Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Conch schooner and other Cape shipping October 1834

South African Commercial Advertiser 30 October 1834

Here the Conch is described as a fast-sailer but after another ten years steam was gradually beginning to overtake sail as the favoured method of transport by sea: 

19 Oct 1844 SACA
By this time Captain Bell had been offered a position as Harbour Master at Port Natal, though with the inevitable colonial bureaucracy there would be some delay before he was able to take up the appointment officially, followed by a dispute over his job description and remuneration. Bell, never one to bow the knee, stuck to his guns, returning to the coastal mariner's life until matters at Natal were arranged more appropriately.  Bell and his family (at that stage his wife and 4 children) finally sailed for Natal on the Douglas on 19 January 1850 to start the new phase of their lives. 

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Schooner Conch for sale 1843

South African Commercial Advertiser 31 May 1843
The same advert remained in the paper until 17 June, the date of the auction.
The next we hear of the Conch is that, under command of Capt Moses,
she came to grief on the bar at Port St Johns when the wind failed on 7 November 1847.
No lives were lost in the wreck.
Capt William Bell had in the interim taken up an appointment at Port Natal.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Friday, May 26, 2017

Wreck of the brig Thorne 18 May 1831 South African Commercial Advertiser

Transcribed below for easier reading:

On Wednesday last the Brig Thorne sailed out of Table Bay, bound to London, with a cargo of Colonial Produce. When near Robben Island a fog so sudden and dense arose, that the captain could not see beyond the length of the vessel, and she shortly afterwards struck on a rock at the western side of the island. As soon as this distressing accident became known to the Agents, Messrs. Thomson, Watson & Co., they promptly rendered every assistance available: the Northwester, and Messrs. Sinclairs’ and other boats were sent to the vessel.

The Port Captain, also, with his usual vigilance, got on board before any other boat from Cape Town, but as he found the rudder unhung, and the water up to the hold-beams, not the least hope remained of saving the vessel.  The Northwester returned from the wreck on Thursday evening, with a full cargo of beef, hides and skins; and should the weather continue moderate, they expect to save the greater part of the cargo.  Mr. Sinclair superintends the landing of the goods on Robben Island; and we are glad to learn that the Passengers’ baggage was saved.

The master, a young man who succeeded to the command after the recent death of Capt. Johnstone, is plunged into the utmost grief and distress of mind; but from all we can collect, it appears that no blame attaches to him – the heavy fog, and the darkness of the evening, assisted perhaps by the current, being the immediate causes of the misfortune.

The Cape Underwriters may congratulate themselves on their fortunate escape in the present case.  Not a single policy, either on the Thorne or her cargo, was effected at the Cape.  The Insurance of both was done in England and Culcutta, we believe.  The parties insured, however, will thus have to wait about twelve months for the settlement of their several claims, a fact which speaks powerfully in favour of Colonial Underwriting.

Robben Island

Acknowledgement to veteran researcher Sue McKay for all her photography and transcription work, of which I was one grateful recipient.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Tuesday, May 9, 2017