The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 13, Issue 11 (January 1, 1939)
Rolling into a Sou'-wester
Rolling into a Sou'-wester.
This job finished, the Matai steamed into the open to resume acquaintance with the “Deep depression” and the heavy south-west swell. We were bound for Kaipara, an all-night run under stormy conditions, so the skipper kept well away from the lee shore. The journalistic voyager, fortunately well enough to be observant, got interested in the great sea hollows into which the little steamer plunged, to rise buoyantly over a crest, and into the next one, to the accompaniment of rolling, the like of which ordinary passengers surely never experience.
A surveyor's level was borrowed for an experiment, and the scale set so that when the Matai rolled to 45 degrees—half way between vertical and horizontal—the bulb would show “level.” But the little ship rolled the bulb completely out of sight, and it was set nearer to the horizontal, at 30 degrees, before we managed to measure the exact degree of the roll.
Walking without holding on to something substantial was quite impossible, and we spent a social evening in the cabin of “Sparks” stowed comfortably on the floor, from which we could not fall off. The calm voice of the radio announcer and the other indications of normal life ashore sounded strange amid the roar of the storm and the lurching of the ship.