My plans to retrace Captain Cook's unfinished voyage have been postponed a year while I work on the next Marine Diesel Basics book and get my new boat SV Oceandrifter ready for sea.
HMS Endeavour off the coast of New Holland, by Samuel Atkins c. 1794
Researchers on Rhode Island, in the US, may have found the remains of HMS Endeavour – the ship Cook sailed around the world on his First Voyage (1768 – 1771) and “discovered” Australia on April 20th, 1770, when Lieutenant Hicks, the officer of the watch, sighted land.
Endeavour is believed to be among five wrecks on the seafloor in Newport Harbour, Rhode Island, where they were scuttled in 1778 during the American Revolution. According to Wikipedia, after Cook’s return to England in July 1771, the ship spent three years sailing to and from the Falkland Islands, in the South Atlantic Ocean, before being sold to private hands in 1775. The ship was then hired by the Royal Navy, renamed HMS Lord Sandwich, and used as a troop carrier before being scuttled in the blockade of Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island in 1778.
Earl of Pembroke, later HMS Endeavour, leaving Whitby Harbour in 1768. By Thomas Luny, dated 1790.
Endeavour was launched in 1764 as a coal-carrying ship Earl of Pembroke before being bought by the Royal Navy for Cook’s voyage to observe the Transit of Venus and to explore for the mythical great southern continent. The ship was 97 ft 8 in (29.77m) in length, 29 ft 2in (8.89m) beam and had a depth in the hold of 11 ft 4 in (3.45m). She carried 3,321 square yards (29,889 square feet or 2,777 sq m)
Cook sailed with 94 men (71 crew, 12 marines and 11 civilians, including the botanist Joseph Banks). None died of scurvy (the great scourge of long voyages in the 18th century) but more than 30 men died from fever in Batavia (Java Island now in Indonesia) and at sea on their return passage.
Cook’s First Voyage was one of the most important voyages up to that time and an amazing feat of seamanship. The voyage not only recorded the Transit of Venus, largely discredited belief in a great southern continent, charted much of the Pacific Ocean, “discovered” New Zealand and Australia, but also brought back thousands of flora and fauna specimens new to the science of the age.
Link to BBC story:
Link to Rhode Island Marine Archeology Project:
Link to Wikipedia article about HMS Endeavour: