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OKTA (1913)


OKTA, barque: When bound to Falmouth England by the customary trade route around Cape Horn,the barque was total wrecked on September18, 1913, when she put into Bluff Harbour in distress. The vessel sailed from Port Huon, Tasmainia, on September 6, on the following day she encountered a heavy south-west gale,during which the barque sprang a serious leak in her forepeak.

On the 6th it was decided to shape a course to the nearest port for which the soutwest wind might be favourable. The OKTA then set a course to Wellington in NewZealand. Three days latter the wind veered to the north-west and increased to gale force which caused the barque to be hove-to on a starboard tack for the next four days. On the night of September 17th the OKTA was in Foveaux Strait,close to the Solander Islands. The wind then died away to a dead calm untill 4.30 a.m. on the 18th, when the wind sprung up from the S S west and it wasnt long and the barque was abreast of DOG ISLAND.

At 10 am a course was set for STIRLING POINT. As the vessel's destination was to England she was not equiped with charts for the area she was in ,eg the New Zealand coastal area.At 11.40 a.m. the OKTA struck rocks about about 300 yards ??? from Stirling Point. The OKTA ran up on the rocks with a very loud crash that shook her from stem to stern.She quickly settled down by the stern.with water flooding in very fast the stern was under water by 2 p.m. At high tide the ships decks where covered with water, as it was hard and fast upon the reef it was apparent she was a total wreck.The crew by this time had abandoned ship and had landed ashore safely

The rock on which she had struck was the scene of three previous groundings, the steamer SCOTIA, schooner MAID OF OTAGO, and the PELHAM had all run aground at this same spot,hence the name of the rock being known as the PELHAM rock.

On September 22 the barque was abandoned to the underwriters and no doupt most of her 600,000 feet of timber was salvaged.

Even to this day at low water some wreckage can be still seen jutting up out of the sea. The local authories have placed a floating bouy close to the area as a warning to mariners to steer a good course clear of the reef.