The mystery of Durban harbour

By Barbara Cole - IOL

Shipwreck sleuth Vanessa Maitland likes nothing better than a mystery, and getting to the bottom of something for her means real deep research.

Maitland is a maritime archaeologist and when the ocean finally looks like giving up some of its secrets, she is called in to don her diving suit and investigate.

The Agatha Christie of the deep might not have uncovered the stuff of boys' adventure novels like pirated gold coins, but what she finds is much more important, she said.

"The treasure is the information you get," she said.

Fathoming a mystery might take her years, but as she put it, "it is not the destination, but the voyage that counts".

Maitland was called in recently after a mystery shipwreck was detected during dredging operations to widen and deepen the entrance to Durban harbour, which will enable the bigger ships of the future to get into the port.


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