‘1334, Mauna Loa’ 1911. Edward Sankey

© Sankey Family Photography Collection.

r Mauna Loa


Written by Peter Sandbach

Mauna Loa is one of two vessels listed in the Ulverston harbour record which are still afloat, the other is called Hearts of Oak. This is one of many photographs in the Sankey collection taken from on board a ship and I suspect this image may have been taken on a trip to the Isle of Man.

MAUNA LOA, was a luxury steam yacht commissioned by textile magnate Henry Calvert. Built in 1907 by J. Armour and Sons of Fleetwood, she was named after the Hawaiian volcano which erupted in that year.

Mauna Loa was locked in to the Ulverston Canal on February 16th 1911 and out on February 20th.  She also visited in 1913 and 1915. At the start of the First World War Calvert offered her for service. His offer was accepted and she was chartered by the Navy for the sum of £2 7s 0d. per day. At first she was used to tow barges and was later used as a minesweeper in the English Channel and around the Irish Sea.

On her return from service she was in a very poor condition. Henry Calvert, the owner, had her fully restored to her former glory. Upon Henry Calvert’s death in 1922, MAUNA LOA was passed through a number of owners.  In 1931 she had a major refit at Southampton, which included replacing her steam engines for petrol. At the beginning of the Second World War she was converted into an ‘armed yacht’ with a machine gun mounted on the foredeck.

By the 1970s, she was operating in Gibraltar and Alicante, before moving to Palma. She gradually deteriorated under several owners and in 1984 she was badly damaged by a hurricane.

She is currently owned by the billionaire Duke of Westminster and currently resides in the western Mediterranean.