Peter Plowman’s excellent feature about the former Isles of Scilly passenger vessel, Queen of the Isles (February 2015 issue of Sea Breezes) certainly brought back memories of my all too brief time in her.
During the Southern Winter of 1987, I was standing by a laid up vessel at Tauranga, New Zealand. This ship was secured alongside the Queen of the Isles which had just been sold to an Australian buyer. One morning, whilst attending on board the laid up ship, I was approached by the Queen’s new owner who wanted a man with a Foreign Going Master’s Certificate to take charge of delivering his new acquisition to Cairns in Queensland. Anyway, I accepted the job.
Unfortunately, Mr Plowman is a little adrift as far as dates are concerned. In giving his account of the passage to Australia, he gives the departure date from Tauranga as 31st July 1987. Well, we actually departed on 7th August. The call at Opua for engine repairs is also mentioned, however, we left there on 10th August and not on 7th August. We duly arrived at Cairns after an ideal Tasman Sea crossing on 17th August 1987. On consulting my records for this passage, I see that the diversion to Opua lost us one day 9hrs & 48 minutes and that an extra 91 miles were steamed. We had actually passed the port when it was decided to divert in order to effect repairs to the starboard engine.
The picture of the Queen ashore at Honiara really is a sorry sight. In spite of the fact that she would, as old seafarers used to say ‘roll on wet grass’ she was a good little ship. Along with Andrew Bell’s feature on the Queen of the Isles in the October 2011 edition of Sea Breezes and this fairly recent story by Peter Plowman, it seems to me as though the history of the ship has been well documented.
16 Stableford Drive, Pye’s Pa
Tauranga, Bay of Plenty
New Zealand 3112