John Paul Jones and Filey Bay


Local Historical Advisor   Legal Consultant    Cultural Resource Management
  Michael Fearon M.Sc.    James Hodgson Donald G Shomette

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Bonhomme Richard Survey 2002 - Project Bethany

      On September 9, 2002, a joint Anglo-American underwater archaeological investigation of a major 18th century shipwreck, possibly the remains of Captain John Paul Jones's famed Continental Navy warship, the Bonhomme Richard of the American War for Independance began in Filey Bay off the town of Filey, North Yorkshire, England. The investigation was conducted by the Filey Underwater Research Unit [FURU], led by John Adams, British Archaeologist John Buglass, an elite team of American underwater archaeologists from the U.S. National Park Service's Submerged Cultural Resource Centre, based in Santa Fe, New Mexico, led by Daniel Lenihan, and researchers from the National Geographic Society, Washington, D.C. 

     The project, which was to conclude on September 23 2002, was supported by the National Geographic Society, with assistance from the Filey Town Council, Maryland Tourism and Economic Development, Europe, and Scandinavia, and Cultural Resource Management, of Dunkirk, Maryland. John Adams, who founded the non-profit making organisation FURU in 1996 to facilitate an intensive research effort on the site, first discovered the shipwreck in 1975. With the assistance of noted American historian and archaeologist Donald Shomette, a limited but successful effort to archaeologically evaluate the wreck was undertaken in 2000, which supported but failed to positively verify its identification. In July 2002 further investigation by John Adams' team yielded substantial additional data leading to the upcoming survey. 

All photographs are the copyright of Tony Green

John Adams & Don Shomette meet to discuss the proposed survey John & Don receiving plaques from the Filey Town Mayor Aileen Newbury for their work on the Bonhomme Richard Project

Don Shomette & Martin Dean of the ADU on board the bridge of the  Survey boat Xplorer

Gary Adams on the dive boat Deep Harmony M with the support trawler Jodan C in the background at sea preparing to receive a heaving line

Peter Pritchard of Pritchard Diving Services oversees the diving operation on board the trawler Jodan C and is caught with a mug of tea between dives

National Parks Services divers  pictured here in the water about to descend to the wreck.  Dan Lenihan who is in charge of the American contingent is on the right.

After a successful dive, the skipper of the Jodan C Brian Cox catching up on the days events. Dan Lenihan, head of the National Parks Service diving team on board the Jodan C Neil Adams of Filey Underwater Research Unit with some of the divers from the National Parks Service. 13 September and the good weather continues, NPS divers here have just completed an arduous dive on the site
National Geographic Society underwater photographer Christoph Gerigk on board the Deep Harmony M preparing to dive to the site John Adams transferring from the RIB dive safety boat after visiting the Jodan C for a dive conference.  The sun has burned the mist away and the day is hot and bright. A crucial part of the day as Gary Adams and John outline the proposed direction of the diving for the remainder of the time at sea.. 14 September, no morning dive due to the weather conditions, Steffan Schultz the NGS Technician, Mike Radley and John Adams on Filey Coble Landing swap stories Filey Lifeboat Coxswain Malcolm Johnson and Mike Radley discuss the relevant advantages of his outboard motor outside the Lifeboat House.  Malcolm keeps a watching brief on the Project.
Christoph Gerigk with binoculars surveys the rough seas at the site, less interested in stories and more interested in getting down to work. John, Lex Austin, FURU's transport officer and Gary watch interested as the cylinders are sorted for recharging.  Who is going to take them?   It's interview time and John  is on location on board the Filey Lifeboat for the event being filmed by the National Parks Service divers and Dan Lenihan.. Camera, lights, action and the interview begins.
Did you really meant to say that John?  The coxswain of the Filey Lifeboat, Malcolm Johnson and John relax in the crew room on the station afterwards. Richard Adams, Christoph and John prepare to start another day's survey work on Filey Coble Landing. As the work proceeds, the moorings have to be moved so the dive boat can be as close to the wreck as possible. In a sickening slow swell, the mooring  positions are altered with much care and difficulty.
Gary and Roland, temporarily redundant while moorings are altered. The monster returns from the deep - John in ROHO suit and appropriate head gear returns from the wreck.  

All photographs are the copyright of Tony Green