Gold Ribbon Banner
Sunday, August 18, 2019
HMNZS Monowai

Murray Robinson’s detailed very professional account of these two ships bring back colourful memories of sailing briefly in both ships.

The Lachlan did valiant, essential survey work around the NZ coast for some years literally updating Captain Cook’s charts. The latter charts were exemplary for the time, given the basic navigational gear Cook had at his disposal. James Cook, the master surveyor, can rightly take credit for charting most of New Zealand’s coastline. As the New Zealand Herald’s maritime correspondent, I volunteered to do a few days on board the Lachlan in mid-winter when she was engaged in a survey at Spirits Bay near Cape Reinga.

I joined her at Russel in the Bay of Islands when she was temporarily laid up sheltering from a nasty mid winter storm. Myself and a few sailors, who had been on leave, were ferried out by her two small inshore survey launches. The engines of one failed just after leaving the wharf, so we had to tow the broken down craft at a snail’s pace with her boat load of sailors, a few miles to the anchored Lachlan. Her Captain, Commander ‘Bubbles’ Munro, an ex Port Line man, laid on a traditional wardroom dinner to impress me of the hospitality on board.

The Lachlan was one of those sparse and crude small naval ships built in times of great austerity of a typical war time designed craft. She was a useful craft, though very prone to weather conditions. On a race to rescue some smitten crew members from the ill fated coaster Maranui, a forward part of the Lachlan’s superstructure was stove in by big seas and she had to run for shelter.

I woke with a sore head after the Wardroom Party to be told the weather was improving and we would make our way to Cape Reinga. From experience sailing in Union Steam Ship Company Ltd ships, I knew it would be pretty wild there. The Kaitawa, my old ship, had sunk in rough seas just around the corner at Pandora Bank! The Lachlan clawed her way around the coast and I was told, because she had lost time at the Bay of Islands riding out the storm, it meant I could not be dropped off as planned in a week’s time, but had the choice of leaving at North Cape or staying another three weeks. I chose the former as the editor of the Herald an ex Navy Man himself might had thought I was swinging the lead.

“The Bosun’s Mate will organise some transport for you to get ashore” Bubbles told me. The Bosun’s Mate suggested I don waterproof clothing for the occasion. It was an understatement and when he told me we would go ashore in the ships zodiac, I began to realise it could be a pretty exciting landing. Prompt on time, the Bosun’s Mate had organised an Able Seaman complete in scuba suit and lifejacket to do the job. The AB was appalled that I was wearing corduroy trousers and a waterproof anorak. He looked heavenward. I was briefly tempted to tell him I was ex Merchant Navy and used to that sort of thing, but I was definitely not used to surf boat landings in storms. He gave me a large polythene bag to put my small non waterproof bag in and I took off my shoes and rolled up my trousers. I must have looked like one of those old ancient Giles cartoons of a father taking his family sailing!

I could feel the heat of the AB’s disapproval on my back. “You may have to save my life if we can-out” I advised him. He grumped half in joke and part in a belief that this was a real possibility. A very big swell was running and a few matelots got up early and positioned themselves on the upper deck to watch the sport of the day. I managed to leap into the tossing and bucking zodiac without damaging anything or anyone and in a few seconds, we were gunning the zodiac at speed towards the storm battered beach. The seas looked enormous, but there was a regular pattern to them which the AB locked into preferring to ride in the troughs between two big swells at the bottom of the swells. I could hardly see the beach for spray and foam.

“We are going to land there” – he pointed to a smallish bay, its beach smothered in broiling surf. Under his expert hands, the AB positioned the zodiac on the back of a very large breaker and literally surfed in and landed so high up the beach I could step ashore without getting my feet wet – well almost.

My brief voyage in HMNZS Monowai was at the opposite end of the scale. She was virtually a ‘Royal Yacht’ for a Vice Regal Tour of the Cook Islands, taking the New Zealand Governor General, Sir David Beatie, on a round of engagements to the islands. This was some years after the Lachlan voyage and again, I was doing a story for the New Zealand Herald in my role as maritime correspondent. Both yarns are contained in my book The Last of a Salty Breed. The Monowai was by far, a much more comfortable ship and the Cook Islands a far better place to visit in the winter than surveying the New Zealand coast between breaks in the ferocious storms of a rugged shore line.

ROY VAUGHAN
21 Pearson St, Mangawhai 0505
Kaipara, New Zealand
E-Mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

For more letters, see the latest edition of Sea Breezes Magazine
Click here to subscribe

Subscribe Graphic

Latest Issue - Look Inside!

Boudicca

Most Popular

  • Lifeboat Withdrawn After Some Crew Stood Down +

  • Scorpene Sub Snags +

  • New Crane Lifts Business Growth +

  • Test Spells The End of Paper Bills of Lading +

  • An Unexpected Job in Cuba +

  • 1
  • 2

Latest Products

Maritime Log

  • Lifeboat Withdrawn After Some Crew Stood Down +

    Peterhead Lifeboat Peterhead lifeboat has been taken out of action by the RNLI. Read More
  • Test Spells The End of Paper Bills of Lading +

    CargoX Demo It is possible to stop using the paper Bill of Lading according to a test of CargoX’s blockchain-based Smart Bill Read More
  • New Crane Lifts Business Growth +

    Hull Port A new £3.5mn hybrid Liebherr crane has been delivered to Associated British Ports (ABP) for operation at Hull to support Read More
  • Crowds Tribute to the Last Tyne +

    Annie Blaker The last of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution’s famous Tyne class lifeboats was launched for the last time at her Read More
  • Clyde’s Vital Role in Onshore Windfarm +

    Clydeport Clydeport has played a vital role in the building of the UK’s largest onshore windfarm on Eaglesham Moor, just 20 Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3

North America

  • Record Set by Largest US Ship for Hawaii Service +

    Lurline The largest combination container, roll-on, roll-off ship ever built in the United States was formerly named in a ceremony at Read More
  • $293mn for Port Projects +

    Long Beach port The United States is to invest $292.7mn in the country’s ports through a new Port Infrastructure Development Programme. Read More
  • Facility Exports First Cargo of Propane to Japan +

    Sumire Gas The first marine export facility for propane in Canada has been officially opened. Read More
  • Changes in Tolls for Using Panama Canal +

    MSC Pohlin The Panama Canal plans to modify its tolls structure for all types of ships “to better serve the global maritime Read More
  • Largest LNG Carrier Sails From West to East +

    Al Safliya The largest LNG tanker to use the Panama Canal since it was expanded less that three years ago passed through Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3

Asia-Pacific

  • Line Adds Automated Power Kite to Propulsion +

    Airseas The Japanese shipping company Kawasaki Kisen KK (K Line) aims to cut ship greenhouse gas emissions with automated power kites. Read More
  • ONE Express to North Sea and Baltic +

    ONE Apus The Japanese shipping line Ocean Network Express (ONE) was due to start an enhanced North Sea Baltic Service with Russia Read More
  • MOL Links with Russian Uni for Crew Training +

    Makarov University The Japanese shipping company Mitsui OSK Lines (MOL) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with a Russian university on co-operation Read More
  • “Prelude” Makes its Debut With First LNG Cargo +

    Prelude The first shipment of liquefied natural gas (LNG) has left Shell’s floating LNG facility Prelude some 475kms north-east of Broome Read More
  • Special Navigating System to be Fitted to VLCCs +

    AR Nav Following two-ship trials, augmented reality (AR) navigation systems are to be installed on 21 very large crude oil carriers (VLCCs) Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3

Naval Focus

  • Scorpene Sub Snags +

    INS Khanderi indian News The troubled Scorpene class submarine program hit another snag in June. Read More
  • US Navy’s Frigate Program Passes Significant Hurdle +

    USS Minneapolis-St Paul US News The US Navy has unveiled its plans for the purchase of a new frigate known as FFG(X). Read More
  • Fourth Dreadnought Named HMS “King George VI” +

    Dreadnought Class UK News The fourth member of the new Dreadnought class of nuclear powered ballistic missile submarines will bear the name Read More
  • US Navy Orders Flight II Landing Platform Dock +

    LDP30 American News The contract for the construction of LPD30, the first Flight II Landing Platform Dock of the San Antonio Read More
  • US Navy Seeks Faster Ship Delivery +

    FFGX Rendering American News The future frigate program for the US Navy is getting fully underway and some idea of the urgency Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3

Ferry World

  • Fragile Future for Calmac +

    Isle of Arran TMore and more, I am reading reports that say the media, and the public too, are well aware of the Read More
  • Oscar Goes to Italy +

    Oscar Wilde Irish Continental Group has entered into a bareboat hire purchase agreement for the sale of its 1987-built Oscar Wilde to Read More
  • CalMac Heritage +

    Columba I include a fine poster and artist’s image of the famed Macbrayne paddler Columba. Read More
  • Russian Adventure +

    Ocean Adventurer To the North East Coast and arriving at Aberdeen for the first time for many months, I witnessed a passenger Read More
  • Windemere Jetties +

    Osprey and Branksome Last month I commented on the new setting of the classic collection of mainly steam boats held at Windermere. Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3

Sail Review/Coastal Comment

  • The Green Band of Marstal +

    Bessie Ellen The Danish Maritime Museum had the schooner Bonavista built on the island of Aero at Marstal and this year they Read More
  • Norweigan National Day +

    Thorodd I was in Montrose on the Norwegian National Day, 17 May, when its independent constitution from Sweden was confirmed in Read More
  • Port of Aberdeen Fifty Years On +

    Aberdeen Harbour Extension Project When I first arrived in Aberdeen in 1968, I couldn’t believe my luck. Read More
  • Thames Tributary Barges +

    Lady of the Lea Most of the rivers flowing into the Thames had their own barge type. Read More
  • Dry Rot and Dry Dock +

    HMS Victory For some time Victory, the 110gun ship of the line, has had trouble with dry rot and is in danger Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3

From the Lookout

  • President Opens ‘Largest UK Ship Simulation Centre’ +

    Sir Michael Bibby With the training of seafarers being so important to safety at sea, and in particular navigation equipment and bridge procedures, Read More
  • Hands-Free Mooring at St Lawrence Seaway +

    St Lawrence Seaway I feel there are probably many readers, like me, who feel a shiver down their spine when they think of Read More
  • Flying the Flag on Merchant Navy Day +

    Red Ensign For more than 35 years, it has been my immense privilege to be a local Isle of Man committee member Read More
  • Lifeline Cash for “Waverley” Agreed +

    Waverley The Paddle Steamer Preservation Society (PSPS) has announced that it will provide immediate funding to support efforts to “Save The Read More
  • Viking Glory Celebrates Keel Laying +

    Front Altair The construction of Viking Glory is proceeding on schedule. Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3

Cruise News/Superyacht News

  • Boudicca Pays Tribute to D-Day Veterans +

    Boudicca Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines were proud to have played its part in hosting 250 D-Day veterans. Read More
  • Captain of a Modern Passenger Carrying Sail Ship +

    Sea Cloud 2 If you have ever wondered what qualities a Captain of a cruise vessel might need to have listed on his Read More
  • Every Ash Cloud Has A Silver Lining +

    The ash cloud crisis continues to cause uncertainty as we see sporadic closures of airspace and cancelled flights, and this Read More
  • Damen Group Superyachts +

    Amels With 25 projects underway, business is booming for Amels, the Dutch luxury yacht builder. Read More
  • Singer Andrea Bocelli Trades Up in Size +

    Stella del Nord Andrea Bocelli, the blind Italian tenor and song writer whose work spans both popular music and classical opera is a Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3

Ships, Ports and Places

Cuba

An Unexpected Job in Cuba

In 1948, I joined the MV Yamaska Park as an EDH and, over the first few days aboard, I became Read More
Suez Canal

The Creation of the Suez Canal - Part Two

IAt the end of 1858, the company’s Works Committee convened for the first time. It included an impressive assembly of Read More
  • 1
  • 2

Companies, Events and Other Features

MV Laganbank

Bank Line's Building Boom

50 British built ships over a ten-year period from 1957 to 1967. Read More
Images by UWE JACOBS (Denmark)

Sharks! Sharks!

Are sharks “friendly” creatures, as has become customary in recent years to classify them? Personally speaking, I have encountered quite Read More
  • 1
  • 2