Thursday, 14 July 2016


The following is a list of vessels which went down off Port St Johns. Apart from the Meliskerk (1943) I am unaware of any of the following wrecks being visible on the ocean floor - all buried deep within the plentiful silt from the massive Umzimvubu River:

- Conch 1847
- Alice Smith 1861
- Nicholas 1862
- William Shaw 1873
- Adonis 1882
- Alfredia 1887
- Sybil 1913
- Douglas Dodib 1914
- Frontier I 1926

Sybil, 1913 lies virtually in the mouth of the Umzimvubu River. Skeptics claim that there would be some obvious sign of Waratah off Poenskop, but if vessels such as Sybil have 'disappeared' from human ken, what does that say about the strong possibility of Waratah lying covered by silt barely half a mile offshore??


Mole said...

As I'm sure you are aware, some of these vessels listed were much smaller than the Waratah e.g. the Conch only weighed in at 100 t. Easier to be covered over quite quickly by silt, therefore. By the way the Conch was an example of a vessel coming to grief, not because of stormy seas and gales, but because the wind failed at a crucial moment.

andrew van rensburg said...

Thank you for your constructive comment, Mole. Objects large and small in the silt zone off the Umzimvubu River have been buried in silt over the decades, but your point is well taken and if the 465 ft. Waratah is lying off Poenskop, it is surprising that some indicator of her presence has not been discovered to date. Thanks for the info on the Conch. Andrew

Stuart Flood said...

In my experience wrecks in sandy conditions often sink into the sand and dissappear with time. Local exaples for me are the F.V. Phyllis a small fishing vessel wrecked in the 1950s on my local beach. Most of the upper part of the wreck was cut off and what was left has sunk into the sand over the years and is now only occaisonally uncoverd when tide and sea conditions take the sand away. Two other examples are the Iron Sailing vessels Hydrabad (wrecked 1878 at Waitarere Beach) Now totally covered by sand apprently, 20 or so years ago she was still standing out of the sand on the beach. and the Fusiler which went aground further up the coast which has also been covered by dunes. What a vessel is made out of can also affect how much if anything is left two sailing ships wrecked in the 1870s off Otaki beach one was wooden and the other was a composite both have now been totally destroyed/lost though the mast of the composite ship remained stading on the beach till the 30s apparently.

andrew van rensburg said...

Thank you Stuart for your very interesting and informative comment. Andrew