Anchor found off Whidbey Island may solve 200-year-old mystery

PUGET SOUND - When a commercial diver stumbled over a massive object in the waters off Whidbey Island back in 2008, local historians debated the significance of the discovery. Doug Monk was gathering sea cucumbers when his air hose got snagged on what turned out to be the arm of a old ship's anchor, the Seattle Times reported.  Since then, experts have been researching books and explorer's journals, checking British court documents, and even checking with weather experts on 18th-century water currents.

The consensus now is that what Monk found in the waters off Whidbey might be one of the most sought-after relics of Euopean exploration of the Pacific Northwest: an anchor lost by a ship that accompanied Capt. George Vancouver in 1792, the Times reported.  Vancovuer was exploring the Puget Sound aboard HMS Discovery.

Monk, and amateur historian Scott Grimm think that the 900- pound anchor broke free in heavy currents off the HMS Chatham on June 9, 1792.  The Chatham was an armed tender to Vancouver's ship Discovery, the Times reported.

There are others that dispute the conclusion  that the anchor is from the Chatham.  No one will be able to say for certain until the anchors is excavated this spring, the paper reported. Monk hopes to have the anchor tested by experts at Texas A & M University.

“For 100 years people have been looking for this thing,” Grimm said. “It was discovered by pure accident. That’s the real story — that the history was screwed up. I want to correct the history books.”

Grimm admits that if he and Monk are somehow proven wrong or if more analysis proves inconclusive, he would be greatly disappointed. But he doesn’t think that will happen, the Times reported.