The Phantom Ship - A legend... no beginning, no end...
Since the dawn of history the oceans have thrown the gauntlet to the brave, the foolhardy, the wicked and the wise, inviting those who dare to take the chances in a perilous dance of life and death.
But nowhere has this challenge been more tempting and taunting than here on the vital eastern trade routes of KwaZulu-Natal where jagged rocks, dangerous currents, treacherous seas and violent storms have lured hundreds of vessels to their watery graves.
It’s not surprising then that ghost stories abound along this stretch of coastline. Even here at this site of this stranded ship, legend has it that on certain night of the year you can hear muffled voices of people, men and women, and the sound of their weary feet as they trudge through the sand. Some are crying, some are praying and chanting. Yet in the daylight there are no signs of anyone, no footprints, nothing.
Even stranger is the legend of the Phantom ship first sighted at the turn of the last century sailing into Durban harbour from a southerly direction. Ship’s stevedores noticed it at dusk rounding Durban’s Bluff headland with just one blue-green light swinging at the fore. They waited for the vessel - described as a stem ship with a black and scarlet funnel and two masts - to enter the harbour, but it never did.
Several weeks later it appeared again in the same area, but this time even closer to shore, moving slowly like a stealthy shadow again. It appeared to have no name, answered no signals and flew no flags.
Of course sea folk being notoriously superstitious, all kinds of notions were proffered. It was a pirate ship skulking in the dark waiting for its prey, said some. It was lost said others. Some suggested it was on some secret mission. But with no real answers it wasn’t long before the mystery ship was known simply as that darned phantom.
And there the legend may have remained, part myth, part reality, if it had not been for man’s insatiable curiosity which resulted in it being wrecked upon our shores.
Take the Western Freeway (N3) towards Durban CBD. Drive into Monty Naicker (Pine) Street and turn into Mahatma Ghandi (Point) Road. Follow the road till you reach Bell Street. Turn left here. We are in uShaka Marine World.
-29° 50' 8.36''
31° 2' 1.65''
The Phantom Ship
@ uShaka Marine World
1 King Shaka Avenue, Durban
Lunch: 12:00 - 15:00
Dinner: 18:00 - 22:00