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White Wings Vol I. Fifty Years Of Sail In The New Zealand Trade, 1850 TO 1900

The Water Nymph

The Water Nymph.

Wrecked at Oamaru.

the Water Nymph, a fine clipper ship chartered by the Shaw, Savill Co., arrived at Auckland in command of Captain Babot (his first visit as master to this port), and dropped anchor off Orakei on Saturday, November 23, 1867, having made a smart passage of 91 days from Gravesend and 87 from the Lizard. Old hands will remember that when the ship arrived a howling westerly gale was blowing, and no communication was made from the shore that day. The morning after the Water Nymph anchored, with a strong westerly gale still blowing, two reporters ventured down to the ship. One, the writer, boarded her, and returned safely to the wharf, but the second boat, which had conveyed Mr. W. Wilkinson, of the "Southern Cross," capsized alongside the ship. The accident was not observed for some minutes after Mr. Wilkinson, boarded the ship, when a boat was immediately lowered and the two men, Watermen Wright and Keane, who had been struggling in the water, were brought on board. Wright was dead, but Keane was brought round. On Monday morning the gale had subsided, and the Customs boat boarded the ship. Shortly afterwards Captain Babot came to town, bringing Messrs. Wilkinson and Keane and the body of Wright.

the Water Nymph on this occasion brought several passengers, a general cargo, and 70 songsters for the Acclimatisation Society.

After discharging her cargo the Water Nymph sailed early in January, 1868, for Oamaru to load for London. She went down in ballast, and a few days after her arrival, on February 3, was driven ashore during a terrific storm which came on during the night. At the same time the ship Star of Tasmania and the schooner Otago were wrecked. Early in the morning Captain Babot made an attempt to beat out to sea, but being light, having on board only 244 bales of wool, all efforts failed to keep her off the shore, and under full sail she struck the beach at 10 a.m., one hundred yards from the Star of Tasmania. the Water Nymph was washed high and dry almost as soon as she struck. Owing to her canvas being set she canted inshore and remained comparatively steady; but in a short time water broke through her main hatchway and her outer bilge was stove in. An hour later she was on her beam ends with her back broken. The crew were safely landed. Several were severely but not seriously injured.

The wreck of the Water Nymph was sold by auction and purchased by Messrs. Cargill and McLean, of Dunedin, for £172. The 244 bales of wool brought £810.

With Captain Babot in command the Water Nymph also visited Nelson in 1865, arriving there on December 12, making the passage in 98 days from the London Docks.