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THE LOSS OF THE GARSTON., Issue 8015, 18 September 1889
THE LOSS OF THE GARSTON.
The following description of the sufferings of the nine castaways from the wreck of the ship Garston has been supplied to the 1 Auckland Herald ’ by Mr Julian Thomas: —He states that after rowing for thirty-six hours, Captain Fye determined to make southward in the hopes of striking the Hervey or Cook Islands, or falling in with some vessel bound to San Francisco. As a matter of fact they crossed the track of the mail steamers to Sydney, and so the little boat commenced to sail southward, an oar for a mast, a bed quilt or counterpane (put in the gig by the steward) for a sail, a white shirt on split stretchers for a topsail Watches were set and relieved every two hours. One man at the lookout forward, one man at the helm. Bruce and Annesley, second and third mates, took their turn with the men ; Captain Pye navigated the boat and issued rations, A tin of meat was to last three days—about lloz a day amongst nine men or l|oz per man. The biscuits, which soon got wet and mouldy, were served out in small portions by Bruce twice a day. H&tf a gill of water was given to each man. All snared alike, the captain shared his tobaeoo with the rest. Very uncomplainingly did the men endure their lot for many days. They stood their two alternate hours of duty and four hours of sleep or of rest, always wet through by the seas which often swamped the boat, always ahungered, always athirst. They bore their lot like men. They had not space to lie down. They were cramped in every movement. The tropical sun beat on them daring the day; at night their bones were often racked with cold, yet the warmth of these southern seas saved them. In higher latitudes under similar conditions they must haveperished, Sotheninthdayoame. Nearly half the provisions were gone. They had run, Captain Pye reckoned, over 500 miles, but could not make a southerly coarse, each day they were going westward. Now they nould make no headway, so he changed his course to west, hoping to strike Tonga or Samoa. On the fourteenth day the mouldy biscuit was all gone; them was nothing but the meat left. On the second day that a tin was opened the meat would be rotten, but it was eaten with avidity. The rain luckily enabled them to fill their beaker, and the small allowance of water was never lacking. The men did not suffer so much from thirst as from hunger, although some drank small quantities oi salt water without evil effect. They got weaker and weaker, and the devil of despair entered into them. Who cam wonder at it ? Day after day no. sail, no, land, no hopes ; nothing to see but the seabirds on their track; no change, no variation; a mouthful of rotten meat to-day, the same to-morrow. All got up and lay down hungry. They chewed the leather from their cap linings, the reeda and pith from the captain’s son helmet. They tried to eat their sea boots, but these were far too tough. Waking or sleeping they thought of but one thing food. Twenty days from the wreck the men became desperate. “ Only two tins of moat left! Give it us all, and let us have a. meal,” they said. “No;” said the captain. I “ What if we come and take it V said one ; “ there are but two of you.” Annesley lay too weak to move at the bottom ol the boat, and the captain would only have the second mate (Bruce) to help him. fiat Captain Pye looks a strong, powerful, determined man, “I will throw it overboard first,” said he. “ You fools ! our only chance is in making this food last ns long as possible. If yon eat this to-day what will you do to-morrow I” Then, said one of the foreigners, letting out the devil that was in himself and others, “ There are plenty of two-legged in the boat. ” All pity was choked within them Iby their sufferings. Lots must be drawn, and one after the other must become & sacrifice to support the Uvea of the rest. We all laugh when Mr W. S. Gilbert’s ballad of the ‘ brig»is sung, little reckoning that such experiences have been real ones on the ocean. Captain Pye now says he would; have overturned the boat and sent n.U hands to Davy Jones’s locker before he would agree to such a thing. “ I had | still my wits about mo, and we should all have died together,” But he would not cast lots. The skipper might be a sacrifice. On the twenty-second day there was only a pound and a-hal£ of meat left, but when near sundown Wallis Island was sighted the sailmaker calling out “ land.” Another | hour and they would have changed their course and missed this, passing it in the night as they did the Samoan Isles. They stood off for a time to avoid the reef, butt guided by the full light of the moon the castaways landed on Wallis Island at 4 a.ca. on, the morning of August the 9th, the twentythird day after the wreck of the Oanston, after sailing over 1,600 miles in, an open* boat.
THE LOSS OF THE GARSTON., Issue 8015, 18 September 1889
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