The above photos of Nancibel are from the Auckland Museum, Tudor Collins collection, emailed to me by Ken Rickett’s. They show Nancibel leaving Mansion House Bay, Kawau Island c.1940’s. Back then she was in use as a passenger ferry to & from Kawau Island. Harold Kidd advised that Nancibel was built by Bailey & Lowe in 1920 for Dodd & Gibbons of Thames. L. Rolfe of Matakana owned her 1935 and sold her to F. Herring. Gubbs Motors owned her 1941 to 1951 at least, painted red and green. Geoff Brebner also commented on ww that in the later 1950’s, (pre harbour bridge opening), Nancibel was on passenger run from Auckland city to Upper Harbour.
Ken Rickett’s is on record in a previous ww story saying that she was powered with a 4 cyl 4-53 GM Detroit & painted bottle green.
The photos show a group of very well attired people enjoying a fun day out. If we fast forward to 1972 Nancibel had a new life as a dive charter boat working out of Tauranga. Unfortunately on a charter trip to Mayor Island with 30 passengers (skin divers) aboard Nancibel hit a submerged rock & very quickly sank in 45′ of water, everyone aboard was saved. A second boat was dispatched by the insurance assessors to dive on the wreck to survey & photograph it, sadly one of the divers, Henry Laison, died of the bends after surfacing from a deep dive. You can view below an article & photos that appeared in Dive Magazine Vol 11 No3, of 1972. Details & the article were sent in by Don Macleod.
Given that Tauranga divers went out and salvaged the Gardner engine from the Nancibel the week after she sank, I’m assuming she remained in Davey Jones Locker – can any woodys confirm this ?
Harold Kidd Input
She was issued with number 223 in February 1940 and would have carried it throughout the war for reporting to the defence boom at Auckland. During this period she was run as the Kawau-Sandspit ferry by Gubbs Motors.
I think it’s Sir Cyril Newall too. I understand he was sent to the colonies to get him out of any sort of RAF command after the Battle of Britain.
I remember when my father attended an Anzac Day Parade of old diggers at Taumarunui in 1942 where Newall spoke. I asked him what the GG said. “Just ‘haw haw haw haw haw'” Dad replied, imitating the upper class accent and lack of content. Mind you we were expecting the Japs at any moment and weren’t expecting any help from that quarter.