NEW ZEALAND's FAR NORTH
PHOTOGRAPHY by donhammondimage
The Loss of the Endeavour II. ...
22 February 1971. Driven ashore at the Parengarenga Harbour.
The "Endeavour II", a 30 metre, three-masted auxiliary barque had been
engaged in a number of movie roles and sailed from North America for
Australia to enact the role of her namesake at Sydney's "Captain Cook
Bi-Centenary" Celebrations. From Australia the "Endeavour II" headed for
New Zealand in what proved to be a frustrating passage. At the outset of
the voyage she was becalmed and carried south by a freak 70 mile a day
current. Later the crew sighted four distress flares over the Tasman Sea and
in an effort to render assistance, the vessel searched fruitlessly for over 12
hours. This expenditure of fuel was to be a significant factor in the ships
demise in later days.
On rounding the North Cape of New Zealand the barque headed into what
had become a full force gale. In winds of 40 knots the "Endeavour II" beat
back and forth in a losing attempt to hold her position. At 1:00am, 22nd
February the vessel was found to be perilously close to the entrance of the
Parengarenga Harbour. With conditions worsening as the wind and seaway
increased the "Endeavour II" was slowly driven on to the bar. By 9:00am
her fate was sealed, the vessel settling on her side with heavy seas breaking
over her. At 1:00pm she heeled right over and began to break up. Wind and
sea then set about her final destruction, pounding her to pieces and strewing
the beach and coast with wreckage. Despite the dangerous ordeal her crew
managed to land safely with the only casualty being the Master of the vessel
suffering a broken wrist.
The "Endeavour II" was the first square rigged sailing ship to be wrecked
on the New Zealand coast for over 85 years and may well have been the last
to suffer such a fate.