Interesting Nautical Information.
The foIlowing are the Particulars of the Loss of the Britannia, Captain Goodspeed, on a Reef err- neously stated to have been Middleton's Shoals
officially detailed by the Commander, and witnessed by his Officers : Stating, "That on the 24th of August, 1806, at noon the latitude by observation was 30° 32' south Longitude by Lunar Observation at 3 P. M. Was 156° 40' East by dead Reckoning 157 ° 40' East.
to the best of my recollection ; her course steered by compass from noon was West, until 8 P.M. at the rate of 4 knots an hour ; we then steered North-
west, going nearly at the same rate, until 2 A M
when we discovered breakers appear close to the
ship ; we immediately put down the helm, the wind being nearly aft at the time, but unfortunately, the
ship did not answer her helm quick enough to clear the said breakers ; Our ship striking aft first, she
fell round off and was hove bodily on the said
breakers, which proved to be a bed of coral rocks.
After striking two or three times she broke her back, her stern and bow dropping down, and mid- ships stove in. The sea was then breaking vio-
lently upon the ship, so as rendered it impossible to
have got her off, or even were it possible to get her off, she would have immediately sunk, on
account of the aforesaid disaster. We were under the necessity of having recourse to our boats to save our lives ; the first boat we attempted to lower into the water was unfortunately stove by a surge of the
sea & the lives of the crew with difficulty saved. We then had recourse to the others, and at 2 and a half A M. were fortunate enough to get safe from the ship clear of the breakers, with two boats,19
men being on board of them, myself included : there then remained on board the wreck 5 men, who could
not get on board the boats time enough before we
were obliged to push from the ship on account of the breakers ; nor could we venture to approach the ship again until day light. The people on board
lowered a rope from the jib-boom end into the wa-
ter ; we then ventured under the boom with one 0f our boats, when the second Mate and one of the sea-
men were hauled on board, and with their assistance the people on board were enabled to launch another boat into the water, and got safe through the break- ers, with about forty pounds of biscuit and ten, gal-
lons of water ; the timbers of the ship at that time were sticking through her side.
At low water, saw a quarter of a mile of dry land : but at high water there was no part dry.
The shoal lay N W. and S. W. 7 or 8 miles, and
about 5 or 6 in breadth.
"We left the ship with three boats ; but four days after one of them in a gale of wind separated from us, and has not been seen since hereof ; we were
then steering for New South Wales. On the 29th
of August we made the land ; and on the 8th of September made Newcastle, where we were treated with kindness ; and on the 13th of September we
happily arrived at Port Jackson.