I READ WITH INTEREST the story by Bill Deed of the wreck of the HMS Orpheus on the Manukau Bar (Sea Breezes March 2013 and letters to the Editor June 2013).
During the 1960s I was involved with the hydrographic surveying, as Launchmaster for the Auckland Harbour Board, on the Waitemata and Manukau Harbours (both Auckland) which on several occasions took us out to the harbour side of Manukau’s Bar.
During the early 1960s a fishing trawler came in across the Manukau Bar with her nets still down. The sea was smooth but there was a lift coming in from the Tasman Sea. Part way across, the net fouled on a heavy object, so the vessel slowed down and hauled the obstruction to the surface and found it to be a large two bladed propeller. Unfortunately, as the propeller was hitting the fishing boat so as to endanger her, the net was cut and left to drop back to the sea bed, and it is no doubt still down there.
The Orpheus propeller was two bladed which could be, when sailing, put vertical so as to be in behind the stern post. The propeller, when in this position, was also able to be hauled up vertically into a recess above and be completely clear of the water, where it could not cause any drag.
Years ago I saw a model of the HMS Orpheus in, I think, the old building of the Auckland Public Library in Wellesley Street. This more clearly showed the propeller and the system of lifting it.
NEIL S HUDSON
39 Ranui Avenue
Kerikeri 0230, New Zealand