The Union Steam Ship Company coastal steamer Mapourika is depicted here departing Greymouth and steaming out over the Grey River bar in the late afternoon 1898. The tide is ebbing, as can be seen by the brown fresh water flowing out through the river mouth which is creating breaking surf like waves as it flows into the Tasman sea swells.
The Mapourika foundered the same year after the master lost steerage of his ship due to a large wave that pooped the vessel while entering the Grey River. The combination of tidal flows, wind and ocean swells can create some very challenging conditions for masters to navigate.
The West Coast of New Zealand is notorious for it’s river mouth bars that flow into the hostile Tasman Sea. This combination of tidal flows, wind and ocean swells create very challenging conditions for masters to navigate. However the West coast towns and ports were essential for New Zealand’s trade and survival.