Sunday, 24 January 2016


Clarence and Richmond Examiner, Tuesday 14 December, 1909.

The captain (Bruce) estimates that at the time of the alleged explosions the vessel was only three  miles from Cape Hermes, and he considers that the wreck would lie in about 20 fathoms of water between that cape and St. John's River (latitude 31.38 S., longitude 29.55 E.- a point, it will be noticed, where the effect of tides must be considered.
In this extract we are given coordinates which do not match the location. This confusion plagued the Harlow account. However, Captain Bruce was consistent in maintaining the Waratah lay in 20 fathoms (36m) a relatively short distance from Cape Hermes - 3 miles. 
I have analysed the possibility that he mistook the Nkadusweni River mouth for that of the St Johns River (Umzimvubu) which makes more sense given the position of the Harlow at 8 pm, July 27, was probably at least 7 n miles northeast of Cape Hermes, and the Waratah less than 4 n. miles astern.

Captain Bruce made a very valid point, 'the tides must be taken into consideration', and after more than 100 years, the layers of sediment which are likely to conceal a great portion of what remains of the wreck. 

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