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The Bayes Emigrants - Letter from Annie
Wellingborough News, 17th March 1883, transcribed by Kay Collins

The mail just arrived brought letters from the Bayes family reporting their safe arrival in New Zealand, after a voyage of nearly four months. The Famenoth, in which they sailed, took over 100 passengers, chiefly Swiss and Germans, the remainder English. Mr. Bayes got work soon after his arrival at the Auckland Gas Works, which are being enlarged, his pay, as a mason being twelve shillings per day of eight hours. Living, he says, is rather dearer than at home, and he has to pay ten shillings per week for house rent. His daughter Annie has sent home a very interesting letter, from which we make a few extracts. She says:—"We sighted North Cape in the first week of the New Year, and did not lose sight of land again. We had some splendid views of the coast, and having a head wind we had to keep tacking. We saw land only three times after leaving the Lizard Point until we sighted New Zealand, viz., Madeira, the Crozets, and Gough Island. We had a narrow escape of running on the Crozets. The captain had not been able to take the sun for some days, and so could not tell our exact position.

I did not feel frightened when I was once right out at sea. You get used to it; go up on deck day after day, and see nothing but water. I was frightened during the storm in the Channel. We had "dirty weather," as the sailors call it, all the way until we reached the Bay of Biscay. They told us it would be much worse in the Bay, but I thought it could not be much worse if we were going to get to New Zealand at all. It was rather bad having it so rough at first, because after you have been on the water awhile you are not so timid. In the Bay of Biscay it was not nearly so rough as in the Channel. We saw a great many different things on our voyage. Some of the passengers saw a waterspout one Sunday morning while we were in church, but sitting down we could not see it.

Six albatross were caught on board, and I had a few of the feathers. They are splendid birds, about the size of a goose, but very beautiful. They can make a muff, cuffs, and tippet out of the skin, pens of the quills, pipe-stems out of some of the bones, and tobacco pouches out of the feet, but do not eat any of the flesh. The sea is very changeable. We had some very calm weather in the tropics, and when nearing New Zealand. Apart from the Channel, the roughest part of the voyage was from the Cape to Tasmania, but rounding the Cape it was not bad at all. It was when we were expecting fine weather that we had "dirty weather," as the sailors say, and for a week or so it seemed very bad, the sea running mountains high, and such great waves bumping at the vessel's sides. But when we came to the end of our voyage of sixteen weeks, I can assure you I felt very sorry to leave our ship and the friends we had made. It was like leaving home again. I hope to come home again sometime. I have not had enough of the water yet."

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