Captain James Cook's long-lost ship the HMS Endeavour finally found

Landing of Captain Cook at Botany Bay, 1770
Landing of Captain Cook at Botany Bay, 1770 Emanuel Phillips Fox via Wikipedia Commons

One of the most fascinating and long-standing marine mysteries is the fate of Captain James Cook's exploratory vessel- the HMS Endeavour. The very ship he and his crew used to explore the southern Pacific which eventually led to the British "discovery" of Australia and the new land's subsequent colonisation.

No one knows what happened to this legendary ship and marine archaeologists have been on the hunt for this 250-year-old ship for over 25 years now. There is a big announcement pending to be made later this week about the ship, notes a report by an Australian news outlet.

So far, the ship's last known resting place was Newport Harbour, off Rhode Island on the northeast coast of the US and the search after so long has been narrowed down to just off Goat Island near Gurneys Resort, notes the report.

The research team has members from the Australian National Maritime Museum (ANMM) and the Rhode Island Marine Archaeology Project (RIMAP). Full details on the findings will be released later this week, notes the report. A 3D photogrammetric image of the site is also expected to be released by the team.

HMS Endeavour off the coast of New Holland, by Samuel Atkins -1794
HMS Endeavour off the coast of New Holland, by Samuel Atkins -1794 Samuel Atkins via Wikimedia commons

Even if the team does find the final resting place of this vessel, it can't really be confirmed till it is actually excavated, notes the report. That is set to happen only next year. However, for those expecting to see the whole boat pulled out of the water and see the whole thing like the Mary Rose could be in for a bit of disappointment as ANMM communications manager Shirani Aththas said that researchers were "closing in" on the shipwreck, but "It'll be bits of wood and vessel that might be recovered," and that "There are certainly timbers preserved in the harbour there," she said.

After the excavation is done, it will require further sampling, testing of the type of wood and nails, and analysis which won't give us a definitive answer for another 18 months, she explained.

The search for HMS Endeavour started after RIMAP director Kathy Abbass was able to trace the ship to Newport Harbour based on historical documents found in London.

"Now that RIMAP and the ANMM have identified a possible site in Newport Harbour that might be the Lord Sandwich ex Endeavour, the detailed work must begin to prove it," Dr Abbass said in a statement, notes the report.