More than two centuries after one of the ships in British Capt. George Vancouver‘s flotilla lost an anchor in Puget Sound, a group of amateur divers are convinced the object they’ve brought to the surface is the very same.
The loss of the anchor by the HMS Chatham in strong currents in the Sound on June 9, 1792, is well-documented in contemporary logbooks from the famous expedition to explore the Pacific Northwest. And the barnacle-encrusted anchor, weighing 900 pounds, that was recovered Monday appears like it could be a match: It’s the right size, shape and style to be from the Chatham.
Doug Monk, a Port Angeles diver and fisherman, first spotted the artifact in 2008. He and Scott Grimm, a medical equipment salesman and amateur historian, have worked since then to recover it and confirm its authenticity. The Seattle Times, in an article from February, describes the Chatham’s anchor as “one of the most sought-after relics of European exploration of the Pacific Northwest.”
The anchor was successfully raised Monday night from Admiralty Inlet, west of central Whidbey Island, according to the Peninsula Daily News.
Once loose from the bottom, it was raised in a cradle in one piece, the News says.
“I’m pretty overcome,” Grimm is quoted by the website as saying. “It’s been a long time.”
“For me, I’m a Northwest guy and my family has been here since the 1880s,” he said. “The Chatham is our link to our past. My mom used to always say stuff isn’t just stuff. It ties generations together.”
HMS Chatham, which was eventually commanded by Peter Puget, was an armed tender for HMS Discovery, Vancouver’s flagship. Although the loss of its anchor is not in question, the location where it was lost still is.
“[Inconsistencies] in the record have made it difficult to ferret out precisely where the Chatham was at the time” the anchor was lost, The Seattle Times says.
Monk and Grimm plan to have the anchor shipped to Texas A&M University, where researchers will attempt to prove whether or not it came from Vancouver’s famous expedition.