Go Back Report # 1370







     The occurrences mentioned in the above article, taken in conjunction with the following remarkbale [sic] story show that strange things, which need a good deal of explanation, happen from time to time in and near Cook Strait. In April, 1908, the Marine Department was furnished with an extraordinary report from one of the lighthouse-keepers at Farewell Spit, described as a solid reliable man, with a good record, and a teetotaller. This it is considered necessary to state on account of the puzzling story the man tells. The report reads as follows:—

     "On Monday night, March 9, I was on duty in the lighthouse from 8 p.m. till midnight. I wound up the revolving machinery at 10 p.m., and then stepped out on the balcony floor. A red flare of light attracted my attention, about twenty miles north-northwest from where I stood, and about ten miles northeast of the Cape headlands. The Cape itself showed up very plainly, and around the vicinity seemed just like a sundown in an overcast sky, The light, or fire, seemed blood-red, and appeared from the slope very like a large vessel on fire, although I am quite positive it was not a vessel, as the length of the fire appeared to be about 200 or 300 feet high, though the shape or obstacle resembled a ship broadside on to me. On the water's edge appeared one long red mass of solid fire, and above this again one long black mass, and above this again one long red mass running, say, from bow to stern. In the middle of the top of the mass of fire appeared a dome of solid fire, about 200 or 300 feet high. There was no smoke or steam visible, and the water around for about two or three miles seemed in a great commotion, bubbling and sparkling. The flare of fire was not in the sky, but appeared to be in the water, and I am quite sure of this, because I could plainly see the sky and water line on the horizon. The whole exposition lasted sixteen minutes from the time I sawit first until the time it died out. About three or four minutes before I wound up the machine there was nothing visible. Herewith I enclose a rough sketch of the fire as it appeared to me. Had I the least thought that it was a vessel on fire I would have reported the matter by wire the following morning.



“Principal Keeper.”


Reference for the above text is: Marlborough Express, Volume XLVI, Issue 179, 29 July 1912, p. 6.

My reference: E-mail from Albert Rosales to Chris Aubeck dated August 28, 2011, and forwarded to me (CF).




New Zealand – Between North and South Islands

Cook Strait       Latitude 41-15-00 S, Longitude 174-30-00 E (D-M-S)


New Zealand – South Island

Farewell Spit     Latitude 40-31-00 S, Longitude 172-52-00 E

Reference: http://geonames.nga.mil/ggmaviewer/


A spit is a small point of land especially of sand or gravel running into a body of water.



Cape headlands:

A headland isa point of land, usually high and with a sheer drop, extending out into a body of water; a promontory.


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