Foveaux Strait the 30km seaway that separates Stewart Island form the South Coast of the South Island. Situated on New Zealands continental shelf the strait is 46m at its deepest in the scoured channels, but the main floor is flat - between 18 and 28 meters deep.
The persistent tidal drift through the channel is from west to east, at a rate of three knots, and the prevailing winds are also from the west, making the passage frequently rough and stormy. There are many islands lying in the strait, the largest being Ruapuke 30km north-east of Halfmoon Bay, Stewart Island, and of the others, Dog Island (see picture below), 7km south-east of Bluff, and Centre Island, about 7km south off Oraka Point, Colac Bay, both have lighthouses.
The strait has a commercial fishing industry, , and dredge oyster beds which yield a valuable annual harvest supplying the industry at Bluff. There are also quantities of toheroa and scallops in the vacinity and on the smaller islands, the seabird delicacy, mutton birds. The major tourist attraction of the region is the forested coastal scenery of Stewart Island. A catamaran service runs between Bluff and Oban, Halfmoon Bay, Stewart Island, and an aircraft service which flies from Invercargill Airport.
The eastern entrance to the strait was sighted on 6th March 1770 by Capt James Cook during his circumnavigation of the South Island, but he sailed on southwards around Stewart Island which he assumed was peninsula projecting outward from the mainland.
It was an American, Capt Owen F.Smith of the sealing vessel the 'Favourite', who discovered the passage in 1804, and named it on his chart, Smith's Strait. Smith returned to Sydney in 1806 and there made his discovery known to Capt P.G.King, Governor of New South Wales at the time. For some time the passage was also known as Favourites Strait, but on 12th March 1809 there was a reference made in the 'Sydney Gazette' to the name Foveaux Strait in a report by Capt John Grono of the sealer 'Governor Bligh'. The name was that of the Lieutenant-Governor of New South Wales, Major Joseph Foveaux who had arrived in Sydney in July 1808 to assist Governor King. There is no indication who bestowed the name, in 1824 it was renamed Tees Strait, by a Capt Kent, but the name Foveaux Strait survived.
Follow the links below for Shipwrecks in Foveaux Strait.
“UNIDENTIFIED WRECK” 1836.
The “JACK FROST” 1864, Barque, Schooner.
The “LAUGHING WATER” 1870, Barque.
The “HALCYON” 1877, Steamer.
The “HELEN AND JANE” 1879, Schooner.
The “ARROW” 1881, Cutter.
The “LITTLE DENHAM” 1883, Ketch.
The “MARIE ANGE” 1884, Barque.
The “CHAMPION” 1885, Cutter.
The “NELLIE” 1888, Schooner.
The “CAMILLE” 1892, Brigantine.
The “PHILADELPHIA” 1898, Ship.
The “APARIMA” 1899, Schooner.
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