CAPTAIN James Cook's 18th century ship the Endeavour was a hotbed of drunken behaviour and hidden homosexuality, experts have revealed.

The claims come after maritime archaeologists say they believe they have found the final resting place of the famous vessel, off the east coast of America.

But it seems life on board the historic ship may not have been plain sailing - thanks to the vast amounts of booze on board and the very cosy sleeping arrangements.

The Endeavour set sail from Plymouth in August 1768 with 17 barrels of rum, 44 barrels of brandy, and 250 barrels of beer on board - for a crew of just 94 men, records show.

Supplies also included 185lbs of cheese, ten thousand pieces of meat, five tonnes of flour and three tonnes of sauerkraut to stave off scurvy, reports Mail Online.

But with such appalling conditions on board it's not surprising the sailors were sozzled a lot of the time - despite the fact those caught drunk on deck would face the lash.

For a start, the crew's cramped bunks were just eight inches apart when they slept - which was one of the biggest causes of friction on the ship.

Hammocks even had to be shared and homosexual behaviour was not uncommon, which at the time was regarded as a "crime of so black a nature" it carried the death penalty.

But Richard Hough's biography of Cook says it was so rife on long voyages that "it was taken for granted if reasonable discretion was observed".

Archaeologists from the Rhode Island Marine Archaeology Project (Rimap) last week revealed they thought they had located the famous vessel which carried Cook to Australia in 1770.

The ship was later used in the American war of independence where it was scuttled, along with 12 other vessels, off Newport, Rhode Island, in August 1778 to act as a blockade.

There are now plans to try and excavate the sunken vessel next year - the 250th anniversary of his arrival in Oz, according to The Age.

Britain could even stake a claim for the wreckage to be housed in the UK.

The breakthrough came after a 25-year search for the exploration ship off the coast of Rhode Island, in the north-eastern US.

Australian National Maritime Museum and Rimap will release 3D images of the wreck site.

It is thought to be located just off Goat Island, a small island in the Narragansett Bay.

Kathy Abbass, director of the Rhode Island Marine Archaeology Project, told Fairfax Media: "We can say we think we know which one it is.

"It is exciting, we are closing in. This is a vessel that is significant to people around the world."

Divers are currently working to confirm whether one of five shipwrecks in the area is the Endeavour.

The vessel was made of oak and pine in the north of England and has been under the waves for more than 200 years.

Scientists are not sure what condition the wreck will be in once it is extracted from the sea bed.

The Rhode Island Historical Preservation and Heritage Commission is now the custodian of the shipwrecks.

The US Space Shuttle Endeavour is named after the ship.

The Endeavour was purchased by the British Navy in 1768 for a scientific mission to the Pacific Ocean.A crew was tasked with finding the mysterious southern continent then known as Terra Australis.Captain James Cook left Plymouth in August 1768He travelled through the Pacific Islands before arriving in New Zealand in September 1769.In April 1770, Endeavour became the first ship to reach the east coast of mainland Australia.Cook landed at the site now known as Botany Bay.The Endeavour was sold in 1775 and renamed Lord Sandwich 2.It was hired as a British troop transport during the American War of Independence.The ship was sunk during a blockade off Rhode Island in 1778.
The Endeavour made it into the history books as the first European ship to reach the east coast of Australia at what is now called Botany Bay.

Approximately one month after his return, Cook was promoted to the rank of commander.

In November 1771, he was sent on a second expedition aboard HMS Resolution.

He was killed during an altercation with Hawaiians at Kealakekua Bay on 14 February 1779.