Wrecked Ship Sends Beachcomber a “Gift”

March 6, 2009 at 8:42 am | Posted in Finds | 1 Comment


deadeyeThe sea still has treasures galore to yield whenever it feels like it, and good stuff still washes up onshore. A beachcomber in New Zealand thought he’d found a skull in the seaweed as he strolled the sands on the west coast of the North Island last month. But his find was quickly identified as a triple deadeye, a piece of equipment used on sailing ships until the end of the 19th century.

According to the Taranaki Daily News, the artifact is believed to have come from either the sunken ship Australind, wrecked in Port Taranaki in 1882, or the Star of the Mersey, which wrecked and sank there in 1886. Recent strong seas and high surf are believed to have washed the heavy item ashore. About his find, beachcomber Dave Chadfield exulted:

“This is as good as finding a porthole. It is the last thing to go when the mast comes crashing to the deck and the waves are washing over and all the men are jumping off…. I’m an old sea dog and every man who works on the sea has a great respect for anyone who used sails to power their vessel.”

On the day when Chadfield found the triple deadeye, his companion at the beach was 79-year-old Iain “Bosun” Dow, who told reporters:

“I went to sea when I was 14 and finding this sort of thing is exciting because it’s history. You know a fellow seafarer has probably used it and it gives you a sense of where you fit in.”

Sure does.


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  1. […] New Zealand beaches are disgorging treasures galore. First it was a relic from a sunken sailing ship, found recently by a Taranaki beachcomber. Now it’s a message in a bottle that was returned […]

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