Drake’s Island in Plymouth Sound is scheduled to open to the public for the first time, at the beginning of summer 1998. This welcomed event is a result of owner of Plymouth Argyle FC; Mr Dan Macawley, having purchased the island in the summer of 1995. Project manager, Roger Matthews states that work is underway in restoring the buildings and the jetty. A Drake exhibition centre will be one the main attractions and will transcend how Drake has been represented elsewhere. It is intended that the island will promote the Society.
Michael Turner has submitted an application to the 1998 Rolex Awards for Enterprise. Salvage specialist, Martin Woodward, Sir David and Michael, wish to find, raise and bring home the cannons which Drake jettisoned on to Vessuvius Reef, Indonesia, when he ran aground during the world voyage. A letter from the Royal Navy at Commodore level, expresses a desire to ship the guns back to Plymouth.
Society member, Steve Horner is conducting research on Drake’s Yarcombe Manor. The Society looks forward to publishing his revealing and exciting findings.
On 13 April 1997, author Brian Kelleher received wide coverage in The Press Democrat of Santa Rosa, California. Kelleher is to publish a book theorising that Drake landed at Campbell Cove in Bodega Bay California and not at nearby Drake’s Bay. Kelleher’s four year study adds to the decades of controversy of Drake’s US Pacific anchorage. Kelleher’s theory has been rejected by Honorary Member, Raymond Aker, also long standing President of the Drake Navigators Guild.
"Kelleher’s is like the 16 other Drake landing sites from Oregon to Southern California. They all find a nice, pretty cove and then make the facts fit. He found a pretty cove up there in Bodega Bay and then wrote a book about it."
Guild member Edward Von der Porten, a maritime historian and archaeologist who has studied Drake’s circumnavigation since 1956, stated that Kelleher ignores the crucial evidence of the porcelain that Drake took from a Spanish ship. This was given to the Miwok Indians and has been found around Drake’s Bay and Estero.
The Drake Navigators Guild have proved beyond question that Drake sojourned at Drakes Bay and Estero. (The Americans have omitted the apostrophes) Sir David and Michael Turner have visited the area and are convinced that the Guild have correctly documented Drake’s movements in California. History is visited by those who wish to make a name for themselves by re-inventing characters, events and places. Unfortunately this has hindered the universal acceptance of the Guild’s work which began nearly forty years ago.
Kelleher’s 400 page book, Drake’s Bay is to be published by early May. This coincides with Prince Andrew’s visit on 15 May to San Francisco for the "Britain Meets the Bay" promotional months of May and June. Kelleher has approached the BBC to maximise his work.
From the Internet, we learn from Oliver Seeler’s sample text, that he intends to publish a book, restoring the mystery of Drake’s West Coast landing. He claims that nobody has gathered sufficient evidence to claim where Drake landed.
Last April a Sailor Survey was conducted at The Wakeman School in Shropshire, England. Twenty, thirteen year old pupils were asked to vote for their favourite Elizabethan sailor. The scores were: Drake 55%, Raleigh 25%, Hawkins 15% and Frobisher 5%.
For two weeks during February 1997, Michael Turner retraced Drake’s movements in Guinea-Bissau, Guinea (1567) and Sierra Leone (1567 & 80). The most picturesque place was Cacheu, fifteen miles up the river of the same name. Here, Drake reinforced a slaving party during a skirmish with the Portuguese and local inhabitants A 14th century fort overlooks the site of the action. The 25 mile long mountain range to the south of Freetown, is the only stretch of high coastline in West Africa. Hence it was a reliable source of fresh water for the ocean weary navigators. Furthermore, the massive inland waterways at Freetown, ensured that Sierra Leone harbour was the principle haven for victualling in West Africa. Drake was initially here with John Hawkins. When Drake arrived in 1580, he had sailed non-stop from Java on his world voyage. This endurance record stood for around 200 years.
During Whitson, Michael Turner pictorially documented Drake’s raid on Cadiz from a fishing boat. After signing a form stating his next of kin, he photographed the Sagres map precariously, from a hired motorised hang glider. The views were stunning. Drakeing certainly enables one to view from the world from semi-exclusive angles.
Original Member Kenneth Salisbury has delivered 12 illustrated Drake lectures this year. His report will appear in the next edition. Original Member John Thrower presented an illustrated Drake lecture to the employees of Shell Petroleum at The Lensbury Club at Teddington. The Society is grateful for all activities which brings the memory of Sir Francis to the attention of a wider audience.
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