This photo shows Dr Katherine Abbass and myself, with the waters of Newport Harbour in the background, where she has the RIMAP team (all volunteers) diving on wreck sites in search of what may be left of Endeavour. I spent a very interesting couple of hours with her during a visit to the area in September, 2001, and she went over the historical events that led to the scuttling of the Lord Sandwich, and her rationale for identifying this ship as Cook's Endeavour. They have finished diving on one site, having found only the remains of smaller vessels.
She has checked sources in London and found records of the Admiralty paying an agent, one Wilkinson, for several of the other scuttled ships, but not the Lord Sandwich; it is just possible, but unlikely, that this hulk was refloated, and disposed of elsewhere. She would like to know more about Wilkinson, a Quaker from Whitby. He is mentioned in Endeavour Lines, number 36, May 2001, page 7. This article is a very clear summary of Abbass's rationale.
There is no doubt that the ship that Abbass is looking for, is not the vessel from which pieces have been sent to various museums around the world, one fragment indeed to the moon and back to the Washington Cathedral! If the remains of this vessel are to be found, it will be necessary to excavate reclaimed land, at one time a shipyard, now a coastal car park near the centre of Newport.
We were unable to gain access to Dr Abbass's office, which has recently been transferred from her kitchen(!) to the naval base, as the Navy was on high alert following events of September 11th. However, while I would have been interested to see some of the recovered relics, that was not the main object of the visit, which was amply covered in conversation with Dr Abbass.
Originally published in Cook's Log, page 1946, volume 25, number 2 (2002).
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