- The following are photos taken around the Wellington Coast or in Wellington Harbour. Please note copying, altering or distributing any photos on this site is strictly forbidden. Legal actions will be taken in the event of any infringement. If you wish make a purchase or if you are interested in viewing other underwater photos or local diving stories contact Rob Marshall.
- Photo 1: Italian Sailing Ship Americo Vespucci
Wellington on a good day.
The Italian Sailing ship “Americo Vespucci” escorted by the pilot leaves Wellington Harbour February 2003.
Photo 2: The ship Sulivan leaving Wellington Harbour
Wellington on a bad day.
The “Suilivan” batters her way out of Wellington Harbour on Waitangi Day 2002. Southerly swells on this day were reported as reaching over 10 meters.
Photo 3: Underwater Diver
The Interisland ferry Wahine was wrecked on 10 April 1968. Very high winds drove her onto Barretts Reef at the harbour entrance. The Propeller shaft was ripped out and remains on the reef. Photo shows a diver hovers over the TEV. Wahine’s prop shaft.
Photo 4: Wahine Prop
The Wahines’ propeller was cut off the shaft with hydrogen cutting torches and salvaged in 1973. Photo shows our daughter Sandra standing by the mangled prop.
Photo 5: Wahine Prop Shaft Cut Off
The propeller shaft is 18 inches in diameter. The underwater cutting torches can cut 6 inches into the shaft leaving a solid core of 6 inches of high tensile steel. Still very strong. When the propeller ‘fell off’ the Wellington Harbour Boards’ dredge raised it and took it to Queens Wharf.
Photo 6: Grassmere Bronze Pins
The sea quickly destroys timber ships. Only some lime covered steel and a few scattered piles of bronze pins remains of the barque Grasmere (wrecked 1895). Sailing ship timber protected by copper oxide on bronze pins.
Photo 7: Sailing Ship Timber
The timber wreckage of sailing ships is quickly smashed by the sea and the remainder, unless buried in mud or sand, rots and vanishes. Some small pieces of timber remain clinging to pins and protected by the copper oxide they exude.
Photo 8: Helmsman’s Seat
The police launch “Lady Elizabeth” was caught in very heavy seas and smashed onto Barretts Reef at the entrance to Wellington Harbour. We found wreckage scattered along the length of the reef. This is the helmsman’s seat.
Photo 9: The Dredge “Progress”
The Dredge “Progress” was wrecked in Owhio Bay in 1931. Little remains but scattered steel work. The boiler has split open and the boiler tubes are covered in anemones. I haven’t been there for a while, but there were always a lot of small crayfish hiding safely in the back of the boiler. This is now a Marine Reserve area.
Photo 10: Bronze Rudder Pintles
A solid bronze rudder pintle found the near the wreck site of the St Vincent shows how even solid bronze quickly deteriorates on our coast. The ship St Vincent was wrecked in 1869 with the loss of 20 lives. There was only one survivor from this disaster. Sailing was tough in those days. Ref the Diary in ‘Dive Tales’ page 119.
Photo 11: Ben Avons Ship Wheel
Buddy, Willie pretends to pilot the barque “Ben Avon”. This is the remains of the ships wheel. Ref “Dive Tales” page 138.
Photo 12: Door handles before and after restoration
Recovered ‘treasures’ are usually in very damaged condition. Enthusiasts spend a great deal of time restoring. Door handles before and after restoration.
Photo 13: The Willie McLaren Remains
The barque “Willie McLaren” carrying a cargo of coal was wrecked off Seatoun Beach on the 5th October 1889. The mast stuck out of the sea for many years until the wreck was deemed to be a navigation hazard and blasted off. A pile of coal and big winch is the only evidence to prove this is her resting place.
Photo 14: Recovery of Subraon Cannons
The barque “Subraon”, one of the earliest known shipwrecks in New Zealand, was wrecked off Breaker Bay on the 26th October 1848.
Only an experienced eye can find evidence of this wreck – but there were 2 cannons, which we raised for the Maritime Museum in about 1974.
Picture shows Rob loading a cannon onto the ute.
Photo 15: Beer Keg Taps
Recovered beer keg taps from the steamer “Defender”.
The Defender was loaded with cans of petrol and while unloading on Kings Wharf on the 2nd August 1918, caught fire and was quickly pushed out into the harbour. She burnt and drifted to Leper Island where she exploded and sank.
Photo 16: Penny Clay Pipes
The barque “Ben Avon” was wrecked on Cape Palliser on the 11th November 1903.
She carried an interesting cargo, Whisky and penny clay pipes.
Ref “Dive Tales” page 138.
Photo 17: Various Bottles
The Ben Avon cargo, 1903.
Various bottles (full!) of whisky, ships lime and a small bell.
Photo 18: Sounding Leads.
Old ships always carried sounding leads to check the depths.
There is an indent on the bottom for a plasticine like pug to be used to take a sample of the bottom of the sea floor.
Photo 19: Ships Log
Early ships logs measure the distance traveled by a revolving propeller and recorded on a dial on the inside of the log. Later models had a ‘speedo’ mounted on the deck. The log spun and the speedo recorded the distances without the need to pull it from the sea.
Photo 20: Dragon Plate
Shipwrecks are time capsules.
This dragon plate was found on the wreck site of barque “Earl of Southesk”, wrecked on the 28th May 1874 on Barretts Reef. Just because something is found on a wreck site does not mean that it has come from that wreck, as we discovered with this little plate.
Ref “Dive Tales” page 149.
Photo 21: Kids discover and dig up Day Dawn wreckage
My grandchildren discovered a little piece of shipwreck in the sand and upon digging around it found a large piece of rusting wreck. This wreckage was found on Ward Island in Wellington Harbour and comes from the ship wrecked schooner, ‘Day Dawn’ Wrecked 11th July 1879.
Photo 22: Brass nail
Amongst the ‘Day Dawn’ wreckage was this rust encased brass nail. These little nails were used to fix brass or copper sheeting on the outside hull to help prevent torredo worms and deterioration decay of the hull.
Photo 23: Wellington Frigate
On the 13th May 2005 the Frigate Wellington was towed into Wellington Harbour. 6 months later on the 13th November 2005 the Wellington was scuttled in its new resting place in the area that is now the Wellington Marine reserve. With everything of value removed from it and huge holes cut away to allow easy access in and out of the soon to be dive site for ‘bunny’ divers.