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

On A Ledge

On A Ledge.

The doomed ship struck heavily, and the land was so steep-to that the end of the jib-boom was jutting out over the edge of the rocks on which the vessel had come to grief. Scrambling out to the end of the jib-boom, six of the crew found no difficulty in dropping on to the rocks. While this party was getting off the wreck for'ard, the remainder of the people were aft or had taken to the rigging. Although those who had managed to get ashore shrieked out to let their comrades know there was a way of escape, the gale simply carried their cries away.

Hard as she was driven ashore, the battering of the waves soon wreaked their way on the hull of the ship. All the lifeboats were smashed, and then the masts went one by one. Yielding at last to the pitiless pounding of the giant seas, the Lastingham slipped from her precarious hold of the rocks, swung broadside on to the sea, and within two hours of striking she sank out of sight, taking with her 14 souls—including Captain Morrison, his wife, and five passengers. When the ship struck, and it was seen that it was hopeless, the captain, who was getting on in years, retired to his cabin, and when last seen was sitting at the table with his arm round his wife. With the water up to their armpits they were sitting, waiting for death.

Before the end came some of those left on the ship had tried to swim ashore, and others had tried to get a line ashore, but all was in vain. Those that tried to swim were never seen again, and those that tried to get ashore with a line had to be hauled back to the ship.