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The Calliope at Samoa.

Captain Kane has forwarded to the Lords of the Admiralty a succinct account of the gale at Apia on March 15, and he thus describee how the escape of hia vessel from destruction was effected : The harbor w&a crowded with shipping all dragging together. I got steam up in al, boilers, and succeeded in keeping clear of the reef for some time, but Boon found that that could not last for long. The aeaa were perfectly fearful, breaking over our topgallant forecastle, and all but burying tho poor Adler, which soon went on the reef. By very good management they slipped their cablea at the right moment, and were lifted right on to the reef, whore they lay on their broadside. Had they not slipped the cablea, she would have gone down in deep water. Twenty men were drowned, the others found shelter In the ship till Sunday morning. The seas were now (8 a.m. on 16th) breaking from out beyond the reefa. The Vandalia waa dragging down on top of ua, the Olga was close on our starboard quarter, and the ahoro reef close on the port quarter. I managed for some time to keep clear of all three, but our port cable parted and we came against the Vandalia's stern, and carried away the jibboom, aud all the fasteniDgs of the bowsprit. The spar itself was saved by lifting right up when the bobstay, bands, etc., went. Then the Olga came up on our starboard tide and very nearly rammed us. I just mansged to sheer clear, bat she caught our foreyard and damaged it Beverely, Luckily it boomed her off. Seeing that every time we tautened our cable we were getting nearer the reof (in fact it had became a question of feet), I made up my mind to slip and try to go out, reserving as a last resort the hope of beaching the ship on a sandy patch, which the Olga afterwards succeeded in reaching. I callod on the staff-engineer for every pound of steam he could give üb, and slipped the one remaining cable. I had slipped the sheet some time before, finding it did no good and hampered my movements. The engines worked admirably, and little by little we gathered weigh and went out, flooding the uppor deck with areen aeaa, which came in over tho bows, and which would have snnk many a ship. My fear waa that she would not steer, and would go on the reef in the passage nut, especially as tho Trenton was r'ght ia the fairway. But we went under her Btern putting our foreyard over hor quarter boat, and came up head to wind most beautifully. Once outside her, it waa nothing but hard steaming. If the engines held out we were safe; if anything went wrong with them we were done for. Thanks to the admirable order in which the engines and boilers have been kopt, all went well. We steamed from 0.30 a.m., when we slipped, until 8 p.m., with the extreme power of the engines, developing at least as much power aa wo have ever done on a trial, without a hitch, and that with the engines racing every plunge in a very heavy sea. The wind increased during the afternoon still more. The best idea of its strength may be got from the fact that we made only a knot or so against it and the sea, just enough to give steerage way. I did not dare to go slower, because the ship would have fallen off into the trough ; and also, it being aa thick aa peasoup, I could not tell if I was ton milea or ten yarda off the reef which skirta the whole shore. ... I returned to Apia on the 19th (yeaterday), and found the harbor perfectly clear—not a oraft, from the Trenton to a achooner, afloat in it. , . , I cannot Bpeak too highly of tho conduct of every officer and man on board the ship. During tho hours we passed when any moment might have been our last, every order waa obeyed with alacrity and without confusion ; and the way in which tho engineer officers and stokers kept to their work is beyond all praise. It is a matter on which I feel very keenly, and I propose to aubmit a special report on tho subject when I have more time. I am obliged to clobs this immediately for the mail. The Lords of tho Admiralty sent this reply to Admiral Fairfax :

Admiralty, 21st May, 1889. Sir,—T am commanded by my Lordß Commissioners of the Admiralty to acknowledge the receipt of your submission of tho 80th MaTch last, Nn. 163, forwardicg a report by Captain Kane of his proceedings in Her Majesty's ship Calliope on tho occasion of tho hurricane at Samoa on the 16th and 17th of Mareh last. I am to signify their Lordships' direction to you to acquaint Captaiu Kane that they have rcoeivcd and read with the greatest interest and satisfaction his report of the 20th Maroh. No. 19, di-.tailing the manner in which the safety of Ilor Majesty's ship Calliope was secured. Ca' tain Kane showed, in their Lordships' opinion, both nerve and d"cision in determining to steam to Ki'H, in the terth of a hurricano which destroy* d all the vghswlh which remained at the anchoiago lio left; and. in conveying to him tho thanks of the Admirality, my Lords deoiro to express their thorough approval of his skilful Mramaimhip, and of tho measures taken by him throughout to secure tho safety of his snip. My Lords also highly appreciate the manner in which Captain Kane was supported by his officers and mon, and they desire especially to express to ytaff-ongineor Bouxke and his atari the satiifac'tion with which they have read tyiat Court, alfso any information the Assignee

portion of Captain Kane's letter referring to the management of the engines during the time tho vessel was under full pressure of steam. To the admirable manner in which the enginos of the ship were worked may be attiibuted to a great extent the Bafety both of the ship and of the lives of all on board. The conduct of all concerned was highly commendible, and my Lords are of opinion that great credit is due to the officer commanding tor tbo examplo he set and the confidence he instilled into those under his ordsrs.—l am, etc, Evan Macgrkgob. To Rear-admiral Henry Fairfax, 0.8., etc., Commander-in-Chief, Australia.

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Permanent link to this item

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/ESD18890723.2.23

Bibliographic details

The Calliope at Samoa., Evening Star, Issue 7966, 23 July 1889

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1,089

The Calliope at Samoa. Evening Star, Issue 7966, 23 July 1889

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