47[Clarke, Bert, interviewed by Jennie Hardie, 1977-78. Transcript: Port Hedland Library, PAM B/CLA]
CLARKE, Bert. Bert Clarke talks to Jenny Hardie about the last time the Koombana was seen before she was lost.. Transcript of interview recorded 1977 and 1978.
The transcript has gone missing from South Hedland Library, but parts have been published elsewhere.
With a cyclone approaching, the Koombana and Bullarra, both in port at the same time put out to sea. And anxiously from his windy tower he watched them go; the Bullarra heading before the cyclone, and the Koombana going north into the teeth of the "blow".
"Normally ships going northbound were out of sight within 30 or 45 minutes" he reminisced "but this day as the storm was getting stronger I stayed up there in the tower watching the Koombana pitching and rolling for nearly two hours."
That Koombana remained in sight for longer than usual tends to support the view that Captain Allen kept speed low while re-ballasting.