In April 1911, under the cover of darkness and in thick fog, the massive passenger ship, the Lusitania, carrying nearly 800 people, came to grief at Bellows Rock just beneath the lighthouse at Cape Point. Luckily, most of the passengers survived due to the fact that she remained wedged on the rocks for nearly two days after the impact. A dangerous break makes this suitable for experienced divers only, but it is a fascinating site to explore on Cape Town holidays. Although disorienting fog was blamed for the accident, there were reports from several passengers of seeing an apparition of a ‘ghost ship’ out from the headland just before they ran on to the rocks.
The Thomas T Tucker
Once again in a blanket of dense fog, and apparently at the mercy of a faulty compass, the Thomas T Tucker hit the rocks near Olifantsbos in 1942 on her maiden voyage. Even taking into account the fog and the mis-reading compass, a definitive reason for the collision was never found. Her cargo of arms bound for the Allies in the Libyan Desert had been earmarked as a target for the German U-boats, however, ironically it was the Cape who got them in the end. Although there was no loss of life, the ship broke into three pieces which remain today wedged in their watery grave.
The Flying Dutchman
Every destination in the world has its own collection of myths, legends and local lore which either strike fear into the hearts or, conversely, fascinate the generations of curious ghost hunters eager to prove or disprove the tales. Those who travel to South Africa on Cape Town holidays will invariably hear tell of the ghostly sea-faring tale of the Flying Dutchman. The legend goes that, gripped in the clutches of either madness or alcohol, a certain Dutch captain was attempting to round the Cape of Good Hope in the midst of a horrendous storm. Ignoring pleas from the passengers and crew, he pushed on in treacherous conditions refusing to alter his course. It is said that in the course of the ensuing mutiny, a shadow appeared before him and bestowed upon him a deathly threat if he did not retreat. The captain refused and was cursed that his ship would never round the Cape, but would sail for eternity with his ghostly crew, never gaining a moment’s peace.
The story of the Flying Dutchman, although perhaps in part a piece of much elaborated fiction, has been proliferated by the many reports of sightings of the spectral vessel over the centuries. Perhaps you may see her on your Cape Town holidays...
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Article Added on Wednesday, February 17, 2010
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