Art. LXXVI.—Notes regarding Icebergs at the Chatham Islands.
[Read before the Wellington Philosophical Society, 15th February, 1893.]
On Friday, 28th October, 1892, icebergs were seen in the northern part of Hanson Bay, in lat. 44° S., drifting, borne back and forwards under the influence of the tides between the Motukara and Te Whakuru, one berg coming in quite close, but being ultimately driven off by the wind in a southeast direction.
The next day (Saturday, 29th) an iceberg was seen from Trig. Station B, near Waitangi, in Hanson Bay, close to Ouenga, having drifted through Pitt Strait. Two or more were drifting about outside Petre Bay, one coming in possibly six miles distance from the harbour of Waitangi on the succeeding day, where large pieces could be seen broken off and floating. Further out, at the south end of the west reef, another one could be seen with a glass, apparently much larger. The one distant six miles appeared to be something between 160ft. and 200ft. in height, and about four to five hundred yards in length, precipitous, with high pinnacles on opposite ends, the centre comparatively level. Seen through a glass, the one by the west reef appeared to have the same peculiarity in having pinnacles at each end. Out in the same direction, but near the Horns (Whakahewa), a large one was seen on the 31st, estimated by the known height of the adjoining land to be not less than 500ft. in height, as its summit towered over certain parts of the land, while around numberless small ones floated about, possibly the débris of larger ones broken up.
The one near Ouenga appeared to be more of a razor-back in shape, sloping down to about 50ft. or 60ft. from about 180ft. in height, thence precipitous to the water's edge.
On Saturday the natives saw three large ones drifting northward through Pitt Strait in a regular procession, keeping their respective distance from one another, the hindmost one being the largest, being as large in apparent size (over 900ft. in height) as Mangere (an island possibly three-quarters of a mile in size, or more), but not so high. A number of bergs also broke up about Pitt Island, one grounding between it and South-east Island, but, beyond the general statement, I had no particulars concerning them.
The bergs in Hanson Bay kept longest in view for about a week or more, and then drifted off, owing to a strong northwest wind.
The wind two or three days prior to the arrival of the bergs had been south and south-south-west, very keen and strong; and, on the whole, from September previous, whenever the wind got to the south, it was very cold, although such happened likewise after the bergs had left, and while at the island there did not appear to be any appreciable difference in the temperature.