery.

The voyage is coming to an end, thus a farewell party is a great idea

Here we see the good doctor is popular as ever at every party!

Having gone thru the Panama Canal, we were now on the Pacific Ocean, and all in a day and a half, wow! In the next week, we passed, Panama, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala and Mexico. We were pretty far of shore, so we really didn’t see much. Except in Acapulco, where I believe, anchored for a few hours and got to look thru a telescope. Everyone was on deck and they were serving Ice Coffee. My Mamma let me taste it, but, Yuk! I sure didn’t like that.

SS Dinteldyk sails into San Francisco, with Alcatraz seen on the left

From the Author’s private collection

Finally, on having spent twenty-eight days at sea, on April first, at midnight, we arrived in the Los Angeles Harbour. My Aunt Trudy and some of her neighbours were standing there, waiting for us on the dock and cheering, waiving their little American flags. It took a little while to go through customs. There were lots of hugs and kisses. We all drove to Aunt Trudy’s house in Redondo Beach. There was a big beautiful cake in shape of an American flag waiting for us.

I had never eaten cake in the middle of the night before. This was REALLY going to be good!

Reyn Ashburn.


Page One: The history of two fine passenger cargo ships.

Page Two: Photographs of the ships.

Page Three: The Reijnouw Nunnink’s voyage on the SS Dinteldyk – This Page.

Also Visit … M.V. Dalerdijk, M.V. Delfdijk & S.S. Duivendijk:

Page One - The Ships History & Photo Page.

Page Two - Their Deck Plans.

And the MS Noordam & MS Westerdam & their Two ill-fated sisters!

Feature 2 - The MS Noordam & MS Westerdam.


“Blue Water Liners sailing to the distant shores.
I watched them come, I watched them go and I watched them die.”



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Photographs on ssmaritime and associate pages are either by the author or from the author’s private collection. In addition there are some images and photographs that have been provided by Shipping Companies or private photographers or collectors. Credit is given to all contributors, however, there are some photographs provided to me without details regarding the photographer or owner concerned. Therefore, I hereby invite if owners of these images would be so kind to make them-selves known to me (my email address can be found at the bottom of the page on, in order that due credit may be given.

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