Indefatigable Bob Ward, co-creator of the Bayfront Sea Lion Docks, who also helped to place a block of the Tsunami Dock on the Bayfront and who claims that Sir Francis Drake first set foot on North America in Oregon, not California, is asking for our help.
Mr. Ward is closing in on his historical prey beneath the sands of the mouth of the Salmon River. There, he claims, lies a ship, buried beneath the sands – the ship sailed by those who Drake left behind as he resumed sailing around the world in 1579. Mr. Ward could do with some financial help with his plan to excavate the ship and prove his long evolving theory that Drake made landfall first at Whale Cove, south of Depoe Bay, not at the fabled Drakes Bay in Northern California.
At his recent presentation at Newport’s Pacific Maritime and Heritage Center, more than 200 people sat in rapt amazement as Mr. Ward methodically made the case that Drake’s “official” voyage around the world – was falsified in several places to keep secret, from England’s arch-rival Spain, Drake’s search for the fabled Northwest Passage.
Ward said that those who wrote the “official” history of Drake spending the summer of 1579 near San Francisco, was a deliberate ruse. Mr. Ward presented compelling evidence that Drake made landfall far to the north, at Whale Cove, just south of Depoe Bay – in OREGON! It was there, at the foot of today’s Oceana Street, that Drake claimed the land for England, named it New Albion and placed the local natives under the protection of the British crown.
This was the very first instance of a British protectorate or colony being established on foreign shores which also makes Whale Cove the birthplace and first outpost of the British Empire.
Among the evidence presented were the only two hand-written accounts of the voyage, shown here, both of which give the anchorage as 44 degrees, right here in Lincoln County. The comparison of Whale Cove on two 16th century maps, including this one by Robert Dudley, exactly matches the shape and depths.
Mr. Ward also demonstrated how the ship buried under a tidal mud flat near the mouth of the Salmon River, is a small Spanish “bark.” It is, he claims, the vessel Drake captured off Costa Rica and left behind at Whale Cove along with 25 members of his crew. They were to try to get back to England through the fabled Northwest Passage after wintering on the Oregon coast. Mr. Ward theorizes that the crew would have moved the ship to a safer harbor after the winter winds started to shift to the SW which made Whale Cove unsafe. The Salmon River is the closest safe winter refuge they would have discovered. But they were slaughtered by natives who obviously didn’t want any new neighbors, especially foreigners.
The three 16th century skeletons found just 300 feet from the buried ship, are all that remained of them.
Mr. Ward carried out several surveys at the site last year, using sophisticated geophysical instruments. He found a range of metal items buried about ten feet below the surface that he thinks are parts of the cargo, and may be identifiable as such. He is hoping to recover some of these this July.
The excavation will not be easy because the mud flat is only exposed at very low tides, and then for only hours at a time. Nevertheless Mr. Ward, who has a degree in engineering, has devised a way to do it by sinking a series of metal tubes into the mud, and extracting it. He has hired a distinguished archaeologist to supervise the excavation.
The entire expedition will cost about $45,000 and Mr. Ward is in the process of gathering that from various funding foundations. However, he could do with $3,000 to $5,000 now to cover some of the upfront costs, such as the archaeological permits.
Anybody willing to help can do so by going to the web-site at www.DrakeInOregon.com or click here. You can also call Mr. Ward at (541) 574-4475. The Drake in Oregon Society is 501©3 approved, so all donations are fully tax deductible.