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The anchor — which recovery crew members think might be linked to British explorer George Vancouver and under Admiralty Inlet east of Port Townsend for 222 years — is now on display at the Northwest Maritime Center at the north end of Water Street in Port Townsend.
By Justin Burnett
South Whidbey Record
An anchor believed by the recovery crew Anchor Ventures LLC to be from the HMS Chatham -- part of the Captain George Vancouver expedition into the Pacific Northwest --was successfully raised from Admiralty Inlet west of central Whidbey Island on Monday night.
Anchor Ventures brought the raw iron anchor to the surface at about 6 p.m. after an hour slowly raising it from the depths. Divers spent most of the afternoon Monday trying different methods of freeing it from the sea floor with some barnacles attached and some pebbles rusted into it. Once loose, it was raised in a cradle in one piece, which brought peace of mind to one of the anchor's discoverers.
“I'm pretty overcome,” said Scott Grimm, a member of Anchor Ventures who researched the anchor on antiquity. “It's been a long time.”
By Joe Smillie
Peninsula Daily News
PORT TOWNSEND –– After 222 years underwater, a historic anchor believed to have snapped free from the ship that accompanied Capt. George Vancouver's late-18th-century Discovery expedition is out of the water.
Anchor Ventures LLC on Monday retrieved an anchor lodged in the floor of Admiralty Inlet off Whidbey Island that they believe broke free from the HMS Chatham, companion tall ship to Vancouver's HMS Discovery.
Scott Grimm, a medical equipment salesman and amateur historian and half of Anchor Ventures, said the salvagers were bringing the relic west to Port Townsend.
Difficulties pulling the anchor up pushed the crew back from its expected 2 p.m. arrival time in Port Townsend.
“We ran into a couple snags out here. We had to give the divers a bit of a break, there's only so long they can be under water,” Grimm said about 4:30 p.m.
Grimm started Anchor Ventures LLC with Doug Monk, a Port Angeles diver and fisherman who first spotted the anchor while diving for sea cucumbers off Whidbey Island in 2008.
They were diving Monday off Whidbey Island's Ledgewood Beach, near the Keystone ferry terminal, in pursuit of the anchor they believe to be the one log books say broke free from the HMS Chatham in 1792.
They had withheld the location of the anchor until Monday out of fears it would be poached before they could get to it.
The duo's expedition left Port Townsend Bay shortly after 9 a.m.
They enlisted the help of a barge with a crane mounted on it.
Divers began going after the anchor around noon.
A specially built cradle was made to protect the anchor during the recovery and barge trip back to Port Townsend.
Along with the barge, the expedition consisted of a dive boat with a team of divers and two other large boats carrying media and documentary filmmakers.
Once brought ashore, the anchor will be stored at the Northwest Maritime Center where it will stay for the next few weeks before being shipped off for analysis and preservation work by researchers at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas.
Maritime Center executive director Jake Beattie said the anchor will be displayed on the ground floor of the Chandler Maritime Education Building while it is in Port Townsend.
Grimm and Monk hope the Texas A&M analysis will resolve a dispute with conventional wisdom held by most Pacific Northwest maritime historians that the anchor ended up in Bellingham Channel after snapping free from the Chatham.
The anchor has been sought by maritime and history experts who have made multiple attempts to locate it in Bellingham Channel over the past 70 years.
It was reported lost in the log books and journals kept by the crew of the Chatham.
Both the Chatham and the Discovery spent four years exploring the North American west coast beginning in 1791.
Sequim-Dungeness Valley Editor Joe Smillie can be reached at 360-681-2390, ext. 5052, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Justin Burnett, editor of the South Whidbey Record, a sister newspaper of the Peninsula Daily News, contributed to this report.