Sunday, July 28, 2013

15 July 1859

July 15 - Between eleven and twelve at night a tremendous uproar on deck awoke me, and on running up to see what was wrong, saw a line of breakers right ahead, and only some fifty yards distant. The ship was immediately put about, every one lending a hand at the ropes, and we got clear off all safe. Had the breakers been but a few minutes longer in being observed, or the ship refused to go about in stays, or, in fact, had the slightest accident occurred, we would have certainly been wrecked. The reef is called Roccas and is situated off the Brazilan coast, between it and the island of Fernando Navarha. The captain said he thought we had been from 25 to 30 miles to the east of it.
Our Voyage to New Zealand Per the Tornado (by a Glasgow Emigrant) Glasgow Herald December 19, 1859

July 15. Head wind. Ship tacking. Between 11 & 12 o’clock evening great consternation and cry of “breakers” ahead - ship making right for them and running about 9 knots. Ship at this time going before the wind. I had gone to bed and was awakened by the cry of “breakers” and the noise and confusion above and below. I ran with my trousers and made for the deck, I looked at the side of the ship and saw the breakers - the confusion among the passengers was fearful. I heard the mate say “The ship is about, thank God”. Notwithstanding the passengers continued to arrive on deck many preparing to meet the worst. It was the Captain and second mate’s watch when this happened. I went on the poop and looked from the stern and saw that the breakers were now behind us and I took courage then. Mr Crocker was on the poop and he told me to go down to the saloon and tell Mrs C. I went and found her with the baby in her arms - the other children she had not awoke as she remarked if it was the will of Providence to send us to a watery grave, their sufferings might be lessened if overtaken in sleep. I was glad to tell that danger for the present was passed. Other passengers I saw in the saloon were much alarmed. One was holding a white sheet when I went in to roll his youngest in before parting with it. The danger apparently being over, I went below.
 Campbell, Alexander. Letters and papers, 1859 - 1870. Auckland War Memorial Museum Library. MS 50

15th. A very dull morning and frequent showers during the forenoon but fine after dinner. Very little progress today. The wind dropped just as we hoisted the fore top sail yard arm and remained calm until it was in its place and by the time the sail was ready we had a cheerful breeze. I am glad to say that throughout these breaks and repairs not so much as a trap (?) as been received by any person on board. We sighted a barque of which we thought all was not well as she appeared unmanageable.
Booth, Thomas. Papers, 1857 - 1859. Auckland War Memorial Museum Library. MS 2002/56.

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