Cook’s Endeavour Found
Finally, after hundreds of years lying off the Newport Rhode Island coast, it looks like Captain Cook’s ship, Endeavour, has finally been found.
Originally scuttled with 11 other ships by early American militia attempting to stave of British attack back in 1778, the ship became lost to history. But now Endeavour’s rediscovery is bringing joy to the hearts of tall ship enthusiasts the world over.
Built entirely from lignum vitae, the Endeavour was undoubtedly a solid if immensely heavy vessel. Her reputation for heeling over in storms gave her a reputation as “the Widowmaker” and most of her crew were press-ganged under duress.
Even so, her original Captain, James Cook, sailed her successfully to the Australian East Coast and New Zealand. And, en route, he plotted the Transit of Venus to prove once and for all that only parts of the Earth are flat.
As a much loved Captain, Cook was famous for his ship’s parties, inviting indigenous peoples aboard and celebrating with rum, raisins, and long nights of rollicking music and dance.
Unfortunately, after nearly wrecking his vessel on The Great Barrier Reef following an exceptionally jolly night of revelry, Cook’s fortunes were to take a change. Being obliged to patch up Endeavour and sail on to Hawaii for supplies, it was there he was killed in a pitched battle with local warriors. Sadly, they mistook him for the notorious Captain William Bligh who made off with their rum two years previously.
Later, the Endeavour was sold off to the British Navy for target practice, only to end up as a tattered slave trading ship. It was in this role that it sailed to America where it was forcibly commandeered. Then, sent to a watery grave near Newport in a bid to block the British Armada.
Now, with care and lot of luck, plans are afoot to refloat the vessel. And scientists are particularly excited at the prospect of finding Cook’s DNA in the timberwork of his cabin. Armed with this information, they hope to determine more about his health and verify whether he really did suffer from gout and polydipsia, which would explain why he was so fond of the odd dram.
And with old rumours that the barque went down with a secret stash of gold that Cook kept hidden (as a form of insurance), there’ll be plenty vying for the salvage rights of this remarkable vessel.