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Queen of the Isles

Queen of the Isles

See my comments on Sootynz photo of "Wairua"

This is a ship with a colouful past. Arrived NZ from South Pacific, Tonga perhaps, and ran gambling voyages from Whangarei, overnight trips.
Rumoured to have been built for Scilly Islands service and after leaving NZ was reported to have gone to Queensla

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Looks as though she has been around a bit from the dents on her plating forrard!!, could well have been built for the Scilly Islands run...she does have the look I must admit. Have lost track of the various vessels employed, been a few over the years but probably some of our Ferry experts could tell us easily.
 

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She arrived at Whangarei on 27 December 1980 as OLOVAHA in tow of the tug PACIFIC SALVOR for a major overhaul.
She was launched on 16 November 1964 for the Isles of Scilly Steamship Company as QUEEN OF THE ISLES and built by Charles Hill & Sons of Bristol. Sold to the Tonga Shipping Agency in 1970, she operated within the Tongan group with the occasional voyage to Fiji.
She underwent a long refit in Whangarei and a lengthy lay-up, being renamed GULF EXPLORER. She was operated for a time (late 1985?) by TransTours (?) on short cruises around the Hauraki Gulf, but this was not a success. I used to have a brochure which described those voyages and the various itineraries, but it's been lost over time. I do however a couple of photos (not very good) of her in this guise, so will look out and post.
After this she operated gambling cruises out of Whangarei, the last being over the weekend of 2nd/3rd August 1986. She was arrested with several large debts and was sold to an Australian company.
Renamed QUEEN OF THE ISLES, she entered service on 4 October 1987, operating 7 day cruises out of Cairns.
Of her whereabouts now, I have no idea.
Calling all Australian Members???
 

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Thanks David for that update, may actually have sailed on her for one of my infrequent visits to the Scilly Islands..quite possible but I have no recollection of which ship it was...and then latterly used the helicopter service!!
 

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I remember when she was introduced onto the Scilly Islands route, to partner the existing Scillonian. Maybe they thought that traffic would increase once she was running, but it never seemed to happen. She was laid up in Hayle harbour for a while, i went on board with my Dad at the time. Andy G
 

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Ooops! Haven't checked back on this for a month, sorry!
It was a long lay up in Hayle. I only went there on holiday twice a year but I can remember her being there on a few visits.

Andy
 

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Indeed the "Queen of the Isles" was upgraded in Cairns by Stuart Ballentyne's company, Sea Transport of the Gold Coast and I actually was on board and had to pay a hefty bill to get the crew in town for a bite. This was 1987.
Lost sight of her after couple of years.

Regarding OLOVAHA, there was another ship with this name which I attended on the slipways (Marine Steel Auckland) back in 1990's, but this was another vessel, painted orange. Most likely for the same company, will try to find out more.
I took photos of both vessels.
 

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She was indeed running weekly Cairns to Thursday Island Torres Straits with passengers under the company Tropic Cruise Line.
She was a good old sea boat..I understood that it did run Penzanze to the Scilly isles and then Given by the English to the King of Tukalofa ( he had all inner doors widened to fit his girth ). She then did the gambling deal in Kiwi and then layed up there till a new bridge would have locked her in where she lay, before heading to Queensland.
I was the Master from 91 till end of 92 on the Barrier reef run and she was a fine heavy weather vessel. ( cyclone tested it myself ) Some of the funniest times I ever had.
She was an old gem .. I Just had to rust rinse wharf side to before the new pax joined on a Monday morning coz the budget was tight.
She had some big old Rolstons ( ? ) if I remember.. It was the cost of overhauling these to keep her in class that began her downfall.. Additionally the owner, the huband of which was at one stage going to blow up her and the ship due to marital "bliss"( he did time in the "bluestone cottage" for it) kept pulling the earnings out of the ship for other business pursuits.
I finally held the ship for cruise wages in the end...then she laid in the Cairns river for sometime before being sold as an inter Island ferry in the Solomons ( Carrying 700 odd pax ).. I attempted to lease her back to take a team of journalists to Mururoa protesting the last tests there but the French put their tests forward and a lot of us didn't make it in time. I expect her to die in the Solomons.
Anyway its old news but thanks for the ear.
 

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Did a short spell as Mate on the run between Scilly and Penzance in 1970. A great sea ship if a little 'liveley' for some! Had a few interesting times trying to catch loose deck cargo in bad weather!
 

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She was chartered to work from Torquay to the Channel Islands in 1970, but did very few trips that summer. I think she also did some trips from Tower Pier to Southend and Margate.

Roy.
 

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