WATCH: Two amateur historians believe they’ve found the anchor belonging to Captain Vancouver’s ship on the ocean floor. Ted Chernecki has the story.
A 900-pound anchor believed to belong to a ship used by Captain George Vancouver on his expedition of Pacific northwest has been raised from the Strait of Juan de Fuca near Whidbey Island.
Commercial diver Doug Monk from Port Angeles, WA was diving for sea cucumbers in 2008 when his air hose caught on something.
Monk walked back about 100 feet across the sea floor and stumbled across a barnacle covered structure, which turned out to be a historic ship anchor.
A year and a half after the discovery, Monk met with another diver and mariner Scott Grimm.
“He showed me the pictures and I knew it was an 18th century anchor by its design,” says Grimm.
Local amateur historians believe the anchor is from HMS Chatham, which lost its anchor during the expedition in 1792.
The ship was one of the two used by Captain George Vancouver during his expedition of the local waters.
Grimm says it took him six months to analyze ship journals.
“I started doing my own research and what I found was that the historians who originally said the anchor was lost in Bellingham Channel have not done a good analysis of the data,” says Grimm. “I noticed on June 7, two days before they lost the anchor that the ship separated by about 20 miles. I think what happened the historians never bothered to look at the anchors of Chatham. They just assumed all the time that the Chatham was with HSM Discovery and that was not the case.”
So Grimm wrote to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration asking if they could predict tides and currents from over two centuries again.
“Once I got those currents and tides, I laid them against the journals, and the only place that they could have 5.5 knot current, which they mention in the journals that the anchor was lost in, was the Admiralty Inlet. Bellingham Channel at the time at which the anchor was lost was only running at about 3/4 of a knot. That was a smoking gun.”
Grimm says they notified the State of Washington and the British government about their find.
WATCH: Scott Grimm tells Global News about the discovery of the 900 lbs anchor
The state did not have any interest and the British government did not respond to them.
The legal work alone has taken about 6.5 years and a lot of money to complete.
“But we think it is worthwhile,” says Grimm. “This is important for northwest history. It touches both the State of Washington and B.C. It is the first European visit and the first mapping of this region.”
The anchor is currently on display in Port Townsend, but Grimm and Monk are planning to ship the anchor to Texas A&M University by truck in several weeks for restoration, which is expected to take 18-24 months.
Grimm says their goal is to bring it back to the west coast.
“We want to find the right home for it. We want people to be able to touch, see and feel it and be a part of history,” he says.
“222 years ago the first people who started settlements within this area touched that anchor. When it comes back to the Pacific northwest, I want people to be able to touch it and be able to feel something that the men from the Vancouver expedition touched.”