A Cruise on Matanui – as told by Jack Brooke

A Cruise on Matanui – as told by Jack Brooke

WW thanks Robert Brooke for supplying this article that his father wrote ( one of  many) about cruising in Matanui.
When Joe Kissin had Matanui, Robert used to do a lot of work on Matanui. Joe was a very close friend of the Brooke family and was also very involved with the Wakatere Boating Club and served time as Commodore. He also served on the RNZYS committee. Matanui was a regular “Finishing Boat “ for the squadron cruising races.

You can view / read more about Matanui by using the ww search box 😉

A trip to Watchman Is, Cuvier Is and Great Barrier Island –  12,13,14 July 1952
I quote Jack Brooke – “My only excuse for typing out these stories is the thrill and pleasure they give me in re-living them the second time around, some twenty or thirty years later.
Joe’s launch,Matanui, was a single skin, round bilge vessel of theold type. Her dimensions were – Length: 42 feet, Beam: 11ft 6 ins, Draught: 4ft 6ins, Displacement: 18 tons.
Matanui had several engines from 45 to 70 horsepower, giving her a speed of 8 to 9 knots”


4 p.m. Left moorings to fuel up at Westhaven.

5.30 p.m. Alongside Devonport Wharf to load stores.

6.00 p.m. Tossed out of Masonic Hotel!

7.05 p.m.Got Jerry from home and put to sea.

9.30 p.m. Abeam outer Noises, wind still light south.

11.00 p.m. Turned in, Watchman light on bow – moon just up beautiful night. Wind out here a light to moderate southwesterly.

12.45 a.m. Woken up by rattle of anchor chain – Joe has decided to have a fish on the NE side of Watchman, just three lengths off! It is still a fine night, with a light southwesterly wind setting up a slight roll around the Dog. Caught the first fish – a grandfather hapuku, 6 inches long, but Joe still shouted! The others caught a few good cod and a four foot shark. Turned in.

6.30 a.m. I was woken to the beat of the old Kelvin diesel with which the Matanui was then equipped. It was about as old as its owner and even more stubborn! It started on petrol, and then ran on almost anything, from hair oil to boiler crude! The ship was under way, heading out east for Cuvier. The wind was now a light southeasterly and dawn was just breaking. It was a cold winter morning and we were doing 7 to 8 knots in a moderate sea. The crew had caught a few large snapper, but no hapuku off the Watchman and Joe decided to try fishing a pinnacle some miles outside Cuvier – if he could find it! So we were on our way.

9.00 a.m. The sun is shining and it is a beautiful day – the Mercuries are showing up away to the south and Cape Barrier is abeam to the northwest. Cuvier is lifting up out of the water ahead. A whale is blowing at regular intervals on our port bow and is crossing our course. It passed two lengths away, leaving a distinct oil slick on our bows.

10.15 a.m. Cuvier abeam, we are running down a quartering sea past the southeast bay – there doesn’t appear to be a wharf, only a crane and landing steps on a long rock. We ran round to the northwest side and anchored close in, the depth being about 9 fathoms. We had breakfast, caught some whopping blue cod and a snapper or two.

11.30 a.m. Brought the anchor and set out to the northeast to find Joe’s 30 fathom shoal. We steamed for about 40 minutes on 010. The average depth hereabouts was 60 fathoms and Joe had brought a wire fathometer, which we were expected to use to find his patch. It proved to be far too heavy, taking at least a quarter of an hour to reel in. So we decided to drift fish in 60 fathoms. Good snapper fishing but no hapuku. We fished for about an hour, then decided to return to Cuvier and visit the lighthouse keeper. We landed at 2.30, the wind had now dropped right away. We were a long way out to sea, so we left Jerry on board as an anchor watch and left the old Kelvin idling. Jerry also cleaned the fish! We went ashore and made our way up to the lighthouse and signed the visitors book. Three families were there then (1952) looking after the light and everything was in first class order. The western bay has a striking steeple like rock locally known as the ‘Monument’. A rock, awash at low water is in the centre of the bay, where good shelter can be found in winds from the south and east.

4.00 p.m. Left Cuvier for Great Barrier

4.30 p.m. Sunset. Barrier purple and black, also Cape Colville, far to the south. It is still almost flat calm with little swell and almost no wind. A beautiful night, but dark! The steward has been busy, and the wheelhouse is warm, what could be better! I am giving the Barrier coast about three-quarters of a mile clearance to avoid a rock between Cape Barrier and Tryphena. In the fading light profiles are important, Anvil Island and the Pig Islands are standing up like teeth on the western horizon. I recognised Tryphena by the profile of its southwest point and we altered course to enter the quiet harbour.

6.30 p.m. We tied up alongside Tryphena wharf on the eastern side of the bay. It was a calm clear night, with hundreds of fish jumping in the bay. And so to bed.

Monday 5.30 a.m. Up and away! The Kelvin was a bit sluggish in the chill of the morning, but finally got the message and rumbled away contentedly as we headed for the Watchman in a light but cold southeasterly. We arrived off the south side of the Watchman, but NO HAPUKU. So we left the Watchman at 8.30 a.m. and set off for home. As we got clear of the Cape and into the Gulf, a fresh southwesterly sprang up and in no time at all we were bashing into a short steep sea right on the nose! Making 7 knots at 900 rpm.

10.30 a.m. Waiheke just in sight – appears to be a fog bank over the mainland – heavy haze over the lower end of Waiheke.

11.00 a.m. Dropped anchor in 8 fathoms between Gannet Rock and Thumb Point. No good – soft juicy mud!

12 noon – left for D’Urville Rock Ooe’s spot!) – Even worse! Left for home.

1.30 p.m. Lunch in Crusoe Passage. Fog over Auckland – even light fog here! Little wind now but plenty of tide – no fish! Left for home again, bucking a strong ebb tide arrived at 5.00 p.m.. Emptied out of Masonic Hotel 6.00 p.m. Home at last 6.15 p.m.!




4 thoughts on “A Cruise on Matanui – as told by Jack Brooke

  1. Lovely trip with a good crew and a fine ship. Great to see the Masonic Hotel mentioned in despatches -at the beginning and end of the cruise.
    Once a provider of comfort and fluids for sailors and friends; now a bit of profit for some speculator as a set of two up two downs slowly emerges from the dust. Sad.


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