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NOAA discovers shipwreck from 1837

During a month-long expedition to discover and document shipwrecks along the Kure Atoll in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) hit the mother lode — the remains of the 1837 British whaling ship Gledstanes.

Divers found a pile of iron ballast and some chain last week looking in the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument, an area administered by the U.S. Department of Commerce, the Department of the Interior, and the State of Hawaii, according to a recent press release.

The ballast led to a trail along the reef where four anchors, cannons and cannonballs, a whaling trypot and another iron ballast were discovered, according to the report.

“For years, I have been coming up to Kure Atoll in hopes of searching for this particular shipwreck, but in the past we have been deterred by the weather and unworkable conditions,” said Kelly Gleason, NOAA archeologist and mission leader, in the report. “This year the Gledstanes was revealed to us, and we couldn’t be more thrilled with the opportunity to share this wreck site and its story with the public.”

The original Gledstanes crew launched the ship’s small boats to find the nearest land after the vessel sank because of rough seas, and landed on the small sandy island in the Kure Atoll named OceanIsland. As pieces of Gledstanes washed ashore, the crew began rebuilding her under a new name, Deliverance, according to the report.

Gledstanes is the fourth whaling ship discovered in the monument area, further evidence of its rich history of 19th century whaling. Researchers will continue to dive at the French Frigate Shoals,Pearl and Hermes Atoll and Midway Atoll the rest of this month. To follow their progress, visit

— Elizabeth Ellis