Endeavour Reef

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With strengthening winds the decision was taken last night to move Spoilsport to Endeavour Reef, approximately 120 nautical miles to the north of Flora Reef, to investigate the 1770 stranding site of HMB Endeavour.

In 1969 the stranding site of HMB Endeavour was located by the Philadelphia Academy of Natural Sciences and six cannons, iron and stone ballast blocks, a large Admiralty pattern anchor and the remains of six gun carriages were recovered from the site. The Australian National Maritime Museum holds a significant collection of material recovered from the site during these expeditions and we are hoping a reinspection of the site along with a remote sensing survey of the surrounding reef may reveal additional material associated with the 1770 stranding.

After arriving on site the magnetometer team hit the water using a site report from the initial discoveries of the site along with additional information supplied from Doug at Fugro Instruments in Sydney who had conducted an aerial survey of the reef in the early 1960s.

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After a few false starts the magnetometer picked up two magnetic anomalies on an isolated bommie on the southern side of the eastern reef and two survey teams consisting of Nigel and Lee and Xanthe and Kieran dived on the reef. The first divers in found a fantastic coral garden with thousands of fish swimming around brain, staghorn and plate coral.

The second dive team in were Grant, Warren, Ed and Peter with Xanthe to video record the search shortly afterwards a series of rain and wind squalls struck the area obscuring the divers bubbles from the surface boats. The divers were recalled to the surface but not before they had located some cement blocks on the reef top. From his archival information Nigel realised that these blocks were most likely the ones left by some of the earlier salvers’ of the vessel.

Concentrating on the area around the concrete block the next team of divers located sections of railway iron on the seafloor which had also been placed on the Reef in the early in 1970s and most excitingly what appears to be several ballast blocks similar to those in the ANMM’s collection.

By now the weather conditions on Endeavour Reef had deteriorated to such an extent that we have had to postpone diving for the rest of the day (a rain bearing depression to the west of us in the Gulf has now formed into tropical cyclone Charlotte) and Trevor, the skipper of Spoilsport, is currently moving the vessel around to the northern side of the Reef to get some protection from the strengthening South-easterly.

This entry was posted in Maritime Archaeology, Mermaid Project 2009 by Kieran Hosty. Bookmark the permalink.

About Kieran Hosty

I started diving in Western Australia in 1976 and after a few years of mucking around on shipwrecks joined the Maritime Archaeological Association of Western Australia in order to try and make sense of what I saw on the seabed. My love of diving and maritime history made me pursue a graduate degree in history and anthropology from the Western Australian Institute of Technology followed a few years later by a post graduate diploma in maritime archaeology from Curtin University also in Western Australia. After 18 months as an archaeological field volunteer I took up a position with the Maritime Archaeology Unit at the Victoria Archaeological Survey. I was the Commonwealth Historic Shipwrecks Officer in Victoria for six years before coming to the Australian National Maritime Museum in 1994 to take up the position of Curator of Maritime Archaeology and Ship Technology. At the Museum I was responsible for the Museum’s maritime archaeology program as well as curating the Museum’s collection relating to convicts, 19th century migrants and ship technology. My expertise in convict related material was further enhanced, when I took up a temporary position as Curator / Manager of Hyde Park Barracks Museum for eighteen months in 2004 followed by a further 18 month contract at the Barracks where I curated an exhibition on the history and archaeology of convict hulks and another on the World Heritage listing of Australian convict sites. In 2012 my role at the Museum shifted focus when I became the Manager – Maritime Archaeology Program – reflecting an increased emphasis on the importance of the maritime archaeology program at the Museum. I have worked on many maritime archaeological projects both in Australia and overseas including the survey and excavation of the Sydney Cove (1797), HMS Pandora (1791) and HMCS Mermaid (1829), the Coral Sea Shipwrecks Project (sponsored by the SiILENTWORLD FOUNDATION and the ARC) and the hunt for Cook’s Endeavour in the USA. I'm the author of the book Dunbar 1857: Disaster on our doorstep, published by the Museum along with two books on Australian convicts and 19th century migrants published by McMillan.

6 thoughts on “Endeavour Reef

  1. thats so exciting.. thats so gay about the weather though. say hi to everyone for me Kieran and can you ask them if they want to look at my big speel thanking them its under thankyou!! thanks again i learned so much it was a fantastic experience

  2. It certainly is contiuing to be a productive trip for you all.The Endeavour certainly ditched a significant amount of equipment, maritime archaeologists’ dream eh.
    So Trevor has returned to the helm,his boyish enthusiasm couldn’t keep him away .I imagine he would be a great asset to the expedition with his seamanship and his passion for wrecks and their History.Say hello to him and the rest of your trusty gang.Still there in spirit even if the weather is inclement or should I say ‘dodgy’.

    • Dear Elaine. Alice and Megan – thanks for staying in touch with us on board Spoilsport – the expedition is winding down all to quickly – We are back on Flora Reef tidying up the Mermaid site and getting those final measurements, photographs and finding all the ‘lost bouys’. We saw sun for the first time in a week today looks like the gods are still shining on the Mermaid. Regards from all here. Kieran

  3. Hi Kieran,
    Just a quick note to say thanks for involving us in the Mermaid Expedition. I know I can speak for all of my crew when I say it was an honour to be involved, and it was great to see the professionalism of the ANMM at work
    Thanks again

  4. Hmm is anyone else experiencing problems with the pictures on this
    blog loading? I’m trying to figure out if its a problem on my end or if it’s the blog. Any responses would be greatly appreciated.

    • Hiya, it seems the pics were uploaded quite hi-res. We will resize and reload to see if it makes any difference.

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