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.
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.