Crossing the Bar
02 October 2020
The COVID 19 lockdown provided us with a chance to reflect and during that time, and in light of handing over the helm, my mind cast back to May 2011… Spirit of New Zealand was completing her southern trip in some years and was returning up the West Coast of the North Island.
It was a week into my new role as CEO of the Trust, and I suggested to the then Marine Manager, Paul Leppington, that we should come in to the Manukau Harbour, a place we had not visited in many, many years.
I was to say the initial reaction was measured; however we agreed to do it and plans were put into place. On Saturday, 14th May, Spirit of New Zealand was welcomed outside the Manukau Bar by the local boating fraternity, including Coastguard, Surf Lifesaving, plus a film crew from TV3 and made the run in over the Bar under the command of Capt. Nigel Wright. On the Thursday, 12th May, a mere 48 hours before hand, the Bar had been closed to weather conditions; but a change in conditions meant the weather had improved we could make the crossing. The Ship paused briefly during the crossing for the Trainees and Crew to lay a wreath to acknowledge New Zealand’s worse Maritime shipping disaster, the sinking of HMS Orpheus (1860).
Trainees and Crew spent the remainder of that day at anchor and on Sunday morning Trainees visited the HUIA Settlers Museum to view artefacts for the Orpheus disaster. This was a rare voyage for the Ship, crew and trainees to make and the significance of which being recognised by all onboard.
After Spirit then departed the Manukau, heading towards North Cape, the weather conditions were glorious, with the Bar as calm as you would ever see it. It was fair to say that although there was an initial reservation of attempting such a thing on Spirit, it generated much attention and created a life-long memory for me as CEO of the Trust, Crew and Trainees.
Check out the TV3, 6 o’clock news piece here