Dr. Kelly Gleason - Maritime Archaeologist – Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument
In 2004, a team of NOAA National Marine Fishery Service, Coral Reef Ecosystem Division (NMFS/CRED) divers searching for marine debris in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands came across an exciting find: the lost whaling ships Pearl and Hermes, for which Pearl and Hermes Atoll was named. NOAA maritime archaeologists conducted several field seasons of survey at the two sites, completing a thorough documentation of the two whaling shipwreck sites in 2008. Wrecked in 1822, The Pearl and the Hermes are to date, the oldest shipwreck sites discovered and documented in Hawaiian waters.
|Oscar Valenzuela and Dr. Kelly Gleason surveying the wreck of the Pearl|
The Pearl and the Hermes were two vessels of the British South Seas Whaling Industry heading from Honolulu to the newly discovered Japan Whaling Grounds just north west of Kure Atoll in 1822. At this time, the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands were not very well charted. These low lying atolls were a navigational hazard to the numerous whaling vessels transiting further and further afield in the Pacific in search of whales and their oil. In the middle of the night in April of 1822, the Hermes ran aground first, and the Pearl ran aground shortly afterwards about 400 meters to the east. The men made their way to a small island inside the atoll, and set up a camp by salvaging provisions and wreckage from the two vessels. As they awaited rescue, the carpenter of the Hermes, James Robinson, supervised the building of a 30 foot schooner named the Deliverance that they planned to sail to Honolulu in search for rescue.
By the time the building of the Deliverance was complete, a passing vessel, the Earl of Morby picked up all survivors of the Pearl and Hermes shipwrecks. 12 sailors opted to remain behind, and sailed the Deliverance back to Honolulu. Once they arrived in Honolulu, James Robinson sold the Deliverance for $2000, which he used to start James Robinson Shipbuilding Company. He married into a Hawaiian family and became a prominent member of Hawaiian society.
|Trypot from wreck of the Pearl|
|Pearl Gudgeon - a piece of the rudder|