Throughout the years people have found some rather historic and famous shipwrecks, whether they were discovered by the general public or by experts. When a person hears the word shipwreck, they generally think of treasure and a detailed story that went along with it. While some of those ships did, in fact, have a detailed story and possible treasure, others’ stories are rather bland.
There are hundreds of shipwrecks lying at the bottom of the ocean, some have been discovered and charted, even put under protection by UNESCO. However, because there are so many shipwrecks in the ocean, there are many that still haven’t been discovered. Some of these ships happen to be rather famous and experts have been searching for them for years.
Experts have searched high and low in order to protect what is left of famous shipwrecks. Whether the plan is to excavate and lift the ships to preserve them, or to simply chart them and protect them, some wrecks are still waiting to be found. Here are the top six:
For those who are not familiar with the name of this ship, it was Christopher Columbus’ ship when he set sail on his first-ever voyage to the Americas. He had started off with three ships named the Nina, Pinta, and Santa Maria. However, only two of the three had returned to Spain. It is said that on Christmas Eve in 1492, a sailor who was in charge of steering the Santa Maria had given the cabin boy the wheel, thus resulting in the boy running the ship right into a coral reef near Haiti.
The crewmen on the ship managed to empty the ship fast enough to protect its cargo, thanks to the Haitian natives. Sadly, the ship sunk the next day and over the years been buried by the sediment in the ocean. The exact location of the ship’s sinking is unknown and has never been written in historical documents. One man named Barry Clifford claimed he had found the Santa Maria by using Columbus’ journals in 2014. However, the UNESCO officials told Clifford that the ship he had found belonged to one that had sunk sometime during the 17th or 18th centuries.
After this ship successfully delivered items for the first atomic bomb to an American base on the island of Tinian on July 30, 1945, the ship was nearly ripped in half after a Japanese submarine called I-58 double torpedoed it. The ship immediately sunk in a matter of minutes, taking 300 seamen with it. The other 900 sailors who managed to escape were left stranded in the middle of the shark-infested Philippine Sea. Some of those men were saved when a Navy plane spotted them nearly four days later.
A majority of them had died of exposure, leaving only 317 able to survive. The sinking of this ship is actually remembered as one of the worst naval disasters of World War II. Despite many attempted searches and using sonar equipment, the ship hasn’t been found. One of the major problems is that the area that it supposedly went down in is quite deep – nearly 12,000 feet.
This ship is most famous for carrying Captain James Cook around the earth for his first voyage, from the years of 1768 to 1771. The ship was actually the first European vessel to visit eastern Australia and sail around New Zealand. A few years after Cook returned home, his ship had been bought by a private buyer named Lord Sandwich.
The ship was later used in the British Royal Navy in order to ferry troops to New England during the American Revolution. As Endeavor was sitting in Rhode Island’s Newport Harbor in 1778, it became one of 13 ships that were sunk in order to form a blockade against the French fleet. The ship’s remains are still being searched for by the Rhode Island Marine Archaeology Project and the Australian National Maritime Museum. Both teams have spent years mapping out locations, but haven’t found any traces of the remains.
This was the first sailing ship to sail the Great Lakes. The ship was a three-masted ship built by French explorer Rene-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle during the expedition to the North American frontier. La Salle used the ship to travel the Niagara River and explore Lakes Erie, Huron, and Michigan. Sometime in September 1679, the ship disappeared after sailing from Green Bay, Wisconsin with six crewmen and a cargo of furs. No one really knows exactly what happened to the ship – it is believed it was taken down by a storm or taken over by a different crew. Many people have searched for this ship, but none have managed to find any of the remains. In 2014, two false alarms occurred; these finds most likely belonged to a steam-powered ship from either the late 19th or 20th centuries.
Ernest Shackleton set sail from England on his Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition to the South Pole in 1914. The Irish explorer had hoped to make the first crossing of Antarctica. Before he could set foot on the continent, the ship became trapped in a heavy sheet of ice in the Weddell Sea. The ship ended up surviving for 10 months in the frozen ice before the pressure of it cracked the ship’s hull and sent it sinking.
Shackleton and his crew managed to escape into a lifeboat, making Shackleton brave an 800-mile voyage to safety. The ship remains somewhere in the South Pole, most likely 10,000 feet deep in the water and under five feet of ice. While some experts have expressed their interest to search for the ship, no one has come up with the funds to support the search.
While there have been countless Naval ships lost, this one has an extraordinary story. This ship was a French donation to the Patriot cause. It set sale in 1779 under Captain John Paul Jones. The ship caught 16 British vessels in a matter of weeks. On September 23, it went head to head with the HMS Serapis and another Royal Navy ship on the northeast coast of England. Jones and his men successfully captured the Serapis after several hours.
However, during the battle, the Bonhomme Richard had caught fire. The men spent nearly 36 hours trying to keep the ship afloat, but it led to Jones and his men to abandon it. This ship has been searched for by several groups, making it a rather popular search. Several teams have found ships matching the whereabouts of where Bonhomme Richard went down, but none of those discoveries confirmed whether it’s the targeted ship or not.