Wednesday, 21 December 2016


A man by the name of Mr. C.F. Le Clus, a trader at Idutywa,Transkei, reported that he saw the 'Waratah' labouring in heavy seas off Cebe - see image below. His report specified Wednesday 28 July, 1909, which is accurate in terms of date, day and storm. He claimed that the gale 'sprung up' at around two o'clock in the early hours of the morning and continued unabated throughout the day. He remarked that in all the years he had been frequenting this resort, he had never seen such adverse conditions both on land and at sea. At about nine o'clock in the morning Mr Le Clus alleged that he saw the 'Waratah' battling in heavy seas. His impressions were that the great liner pitched and rolled excessively, and at times appeared to plow through waves rather than riding them - very typical of the Waratah. Between nine o'clock and some time in the afternoon Mr Le Clus estimated that the 'Waratah' only made about three miles. Although Mr Le Clus specified that the 'Waratah' was six or seven miles out to sea, he did not say in which direction the large steamer was moving. A further crucial flaw in the account was this; Mr. Le Clus specified that the steamer had only one mast. She could not have been as large as estimated and certainly could not have been the Waratah.

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