Ship's log of the Otago

Biographical and Historical Notes

Between April 18th, 1879, and December 11, 1882, the merchant ship Otago voyaged from Port Blakely, Washington Territory, to Noumea, New Caledonia, with additional stops in Newcastle, Australia, and Honolulu, Hawaii. The Port Townsend, Washington, based ship carried a cargo of lumber and copper ore. Henry A. Harding, who served as one of the officers on the ship, wrote the log.


Information derived from the collection.

Scope and Content Note

This volume documents the voyages from Port Blakely, Washington Territory, to Noumea, New Caledonia, among other destinations such as Newcastle, Australia, and Honolulu, Hawaii, between April 18th, 1879 and December 11, 1882, on the ship Otago.

The logbook is one leather bound volume, circa 320 pages, with entries in ink and pencil, and contains an account of life aboard the ship, weather reports, information about crew members and officers, ships seen and various notes on the fish, birds, and pests endemic to life at sea. A few entries also describe ports along with the "natives" and their clothing, canoes, and habits. Most entries are routine, however, the first entry recounts the rescue of the sole surviving sailor from the wreck of the schooner Ellen J. McKinnon of San Francisco. The author of the log, Henry A. Harding, also wrote expense lists with accompanying sums and a list of stores organized by crew member name. Much of the second half of the logbook is taken up with pages of Harding practicing his penmanship.