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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 10, Issue 1 (April 1, 1935)

The Wrong Way

The Wrong Way.

Photographs of some of the old-time ships once such familiar sights at the New Zealand wharves, bring up a flood of memories. The London clippers, the handsome painted-port square-riggers, the smart coasting and South Sea schooners and brigantines, the sturdy barques that took timber and coal across the Tasman Sea, were always in the harbour picture. A memory just now of an incident on a long-ago week-end yachting cruise down the glorious old Hauraki:

It was a fine Sunday morning. A tall ship, one of those big black-painted New York square-riggers that we used to admire for their lofty spars and snowy cotton sails, came strolling up through the Motuihi Channel, the eastern entrance to Auckland Harbour. This is the side-door to the port, the little ships' way, the tradesmen's entrance, so to say. It was the American skipper's first voyage to Auckland; he did not know that Rangitoto Channel was the usual course; the east channel looked as good as any other. There is a long reef, just under water, that runs out from Motutapu Island almost half way across the passage. The yacht's crew, standing out from Drunken Bay—that delectable deep indent between Rangitoto Island and Motutapu—for a day's fishing, saw to their amazement this big Yank coming along serenely, everything set to royals, all but grazing that hidden reef.

“Hi, Captain!” one of the boys yelled, as the yacht ran up on the ship's starboard quarter, “you've come in the wrong way!”

The skipper leaned over the rail. He was a Down-Easter, with a sawed-off sandy beard. He looked at the lads, and courteously expectorating aside, said in a Massachusets drawl:

“Much obliged to you, stranger, but that's Arkland town up yonder, isn't it?”

“Yes,” said the yacht spokesman.

‘Waal, then, I'm in now and I'm etarnally goldurned if I'm goin’ ter turn round and go out and come in the right way.”