We make the following extracts from a letter received from Captain Stewart, of Dredge 222, by the Secretary to the Harbor Board, and placed at our disposal by that gentleman:— Not being in the humor for writing after arrival, I have put off giving you an account of our passage, but as we have got all fixed, moorings run ont, and all ready to dredge to-morrow (September 20), I have thought that you and others would like to know how we got on. At 3 a.m. on the 29th ult. we started from Halfmoon Bay with every prospect of fine weather, the barometer having gradually risen for the previous two days to 30.55. Had a moderate westerly wind, and passed the S.W. Cape light at 8.15 p.m. same day. On the 30th we had moderate N. W. wind, the barometer falling, the wind backing to north. On the 31st we had a strong northerly wind with confused cross sea from S.W. to W.N.W, ; afternoon, wind and sea steadily increasing, heavy N.N.E, true gale. Kept the ship away about two points to leeward of course, so as to get the sea abaft the beam. At midnight a sea broke on board and slightly damaged the starboard bow boat. We put her head to the sea, trysail sheet right aft, the starboard (weather) screw just revolving, and the lee screw going about half-speed. The vessel was, however, making about three and a-half points of leeway, and was still going about the right road. At 9 a.m. on the Ist September the weather got more moderate; kept the dredge a little more away, steaming easy. At noon followed the usual course. We were highly pleased with the easy way that the dredge rolled on account of the weight (centre of gravity) being kept up as high as possible. The water In the hopper had also a very unmistakeably similar effect, for every time the vessel rolled the water was down at the low side, and it had a positive effect in causing her to come very easy back again; so that to get the benefit of this we used the coals under the deck, so as to leave the coala above deck as long as possible. In my log of this date there is an entry of the steward being two days in bed sea-sick. Our distance for this day was the least on the passage (sixty-one miles). From midnight to 4 a.m. on the 2nd the wind fell, and went round westward to S.S.E., with a very confused sea. On the 3rd September we got an altitude of the sun, which showed that the dredge had drifted a long distance further south than we had allowed in the reckoning. The wind backed from S.S.E. to S., which was too near abeam to be comfortable, as it blew a moderate gale. On the morning of the Sth backed round ahead on the starboard bow to about N. W. At 8 p.m. wind north, a moderate gale, and the barometer medium low, and a heavy carry in the sky, high up from the westward. In my log there is written— “ Sorry to observe the westerly wind coming away while we are still about2oo miles from land.” Towards morning on September 6 the wind lessened. At sunset the weather looked wild to the westward, with wind strong ahead; but the sea became smoother, we getting the benefit of being near land. At noon sighted Flinders Island. The most of the day encountered strong W.N.W. wind. On the 7th had smooth sea and light head wind. Passed the Sisters Island four miles distant at 3.20 p.m., and at 8 p.m. were abreast of Dead Island, Kent gronp. The following day at 7 a.m. were close into Wilson’s Promontory light, and signalled them to report us all well. Leaving the Promontory we had a strong N.W. wind. Went through between the islands and close to the land to get smooth water. During the day the barometer fell, with every indication of a heavy gale ahead, which if it came woftld send ns back to the Promontory for shelter ; but towards sunset came a burst of thunder and lightning and hail, and it cleared to a fine night, which ensured our getting ahsad, so that about 1 o’clock next morning we were in sight of the pilot boat. The pilot on coming on board asked how fast we steamed. The reply was seven knots. “ Well, yon are rather late for the tide, but we will try to get in,” he said. We got in as far as the narrowest part of the entrance and the strongest of the tide, but the tide was slightly the swifter of the two, so we had to give it op. The pilot Informed us that while he was getting ready to go on board of us the pilot’s boat crew told him that it was an ironclad that was approaching. Wo entered the Heads at 6,30 a.m. and anchored at Wllliamstown at 11 a.m. on September 9, thus making the passage in 19 days from Dunedin and II days 8 hours from Stewart Island, having still about six or seven days’ coal on board. I have very much pleasure in testifying to the very willing services of all on board, as was shown strongly when in Halfmoon Bay in getting bulwarks put round the dredge’s bows. The writer and an old salt with some bush experience on Mount Cargill went ashore to a ship carpenter to look for a knee to bolt on deck and make a stem, bat as he could not find what suited at his building yard, he told us he had some in the bush, where he went and found a good irbnwood knee, squared it to mould, and got it down through slush and scrub, the price lor the knee being only one bag of coals. Set to, everyone about taking a fiyely rate-
rest in making a thorough good job with the addition of a few planks from tho sawmill. The Melbourne Harbor Trust are doing an astonishing amount of dredging. They have recently purchased the VVl'.lunga hopper dredge and two large hopper barges from Adelaide, and have also ordered two large dredges from the Old Country. Of the Melbourne people, they, with all their marvels, beat the world in generosity and benevolence. They have collected by this date about LI 8,000 to assist the London dock laborers in their strike. The Melbourne Harbor Trust donated the surplus stores of Dredge 222 (a cart load) to the Emigrants’ Aid Society—a body similar to our Benevolent Institution.
Mr Balsille, the mate, writes: —“After passing Puysegur light a strong breeze was encountered, freshening to a heavy northerly gale with a high sea. This tested the qualities of the dredge, for we had to go with the wind and sea abeam, and_ she only shipped water now and again ; in fact, she behaved better then coming out from Home, Now, in regard to the seaworthiness of the she was better open than closed in the hopper and well, and tho water in the hopper eased the vessel rolling; and although we did ship heavy water and lose some coal, fill the stoke-hole once and smash the galley door, and fill the boats two or three times, yet I have seen worse in a vessel often, and in steamers they think nothing of these things. And as for the well, the water did not keep her back much, but she drifted away to the southward a good deal during the three days’ northerly gale.”,
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DREDGE 222., Evening Star, Issue 8026, 1 October 1889
DREDGE 222. Evening Star, Issue 8026, 1 October 1889
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