Monday, August 5, 2013

4 August 1859

August 4 - Passed close to the Martin Vass rocks, one of which appeared to me to be very like Ailsa Craig.
Our Voyage to New Zealand Per the Tornado (by a Glasgow Emigrant) Glasgow Herald December 19, 1859

 August 4. Passed 3 rocks near the island Trunade, called the Marlin Vus Rocks.
 Campbell, Alexander. Letters and papers, 1859 - 1870. Auckland War Memorial Museum Library. MS 50

Aug 4th. We rise to welcome the smooth and cheerful breeze by which we were making agreeable progress. The ship rides very steady although at a moderate rate. The morning was dull and cloudy betokening rain which came like the falling mist and only endured for a short while. At 8 o'clock this morning we were said to be about 60 miles from land. The barren isthmus of Trinidada lay between us and the South American coast. After breakfast we were said to be in sight of land but we found it to be some rocks ahead at some 8 or 10 miles distance and scarcely discernable for the dense fog which hung about them as if to curtain their dangerous appearance from our view. About noon the clouds and mist cleared away and the rocks could be seen for two hours. They are called Martin Bass rocks (I am told) on account of a French man being buried there. They appear in three peaks, the first (we guess) would be above an hundred feet high although at this distance it only looks like a good large haycock. The next has a square front probably six to eight hundred feet long and about three hundred feet high. The NW end looks to be perpendicular with the top moderately level while the other end appears rugged and capable of ascent. A few feet from this end we saw a spiral rock like some ancient obelisk which if not scientifically designed to register each passing hour still it may bear (although in character rude and unintelligible) some memorial of loved ones who have perished on their fearful breakers and this the only tablet that marks the spot where the brave one met his fate. At first sight it (the spire) might have been taken for a member of the human species whom some fragment of a wreck had landed at the base of these rocks and who was still looking out for some messenger of mercy by whose timely appearance he might be delivered from his perilous position. The third peak appeared like a large dome pretty well shaped and we think would be about two hundred feet high and perhaps a thousand feet from the other with sea all around them so that we might have sailed behind them and sighted the rocks on our left and Trinidada on our right. Some foul air escaped or let off today from a pestilential clod (?) annoying all near. This has been the case two or three times during the voyage and coming from a member of the fair sex. It is the more disgusting but only proves that a woman in drink can do or say anything that's bad (?)
Booth, Thomas. Papers, 1857 - 1859. Auckland War Memorial Museum Library. MS 2002/56.

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