WRECK OF THE GENERAL GRANT AT THE AUCKLAND ISLANDS, 18 MONTHS AGO.
■♦ GEEAT LOSS' OF LIFE. . ♦ AT THE BLUFF OP THE BRIG AMHERST, WITH 10 OF THE SURVIVORS. — ♦ — FULL PABTICULiES OF THE LOSS OF THE SHIP, AND SUBSEQUENT UNPAEABALLED SUFFEETNGS OF THE PASSENG-EBS AND CEEW. • On Monday morning, January 13th, Invercargill was thrown into a state of much excitement by the receipt of a telegram from the Bluff, stating that the [ whaling brig, Amherst, Captain Gilroy, had just come in, having on board a number of people (among them one woman), rescued at the Auckland 1 Islands, where they had been enduring ; great hardships during the long period ' of nearly two years. By degrees people ' became aware that one more dreadful ' catastrophe had to be added to the long list of disasters at sea. That a goodly ' ship, with some eighty souls on board, and bearing a valuable cargo, had, in the darkness and gloom of night, and ' with appaling suddenness, been dashed to destruction on the rocky shore of a S desolate island. By the time the train ' arrived from the Bluff, shortly after 12 5 o'clock, a large crowd had collected on ' the platform in the expectation that the ' survivors would be up with it ; they did not, however, reach town until about half-past five in the afternoon (a special train having been sent down for them), ' at which time a dense crowd had also ' collected, who expressed their sympathy : with the sufferers by cheering them warmly as they stepped from the car- ! riages, numbers of the people pressing forward to shake hands. The female survivor, Mrs Jewel, wife of one of the seamen saved, arrived under the immediate care of Mrs Taylor, wife of His Honor the Superintendent, who had, with commendable praise, hastened to the Bluff to offer the sufferers her sympathy and assistance. The story of the ■ General Grant possesses features of interest just less thrilling than that of the ill-fated London, to which vessel she bore, we might say, a somewhat ominous relation, having been freighted in great part with the wool intended , for her homeward cargo. She left Melbourne under the command of Capt. William H. Loughlin, with a full cargo, and complement of eighty-three souls on board — a stout and noble ship —on the 4th of May, 1866, proceeding _. on her homeward voyage to London, r via Cape Horn. When only nine days ■ out, during a dark foggy night, the dim outline of land was seen, still no immediate danger seems to have been apprehended, the ship's course was simply altered to give it a wider berth. An hour afterwards, more land is seen, ' and fears begin to be felt. There is ' but little wind, not enough to ' render successful the manoeuvres » adopted to extricate the ship from » her perilous position. Gradually, but. : inexorably as fate, the treacherous current " drifts her on the iron coast, and in about > two hours from the first appearance of • danger she strikes withaheavy crashagainst the perpendicular wall of rock. Easingoff a little, and still mastered by the current, , the helpless vessel was carried up a narrow cove ending in a huge cave, into which she was carried; her towering masts, mingled, 1 with pieces of rock, being sent in splinters to the deck through contact with the roof. Of the horrors of that awful night, spent in that dismal vault, with the groaning, straini»g~-*&ip*—^ind the angry, sullen splash of the surging water ever sounding in their ears, those only who have escaped can form a just conception. At last the never doubtful contest between wood and iron and rock is over— the struggles of . the ship have but hastened her own ; destruction,— the roof of the cave has ' forced her mast through her bottom, and the hungry waters rush in. Slowly she fills, and settles down, down ; — the people ; crowd her poop, but no hope. Still the waters rise, and none can save her. At last she gives a shiver, a plunge; there is one ■ long, wild shriek^jmd all is over — the ' " General Grant" has disappeared for I ever, and her living freight • left struggling with the seething waters. Of the eighty-three souls who but a short while before were full of life, [ and life's busy projects, and all the hopes • and anticipations incident to a homeward voyage, only fifteen survived the wreck of >.. the ship, and gained a landing on the I island. Of these fifteen, four it is feared, have since perished at sea, having bravely volunteered to risk their lives in the for-. _ lorn hope of reaching these shores in a
small boat, without compass or guide of any sort, save the sun by day and the stars by night, that they might send succour to their comrades, while one died during their captivity : thus ten only have lived to tell the tale, We cannot conclude without referring to the noble manner in which the wants of the sufferers were attended to on board the Amherst. It would be superfluous to say much. It was a providential circumstance that she fell in with the poor castaways at all, and having fallen in with them, Capt. Gilroy and his company seem to have done everything which humanity could suggest and circumstances would permit to alleviate the sufferings of the strangers. It must have entailed a great sacrifice on the owners, to leave the whaling ground in the middle of the season while the ship was not nearly filled up, not to speak of the extra expense incurred in maintairing for some two months so large an addition to the brig's complement of hands. The action of the Amherst [deserves, beyond all doubt, substantiala cknowledgement at the hands ofthe Government, and will we doubt not be suitably recognised. Of the particulars of the disaster, and the survivors mode of life while on the island, their weary waiting and watching, we will leave them to speak for themselves in the following. NABBATIVE'OF THE WEECK. Eor which we are indebted to Mr James Teer, one of the passengers saved, (formerly well and favorably known as acting pilot in the early days of Hokitika) by whom the events were originally chronicled, and to Mr Wm. Murdoch Sanguily, by whom they were subsequently transcribed from the original manuscript (sealskin parchment written with charcoal) while on board tho Amherst ; The ship General Grant, Captain, Wm. H. Loughlin, left Hobson's Bay, on Eriday, May 4th, 1866, bound to London, with eighty-three souls on board. Experienced fine weather with light westerly winds until the llth, when the weather became thick and foggy, and the captain ordered a look-out for - land to be kept on the 12th, as he had taken no observation after 8 a.m. on the llth. A sharp look-out was ordered to be kept on Sunday, 13th for the land, which was sighted at ■ half past ten o'clock p.m. on the weather or port bow. The watch below was called on deck and orders given to square away the yards, to clear her from the land, which was instantly done. The land was soon lost sight of, and I went to bed. But as I had not fallen asleep I heard the man on the look-out give the cry of " Land on our starboard bow." While I was below the 'captain had hauled her bn her course again. The land had the appearance of a fog bank and it was on our lee beam, about three or four miles distant. The wind was fast falling away, and in a few minutes it was a dead calm. I afterwards noticed that in this region westerly winds fall away at night, and commence to blow with the rising sun. The land first sighted was Disappointment Island, one of the Auckland group. The captain thought he could pass between it and the Main Island, but as I mentioned before that the wind had fallen to a dead calm, the ship was totally unmanageable. The captain did all in his power, with every flaw of wind from the flapping sails, but his attempts were useless. The yards were hauled in every possible direction that might enable the getting his ship off of the shore, but all to no purpose, as the heavy S.W. . swell was constantly setting her nearer and nearer to the fatal rocks. About 12 or 1 a.m. the ship was close to the shore, and the current seemed to be setting her norl hward along the coast, until a rock stopped her progress. She touched it with her jibboom and carried it away. She then shot astern to another point, which she struck with her spanker boom and rudder, injuring severely the man at the wheel. It was just half-past one a.m. onthe 14th. The two points struck formed the entrance to a cove. Her head fell off towards the cove, and her side was rubbing againt the perpendicular rocks. Owing to the darkness, we saw nothing save the dark mass above and around us. Lamps were held over the side, as the ship was lying very easily. We could then see the overhanging rocks, and no place where a bird could rest upon $s&nr. SvmiHlnigs were~taken, andrVT think it was twenty-five fathoms un cl « r her stern, and all the while Zie kept working into the cave. Tlie boats were then thought of, W the captain finding her lying so easy, and pieces of spars and rock coming continually down, made it dangerous to attempt getting them out until daylight. The water being so smooth as we entered the cave that he concluded it was best to wait till daylight before he would be able to launch tbem. The ship continued to go farther into the cave. She caught the overhanging rocks with her fore royal mast, and carried it away; the topmast and lower mast also fell ; the stumps of the masts touching the top of the cave brought down large pieces of the rocks; one piece went through her forecastle deck, while another went through her starboard deck house. Duringthis time all on board kept aft as the after part of the ship still continued to be safe, iv early at daylight the inizzin top-gallant mast came down and at daylight the captain gave orders to get the boats in readiness. There were three boats on board, two quarter-boats, each twentytwo feet over all and five feet beam, and along boat, thirty feet keel, and six or seven feet beam. A quarter boat was then launched over the stern by means
" of a spar rigged for the; purpose. In this boat there were three men, Peter M'Nevin, Andrew Morison, and David M'Clelland A.B.S. A line and some iron = were placed in the boat to be used as an anchor, and dropped outside to haul out the other boats with, she was also to see if a landing could be made outside the cave. This boat wasp expected to return for more persons, but-owing to some misunderstanding of the orders given, she laid outside, and did not return. In the mean time, the second boat was got ready. A quantity of beef and pork, and about fifty tins of bouilli were placed on board of her. This boat was intended by the captain, for the transmission of women an children to the first boat, and then to return tb the ship. Mrs Jewell (stewardess), was made fast to a rope, and jumped into the water, her husband following her, and with the assistance ofthe » writer, both were got into the boat. Afce? her, H. Caughley, and N. Allen (passeugejg), slid down the rope into the boat. ■ These were all that could be takeniathehoat owing to the heavy sea which was getting up. This boat took five of her passengers to the other boat, leaving Mr Bartholmew Brown, CO., Mr N. Scott, Corn, Drew, A.B.s, and myself, who were to go back to the ship again for more. By this time the long boat then lying on the quarter-deck was filled with passengers, and the ship was sinking rapidly (the main mast having evidently been driven through her bottom by contact with the rocks above), till the boat with its cargo was floated off her decks. Owing to the small space in the cave we were obliged to wait till the long boat was quite clear of the ship, but the sea breaking over her filled her with water, and she was swamped when about 100 yards from the ship. We then went as near the boat as it was safe to go and saved three of the passengers, being all who were able to swim through the surf to us. L. Ash worth, nassenger, William Sanguily and Aaron Hay man, two ofthe crewi Mr Brown wished to go to the ship to save his wife who was on board ■ and also the Captain who was seen in the mizzen topmast crosstrees. The hull of the ship was under water. The rest of us , wished to save some of those in the water, , but in a few minutes they were i no more. One man was seen on the bottom of the boat and we i made, signals to the outer boat to save him, but prudence forbade them from , rendering him any assistance, as the boat i was so near the rocks, with the sea break- , ing heavily. When the mate wished again to return to the ship, we thought it i useless, as we were unable to render . assistance, and placed ourselves in great danger owing to the heavy sea and the constant increase of wind. While outside deliberating upon what was best to be i done, I had an opportunity of seeing the 1 whole of the cave. The rocks around it, I think, were about 400 feet high, and overhanging. The ship was in underneath ; these about two lengths of herself. The i coast, as far as *we could see, was high, ■ perpendicular rocks, and we saw no po3si- • bility of landing. We now consulted i with each other, and with those in the ■ other boat, upon what was best to be done. We concluded we could not assist i those inside, as it was only endangering ourselves, owing to the constant increase of sea and wind. We thought it best to . pull to Disappointment Island, about six miles distant in a westerly direction. We had more trouble than we anticipated to get there; our boat having such a quantity of beef and pork and bouilli tins in her and seven men, it was only with incessant baling we could keep out the water which from time to time she lifted. Once or twice she was all but full, and at . last we gave up and intended to run our chance among the rocks to leeward, trying at the same time to get as far towards the north . end of the island as possible, hoping to find a beach where some might get ashore ; but as we proceeded to the northward, we saw that the sea and wind were decreasing. We again pulled head to wind, and seeing a large rock about one and ahalf miles distant to the N.E. of Disappointment Island we pulled for it, and reached it just at dark. The other boat, which, like ourselves, had given up, before it moderated, came to the island about twenty minutes after we did. At this place we put in a most miserable night, wet and cold, and without a drink of water. We. opened some bouilli tins but little of their contents were eaten. We were obliged to keep on our oars all night so as to prevent our being blown off the land. At daylight on the 15th we attempted to pull round the north end of the main island, but owing to the increasing sea and wind during the night we could make but about half a mile after an hour's pull. We turned back and during the day we were able - io reaca jJisappomtment iguana wnerewe found good shelter, but on attempting to make a landing with the boat containing the provisions she was capsized. We were able to save but three pieces of pOrk and nine bouilli tins. The other boat regained the swamped one, baled her out, and her crew got on board again from the rocks. We afterwards landed, got some water, but were not able to procure any wood for a fire. The wind was falling away, and about 10 a-m. it. was a dead calm. We pulled away, and succeeded in rounding the north end of the island (main) and entered a place called | North Harbor; but, not thinking it afitj place to stop at, at daylight on the 16th j started again, and Teached Port Boss. On that evening camped within quarter of a mile of the trees marked byf the steamers Victoria and Southland, on Enderby's old settlement, but did not notice them at that time. Had a few matches : tried one and it lighted, but, as we had no dry brush or grass in readiness, it was wasted. Gathered some dry wood and grass, but could get but one match out of all that remained to light. Erom this one match we obtained a fire, which, by constant care, we never allowed to go out during the eighteen months we were on the island. Boiled one or two birds
obtained on Disappointment Island, and one tin of bouilli. Gathered some limpets, which were cooked with tbe birds in the empty bouilli tins. This was our first meal after three days and two nights of suffering, and never did sumptuous repast taste better to a king than did this frugal meal to us. On the 17th gathered some limpets and made our breakfast. Having now but seven tins of bouilli, we. kept them for cases of sickness. Pulling along the south side of the bay, we fell in with an old hut: the walls had -fallen in, and the roof rested on the rafters. We left one boat and nine persons to fix up the hut and arrange it for the night. The other boat started in search of a better shelter, and were fortunate enough to find some old huts, one of which was in pretty good condition. We went back with the news, gathered some limpets, took our supper, and retired to rest on a shake down of grass just gathered. Nextmorning, 18th, made a breakfast on limpets, when one bf the boats started to explore, and the other boat started for the hut. This ,- day fortune again favored us. We killed four seals on the sandy beach at Enderby's Island : saw the goats which the "Victoria had landed there, but we did not succeed in catching any of them. Saturday, 19. —Pulled round Enderbys Island in search of Musgrave's hut, but we knew not at this time where it was situated. We intended leaving no spot on the island without a thorough search, as we expected to find there a depot for clothing and provisions. I may here mention some of us V were without shoes or stockings, while some had neither these nor coats or hats to keep them warm in a cold and wet climate. We had four or five knives anlohgstus. Our only cooking utensils consisted, of four or five empty bouilli tins. We were able to roast the seal onthe fire, and boil some so as to drink the broth, but the worst thing Was the want ot salt. Sunday, 20th.— Bested; from our labors as we. were nearly knocked :up. Monday, 21.— Andrew Morison, Cornelius Drew, P. M'Nevin, David M'Clelland, Wm. Eerguson and I started to go along the coast (east) to seek for Musgrave's hut, looking in all the bays as we' proceeded. Night coming on we camped, havingbrought fire in the boat. We also brought some cooked seal and a piece of pork, which was saved from the boat which was capsized. 22 rid.—Remained here, owing to the weather. 23rd. — Started again, but were obliged to put back on account of thick fog which was coming on. The seal being finished, we were obliged to gather shell-fish. Mussles were plentiful, and seal could not be got. 24th. — Again started. All of lis were taken sick with dysentry. Made but little progress. In the afternoon it rained and blew very hard, arid we put in a small bay about five miles to the north of Carnley's Harbor. Here we got a seal, but being all sick, we eat sparingly, as we fancied the seal was unhealthy. We passed a miserable night, wet and cold. We found the remains of an old miami where we fancied some unfortunates like ourselves had camped. 25th. — Took some raw seal and again started. On coming to the entrance of Musgrave's Bay, we were unable to go further. We did not know at this tnne this wasthebaywe were in search of, being so much reduced by toil and dysentry, we gave up the search. We were., so weak we could scarcely lift our oars out of the water, lt was then we. found relief from the pieced of pork' which had been for so long hoarded up; Some were unable, owing to sickness, to eat even their small allowance ; while those who ate it found relief and gained strength, enabling us to null to one of the bays, w-here we camped for the. night. 26th.— Started again, but were not able to reach home. Camped in a small bay about -five miles north of the place left that morning. Here we killed a seal. We remained here till the 28th, when we arrived home. We found here all sick, like ourselves ; and, in fact, they were reduced to mere skeletons, and we did not know each other after an absence of eight days. All things have an end. It was wonderful to see how fast we improved when we got a little used to our new - mode of life. Still thought Musgrave's hut could be found. Made an attempt td make a sail of the New Zealand flax, which grows in' small quantities at the old settlements. During this time some of = those barefooted tried to : make shoes out of the seal's skin,- but did not succeed very well. One day I thought of the mocassin and made a pair for P. M'Nevin. Soon after this all hands were able to make them for themselves. These, were good substitutes during our stay^on the island. I made some : needles from the bone of the albatross ; also some salt. The salt was made in a piece of an old " broken-pot wlaiok -I found at- the hut. It held half a pint of water at a time, therefore the quantity made was small and useless. 26th of June.— A sail ■ having been made from the seal's skin, one of the boats again started in search of Musgrave's hut. I was unwell, and therefore did not go in the boat. After much suffering from the inclemency of the weather and camping out in the rain, snow and wet, the long looked for hut was found on the llth of July. But picture our disappointment, instead of finding a well stocked depot we found nothing of value except an old. boiler, . afterwards used to boil salt in and some old canvass which lined the inside of the hut, all else having been carried away. The boat returned on the 13th. But during the absence of the boat we were searching around home with our other ■boat. We found the papers and the trees marked by the Victoria and Southland at ;the old settlement, where we learned that there was nothing of any value to us left by them, and that we might give up all hopes of either steamers returning to these islands. Saw some pigitracks at the head of the bay, but no pigs. When the boat returned, ,they jwere all well, and when we were told, what was left in the hut, we offered up many a hearty prayer.
On the return of the boat's crew they wished all hanJs to go to Musgrave's hut as it was larger than ours, and the seal were more plentiful on thatpart of theisiand. Afteralittleconsideration it was decided that half were to stop, and the other half to go to Mußgrave's hut, so as to keep a look-out for passing ships, or a sealer that micht enter at either end of the Tsland. 14th of July Some who were away in the boat wished to see the papers left by the steamers ; went to the settlement, and while there they were fortunate enough to find an oven belonging to a stove; this made a good pot for cooking in. During the boat's absence we visited a small island lying between Enderby's and the main island, where an old hut was fonnd all ready fitted up with three bunks, some wearing apparel, a few old bouilli tins, an old adze, and a sp-vde. The hut appeared as though recently vacated, as the hind part of a seal was still hanging to a tree. Babbits were very numerous, butwehadno meansof catchin" any ; we gave it the name of Babbit Island. 18th went to Enderby's for seal, and caught three kids, and found one dead ; we tied up those that were alive thinking to catch the old ones Bucklin'' them, but as the boat started back to Musgrave's on the 19th, did not go back till the day after- One kid was dead, but we caught the mother ofthe two other kids, and brought them home. A few days later iound another oven at the settlement, and some galvanized iron, from which we made frying pans ; the oven was used to make salt in. After this the weather was very cold, and we could seldom get a day to go for Beal as we were obliged to use the boat for this purpose ; no seal could be got where we were living. Nearly all our time was employed in mending clothes. At night we crawled into our grassy beds huddling close to one another to keep warm, the hut being colder than when the Othereightwerethere. The eightatMusgrive'shut, I imagine, lived pretty mucn as we did, but as I was not there I am unable to give the particulars of their mode of living, but when I mention our mode of living I suppose theirs is the same. Ist September— Caught a goat and brought her home, having then four live animals sharing our hut with us. We tried every means to manufacture seal's skin into clothes as those we had left were aii threadbare, and the skins we had to keep us warm at night were like boards. We scrubbed them with sand, and scraped them with glass, but to no purpose. At last I hit upon a successful plan. I was trying to get a patch for mv trousers, and thought of paring the skins with a* knife, but I cut a hole in every square inch ; I saw the plan would an swer byparing the dried skins close to the roots of the hair ; the skin was then very soft, and by perseverance and practice I. found that we would be able to make clothes much better than we imagined. On September 19th, alter seven weejks of very severe weather, the boatretarned from Musgrave's bringing some seal, thinking we might be short, owing to their scarcity, but they found us all right. ..Weather being fine they started the next morning, and reached tbe hut at midnight. F. P. Caughey, D. Ashworth, and in fact nearly all of us were taken sick with a swelling of the limbs, which commenced at the stomach, and worked its way to the legs, and feet, rendering them almost helpless. At first thought it was the scurvy, as the swollen parts when any pressure came upon them retained the indentation made for quite a long time ; but we have since found out that the disease is known to whalers by the name of the "cobbler." The weather being fine, we were able to go about in search of anything useful. On Enderby's we killed some fur seal, the skins of which when pared made blankets. We found a couple of files, a gun flint, and one or twp old knives at the old huts. We made some tinder, ■which, saved each man the trouble of a two hour's watch over the fire at nighc. October 6th — While at Babbitt Island a ship was seen, fires were started on the island, four of us took the boat and made a chase but could not catch her. She must have seen the smoke, as we were within a couple of miles from her, and as she was passing us we hoisted the sail to attract her attention, but on she went leaving us to pull home in very lowspirits. This caused visits to be paid to Babbit Island very often. There we got a number of rabbits by knocking them over with sticks. As spring set in we got some sea- fowls eggs, which were a great change, and caught quite a number of fish. About November Ist, we c ught another goat, and on the Bth of December, the other boat returned for good. We were at this time able to make coats, vests and trousers out of the seal's skin. Those who had been at Musgrave's had nothing made of seal's skin, but after making some sails for the boat they patched up their clothes with the remaining pieces of canvas. ODe day while at the old huts, which had been burned, when gathering nails, found an axe; and the same day those at home got one in the stump of an old tree in front of the hut we lived in. We commenced to fit up the boat for a passage to New Zealsnd, as before the summer was over she was expected to start — D.V. The boat left on January 22nd, '67, not being able to start before on account of the weather. Her crew consisted of Bartholomew Brown, chief-officer, William Newton Scott, Andrew Morrison, Peter M'Nevin, A.B's. The boat had been decked over with seal's skin. They carried about 30 gallons of water in seal's gullets, also some seal's meat, and the flesh of three goats, and about twenty dozen of eggs — all cooked. There was also a very small stove made by W. N. Scott, and some charcoal to burn in it. They had no compass or nautical instrument pf any sort. They did not know the course as they thought that steering east-north-east would bring them to New Zealand, but since we have learned that the course was north, or a little to the west of north. When the boat left the wind was S.W., but it shifted the first night to the N.W. with rain. It blew very hard most of the night. On the 23rd it shifted to the S.W. and remained so till the 29th with fine weather, giving them ample time to reach New Zealand if they survived the first night. There is a possibility that they might have made Campbell Islands, as they are about 100 miles iv au easterly direction, if so they are most likely there -still. After the boat was away about five weeks we began to give her up, and thought of keeping a look-out on Enderby's for passing ships, and where seal might be procured without the constant use of the boat, ' which we were obliged to take great care of. Bth March — Went to Enderby's and built two huts, also built a small hut for a lookout station, where a look-out was kept from daylight till dark all the time we were on the island, the men taking itTtr- tnrnr — "On the 23id of April we gathered a pile of wood for lighting as a signal, in case a ship was seen. When the huts were being built we went to North Harbor in search of boards along the beach, and saw quite a number of pigs. We caught a small one, and were within five or six feet of several largs ones, but could catch none. Any Bort of weapon would have been of great use. Seal being very plentiful on Enderby's we bad but little trouble in procuring enough to eat. Before the winter set in we went to Musgrave's and brought some casks, and the old boiler for making salt in. Salted some seal down, and it was well we did so, as the winter was very severe. Had we been living at the old hut we should probably have been obliged quite often to have gone without anything to eat, as there were three or four weeks together the boat could not have been used. Our original woollen< clothes being all worn out, it took us all our time to mend and manufacture seal's skin coats, and make thread from the New Zealand flax. About this time we found, on the mainland on a point inside Enderby's Island, a stave on which was written with charcoal the words "Minerva— 4 men, 1 officer— Leith— May 10th, 1864r-March 25th, 1865." A man's name had evidently been added, but was illegible. From the relative position of the words, our impression was, that the word Leith had reference to the man or meu, and not to the Minerva. During the month of June we caught a email pig, which was kept three months before she was killed. Onthe 3rd of September, 1867, David M'Lelland, an old man of 62, who had passed through all our hardships, departed this life. This sad event, owing to its suddenness, and which by many was entirely unexpected, cast a feeling of deep gloom upon us. He was buried upon the sand hill on
Enderby Island. Previous to his death he stated that he was born in Ayr, Scotland, and had, for some years, boen employed by the firm of Messrs Todd and M'Gregor in Glasgow. His wife still resides in Partick, Glasgow. We were badly off for some means of capturing the pigs, but aflast hit upon the following plan : — We had seen them in the bay several times and could catch none ; I at last proposed a "hook," which was ridiculed by some, but I determined to try it, and as I had some pieces of old iron, that from time to time were nicked up, I got a half-inch bolt and pointed it, bent it in the shape of as good a hook as might be expected under the circumstances, and then made a flax line, secured it to the hook, and made the hook slightly fast to a pole 10 feet long. A few days later we saw pigs on the beach, tried che hook and found it a success. I hooked a fine sow, the rod pulling from the fastening of the hoot, leaving her fast to the rope ; also caught a small one. We all made hooks, but as the weather was still bad we were unable to get out to the place where the pigs were most plentiful. Threa or four weeks later, on going along the shore we got another pig. We had not our hooks ready but as he took to the water we caught him by means of the boat. Next day were prepared with our hooks— saw seven and caught three, proving the success of our weapon for 3 ig hunting. Two days after this went to North Hsrbor, or as we have named it, Pig Bay. Killed two large pigs and brought home nine small ones alive. Had we been accustomed to the hooks we would have got many more. Following week killed seven and brought five small ones alive home. Wv>re not out again for two weeks ; this time was taken up in fixing our pig-yards and in planting our potatoes. I forgot to mention that about the old huts in different parts of the island which had been previously used as gardens by the old settlers, we found some very small • potatoes growing wild. Marked the place? where they grew, and when ripe gathered them for seed. About this time we sent off a small boat in the hope that some vessel might pick it up, and thus barn of our existence. We subsequently sent off another small boat and at various times we sent off the inflated bladders of ths pigs and goats we killed with a slip of wood attached to them. The boats were formed of a rough piece of wood, about three feet long, to which by way of keel, I attached a heavy piece of iron so as to trim the little craft by the stern, to keep her before the wind, a short stout mast with a tin sail completed the little vessel. On the deck of the boat was carved the ship's name, date, and place of wreck, number of survivors, and the date on which the boat itself was launched. The same particulars were also punched with a nail into the tin sail, and carved on the labels attached to the bladders. We also put the words " want relief" cm the bows of the boats and on the sails and labels. Another boat and several bladders were ready. to be sent adrift when we were taken off by the Amherst. All the seeds planted by the Southland are dead. The next time we were at Pig Bay, nine pigs were killed, and caught. 3 small ones. It rained hard in the afternoon. We took shelter, and it did not clear till the next morning. After standing round the fire all night, in the morning felt more like sleeping than pig-hunting, so we started for home. We salted the pigs down. We were preparing to go out again and build a hut to shelter us from the rain as we intended to salt all the pigs we got for a winter's stock. We were to let loose all the small ones on Enderby's to stock the island. Seal were getting scarce and our troubles were soon to end. 19th November the man on the look-out sighted a sail to the eastward of the island which afterwards proved to be the " Fanny" (cutter) bound to this island, but as she passed on without seeming to notice the smoke we made as a signal to her we began to give up all hopes not knowing that relief was so near at hand. On the 21st November sighted the brig Amherst, Captain P. Gilroy, of Invercargill, running along the land from the southward. The boat was launched, and we pulled and got on board. We were very kindly received by both officers and crew. On the following morning, after nearly nineteen ' months of the severest hardships all of us were taken aboard. 22nd — Let loose the pigs upon the island for the benefit of others. When al of us were aboard, we had such clothes given us as could be well spared by both the officers andcrew of the brig A mherst. For these were we and are most thankful. * Everything aboard was given with the greatest kindness, and in fact we could not be better treated by them. December s—We5 — We saw the Fanny (cutter) in Carnley's Harbor. The captain having seen the papers left by the Victoria at Musgrave's, on the back of which we had written our names, where we were, and the name of ship in which we were wrecked, had put his casks ashore, and was on. the way to look for us when we saw him. For this we feel greatly thankful to Captain Ackers and the crew ofthe " Fanny Cutter."
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WRECK OF THE GENERAL GRANT AT THE AUCKLAND ISLANDS, 18 MONTHS AGO., Southland Times, Issue 882, 15 January 1868
WRECK OF THE GENERAL GRANT AT THE AUCKLAND ISLANDS, 18 MONTHS AGO. Southland Times, Issue 882, 15 January 1868
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