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HMS Pandora's Survey - North Island, Hawke's Bay, New Zealand  

Hawke's Bay, New Zealand was surveyed in the 1850's by Commander B. Drury in H.M.S. Pandora, a two masted Packet Brig built in 1833 Greenwich, England by Woolrich Dockyard, and launched 04-July 1833. She was 90 feet long, 29 feet wide and of 319 tons.

From 20 December 1850 to 5 June 1856 Pandora was commanded by Commander Byron Drury. Here is his report.

The following Directions for the Coast from Poverty Bay to the Mahia Peninsula and Hawke's Bay, by Commander B. Drury, of H.M.S. Pandora, are from the New Zealand Government Gazette, of January 4, 1856:

From Poverty Bay to the neck of the Mahia Peninsula, the coast is bold, and may be approached as near as convenient; twenty-four fathoms at two miles distant, and ten fathoms at one mile; but there is no landing until reaching Mahanga, which is within half a mile of the neck.

On the north coast of the peninsula there is a good roadstead at Wangawai, three miles west of Table Cape, anchorage in ten fathoms mud, one mile north of the river, Table Cape bearing E. 1/2 S. affording shelter in south and west winds, and safe during the ordinary sea breeze; but care must be taken to leave on the approach of easterly winds. The "Governor Hobson," schooner, was swamped, and all hands lost, in 1845; by holding on too long she was driven upon a patch of shifting sand, on which the sea broke in five fathoms, one and a half miles north-west of Wangawai, and about three quarters of a mile from the shore. Small coasters can enter Wangawai, it affords anchorage in six feet.

Between Wangawai and Table Cape the ground is foul,--rocks extend north of the cape, awash for near a mile, and the east coast of Mahia to Portland Island is studded with off-lying dangers.

We first come to a reef three miles south of the Table Cape, extending three quarters of a mile off Taiporutu. One mile farther south is a detached reef three and a half miles long; the outer ledge two miles from the shore, and leaving a channel within, half a mile broad, sometimes taken by coasters, but not recommended; the northern extreme of the rocks are six feet above water, the rest covered and only occasionally breaking. Three miles south-easterly of this ledge is a rock seen by Captain Cook. 1 We ascertained the true position of this isolated danger; it is 3 3/4 miles N. 78 deg. E. of the south point of the Mahia, and 4 1/4 miles N. 45 deg. E. of the south extreme of Portland; we found 20 fathoms within one-third of a mile round it. We came across another reef midway between it and the extreme of Mahia. The latter appears to be a narrow ledge extending a cable north and south, a channel within, its centre is two miles N. 70 E. from the south of Mahia, these rocks have at least eight feet of water on them, and only break when there is a swell. We sounded a channel between Portland and the Mahia of six fathoms, and a quarter of a mile in width. The rocks extending from Portland and the Mahia show, and the channel is more on the Mahia shore.

If a vessel is caught in a souther, and cannot weather Portland, this route is available, but as it leads among the rocks before-mentioned, it is not to be recommended. The tide sets through with a force of two knots, ebbs to the south-east across the Portland reef.

The south extreme of Portland is foul, but not above half a mile from the shore.

We found a shoal path in Long Point Bay, with 2 3/4 fathoms on it, N.N.E. from Long Point and S.W. by W. from Moemoto Head three cables. The ground of Mohaka is foul, and the covered rock two miles N.N.E. of Ahuriri Bluff, are all the dangers we found or heard of in and about Hawkes Bay.

We found considerable change in the entrance to Ahuriri since March last, but not less water; the Rangitera bank is now connected with a low spit extending from the south shore, about one-third of a mile north of the mouth.

The anchorages in Hawkes' Bay are Ahuriri, Long Point, and Cape Kidnappers.

Ahuriri Roads is safe in south, south-west, and north-west winds, and during the ordinary summer north-east sea breezes. The anchorage is after shutting in Cape Kidnappers, bringing the bluff to bear S.E. by E., and about one mile off the harbour, in 6 fathoms, good holding ground.

Cape Kidnappers anchorage is the shelter afforded by a reef extending from a point a mile westward of the cape; the best anchorage is a mile south-west of the extreme. Here a vessel can ride out south-east and south winds--the anchorage has otherwise little to recommend it; the landing is bad, and no water or stock can be procured.

On the north-east extreme of Hawkes' Bay we find Long Point Roads, sheltered from all winds but westerly. The holding ground is not always good, but by anchoring a mile from the point, bringing Long Point to bear S.S.W., there is good protection from the black north-easter, 2 and ample room to weigh. To ride out a south wind, it is requisite to get well and close inside Long Point, 3 until an opening or cleft shows itself; bring the point to bear south-west, in seven fathoms blue clay, this is the best holding ground; the cliff within the point is steep-to, but vessels should be prepared to take an outer berth when the gale abates, and if a south-west wind sets in proceed to Wangawai.

In Hawkes' Bay there are three more minor anchorages for small vessels, under Black Reef Point, between Long Point and Portland Island, under Waikokopu, and under Whakaari, but their partial shelter is only adapted to those coasters who are accustomed to take up the birth. There is the Waippa boat harbour between Whakaari and Waikare, it is under the highest white bluff.

The rivers Wairoa, Mohaka, and Tukituki, are, besides Ahuriri, used for trade. The former river can take in a vessel of 30 to 40 tons; the Mohaka, vessels of 10 tons, but the entrances are difficult; the mouths shift, and a south swell detains them with the chance of being blocked up.

The anchorage of these rivers are fair in fine weather, but a heavy ground swell sets into the bight of the bay off Wairoa and Mohaka. On the approach of a south wind on one occasion, it appeared ready to break over us in 12 fathoms.

Hawkes' Bay has a fine climate; but the winds are very uncertain, and the sudden south-easters make it necessary to be cautious when trading off Wairoa and Mohaka: the southers give more warning, by an overcast sky, but they are violent, especially in the winter. The westerly winds occur chiefly in October and November, blowing very strong with a low barometer, but generally fine weather. The black north-easter may be expected about once a month; this gale comes on very gradually, but latterly blows very hard, accompanied by rain, veering to north-west and south-west.

The ordinary summer wind is a fine north-easter, with hazy weather, setting in at 10 a.m., and dying away at sunset, and succeeded by a land-wind. The barometer rises to north-east, south-east, and south winds, and falls to north, north-west, and westerly. Rainy weather may be expected with north winds, and the black north-easters, and often with south-east winds; sometimes dry south-easters last for many days.

The tides in Hawkes' Bay are slack, but strong in the river mouths. The flood sets in from the south, ebb from the north; high water full and change, at Long Point, 6h. 0m. Rise and fall; neaps, 4 feet, springs, 5 feet.

There are now eight whaling stations working on the west coast of Mahia, 22 Europeans, the crews Maories. There are settlers at Wairoa and Mohaka, the former being the Mission station. The whaling stations at Whakaari and Cape Kidnappers are at present deserted; the trade is annually decreasing, the whales becoming scarce.

The aspect of the country in Hawkes' Bay is mountainous on the north, with fine valleys at Wairoa, Mohawka, and Whakari, and these are the timbered districts. South of Waikari we come to impassable white cliffs, backed with undulating downs of curious formation, from the extreme regularity of the rises and hollows.

Twelve miles from Ahuriri the cliff ends abruptly, when the fine grazing land and extensive plains of this district face the sea until reaching Cape Kidnappers. This Cape is broken argillaceous clay of peculiar whiteness. In all these cliffs fossil shells are found identical with the present species--the terebratula--in abundance, proving (geologically speaking,) the recent upheaving of the coast.

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