Wednesday, September 11, 2019

COOK'S ENDEAVOR CLOSE TO CONFIRMATION

11 September 2019: First off, we wish to offer our condolences to the survivors of those who perished in the 9/11 2001 terrorist attacks here in the United States. It is still quite fresh in many minds, and for some, an open wound

Today, we are following up on the story that has been on-going for over a year, namely that of the possible discovery of the HMS Lord Sandwich II, nee Endeavour, in which James Cook sailed to Australia. The following piece comes from Australia where folks are obviously keen on the potential significance of this discovery. 
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reproduction Endeavour
 

Archaeologists are getting closer to confirming the discovery of Captain Cook's Endeavour at the bottom of a US harbour, with scientific testing and clues found by dive teams raising hopes it is the historic vessel.

A joint US-Australian effort has been underway for more than a year on a shipwreck in Newport Harbour, Rhode Island.

Archaeologists and dive teams are yet to find anything about the wreck's structure that would rule it out as the ship Captain Cook sailed, on his historic voyage to Australia and the South Pacific from 1768 to 1771.

"We have definitely entered that exciting phase now," Australian National Maritime Museum director Kevin Sumption told AAP on Sunday [9/8].
An event was held in Rhode Island on Sunday to announce the latest developments in the search for the Endeavour.


An announcement confirming the shipwreck as the Endeavour - or not - could be made around Christmas when independent scientific testing on the keel and other pieces are completed.

The Endeavour's colourful history continued after Captain Cook's expedition.

Endeavour careened in Austalia (bottom cleaning)
The vessel was re-fitted into a transport ship, renamed the Lord Sandwich II, and used by the British against rebelling American colonists during the American War of Independence.
The Brits sunk the Lord Sandwich II and 12 other ships in Newport Harbour in 1778 as a tactic to block the French Navy, allies of the Americans, from entering.

The Rhode Island Marine Archaeology Project has led the search for the Lord Sandwich II/Endeavour and joined forces with the ANMN and SilentWorld Foundation.

Mr Sumption said positive clues so far pointing to the vessel as the Endeavour include divers finding a hole in the ship confirming it had been scuttled, just as the Lord Sandwich II had been in 1778.
Wood samples taken from the ship were independently analysed and all returned as English white oak, consistent with the Endeavour's building materials.
Divers have also found two exposed cannons and in the next week will look for two more.
The ship's keel will likely be the key to confirming if it is the Endeavour.
The keel was made of elm and no other ship scuttled in the harbour at that time had an elm keel.
"The forensic wood sampling we will be doing over the next couple of months will be rather critical," Mr Sumption said.
"If this particular piece of the keel turns out to be elm, that will be part of the puzzle that kind of allows us to say 'Yes, this is Endeavour'."

The search teams will also be looking for evidence of another distinguishing feature - the Endeavour's "deadwood Keelson" construction characteristic.
It will be ironic if the Endeavour's unique elm keel is the key to unlocking the mystery.

It was off Newport Harbour in 1983 where the most significant keel in Australian sporting history, Australia II's winged keel, performed its magic to win the America's Cup and end America's 132-year stranglehold on the event.

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Did we detect a note of national "gotcha" in that last paragraph? Hmmmm.

And a housekeeping note: we will be on the road next week sans computer (yea!) and hence there will be no posting until the following week, assuming I get back!. 
And so, until next time, 
                                   Fair Winds, 
                                          Old Salt



Wednesday, September 4, 2019

SHIP'S BELL TO BE RETURNED

4 SEPTEMBER 2019: Well, here we are starting our 6th year at Maritime Maunder and again, focusing on bringing you articles and stories of general interest to the maritime world, both of a current and an historical nature. Today's piece comes from the BBC and will be of interest to WWII aficionados. 

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USS Osprey ship's bell to be handed to US after mysterious return
The bell from a ship sunk the night before D-Day is to be given back to the US Navy after it was mysteriously returned to the authorities.

USS Osprey sank in June 1944, with the loss of six men, when it hit a mine south of the Isle of Wight.


Pictures of the bell appeared online earlier this year, prompting an investigation and it was subsequently anonymously handed in.

The acting receiver of wreck said it was a "poignant part of our history".
USS Osprey was taking part in minesweeping operations off the south coast of England on 5 June 1944, as part of Operation Overlord. The mine blew a large hole in the vessel's engine room, a fire broke out and the ship had to be abandoned 45 minutes later.

The crew members killed are believed to have been the first casualties of the D-Day operations.


The US authorities contacted the UK coastguard when pictures of the ship's bell appeared on the internet.

An investigation was launched by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency when it was established the bell had not been reported to the receiver of wreck.
Acting receiver Heloise Warner said the agency "put the word about" that it was searching for the bell and it was subsequently left anonymously at an undisclosed location last month.
"It's absolutely fantastic that such a poignant part of our history is back in our possession," she added.

The bell was checked and confirmed as genuine by Historic England conservators and is set to be returned to the US Navy.
The site of the USS Osprey wreck is not protected, but as with any shipwreck, artefacts taken from it should have legally been reported to the receiver of wrecks.

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It is worth noting that the UK is usually quite fastidious about protecting the wrecks discovered in their territorial waters. Somehow, the Osprey wreck slipped through.

Until next time,
                               Fair Winds,
                                 Old Salt