The Mercury (Hobart) Thursday 7 October, 1909
On arrival in London he called upon me, and, after discussing the business in question, referred
to the narrow escape of the ship and all hands.
When a few days out they encountered a
mountainous sea, so much so that he went forward
and endeavoured to measure the height of
the waves with an aneroid. Captain Cates was an
interested spectator. Suddenly the captain made
an excuse and dashed up the ladder to the bridge; then the engine-room gong was sounded.
The ship was slowed down, and the course altered
to right angles. He quickly saw the reason
advancing towards them with great rapidity was
a huge wave, like a wall. The ship entered this
wave with a terrible smother of sea, but
fortunately end-on and safely. Strange to say, after
it had passed the sea became quite calm, and
the captain rejoined him. He asked the captain
what would have happened if the wave had caught
the ship broadside on. He made an expressive
movement with his hands, implying that the
ship would have been rolled over and over,
and sunk with all hands. If such a misfortune has
befallen the unfortunate Waratah, the only
consolation one can offer the relatives and friends
is that all on board would meet with a speedy and
painless death by drowning. "
There is no doubt that a Tsunami or rogue wave has the potential to sink a vessel, if caught broadside. The million dollar question is, would Captain Ilbery have allowed his vessel to be caught broadside?