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The Old Whaling Days

May 12th

May 12th.

Last night was one of storms and being at no great distance from the land one of considerable anxiety. We were hove to (as the sailors term it) good part of the night, and considerable alarm was occasioned about 5 o'clock in the morning by “a light” being announced, the captain was roused, the ship put about with no small noise but the light turned out to be the morning star, we were far enough away from the mainland. Soon after six o'clock Solander Island was seen on the weather bow distant 9 or 10 miles. This was a glad sight, as it indicates the entrance to Foveaux's Straits through which we have to pass. The Straits are bounded on the South by Stewart's and a number of small islands, and on the North by the Middle Island of the group, which is generally called New Zealand. We entered the Straits with a staggering breeze but before we had quite cleared them, the wind died away, which had well nigh proved fatal to the Regia, the captain not having passed them before kept well to the eastward hoping thereby to clear all danger but by so doing ran into it, for at 10 page 483 o'clock Island after Island appeared in fearful proximity as the wind was dying away, and the appalling sound (and sight too) of breakers grated on our ears. For some hours we were in extreme jeopardy…. We were drifted by the current past the danger, for wind there was none… After a while a little breeeze sprang up and we were removed to a distance from the rocks, and out of the heaving of the surf, the roar of which is awful even when you are on shore, but when on board it is most awful. …