HONOLULU, Feb. 12 (UPI) -- Archaeologists disclosed Friday they found the wreckage of a 19th century whaling ship in just 12 feet of water in the Pacific between Hawaii and Midway.
The Two Brothers, captained by George Pollard Jr., went down on the night of Feb. 11, 1823, when it hit a reef, ripped in two and sank, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said the shipwreck was first spotted in the shallows of the French Frigate Shoals by a group led by Kelly Gleason in 2008. But it took subsequent trips to the site in 2009 and 2010 to retrieve enough artifacts -- pots, bricks, an anchor, tools and a whaling harpoon tip -- to confirm the wreck was the Two Brothers.
Pollard had survived the sinking of another ship, the Essex, which was rammed by a whale just two years before the Two Brothers went down. The story of the Essex was the basis of the novel "Moby Dick," the newspaper said.
"I'm sure that as the crew scrambled for their lives, as Two Brothers shattered and went down, Pollard's previous bad luck weighed on their minds," historian-archaeologist James Delgado of NOAA's Maritime Heritage Program told the newspaper. "He was a Jonah, and spent the rest of his life as a night watchman. No one would give him a ship again."
The shipwreck is a rarity -- the only other confirmed whaling ship or wreck anywhere in the world is the preserved museum ship Charles W. Morgan, the newspaper said.
"Two Brothers, a whaler, is a unique link in the economic and cultural transformation of the United States," said Delgado. "It was America that industrialized whaling and created a global market.
"Beyond that, anything that connects us to literature makes history real. It has resonance. The bell has struck again. It ceases to be a story and enters the national dialogue."