PHOTOGRAPHY by donhammondimage



        The Loss of the Karu ...
                       27th February 1926
     On the 26th February the auxiliary steamer "Karu" had finished
  loading 200,000 ft of fine timber and was made ready for passage
  to Sydney, Australia. She left Whangape with the bar being calm
  although there was a good NW breeze. Through that day the wind
  gradually increased, rising to near gale and come nightfall the "Karu"
  was labouring in a very heavy sea. By the time the vessel was off
  Twilight Bay her plight had become desperate, with the hull badly
  strained and her steam pump unable to cope with the ingress of
  water. With a heavy list to starboard and well down at the stern
  all hope of saving the steamer were gone. At 9:30 on the Saturday
  Capt. Richmond gave the order to abandon ship. A two and a half
  mile row through precipitous seas brought the lifeboat within sight
  of safety only to be capsized halfway through the surf line by a
  tremendous wave. Of the crew of 12 only 10 were to come ashore
  safely on Twilight Beach.
    By a strange twist of fate the abandoned "Karu" did not founder
  as anticipated, but with sails still set drove in to a small cove at the
  base of high cliffs just north of Twilight Bay, to eventually become 
  a total loss.
    Given the location of the "Karu's" final resting place her remains
  have withstood the continual battering from the prevailing west
  coast conditions for over 60 years reasonably well. Her foredeck
  section, still wedged between the rocks is mainly intact with
  steam-winch for'ard and covered with large "flapjack" seaweed.
    Further seaward the boiler lies upright, her copper pipe-work
  reshaped by sand and the continual swell action into bizarre shapes
  and sculptures.
    Strangely the stern section of the "Karu" is missing and is nowhere
  to be found in the vicinity of the wreck-site.