Sunday, October 2, 2022

National Geographic show will tell tales of York River’s underwater history

A future episode of National Geographic’s “Drain the Oceans” television show will feature the York River and its underwater mysteries using computer-generated imagery. (WYDaily/Courtesy of York County)
A future episode of National Geographic’s “Drain the Oceans” television show will feature the York River and its underwater mysteries using computer-generated imagery. (WYDaily/Courtesy of York County)

A film crew for a well-known television channel flew all the way to Virginia from London to document a newly-found shipwreck in the mud of the York River.

A future episode of National Geographic’s “Drain the Oceans” television show will feature the York River and its underwater mysteries using computer-generated imagery, the York County Division of Tourism Development wrote in a blog post Friday.

This was one tough secret for the Tourism office to keep!” the office wrote on the Visit Yorktown website.

In June, JRS Explorations found a Revolutionary War shipwreck in the York River, including cannons and a piece of charred wood, which indicated the ship could be the troop transport ship, “Shipwright.”

The shipwreck is the 11th Revolutionary War ship located in the river.

Historians say the Shipwright and another transport ship were anchored in the York River in October 1781 when the French fired a “hot shot” at the HMS Charon, Gen. Cornwallis’ largest warship. 

A future episode of National Geographic’s “Drain the Oceans” television show will feature the York River and its underwater mysteries using computer-generated imagery. (WYDaily/Courtesy of York County)
A future episode of National Geographic’s “Drain the Oceans” television show will feature the York River and its underwater mysteries using computer-generated imagery. (WYDaily/Courtesy of York County)

The Charon caught on fire and drifted into the two transport ships, also catching the Shipwright on fire and sinking the three ships. An excavation in the 1930s confirmed these details about the ships, which still sit at the bottom of the river.

In June and July, news of the discovery by JRS Explorations hit the pages of several news sources, including the Washington Post, Navy Times, Fox News and more. 

That’s where the National Geographic film crews come in.

Following the discovery, the crews used Riverwalk Landing Piers as their home base to gather footage for Drain the Oceans. The show will use scientific data and digital recreations, according to the county tourism office.

Drain the Oceans has covered numerous underwater mysteries, legends and historic artifacts, including U-boats, Malaysia Airlines 370, mysteries of the China seas, D-Day and more, according to the show website.

The tourism office does not yet have an air date for the episode, but it will inform the public as soon as the information becomes available.

Sarah Fearing
Sarah Fearing is the Assistant Editor at WYDaily. Sarah was born in the state of Maine, grew up along the coast, and attended college at the University of Maine at Orono. Sarah left Maine in October 2015 when she was offered a job at a newspaper in West Point, Va. Courts, crime, public safety and civil rights are among Sarah’s favorite topics to cover. She currently covers those topics in Williamsburg, James City County and York County. Sarah has been recognized by other news organizations, state agencies and civic groups for her coverage of a failing fire-rescue system, an aging agriculture industry and lack of oversight in horse rescue groups. In her free time, Sarah enjoys lazing around with her two cats, Salazar and Ruth, drinking copious amounts of coffee and driving places in her white truck.

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