The very old anchor

Anchor 1

As I mentioned in another post recently, divers retrieved an old anchor off the coast of Whidbey Island that they think may have been one lost in 1792 by Captain George Vancouver’s first European expedition exploring the Puget Sound region. Logs from the voyage noted the anchor’s loss from HMS Chatham. Historians have been uncertain where the anchor came to rest with many supposing it was near Bellingham. A diver, Doug Monk, discovered this one when his air hose snagged on it. He and a partner, Scott Grimm, arranged to raise it this month and it is on display until the end of this month at the Northwest Maritime Center in Port Townsend. This view is from the base of the anchor looking up its center; either side of the curved base extend left and right out of the shot.

Anchor 3

The anchor is being bathed in fresh water to clean out salts in anticipation of transport to Texas A & M where marine archaeologists hope to date it. Though it’s available for public viewing, the conditions aren’t good for photography. Last Tuesday the water was murky and the overhead shop lights above where it is displayed filled most frames with reflections. Here I hope you can see that the metal of the anchor itself is so aged as to look almost like very worn driftwood.

Anchor 2

The anchor is thickly encrusted with sea life. There’s a worm casing resting on top of a variety of shells and barnacles in this shot.

Scott Grimm makes a case for this being the Chatham anchor. Quoted in the Peninsula Daily News, he says, “If this isn’t it, where is it? And if this isn’t it, what’s an 18th century anchor doing off Whidbey Island?”

7 thoughts on “The very old anchor”

  1. Snagging a air hose turned up one surprising discovery from the past. You can find the strangest things when you are not looking.

  2. That’s one big anchor…such things look larger when not attached to a ship. You did very well with the photos considering the conditions. It would be interesting to know where it came from but were there not other ships in that area in the 18th century?

    Wishing you and yours a great weekend!

    1. @Lowell, Captain Vancouver was the first European to explore this region, in the 1790s. I’m not well versed in the history of the area, but I suspect there weren’t many other explorers for some time since there were very few settlers for roughly the next 50 years.

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