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  1. #1
    Charter Member
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    Sharing the culture, history and adventure of the American Southwest.

    Jun 2006
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    Drake's Landing

    Hey gang,
    Here's the quick story.... ( don't forget to read the input at the end )...

    In 1577, Sir Francis Drake persuaded Queen Elizabeth I, to finance a voyage to the Pacific Ocean. It was a top-secret agreement initially – the Queen had watched enviously as Spain had amassed a great Empire in the New World, and she wanted a piece of the action.

    That year, five ships set sail from Plymouth, led by Drake's ship the PELICAN, under the pretense that they were seeking a North West passage through the Atlantic, in order to circumnavigate the globe. Once sailing, the crew were made aware of the real purpose of the voyage –to plunder Spanish settlements on the west coast of the Americas. As they reached the Strait of Magellan, underneath the southern tip of South America, matters became intense when storms battered the ships. The PELICAN was the only ship to make it to the Pacific, and upon doing so Drake renamed her the GOLDEN HIND.

    Drake set about plundering Spanish settlements along the coast of Chile and Peru. He harassed the Spanish by land and by sea along the Pacific Coast. One Peruvian vessel, the CACAFUEGO, yielded more than eight million dollars in silver, gold and precious stones, as well as highly-prized Spanish charts of the Pacific.

    Drake proceeded up the Pacific, as far as or beyond the point reached by Ferrelo of the Cabrillo expedition. But finding nothing but endless sea and running into storms, he turned back toward the California coast and on June 17, 1579, came to what he described as a "conveynient harborough."

    Many a historian has assumed that this was Drake's Bay, some thirty miles north of San Francisco. It is believed that it was there that he built a fort to store his loot while the GOLDEN HIND was careened and repaired. The Indians were awed by Drake, eagerly proclaimed him a chief, and happily looked on while he formally took possession of all of California for England in the name of Queen Elizabeth. He named the place New Albion. After making the necessary repairs (somewhere in California), Drake sailed across the Pacific and Indian Oceans, and then under the southern tip of Africa before returning to England. This trip made him the first Englishman to circumnavigate the globe.

    We know that Sir Francis Drake explored the California coast in 1579 after attacking Spanish settlements in South America, landing somewhere off California's coast to repair his ship, GOLDEN HIND. The exact location of this landfall is not known. Again, most historians believe it was near San Francisco. Yet, some believe the ship stopped along the coast of Santa Barbara for repairs (1). Reports show that when his ship returned to England, it was missing five canons and one anchor.

    For the Spanish, however, when they learned about Drake's adventures, this added insult to injury, and, alarmed at last, they began to think they had better establish some settlements and ports of refuge along the little known coastal frontier.

    The question is " where " is the REAL Drake's landing. Some say San Fransisco Bay while others says Drake's Bay near Point Reyes. There is some GREAT arguement for both places. How say you, oh GREAT THR'S of California

    PLL
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  2. #2
    Charter Member
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    Banning, California
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    Re: Drake's Landing

    Here's a couple of more pixs... One of the Greatest hoaxes in history..

    PLL
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  3. #3
    us
    Aug 2008
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    Re: Drake's Landing

    I've been to that beach a lot now, and the picture does not take into account the grade of that cliff and hill that the guy is supposed to be drawing from. It does not take into account the back area of the estero and the bay/estuary area behind Limantour spit. I'd say it is a good canidate for it. That little island shown can be seen at low tide and I have seen people walk over to it. The mouth of this bay changes a lot, and will run back and forth about 150 feet either way.

  4. #4
    Charter Member
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    Re: Drake's Landing

    Hey cuzcos,
    Could you take some pixs and post them so others could see what you mean I for one have not been to the area and would like to see what you mean.... If you can I THANK YOU in advance...

    PLL

  5. #5
    us
    Aug 2008
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    Re: Drake's Landing

    When I walked over from the Drake's Bay visitors center east along the beach, some of my pictures turned out bad. I don't have any right on the spot.

    Here is a picture from the east side of the estero mouth looking at the hill the guy is supposed to be sitting on and the two cliffs on both sides of it. The small island is not visible, but is there at low tide and sometimes builds up and is there all the time.



    He would have had to partially unload his boat and shift the ballast to turn it on its side to be cleaned. I don't think he left anything there, except maybe some gifts. The locals were probably frying fish on top of his brass plate a few days after he left. They certainly liked Cermeno's boat, and took the washed up planks from it and dragged them back to their villages and used them to improve their homes. If iron and metal is exposed to the air and beach here, it quickly rusts out.

    There was a small indian village right below the spot where the hill comes down between the cliffs. Cermeno walked over the hill when he landed and came back past it to the beach. It is known as the "Hall" site by Heitzer (1941).

    Looking at it again, I think that funny, small building in the picture could be the "Hall" village Miwok building at that site, and that sand spit might have went from west to east instead of from south to north. This might be a better clue for confirmation of the site than the pottery.

    I'll try to stick a Miwok house picture in also. There is even another structure that looks closer to the sailor's drawing.

    http://www.inn-california.com/sanfra...ages/c4089.jpg

    I'm not too sure on the pottery they have found as evidence that Drake was there. Sure, some of it was 20 to 40 years older than Carmeno's 1595 visit, but that may just reflect that Carmeno bought some distressed goods in the Phillipines at cheap prices. There were 4 or 5 Manilia galleon distasters in the Embocadero (galleon route out of the Phillipines) in the 40 years before Carmeno's trip, and some of these goods were probably brought back to Manilia and resold, but not placed on the next year's galleon because they had to be cleared through the lenders who insured and now owned the recovered property, were salt water tainted, or there was just no room to ship the stuff. Carmeno could have easily bought up a couple hundred pieces here, a couple hundred pieces there, and ended up with a mixed cargo spanning 50 years of Chinese porcelin production. It looks like a lot of the broken pieces the Miwoks recovered were the most colorful and pretty that they found.

    Wear patterns on the pottery is also an issue. Some pieces look pretty worn, while others appear almost new. The piece I found on the beach, the top of a tea cup or bowl looked great, and may have represented something that just came out of the bottom sand vs. something that had been rolling around in the breakers outside the estero for 200 years.


  6. #6
    us
    Aug 2008
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    Re: Drake's Landing

    Here it is. I walked to both sides of the estero mouth yesterday, which was a hard ~10 mile trip. I didn't go up the hill, but I did get some decent pictures of the monument and area.

    Information at Drake's Bay visitor center.



    Walking up to the site from the end of the beach spit.



    Front area on the bay. These types of sand/rock walls form naturally along the beach here.



    Path to a gun parapet.



    The bottom of the parapet area.



    The monument.



    More of the monument.





    South side of the fort.





    Is this real? I don't know. Explanations range from it being bona fide to it being created by E Clampus Vitus or the Drake Navagator guild. It could have also served as an observation area with entrenchments for the Hyde skip-bombing range, or for control of the shore battery that was stationed in the area during WW2. It is very hard ground, and the bay in front of it would have worked great for working on a ship.


  7. #7
    Charter Member

    Oct 2004
    N. San Diego area (Pic of my two best 'finds')
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    Re: Drake's Landing

    But if you go there with the intent to gear up, search and salvage--you'll find the Feds on you before your anchor lands on the bottom.

  8. #8
    Charter Member
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    Sharing the culture, history and adventure of the American Southwest.

    Jun 2006
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    Re: Drake's Landing

    hi cuzco,
    Just wanted to stop by and say THANK YOU for the pixs. I'm at work and have to work this weekend so on Mon I'll be able to chat a liitle more. Sorry to hit and run, but I'll take a better gander on Mon ( pix look GREAT though)....

    Thankx for going out and sharing your pixs ( 10 miles sheeeeeesh )

    PLL

  9. #9
    us
    Jun 2007
    Simi Valley California
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    Re: Drake's Landing

    Looks like a great place to launch my kayak and do some fishing..

  10. #10
    us
    Jul 2012
    San Diego, CA
    21
    3 times
    Shipwrecks
    I think this is a fascinating story and one that deserves further research. I'm a historian and when I can, I always go back to the original source work. I've been thumbing through this 1628 copy of "The World Encompassed" from the Library of Congress and two pages stuck out to me:

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    This first page describes the Golden Hind's furthest extent north - to 48 degrees north, which is the mouth of the Strait of Juan de Fuca separating Washington from Canada. In the next paragraph Fletcher describes their return to 38 degrees 30 minutes North. The Golden Hind remained in this position from June 17th to July 23rd, 1579.

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    The next page describes why Drake named the land New Albion, for the white banks which lie seaward. We learn of what they leave behind and that this natural harbor is far North of any Spanish settlement in 1597 and most likely 1628 (when the book was published).

    Now if we go to this position in Google Earth, this corresponds to the Fort Ross Cove.

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    Now do I think this is Drake's Landing? I'm not sure. I would have to see if any deep draft ships could anchor there (and for more than a month!)- my guess is no. What we know as Drake's Bay just seems a little off to me and everything that is set up there at the Bay was planted by the Drake's Navigator Guild.

  11. #11
    th
    Nov 2010
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    The coast at Fort Ross isnt a very good place to anchor, it is too open to the storms. Cant picture Drake staying that long on a lee shore. My guess would more likely be Bodega Bay, sandy, protected and large enough to maneuver in. Supposedly, there has been found evidence of European presence in the bay, at the time of Drake, and some digs were made.

  12. #12
    th
    Nov 2010
    Thailand/Europe/California
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    The coast at Fort Ross isnt a very good place to anchor, it is too open to the storms. Cant picture Drake staying that long on a lee shore. My guess would more likely be Bodega Bay, sandy, protected and large enough to maneuver in. Supposedly, there has been found evidence of European presence in the bay, at the time of Drake, and some digs were made.
    Last edited by maipenrai; Sep 03, 2012 at 01:15 PM.

  13. #13
    th
    Nov 2010
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    38degrees and 30 min, matches up with Fort Ross, but doesnt seem a likely harbor.

  14. #14
    us
    Aug 2008
    460
    15 times
    Here's for the mystery of dead reckoning.

    I think there is a historic beachfront about 200 to 300 feet southwest (mostly south) of the Drake's Bay estero mouth. This was mostly exposed all the time and used by the natives. I seems like the sea in that area was about 5 feet lower in the late 1500's, and this is hinted at by an off-shore layer of broken pottery along the old shore line from the nearby at least partial wrecksite of the San Augustin.

    The historical picture by Ramond Ackler of the English looking down on the site doesn't seem very accurate with this interpretation. These people might have been camping in what is now the middle of a small bay, or a very marshy tidal floodplain area.

  15. #15
    th
    Nov 2010
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    I used to go fishing with my father at Drakes Bay, or rather I went as far as the beach, but he took to boat out and done the fishing, I just played around in the tide pools and climbed the cliffs. I always thought Drakes treasure was up where the parking lot was. Even in then 50's, I heard of treasure hunters digging up the parking and camping area. Too bad I didnt know more of the history then, never even noticed any pottery or china on the beach. Later, when thinking about Drake, it just seemed much too rough to lay a ship up for a long time. Bodega Bay is quite calm most of the time and nice and sandy too. Of course, SF Bay would be even better for repairing a ship, but then the navigation would have been way off.

    In Drakes time, how accurate was their navigation, how far could it be off? I have heard of a cannon in the rocks, quite near Fort Ross, from an abalone hunter, but didnt quite believe him at the time, maybe need to do some diving there myself, just a hassle to put up with all the game wardens, since they are on the outlook for illegal abalone divers.

 

 

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