Birth of a Legend

In 1830 Josiah Knowles was born in this house and - as an adult - went on to command the great clipper ship Wild Wave.

Josiah Knickerson Knowles

Already an acclaimed and respected Captain at an early age, he had yet to experience the ultimate disaster - the horror of a shipwreck at sea.

But that nightmare was fast approaching, as the Wild Wave made its way through the South Pacific thousands of miles form any of the main shipping lanes. And it became a certainty as the lookout suddenly cried the dreadful words: "reef ahead."

Nothing could be done, as the massive hull of the ship collapsed under the impact, and the masts and spars rained down like kindling wood. Finally, in a matter of hours, the Wild Wave turned over, then slipped silently out of sight.

Josiah and the crew were horrified, because the island beyond the roof was small, desolate, and uninhabited by carnivorous land crabs that continually attacked them at night.

Exhausted, hungry and terrified, the crew pleaded with the captain for an answer. Josiah's answer: to build a small nutshell of a boat from the wreckage that washed ashore, and sail it to Australia three thousand miles away.

In a horrific journey, where the tiny boat corkscrewed wildly over thousands of miles of ocean, Josiah did get the help he needed, and did arrange for the rescue of his crew.

It was one of the greatest survival stories in Maritime history, and Josiah Knowles soon became one of the living legends of his time.

(Please see Inn guidebook for full story).

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