SBMM to host June lecture, ‘Solving one of the Top Five Unsolved Shipwreck Mysteries,’ online

SANTA BARBARA—Santa Barbara Maritime Museum will resume its monthly lecture series on June 18. The museum canceled its March, April and May lectures due to Covid-19 health concerns.

With in-person gatherings still off limits, SBMM will host its June lecture, The Loss of the USS Conestoga: Solving one of the Top Five Unsolved Shipwreck Mysteries, online through the Zoom Webinar platform on June 18 at 7 p.m.

Robert Schwemmer, the West Coast Regional Maritime Heritage Coordinator for NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, will discuss the history of USS Conestoga, its disappearance and its discovery.

There were 56 U.S. Navy sailors onboard USS Conestoga when the vessel departed Mare Island in San Francisco Bay on March 25, 1921 for Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, and was never seen again. The U.S. Navy launched the largest sea and air search in its history, up until the search for Amelia Earhart’s lost plane in 1937, for the missing fleet tug. The Navy searched 400,000 square miles off the Hawaii Islands and out to Midway Atoll. They also conducted a search off Baja California, Mexico. Ultimately the tug was located 2,100 miles from where it was presumed lost, off Southeast Farallon Island outside the Golden Gate.

Schwemmer was the co-principal investigator with James Delgado on the discovery of Conestoga. His presentation will include underwater video of the wreck site and an interview with the granddaughter of the commanding officer that was lost with his ship.

“USS Conestoga has been an amazing personal journey,” Schwemmer said in a released statement. “No other shipwreck discovery I’ve been involved with compares to the responsibility that comes with telling the story of a group of men who gave the ultimate sacrifice in service to their country, locating their burial site and bringing closure to the families.”

Registration is required but the program is free and open to the public. Registration can be completed online at sbmm.org/santa-barbara-events/ or by phone, 805-456-8747.


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