Sea Venture Film

This is the ultimate Bermuda history, culture, shipwreck film.

The film: 'Downing's Wreck - The Story of the Sea Venture' reviews the period of colonial expansion and the events of 1609 that led to the settlement of Bermuda before turning its attention to more recent times and the account of the Sea Venture's rediscovery in 1958, her identification and the study of her surviving timbers.

The study of the Sea Venture straddles a fascinating period in maritime archaeology, from its inception to the present day use of computer modeling techniques, each step shedding new light on Bermuda's most celebrated ship wreck.

We have first hand accounts from Teddy Tucker, Peggy Wingood, Dr Jon Adams and Russel Wayman and archived interviews of Edmund Downing and Smokey Wingood, including archival footage and re-enactments of diving and salvage in the 1950's, giving due credit to Bermudian pioneers in Marine Archeology.

Detailed mapping of the Sea Venture's timbers, a rare Elizabethan shipwright's manuscript and modeling software has allowed researchers to extrapolate the missing timbers and for the first time, allow us to see what the Sea Venture really looked like.

Further analysis with ship design software at the University of Southampton has demonstrated that her hull was exceptionally well designed and built specifically for the conditions of an Atlantic crossing - this allows us to address one of the key assumptions regarding the Sea Venture story - that her hull was not fit for purpose.

Historians have theorized that her deficiencies resulted in her being 'swallowed up' by the storm leading to the ship's demise. The archaeological research however, concludes that it was the fact that the hull was of such good design that she survived an incredible three and a half days in a hurricane, able to deliver her passengers safely to Bermuda and start over 400 years of our history. 

Its thanks to this ship not because of her that things turned out as they did - for all of us.

Comments from Educators:

"It is an example of the preservation of our history and can assist in developing students’ ability to discern what should be preserved for future generations."

Mr. Warren Jones, Permanent Secretary Ministry of Education


" It will be used in all Bermuda schools for the teaching of Bermuda history and has merits for the teaching of other subjects as well. At a much more advanced level, we would use parts 2-5 to demonstrate the use of inductive and deductive reasoning, and the knowledge issues associated with history in the International Baccalaureate programme’s Theory of Knowledge course taken by our senior students at BHS and I would strongly recommend the use of the Sea Venture film for this purpose to other Theory of Knowledge teachers here in Bermuda and around the world."

Harvey Cornish, Head of History, Bermuda High School

More information:

The Sea Venture is one of the corner stones of Bermuda's history but to date a large part of this story has been overlooked. While the events of 1609 are well known very little has been done to present the story of the discovery of the wreck in 1959 through to the conclusion of years of archaeological study and analysis in 2013. 

Opening with the fateful events of 1609 the film moves on to acknowledge some of the pioneers of underwater exploration and marine archaeology in Bermuda and their work on our most famous wreck.

We have first hand accounts from Teddy Tucker, Peggy Wingood, Dr Jon Adams and Russel Wayman and archived interviews of Edmund Downing and Smokey Wingood. Further opinion and analysis is provided by Custodian of Historic Wrecks, Dr Philippe Rouja, curator of the Bermuda National Museum Elena Strong and Bermudian Historian Dr Clarence Maxwell. The insight and contributions of these individuals paints a detailed and colorful picture of the Sea Venture Story from 1609 to 2013.

The production pools a broad range of Sea Venture material from disparate sources and acts as a valuable catalogue of visual assets for researchers, students and educators. 

The key purpose of this film is to introduce students and the broader public to the historical and modern history of the Sea Venture. For educational purposes it will be integrated into the public and private school curriculums and filmed in high definition to a high production standard providing a visual learning resource told in a compelling narrative format that will stand the test of time. 

The film project has been 5 years in research, production and development and the LookBermuda team is now producing curriculum modules.

The archaeological expeditions and accompanying research that it showcases for the first time, span from the 1950's through to today.

The Sea Venture film provides the perfect platform to educate a broad demographic about an important aspect of our cultural heritage and the value of protecting it. For the first time the complete story of the Sea Venture will be told and in the process clarify common misconceptions about the ship and give credit to Bermudian pioneers in Marine Archeology. The film will become a major part of public and private school curriculums, museum exhibits and home libraries becoming a legacy media asset sure to be regularly viewed for generations.



This film is in part being made possible by the generous support of the following (if you would like to support this project, please contact us for more information):