The Auckland Gut Boat - Ships Nostalgia
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The Auckland Gut Boat

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  #1  
Old 6th June 2009, 04:32
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The Auckland Gut Boat

The Gut Boat

This site and its picture gallery is certainly a memory provoker and there is seldom a week goes by without some photo popping up on the home page of a ship that I have sailed on , been on, worked on, seen in port or can remember its days on the seas.
I love the rugged romance of those fishing trawlers that plug their way out of the North of England and Scottish ports, perhaps the real background of a maritime nation and as quintessential to the North sea as the little Mediterranean style fishing boats that you see working out from the Greek islands.
Even these trawlers have gone through design and size change as the industry struggles with safety, efficiency , depleting fish stocks and the economics of it all, but thank goodness, not to the extent of the big ship revolution that has seen our graceful ocean liners morphed into floating high rise apartment blocks and our myriad of 7000 to10,000 tonners that carried all sorts of cargos to all corners of the globe melted down and repackaged as BBB’s, Bulky Box Boats, with not a chance in hell of substituting “Beautiful” for “Bulky”.
As I think back there is one little “ship” missing or maybe I can’t find its photo and that is the little ugly duckling that used to serve the Auckland harbour in its duty as “the Gut Boat”.
In the forties, fifties and sixties this little motorized scow- like vessel used to visit every ship lining the Auckland wharves. I can’t remember her name, maybe she was just known as the gut boat but she did her daily run from the Western Wharf down to the Eastern end pulling alongside up to 20 or more ships when the port was full to take aboard their garbage from the galley before taking it out into the Rangitoto Channel and dumping the rubbish overboard near the lighthouse. She was perhaps 60 feet long with a tall stern mounted wheel house and with a cargo space rather like an inverted chevron of decking leading from the amidships centre line and sloping down to high bulwarks that had hinged doors. Once at the dumping spot the doors were opened and the trash easily slid off into the sea to the delight of all sorts of fish that had come to know the habits of these humans.
She had a name no doubt but the “Gut Boat,” stuck, smelly, untidy but doing an essential job. She probably had a Gardner diesel engine that was worth more than the hull. Her demise or transfer of duty came in the later sixties when environmental concerns saw her replaced by a garbage incinerator on the Western reclamation but the initial reality was that this new device caused more air pollution than the sin of feeding fish with the organic scraps off our plates. Today would be another matter as those scraps would be full of plastic wrappings and the like that really does pollute the oceans.
Depending on the tides and weather the Gut Boat’s arrival at the dumping site was a signal for recreational fishermen to gather to drop a few lines among the feeding frenzy.
I only did it once at about age 20 when on a fine calm clear day a mate and I rowed a ten foot dingy about 21/2 miles from Takapuna Beach to the area to fish with some success but the row home across the falling tide saw us row twice as far to get home.
She was hardly an “Icon” but certainly was an essential part of Auckland’s water front.

Maybe some old Mainer that spent time looking over the side of a home boat watching the gash bins being tossed over the ship’s side onto the rubbish heap has managed to take a snap of the Gut Boat with their box brownie, I’d love to see it.

Bob
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  #2  
Old 6th June 2009, 08:15
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The Auckland Gut Boat

Hi Bob,

I well remember the old Gut Boat and I am sure I have a photo somewhere
among thousands of others. I will see if I can find it for you. May take some time though!
I went out on her a couple of times - unpaid - as I used to do on the old scows, just for the hell of it.
I think she was a Parry's boat and I think she was the Glyn Bird, although I could be confused with the gravel boat which supplied the shingle from, I think Coromandel, for the concrete on the Harbour Bridge, which I worked on for a while as a rigger, with a brief spell earlier down the caissons.

A few years later I used to take my boat out along with many others, sitting behind her as she discharged her foul smelling cargo in the Rangi. Channel.
We used heavy lines, no sinker and would haul in huge snapper amongst other species.

Oddly, a few weeks ago I came across an old post of yours, (what was the heading - I'd like to read it again?) wherein you detailed your days in the 50's on the Auckland waterfront. It was so reminiscent of those days,ships and places that it could have been written by me! Perhaps we bumped into each other.

Another coincidence, we are both almost twins in age and are now living a few kilometres apart. Must have a beer some time!

Taffy R556959
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  #3  
Old 6th June 2009, 09:18
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Gut Boat

Bob,

You've got me thinking here, so I Googled 'Auckland Gut Boat' and clicked on 'Professional Skipper - Issue 33'.

Seems the gut boat we knew was not the Glen Bird, but was the gravel tug, although from the photos and my memory they seem similar.

I also Googled 'Glyn Bird' and found a site 'Tugs Down the Ages' which has an article on her, but is well worth the read for the wealth of information on these small ships.

Regards,

Taff

PS. Remember the 'Jane Gifford'? Some great shots of her, now restored.

Last edited by tsell; 6th June 2009 at 09:27..
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  #4  
Old 6th June 2009, 21:45
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Taff we have trod the same ground, sailed the same waters, live in the same state, are the same age. Besides my mother came from Mountain Ash while my paternal great great grandfather was born in the village of Llanfihangel-Geneu'r Glynn, now called Llandre and located a few miles north of Aberystwyth.
I am New Zealand born and breed but my mother taught me to count to ten in Welsh.
The only Welsh trait missing is that I can't sing yet my father was a very good pianist and my mother had a beautiful voice.
Now getting back to that Gut boat, I have just remembered that you could always find her by listening and looking for the flock of seagulls that followed where ever she went.
Re my writings about the Auckland waterfront was it the thread "The Devonport Ferries and the long Haul?


Bob

Last edited by spongebob; 6th June 2009 at 23:12..
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  #5  
Old 6th June 2009, 23:06
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Thanks for that Bob.
The Jenkins bit gives you away!

Cheers,

Taff
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  #6  
Old 7th June 2009, 22:21
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the gut boat#1

Hi Bob from North shore. Have you considered the Auckland maritime museum? There's a wealth of information in there. Regards Ronnie
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  #7  
Old 7th June 2009, 23:04
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Jg,Thanks, I'll chase more leads,and come to think of it there were many other little craft that were the background of the waterfront in those days includine the little Blue boats "Olive Rose" and "Marie" that ferried everybody everywhere including late sign on crew out to ships waiting in stream to sail as soon as they had a full muster having had to vacate their earlier berth because of port congestion.
Those were the days of a busy bustling harbour including the chase boat clearing the take off strip across the water for the daily Tasman Empire Airways Solent flying boat departing for the 8 hour flight to Sydney.
The Blue boats may be still doing their job but Auckland and most other harbours and rivers around the world must have retired a lot of small time maritime history as the big container vessels reduced our ports to almost one stop shops.

Bob
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Old 8th June 2009, 05:23
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Bob

The TEA flying boat brought back memories of Freddie Ladd and his Grumman Widgeon, "A shower of spray and we're away!" A great airman.
Did a couple of trips with him to Tryphena. On the second return trip we flew into a massive black storm and dropped about 500 feet! Fred said something like, "This is what flying is all about, it's exciting isn't it? So sit back and enjoy it folks!" He maintained the banter and kept us calm on a terrifying flight, until we came out of the storm.
He was around 60 then and I remember his last flight under the Harbour Bridge, but he got away with it as he was retiring.

Another memory was the Hydrofoil. Originally named Waimanu, it was renamed Manuwai, as apparently Waimanu meant 'bird water' not 'water bird' as intended. I forget the owners name, he used to handle the tickets as well as everything else.
I remember it was on the hard for some years after a manning dispute with the Seamen's Union. Don't recall if it ever went back in service.

Taff
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  #9  
Old 8th June 2009, 07:51
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Tsel, that Manu Nui was another piece of harbour history. It was built in Italy as an advanced design hydrofoil in its time it was commissioned by the Movie Theater people R J Kerridge Ltd who also owned the Pakatoa Island resort and the fast ship was intended to give a new look to gulf travel compared with the old Waiheke and beyond ferries Muritai and Baroona.
They tried to run it with a one (or was it two) man crew like a taxi but the seaman's union and knowledgeable public opinion decided that it was not safe to have one man on board especially with the rougher seas sometime experienced on the run. She was 60 tons, 70 feet long with a 16 foot beam and 24 feet over the hydrofoils which complicated berthing and handling enough to warrant more crew. She sat on the wharf for months if not years as the parties remained at loggerheads and I think that you are right, she never did operate on the run. Wiki tells us that she later operated on Sydney Harbour.

Bob
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  #10  
Old 8th June 2009, 21:09
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hydrofoil

Hi Bob and Tsell. I did a trip to Pakatoa on that ship and it was very disappointing because you couldn't see out. The owner was called Leo Dromgoole and it sat on the hard for years because of a crewing dispute. I think it went to Wanaka or Queenstown but wouldn't put money on it.
PS from the maritime museum if you look across the dock you can still see some ships names painted there 'way back when by the deck hands. Gave me goose bumps. Regards Ronnie
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  #11  
Old 9th June 2009, 03:13
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Hi JG
Yes that's him. He operated North Shore Ferries and I believe a bus company around the 60's and 70's. He was a very hands on operator.
I seem to remember, now that Bob has jogged the old memory, when Bob Kerridge bought Pakatoa, I think not long after he developed 246. A beautiful island, I stayed at the old guest house in the 60's when it was owned by Spicer and a couple of his mates.

Surprised to hear that the ships names are still there. They were there in the fifties and some had been there for many years even then.

Cheers

Taff
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  #12  
Old 9th June 2009, 07:55
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JG and Taff, all the bells are ringing now, Leo Dromgoole or Drommy as he was known acquired the remnants of the Devonport Steam ferry Co and its bus company, North Shore transport, after The opening of the harbour bridge had reduced the sea services to a minimum of just the Devonport run.
As you say Taff he was hands on , he even used to sit in a booth and clip tickets and drive the occasional bus to save staff costs and I guess it was him that took the Hydrofoil over from Keridge then argued the manning issue. The Manu Nui definitely finished up on the Sydney harbour as there is a photo of her with the bridge in the background.
Fullers, the launch and ferry operator from the Bay of Islands deep sea fishing area bought out Dromgoole and finally Fullers sold out to the international "Stage Coach" transport Co who operate a very good harbour service with twin hulled catamarans.Senior citizens with the NZ "gold Card" can now go to Waiheke Island free outside peak hours but when I tried to go in March they said I was an Aussie!

Bob

Bob

Last edited by spongebob; 9th June 2009 at 07:58..
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  #13  
Old 11th June 2009, 03:11
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I remember reading in the NZ Herald about this scow.

They called it Barge McStink. It came to the rescue of one of the RNZN launches that ran from Admiralty steps across to the naval base.

This particular lauch failed to go astern when berthing alongside these steps this particular morning and got jammed under the wharf.

Barge McStink came along and towed the launch out. There was much mud slinging about this incident and I wonder just how the coxswain fared over this.
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  #14  
Old 11th June 2009, 07:17
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Hi Ray

I see that you must be a member of the William C Daldy Preservation Society.
It's good to know the old girl is still chugging around!
She berthed us a couple of times and years later I recall her holding the barges carrying the Bridge centre span for a couple of days while a storm raged down the harbour.
She was sometimes referred to as 'The Crush' by the old hands, though I never knew why.
She must be as old as me by now!
She was a coal burner then, how is she fired these days? I should imagine that as she was restored, in the late seventies I think, she is probably still coal fired.

Good to hear from you.

Taff

PS Don't remember the Navy launch mishap though. might have been after my time.

Last edited by tsell; 11th June 2009 at 07:20..
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  #15  
Old 12th June 2009, 03:41
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Daldy #14

Hi Tsell and others. Went down to Devonport last summer when a block of flats came in with a phone box thing for a funnel. It's called the QM2 apparently. Anyway, There was the William C. Daldy chugging around so I took a couple of pictures of her as well. She is now the oldest steam tug in the world. Regards Ronnie.
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Old 12th June 2009, 03:55
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Thanks for that JG.

Now you've made me feel REALLY OLD!!

Taff
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  #17  
Old 12th June 2009, 04:18
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As a one-eyed Cantabrian I can't let Auckland claim the oldest steam tug title as the Lyttelton, which still sails on Lyttelton harbour and round Banks Peninsula, was completed in 1907, twenty-eight years before the William C. Daldy. I imagine there are many others around the world that are even older.
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  #18  
Old 12th June 2009, 04:43
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JG, that is good news to hear that the William Daldy has reached the status Of oldest steam tug in the world and a credit to all those that have maintained her over the years.
I have great memories of her and the smaller, older "Te Awhina" scuttling around the docks berthing all the "Home boats" before the new and more powerful "Aucklander" came on the scene.
I attach an old post re the tugs handling the SS Monterey.

One of the most awesome sights that I have seen is that of the Matson Line’s SS “Monterey” leaving the port of Auckland in the 50’s.
Our little ship was berthed forward on Princes Wharf East and Monterey was astern of us boarding passengers for the United States. As there was a very strong easterly gale blowing up the Harbour our departure for the Pacific Islands was prudently delayed but Monterey was a big ship and no doubt needed to keep to schedule so as the tide rose she attached the Harbour Board tugs “William C Daldy” and “Te Awhina” fore and aft to hold her clear of the wharf as she steamed slow astern toward the Harbour channel but as the ship’s superstructure poked clear of the partial shelter of Queens wharf to the east the wind took control and the ship was forced on to the buffer piles on the corner of the jetty. The tugs just could not hold her against the wind and as the stern tug was faring the worst the ship began a slow pivot with the hull pressed against the piles as a fulcrum
Seeing what was happening many of our crew raced down the wharf for a close up view and as the ship screwed around in very slow motion the piles began to smolder then burn with the intense friction of all that tonnage grinding past. The hull was so tight against the piles that they were snagging the lower deck water shedding “eyelids” fitted above each porthole and these were being sheared off with a loud “ping” as each set of rivets met their match. Meanwhile the pier structure was vibrating and trembling like a mini earthquake.
This drama seemed to last for a very long time, time enough for someone to ring the fire brigade and for an engine to arrive in time to quench the smoldering pile fire but eventually as the ship’s bow swung toward the wind the tugs managed to get the upper hand and pull the ship into the stream where she quickly dropped her anchor and waited until the tide changed and the wind moderated before steaming off after a hull inspection and with little damage other than plucked eyebrows and a lot of missing hull paint.
The hardwood piles, perhaps 2 feet in diameter, were ground down almost to a semi-circle

It was a good illustration of the powerlessness of man against the power of nature and all in slow motion.

Bob
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Old 12th June 2009, 04:45
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Apologies Dave, I posted above before reading your post of denial.

This should bring the mice out of the woodwork and establish just which is the oldest steam tug afloat and working.

Bob
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  #20  
Old 29th June 2009, 05:14
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william c daldy

Great story Bob. Dave I have no idea if the Daldy is in fact the oldest steam tug afloat but I was certainly told it was. Someone will know. Maybe I'll google
Bob you asked somewhere if you could have a beer with members somewhere. I offered, (don't know where). I'm North shore Jafaland. Regards Ronnie. For the uninitiated Auckland is generally held in contempt by the rest of NZ. We are seen as BMW driving latte quaffing, white shoe wearing ponces.
The term JAFA means just another er Aucklander.
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  #21  
Old 29th June 2009, 08:08
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Jg,We Shoreites never did admit to being Aucklanders, that was across the seas and although I spent my early childhood in the back blocks of Northland, Bayswater, Birkenhead and Northcote and Takapuna were my growing up stamping grounds.
Had my first illegal beer at 17 in the Mon De sir Pub when it was still an old weatherboard building with a huge tree filled acreage of beer garden leading down to the Takapuna beach shore.
I built a nine foot ply dingy during my apprenticeship and used to leave it at the bottom of the Mon garden with the oars, rowlocks and anchor etc under the upturned boat. A couple of beers on pay night then we would row out with a mate to get a guaranteed catch of snapper for tea. I left it there for 6 months when I went to UK on my first ship and on return more than two or three acquaintances came up and said "I owe you a beer or two Bob, I used your dingy while you were away"
Those were the real North Shore days, freedom, friendship, honesty it was Eldorado by today's standards and it's where I would go if I come back.
Keep in touch, we may get a chance for one elsewhere some day although I hear that the Masonic in Devonport is going to a developer
-not you is it?

Bob
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  #22  
Old 29th June 2009, 14:08
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Auckland Gut boat

Although this is titled Akl Gut Boat, ther has been much posted on here re the hydrofoil Manu-Wai.
She was built in Italy in 1964 and was bought here by Kerridge Odeon to operate to their resort at Pakatoa Is.
She operated on this service very successfully for many years.
Then,many years later, and I'm not sure how, she was bought by the Devonport Steam Ferry Co, owned by one Leo Droomgole.
This guy was rather anti-union, to put it mildly, and some dispute developed over manning and job responsibilities due to a pax throwing up and the seamen saying "it's not my job" to cleaning it up.
Result was she sat on the breastwork between Freyberg Wharf and the future Ferguson Container terminal for many years.
I confess that my info/memory here is a bit lost.
She was subsequently restored in the early 90's and looked a picture in "Steinlager " colours and was operated on charters.
Somewhere in the mid 90's she vanished and I always wondered where she went.
Last year after the Bathurst race, I returned to Sydney and went for a ride on the new Sydney tram route. There I saw the Manu-Wai sitting in a scrapyard near the Sydney Historical fleet base. This was a HUGE surprise to me and I immediately got off the tram and hot-footed it to the scrapyard. I took many photos and was told by one of the workers that it had been bought by a local ferry operater and that he hoped to restore it.
Id really hope this is true, but, from the condition of her and the fact that she has been here for about 5yrs, I personnally think this is where she will end her days.
I have posted pics on the Shipspotting site, but will upload some on this site at the weekend.

Rgds/Mike (hilifta)
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Old 30th June 2009, 04:13
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Jafas# 21

Hi Bob, small world. I came back from nearly two years on Norfolk island and picked up the exec chefs position at the Mon. Busy little pub from the street but out back it was BUSY. We used to get quite a few big names there because we were out of the city but not too far.Lion breweries flagship hotel she was but they were a greedy company to work for. Haven't heard anything about the Masonic Bob and you can dispel any notion that I'm a real estate developer. It all came about with a rush of blood to the head ,on the day I joined this fine ship I had cut the grass for the first time in months so I decided to call myself by that name!!
I'm retired but on call to a location catering company who do TV and films. Worked on Whale rider and Lion, witch and wardrobe among others. I'm a member of the Bays club Browns bay and I also frequent the pub across the road called Speakers corner. I have a navy blue sweater with the allatsea badge sown on to it but so far no one has introduced themselves because of it. Regards Ronnie
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Old 30th June 2009, 08:04
raybnz raybnz is offline  
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I found her in Hamilton a shed on blocks being completely overhauled during the 80s. Myself and a ex chief (T2) from Shell were looking at saving some old steam engines that were going to be scrapped. We both worked at the Huntly Power Station and ended up salvaging a few with the help of the mechanical Apprentices an set up a museum at the station.

A local Identity Aussie James had brought down from Auckland and was going to make millions charting it to the wealthy.

One of the engineers on Daldy ( Jim Wilson) was the engineer on her from new.


Quote:
Originally Posted by hilifta View Post
Although this is titled Akl Gut Boat, ther has been much posted on here re the hydrofoil Manu-Wai.
She was built in Italy in 1964 and was bought here by Kerridge Odeon to operate to their resort at Pakatoa Is.
She operated on this service very successfully for many years.
Then,many years later, and I'm not sure how, she was bought by the Devonport Steam Ferry Co, owned by one Leo Droomgole.
This guy was rather anti-union, to put it mildly, and some dispute developed over manning and job responsibilities due to a pax throwing up and the seamen saying "it's not my job" to cleaning it up.
Result was she sat on the breastwork between Freyberg Wharf and the future Ferguson Container terminal for many years.
I confess that my info/memory here is a bit lost.
She was subsequently restored in the early 90's and looked a picture in "Steinlager " colours and was operated on charters.
Somewhere in the mid 90's she vanished and I always wondered where she went.
Last year after the Bathurst race, I returned to Sydney and went for a ride on the new Sydney tram route. There I saw the Manu-Wai sitting in a scrapyard near the Sydney Historical fleet base. This was a HUGE surprise to me and I immediately got off the tram and hot-footed it to the scrapyard. I took many photos and was told by one of the workers that it had been bought by a local ferry operater and that he hoped to restore it.
Id really hope this is true, but, from the condition of her and the fact that she has been here for about 5yrs, I personnally think this is where she will end her days.
I have posted pics on the Shipspotting site, but will upload some on this site at the weekend.

Rgds/Mike (hilifta)
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Old 30th June 2009, 08:26
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Ronnie, we are leaving the Gut Boat wallowing in the Rangitoto channel for the moment but you must have been at the Mon Desir late 50's into the 60's They had built some up-market accommodation with accompanying dining facilities on the sacred beer garden by then much to the disgust of the local drinkers. I spent a night of my honeymoon there 1961.
Sadder day still when the prime waterside site went to high rise apartments.
I remember the proprietor ? Wynyard who set up a bar in which to employ a couple of gun wooden boat builders to build him an 18 foot runabout in traditional style and got them to work afternoon to 6 pm so that the drinkers could come in and watch the work being done and ask questions etc. It turned out to be a winner for everybody but especially the bar trade.
That Pub in Browns Bay is that the English Pub near the water that pumps Speckled Hen and other English Beers? I might have been owned by a Londoner named Kavanagh one time.
Getting back to the post theme, I recall that the gut boat did have a Gardner diesel engine, now that put her in a class of her own.

Bob
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