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

Ship Ashore

Ship Ashore.

Mr. T. Leitch, now residing at Bays-water, Auckland, was a passenger by the ship on this occasion, and has kindly supplied the following details of the disaster: "the Wild Deer, Captain Kerr, page 119 was chartered by the New Zealand Government to take out some 300 immigrants and a few other passengers to Port Chalmers. On January 12 we were towed down the Clyde, the pilot leaving us well past 'Paddy's Milestone.' A stiff breeze was blowing, and with most of the sails set good speed was being made, the night being clear and a starlit sky. I, with others, had just turned in about 11 p.m., when we heard a strange and alarming sound like 'bur-er-er, thud, thud, thud,' and a voice shouted down the companion, 'Do you young fellows down there know that the ship is ashore?' The vessel then gave a sudden quiver and commenced to settle. A rush was made for the deck. On looking over the ship's side we saw reefs a short distance away and large pieces of timber from the hull floating around. The vessel had now a good list, and altogether the position seemed desperate, with little hope of anyone being saved. Rockets and flare lights were sent up, but to no purpose, the sea being too rough to allow the coastguards to put off in their boats.