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Maid of Otago Wreck 1886

MAID OF OTAGO, schooner: Totally wrecked on Howells Rocks, off Stirling Point, Bluff Harbour, on September 23, 1886. The schooner was bound from Dunedin to Riverton, and shortly before midnight a strong easterly wind sprang up, which rapidly increased to a strong gale, and the night was intensely dark. The schooner ran into Bluff Harbour for shelter, and as she neared the red light at Stirling Point the master was evidently deceived by the distance of the land, keeping too close to the point. As a result, the vessel was supposed to have struck the remains of the wrecked steamer Pelham. The crew landed at the Pilot Station. The schooner broke up quickly, the beach being strewn with cargo and portions of the vessel.

The Maid of Otago, No. 61,004, was a topsail schooner of 50 tons register, built at Port Chalmers in 1870, and her dimensions were : length 71.4 ft., beam 17.4 ft., depth 6.6 ft. She was owned by Mr. D. McLeod, of Dunedin, and was a regular trader between that port, Invercargill and Riverton. Captain John Fraser commanded the vessel.

The Government schooner Kekeno went ashore practically at the same time. She entered Bluff after a three-months' cruise to the outlying islands, reaching the lower anchorage shortly before midnight. During the gale the vessel's cable parted, and she was driven ashore. At high water the Kekeno was standing upright, with the seas washing over her. She was subsequently refloated and repaired at Bluff.


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