Friday, August 9, 2013

21 September 1859

Next morning (Sept 21), on getting up, found that we were outside of the Great Barrier Island, and tacking back northwest towards the mainland; we had to tack a great deal, as the wind was blowing right out of the harbour. About nine in the evening, we were nearly run against by a barque coming out - her bows gave our stern a very close shave. She was sailing very quick, and before we had time to hail her with more than "Where are you from?" and to hear the reply "From Auckland", the distance between us precluded further conversation. This danger caused great excitement among us, as the escape was a very narrow one. It was supposed to have occurred in consequence of the other ship not having a sharp lookout, and by us not having any signal lights out.
The country appears very hilly, and rocks extend along almost the whole shore. One of the rocks, detached from the mainland, had a large hole in it, through which we could see quite plain, though at the distance of more than a mile. We also saw a "shag", a curious looking dark-coloured bird, about the size of a duck, with a very long neck and wings. I was told that it goes into the water for fish, and remians there until it is wet through, when it comes out and perches on a rock, where it sits with its wings outstretched until they are dry.
Our Voyage to New Zealand Per the Tornado (by a Glasgow Emigrant) Glasgow Herald December 19, 1859

21st. A splendid morning with a strong breeze from the land having run well all night. About 6 o'clock was seen the grey towering heads of several mountains of NZ and all the forenoon we were able to distinguish here and there the whitened bones of some massive rocks apparently hundreds of feet above the sea. After dinner it was rumered that the wind was too strong and our course being through a narrow passage between the mainland and the Barrier Island where we arrived after dark but the ship was put out to sea and blew right past the entrance after which the wind gently sank down to a dead calm. The ship was then put round and a gentle breeze coming from an opposite quarter we began a returning course to try again with daylight.
 Booth, Thomas. Papers, 1857 - 1859. Auckland War Memorial Museum Library. MS 2002/56.

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