Australia is a nation with a rich maritime history, owing its discovery to European sailors and explorers who used its waters as a passage to reach the Asian spice markets. Captain James Cook was one of these seamen, celebrated as Britain’s greatest explorer, navigator, cartographer and captain. Almost 250 years ago, the Englishman boarded the Endeavour on a South Pacific expedition to observe Venus in the night sky…
The Endeavour meets its match
During the voyage, the Endeavour ran aground while traversing the sprawling Great Barrier Reef. Yet despite its sticky end, the Endeavour went down in history as the vessel that helped Cook become the first European to accurately chart Australia’s treacherous eastern coastline. However few people pause to consider what actually became of the British Royal Navy’s 366 tonne research vessel.
A mysterious end
Kathy Abbass, a Rhode Island marine biologist, is hoping to solve the mystery after discovering that in 1778, the Endeavour joined a fleet of 13 vessels used to blockade Newport Harbour during the Revolutionary War. The British went on to destroy the ships, forcing Abbass to conclude that the
Endeavour’s remains lie in the depths of Rhode Island’s Newport Harbour.
Australia signs on to locate Cook’s legacy
Abbass has been working on the project since 1998 and has finally secured the support of the Australian National Maritime Museum. The organisation is funding the project in the hope that she can pinpoint the location of the wreck just in time for the 250 year anniversary of Cook’s South Pacific voyage! The official signing ceremony is set to be held at Washington’s Australian Embassy.
Images sourced via Flickr Creative Commons. Credit: Alex Bikfalvi