David Hume, from the class of 1940, recounts the exhilaration of helping to recover the historic H.M. Bark Endeavour anchor, which had been abandoned in June 1770 and was finally 'unearthed' from beneath the ocean floor in December 1971.
'My involvement with the Endeavour anchor dates back to the early 1960s, when six of us headed north for Cairns to charter M.V. Tropic Seas, owned and operated by Captain Vince Vlasoff. The first trip I joined included Hedley Ladd ('39) and Ted Alstergren ('39). Over the years other Old Collegians were included, Phil Jonas ('38) Len Brown ('35) and my brother Ken Hume ('32).
In 1969 the M.V. Tropic Seas was chartered by an American expedition, led by Dr. Virgil Kauffman from The Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia, to discover and recover the six cannons which Captain James Cook had thrown overboard on 10 June 1770. This expedition was successful. Some weeks later Tropic Seas was chartered by the Department of Shipping and Transport, to join their ship the M.V. Wallach, to recover the four remaining cannons, and as much ballast iron as they could locate. This, too, was successful.
Later in 1969 Tropic Seas captain, Vince, told me about the Endeavour anchor which had been abandoned, and asked me if I could procure a magnetometer, and join him in the expedition to find it. I willingly agreed to do this.
Left to right: Arnold Baird, John Kumm, David Hume, Berna Hume,
Some months later in Melbourne I asked Vince if he would be prepared to put in the Tropic Seas for two weeks for nothing, provided I could get everything else for nothing. This resulted in a four-way contract, which I drew up. Vince was to provide the boat and some equipment; McPhar Geophysics in Adelaide would provide the magnetometer and a scientist to operate it; Fred Aprilovic was to head up the diving and supply all the divers and equipment, including a separate boat for them to live on; I was to organise and lead the expedition.
The final group in the expedition were Vince and his daughter Nila, Fred Aprilovic and Robin Beard, Arnold Baird from McPhar Geophysics, first mate John Kumm, my wife Berna, daughter Annie, son Tony and myself. (Berna and Annie did all the cooking.)
We would never have been successful without the magnetometer and a venturi suction dredge which we devised and built from scrap in Cooktown. I explained to Vince that we would borrow a self-priming pump with 30 metres of firehose and a nozzle. We would then blast the ocean floor at a depth of 17 metres, to uncover the anchor we thought to be there , lift it out, and bring it home. Vince explained that this would not work.
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