Of the 56 reported wrecks on Durban’s coastline, very few have been located and explored. During a change in government in the late 1940s, substantial British Admiralty records were misplaced or lost forever – a great pity, as whatever official records remain today vary greatly in description and detail.
Speaking to some of the older fishermen they will tell you that there are many wrecks off the Durban coast, mainly scattered around the harbour area. Most of these wrecks are however the best kept secrets in Durban as the commercial fisherman render the wrecks as their personal fishing grounds, housing only the biggest fish around our coastline.
For the past 5 years we have been searching for wrecks in our waters, which is not an easy task and much like looking for a needle in a haystack. Many of the wrecks were sunk due to the collapse in the whaling industry when it became cheaper to scuttle a ship rather than maintain it.Thanks to people like Stuart Donkin who are passionate about wrecks I was able to have a look at some of his side scan sonar images and decided to give the possible wreck we found today a dive.
After too many dives to count, today I finally dubbed myself an explorer! Knowing that I am probably the first person ever to dive on this ‘undiscovered’ and yet unnamed wreck made me feel like Indiana Jones crossed with the Leprechaun who had just found the end of the rainbow.
The thrill of the dive, the excitement to see it all before I have to ascend and the anticipation to get back down there as soon as possible to continue my exploration all have me as excited as an expectant first-time father. I can’t wait to get back down there and examine the wreck in detail, to share it with the rest of you!
This is not the first time in my life I wish I was born a fish, I finally realise that this is probably the closest I’ll get to become a fish in this lifetime!
If you are keen to join me on my next exploration dive or want to learn to be more like a fish, I would be very happy to share my knowledge.