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The barque Otago, which arrived at Lyttelton yesterday, has suffered an extraordinary series of mishaps, and has only reached harbor under extraordinarily fortunate circumstances. She left Sydney on August 13, bound to LondoD, her cargo consisting of copper, tallow, wool, etc. When in the longitude of the Snares she met with a fearful gale, and waß thrown on her beam ends. Terrific seas made a clean breach over her; the sails were blown away, and everything slight, movable, or small, as bulkheads, berths, tables, cupboards, etc., were swept awiy by the waves, which also took overboard the ship's papers, charts, the captain's and officers' log, and clothes, and, worse than this, the captain's instruments for navigating the ship. AH this latter damago was effected by on* enormous wave, which was followed by several others. The ship's carpenter, while engaged in making repairs, was hurled against a locker by one of these, and died almost immediately from the effects of the injury. When the crew were mustered another one was found to bo missing, as were the lifeboats, bulwarks, and deckhouse, all of which had been washed clean away. The ship was hove-to till August 26, and the feelings of the passengers (two) and crew can be imagined when it was found that the voyage must be prosecuted without charts, sextant, or chronometers, and, worst of all, without a rudder. This terrible loss had not been discovered at first, the wheel being intact, and it was only made dear when it was found that the vessel had become an unmanageable log. She was now hundreds of miles from land and out of the track of trading vessels, and their plight was anything but cheerful. The weather, too, unluckily, continued stormy. The water found its way into the lazaretto and into the hold, and it became necessary to keep the pumps going night and day. The rigging of a jury rudder with the heavy sea prevailing proved a terribly difficult tasK. Four methods were tried, and the laßt—in which a number of denk planks were lashed together, with a kedge anchor at the bottom, and the whole suspended over the stern with block and tackle on each side to haul it over as required—was successful. But it was only so after the forepart of the ship had been lightened by the cargo being jettisoned. To navigate the vessel to a port under all these adverse conditions was naturally an exceedingly trying matter, and the progress made was only at a Bnail's pace. An incessant watch was kept by everyone, and after thirty-nine days of this species of voyaging by dead reckoning land was sighted. It turned out to be the Sisters Islands, to the westward of the_ Chathams. From that point various small mishaps were met with, and from October 2 to 12 was consumed in covering the 400 miles between that and New Zealand. Captain Norman and the barque Otago are well known in Lyttelton, and naturally the occurrence has caused great excitement here. Captain Norman, in 1886, when wrecked on a coral reef while on a voyage from Sydney to San Francisco, took charge of a boat and made for Honolulu. They were fifty days in the boat, and when land was reached all were more dead than alive. The Otago will discharge her cargo and be docked.

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Bibliographic details

A TEMPESTUOUS PASSAGE., Issue 8037, 14 October 1889

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A TEMPESTUOUS PASSAGE. Issue 8037, 14 October 1889

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