Nelson Historical Society Journal, Volume 6, Issue 2, 1998
Log of the Madge February 1901
The Skipper came down to the Port in the evening and held a consultation with the First Mate over the weather, which was looking as bad as possible – blowing hard NW and raining, plus thunder and lightning. Decided not to go out that night. Sunday morning went round Rocks Road to have a look at the damage done by the sea and found a hole in the wall 30 feet long. The Skipper then went to let his people at home know he had not put out to sea and got drowned. The First Mate pottered about in yachting costume all day and showed his independence of the weather by not shaving or putting on his boots. By nightfall the weather was still bad and the Skipper did not put in an appearance.
Monday 4th February
Morning broke fine and about 9.30 am the Skipper arrived and we went on board the Madge taking our stores with us. Stayed on board all day – stowed things and pottered about generally. Went ashore on Rat Island where First Mate wounded himself badly by treading on a rusty nail. Got tea about 6 pm and had a smoke. The weather was again beginning to look very bad, so decided there was not much virtue in camping on board when we had a good steady bed ashore.
Tuesday 5th February
The Skipper came down again in the morning and, after taking the professional opinion of me Pilot and crew, we decided to board me Madge and see how things went. Immediately on our clearing the entrance the ship Zealandia got under weigh and we were in company with her me whole of me day. The effect was very grand as one by one she got her sails out, until by the afternoon she had all her sails set. There was a nice little breeze blowing, varying from NE to NW, and also a nice long swell much appreciated by me Mate. Breeze held good till about 2 pm, by which time we were off me Bluffs and had left me Zealandia about a mile astern.
Arrived off Motueka at 4 pm and were just proceeding to lower sail and wait for me tide, when our wormy Skipper noticed mat the Zealandia had picked up a nice breeze and was bowling along at a good pace. We men decided to run on as far as Astrolabe.
Breeze held splendidly and Astrolabe was reached just on me last of it, as me sun was setting behind some very fine clouds. (Note by the Skipper: did me Mate expect the sun to set in front of the clouds?). Just before running behind Fisherman's Island we saw in me distance the last of our comrade of me day, me Zealandia, which looked most majestic disappearing in the dark of the evening. The Skipper shed a tear. Brought up in the Horseshoe about 7 pm. Set tent, had supper and then went ashore to see the glow worms in the cave. They were very fine and looked like planets. Went on board again and had a page 20light supper. Smoked and read and then went to sleep. Set the alarm for 3.30 am in hopes of getting a SE breeze but it didn't eventuate.
Wednesday 6th February
Turned out at 7.30 am. Skipper lost the toss so had to get breakfast. Gave us warmed oatmeal, bread and butter, jam, cocoa. Very good, but porridge spoiled by being half cooked. After breakfast went across to mainland. At 10 am got under weigh for Torrent Bay. The morning was all that could be desired, light sea breeze and beautiful warm sun. Arrived at Torrent Bay soon after mid day. On rounding the point into the anchorage a royal salute was fired in our honour by the crew of the yacht Jessica Logan, who had been up on the hills goat hunting. In the afternoon called on Mr and Mrs Tregidga and Mr and Mrs Rainier. Had a pleasant chat and peaches. Invited Mr Tregidga to afternoon tea and took him across to our yacht by dingy. Had tea, then a smoke and a yarn. (Note by Skipper: Yarn generally consists of a number of fabrications related by First Mate). Set the alarm for 4 am in case there should be a SE breeze which we were hoping for and expecting. The alarm went off all right, but despite the utmost efforts of the First Mate to persuade the Skipper to rouse out, nothing would induce him to come on deck. With a sad heart First Mate had again to retire to his bunk and to his sad meditations.
Thursday 7th February
Turned out at 6.30 am and had a splendid repast (First Mate's day as cook) consisting of porridge (properly cooked for a change) ham and eggs (not burned to a cinder) and cocoa, finished off with toast and jam. Cleared Torrent Bay heads at 9.30 am, light SE breeze blowing. Saw three large sharks off Sandfly Bay. We had a really splendid run up the bay as far as Awaroa Heads where rain began and both got our oilskins on. Passed Separation Point 11.45 am and arrived off the Tatas at 12.45 pm. Got alongside the Waitapu Wharf at 1.30 pm and there made me acquaintance of Mr John Bain, commonly called Jack, and obtained much useful information on the subject of his health for quite a number of years past
After lunch and a wash and shave, (the latter much against the First Mate's will) we strolled up the village road to call on Mr and Mrs Harold Williams. We found Mrs Williams hard at work making jam. She prepared tea for us to which we did ample justice. We then inspected their farm and after some time Mr Harold Williams, who is an old friend of the First Mate, came along, having given a music lesson. We immediately set him to work on the piano and thoroughly enjoyed the selections he gave us.
At 9.30 pm we left to move me ship out of the way of the Lady Barkly which arrived at 10.05 pm. We interviewed Captain Stevens and learned from him that the weather was still SE outside, and from personal observation made by our Skipper came to the conclusion that most of the passengers had found the roll more than sufficient. We determined to drop down into the pool off Pipi Point and, if possible, to get out of there on the next tide for Collingwood. Got down to the pool at 1 am, let go anchor and turned in.
Friday 8th February
Crew arose at 6 am. Extremely disagreeable morning. It being the Skipper's cook day, he prepared some porridge in his usual masterly style. The Mate tried for a third helping but none was obtainable. At 9 am the weather cleared a bit and we decided to get the ship out of Waitapu as early as possible on the tide and get to Collingwood on the same tide. We eventually got out at 10.30 am and took a tack out towards the Tatas, came about and at first only headed up as high as Parapara, but the wind gradually allowed us to point up to Collingwood. Arrived off Miles's Point at 1 pm, when the wind left us suddenly. This was rather unpleasant as it was now only an hour off ebb tide. Just as things were beginning to look black a light westerly breeze came out of Collingwood and we managed, by very careful sailing, to beat in over the tide. On rounding the point at the back of Collingwood we were hailed by Dr Fisher, an enthusiastic yachtsman who gave us directions about the channel. The Skipper however, a most obstinate old fellow, took no notice and after about two tacks succeeded in running us onto the mudbank in the middle of the harbour, where the ship had to stop till nearly midnight. As soon as the Madge had been made snug, legs on etc, and after a light lunch, we went ashore to send letters home.
Next business was to get tea, so we went round to the butcher and baker, got a new loaf and a pound of chops and returned triumphant to the ship. Turned in for an hour or so at 10.30 pm, setting the alarm for midnight. Madge started to float at about 11.00 pm, however, so we turned out and took her alongside one of the timber wharves.
Saturday 9th February
Turned out at 6.30 am, breakfast 7.30 am. Good breakfast (Mate's day). Started for Parapara at 8 am, leaving the ship in charge of master Norman Kitching, a nephew of the harbourmaster. Walked along the beach and around the mudflat. Nice morning and enjoyable walk. Got to Parapara soon after 10 am and adjourned to the orchard. After a regular gorge of peaches and apples found Mr Arthur Washbourn, who had heard we were in Golden Bay or likely to be. Pottered about during the day, both feeling very sleepy, not having had more than 4 – 5 hours any night since leaving Nelson. Tea at 7 pm. Roast beef, cabbage, junket, cream galore. Turned in at 8.30 pm and had a good night's rest.
Sunday 10th February
Up again 6.30 am and breakfast 7.00 am. Doubtful looking morning and it was feared that our arrangements for visiting the caves would have to fall through. (Note: The Skipper was grossly deceived about the distance of the walk, or he would not have consented to take pan in the expedition). The weather improved and we decided to take lunch with us. Went up through Glen Mutchkin and Glengyle, inspecting Arthur Washbourn's sluicing claim on the way, dirough Hit and Miss, into Appoo's Gully and up Fisher's Hill and McCartney's Hill. Then across country past Toi Toi Flat to where the dam for me Slate River is to be built. Examined that and then we went to the caves, arriving about twelve, and at once went into Stafford's Cave. After a good look through that came out and had lunch. Then went into Greenwood's Cave where we recognised the names of several Nelson friends.page 22
Decided to try to find Nelly's Cave on the side of the hill but were unable to do so. Tried to find the other entrance to Stafford's Cave but here again we failed, after nearly breaking our necks, so we sat down and ate a nikau. Feeling much refreshed we made a start for home. Passed through Rockville about 4 pm, seeing the Devil's Boots, and arrived at Mr West's at five. Here we had tea and a chat, both much appreciated. Left again at 6.30 pm and back to Parapara soon after 9 pm. Had a light supper and soon retired for the night.
Monday 11th February
We were called for breakfast soon after 7 am. After breakfast we strolled up to see the ironstone and then called on Mrs Duncan who played to us on the organ. After that we took leave of Mr Washbourn and squared away for Collingwood, where we arrived after about one and a half hour's toil up the beach. Went up to see how much of the Madge was left and found her all right. Filled the water cans, posted letters and then got under weigh. A sea breeze came in and we were beginning to congratulate ourselves on a nice run across to the Tatas, but this was not to be, for soon after clearing Miles's Point the wind changed to SE and got very light.page 23
By sundown we were off Onekaka. The wind now departed altogether and left us flopping about in a nice easterly roll that was coming into the bay. About 10 pm a light breeze drawing out of Waitapu carried us a mile or two. Next a NE breeze blew up, carried us on a mile or two further and then dropped. By variable breezes, into the Tatas, where anchor was dropped about midnight, 10 hours from Collingwood. Turned in at 12.45 am.
Tuesday 12th February
Turned out at 6.30 am. Skipper's cooking day. First Mate went ashore and examined the island and also tried to catch a fish while breakfast was being prepared. After breakfast (porridge, fried sardines, toast and cocoa), First Mate took some photos and we then got under weigh with a beautiful sea breeze. On clearing the Islands the scene that met us simply baffled description. Not a cloud in the sky. The hills all round from Separation Point to Farewell Spit a lovely bluish tint, but yet perfectly clear and distinct, the sea like champagne and a splendid light sailing breeze blowing. After taking a tack out, we stood in to Wainui Bay and then ran right in to Taupo. Then out again and next tack around Separation Point, of which a photo was taken.
Soon after rounding the Point the breeze freshened a bit. Passed the Comer heading up the bay and ran close past her, taking a snapshot and exchanging greetings with Captain Caldwell. Ran past Mutton Cove, Takapau, Anapai and Totaranui and put into Awaroa at 1.45 pm. Brought up in a big hole. Went after stingarees but needless to say we only succeeded in frightening them. We next went and had a yarn with Mr Winter, who invited us to go across to the house later with Mr Hadfield and the crew of the Asa. Helped the Asa to push off the mudflat and then went across to Mrs Winter's, where we had mulberries, plums etc. Stayed to tea and spent the evening. Returned to the yacht at 10 pm, had a cup of Bovril, turned out for a last smoke, lights out at 11.30 pm.
Wednesday 13th February
Slept till 7.45 am. First Mate's cooking day, porridge and bacon and eggs etc. Skipper got on his pretties and then, while First Mate was washing up and tidying the ship, went ashore to call on the Winters and took Mr Winter a plug of tobacco.
Returned to the ship at about 11 am when a start was made for Mr Campbell's. We were welcomed by Mrs Campbell, Miss Ethel McKay, Miss Campbell, Mr Colin Campbell and also Miss Donaldson, who has only recently gone there. In the afternoon we went out to get a feed of blackberries, then back to the house where Miss Donaldson played selections, which were very much appreciated by all hands. Afternoon tea, at which the Skipper excelled himself and was seen to eat ten large cakes and drink four cups of tea. He is not very well just now. Tea was served at 7 pm and once again the old sea dogs came to the fore.
After tea we gave a hand to wash up and then adjourned to the drawing room and had more music. The First Mate was caught in a weak moment and gave the company the pleasure of hearing his really fine tenor voice in two songs. It was noticed, however, that at the end of the second song there were only the pianist and himself present. Prepared to make a start for the yacht soon after ten and received a very pleasant surprise in me shape of a beautifully iced birthday cake, which the ladies had made during the afternoon on hearing page 24that it was the Skipper's birthday on the morrow. Got back at midnight and turned in, setting the alarm for 4.30 am when we intended starting for Torrent Bay.
Altogether we had a most pleasant time in Awaroa, where everyone we met was kindness itself, and it was with feelings of regret and promises of an early return that we managed at last to tear ourselves away.
Thursday 14th February
We were aroused at 4.30 am by the sweet chimes of the alarm and, by exerting all our superlative will power, at last managed to get up. Commenced getting under weigh at once and by 5 am had made a start, clearing the entrance soon after. Off Awaroa Head the wind dropped, leaving us in a heavy NW roll. It soon overtook us again however, and became a fairly stiff blow. There was a big sea running and the First Mate nearly disgraced himself, but was saved by the internal application of a few biscuits and came through the ordeal with flying colours. The sun was now getting up a bit and the warmth was greatly appreciated. Had a good run down as far as Bark Bay, where the wind dropped and we were left walloping about in the roll and sun. First Mate did not succumb, wonderful to relate.
Arrived at Torrent Bay at 8.30 am and brought up in the cove close to the Maid of Italy, which had arrived at 5 am. Had breakfast at which the Skipper's health was proposed, together with birthday wishes, and was drunk in a mug of chocolate (specially brewed for the occasion by the Skipper himself).
After breakfast called on Captain Tregidga, got a piece of bait from him and went fishing, taking with us some apples and a tin of toffee (a present given us before leaving Nelson). Had fairly good luck and succeeded in landing about half a dozen rock cod and some perch. Went ashore and cleaned the fish and had a glorious swim. Next had dinner (fried fish and stewed plums). After dinner went ashore taking the Skipper's birthday cake and a tin of ox tongues with us, as we intended having tea with Captain Tregidga. On shore we played skittles, crew of the Madge against the crew of the Maid of Italy.
Friday 15th February
Turned out late – 8.30 am. The weather looked anything but promising. Breakfast was served at 9.15 am and got the ship cleaned up. Then a smoke was indulged in by the crew. Went ashore and called on Mr and Mrs Tregidga. First mate took his camera and had one or two shots at the house and bay. We then had a game of skittles in which the Madge beat the Maid by two points. Took a sad farewell of our kind hosts and went on board the yacht. Got under weigh after a light lunch at 1.45 pm. On clearing the heads ran into a heavy northerly roll and no wind – not very enjoyable. We managed, with the occasional puffs that came along, to get as far as Astrolabe by 5 pm. Then a NW puff carried us down to Sandy Bay where we again picked up the swell, bigger, brighter and better than before. We also lost all wind. First Mate did not feel altogether comfy for a time but managed to pull through; he is getting to be a perfect marvel. A consultation was now held and we decided to run back to Astrolabe. By this time it had thickened down all round and was page 25very dark. The Horseshoe was reached at 10 pm – altogether the worst day's sailing since we left home.
Saturday 16th February
Got up at 7 am. Weather showing signs of clearing up from the SW. Skipper cooked breakfast while Mate went ashore and filled water beakers at the cave. Got under weigh soon after breakfast and ran down towards Motueka, calling around into Marahau, Sandy Bay etc. Left Kaiteriteri about 1 pm and ran down with the sea breeze till off Riwaka, where we met a stiff souwester. Had to take in jib and tuck down a couple of reefs, the first since leaving Nelson. Beat down to Motueka and, being too early on the tide, we anchored just inside the buoy and did not get to the wharf till 5 pm. After putting the ship straight went up to the village and called on the Leslie family. Found Mr Leslie and two of his daughters, the others being away at a picnic. They at once got us tea and when that was over the other members of the family returned and we spent a very pleasant evening, leaving soon after midnight. Turned in at 1 am after a second supper on board.
Sunday 17th February
Got up at 8 am. First Mate got a grand breakfast of porridge and fish rissoles (an elaborate dish known only to the First Mate). While washing up was in progress Mr Sharpe came down and had a yarn, and we also had a call from two Nelson gentlemen. After a wash at the pump started for the village to dine with the Leslies. Had a splendid repast and a most enjoyable smoke under the trees afterwards. After tea adjourned to the drawing room and had a really good old musical evening. It was a treat greatly enjoyed by the two mariners. Miss Leslie, a splendid accompanist, sang us several songs and Mr Whitehorn and the Misses Aileen, Olive and Cora Leslie also sang. In spite of his Skipper's express orders and the prayers of the company, the First Mate insisted on inflicting his croaking on us. On the whole, Sunday was one of our red letter days and it took a lot of will power to drag ourselves away from our friends, who had done everything possible to make us enjoy our visit ashore. Got down to the wharf about 9.30 pm, got under weigh and brought up under the Spit. Set alarm for midnight and turned in. Turned out soon after twelve and had some cocoa. Got under weigh at five to one in splendid SW breeze. Had a really good run across and picked up moorings a few minutes before 4 am. Turned in.
Monday 18th February
Up at 6.30 am, breakfast at 7.30 am. It seems impossible to realise that it is nearly a fortnight since we left Nelson, and it is with great regret that this log is now to be closed. There is a lot one would like to have added, but the Skipper's commands are imperative and the ship is rolling considerably, so here endeth the log, as far as the First Mate is concerned. Note by the Skipper: Having perused the above I find it is fairly truthful and, except for some heroic deeds of mine, very nearly complete. I have decided therefore to make no additions.
Edited from the original log by Dawn Smith.