National Science Week grant: Endeavouring Science

NSW 2013

2013 National Science Week on HMB Endeavour replica
Photo: A Frolows, ANMM

The museum is pleased to be a recipient of a 2014 National Science Week grant from the Federal Government’s Inspiring Australia program. Our program, Endeavouring Science, looks at how science has both evolved and remained the same from the 18th century to the 21st century, featuring a range of activities located aboard the iconic HMB Endeavour replica as well as activations across the whole museum site. It will cover themes of weather and navigation, biology and botany, signals and communication and the scientific principles that underlie these.

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Deferred – In the footsteps of Cook, La Perouse and d’Entrecasteaux

Unfortunately, we’ve continued to have problems finalising the voyage to New Caledonia and reluctantly, we have decided to postpone it. It will occur but probably in April/May next year. In the meantime, we are negotiating with a variety of outside agencies and authorities to cement in the other elements of this year’s program.

It is likely that the ship will sail to Newcastle in September, taking an opportunity to see the coast as Cook did and to understand something of sciences of botany and astronomy. In October/November the ship will sail to Eden on the NSW south coast and participate in the Eden Whale Festival and in January/February next year Endeavour will sail to Hobart for the wooden boat festival. It is also hoped to visit Flinders Island, Maria Island, Port Arthur, Adventure Bay, Port Davey and possibly Macquarie Harbour. The intent is to learn something of the convict history of Tasmania, the hardships of operating square rigged ships in Bass Strait and of course, Cook’s voyage to that part of the world in Resolution.

As soon the details are settled, we will begin posting those voyages on our website.

John Dikkenberg

In the footsteps of Cook, La Perouse and d’Entrecasteaux

Efforts are now well underway to get Endeavour ready for her voyage to New Caledonia. You’ll note that the dates for the voyage have changed slightly. The amended dates avoid clashes with other events underway in New Caledonia and are now:

  • 27 May to 6 June Sydney to Noumea.
  • 10 June to 17 June Noumea to Noumea. Coastal sail and visit Isle of Pines.
  • 19 June to 29 June Noumea to Sydney

The program looks really exciting and for those joining, the voyage provides an opportunity to sail this wonderful ship while going to a new destination. Hopefully you’ll disembark with an appreciation of what Cook and other 18th century explorers achieved, a knowledge of square rig sailing, a love of the sea and a little French language.

If you would like to become involved in this exciting event, full details are now on our website.

Sailing programs on HMB Endeavour

Sailing programs in Cook’s Endeavour are all designed to give those joining an unforgettable experience. Unlike passengers in a cruise liner, those joining this stunning ship do not enjoy a swimming pool, a casino or an evening in the cocktail bar. In fact, the ship is dry. Those joining the ship are not even referred to as passengers but as voyage crew and supernumeraries. The 36 voyage crew help sail the ship, climb the rigging and sleep in hammocks. The four supernumeraries occupy the cabins once the home of Cook’s scientific team including Banks and Solander. Whilst not compelled to crew the ship, the four supernumeraries often find themselves drawn into the same tight knit team of true voyagers.

With no modern sailing aids onboard, crew must climb aloft up to 39 metres to unfurl and furl Endeavour's 17 sails.

With no modern sailing aids onboard, crew must climb aloft up to 39 metres to unfurl and furl Endeavour’s 17 sails.

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International Fleet Review and Tall Ships Fesitval Wrap-up

Seventeen tall ships, more than 40 warships, 8000 navy personnel from 19 nations and almost two million visitors flooded into Sydney during the first two weeks of October for the International Fleet Review. The celebration was to commemorate the centenary of the first Royal Australian Navy fleet entry into Sydney Harbour on 4 October 1913, with activities and events spanning nine days.

A wet and overcast day did nothing to dampen the enthusiasm with large crowds venturing out to welcome the tall ships into Sydney Harbour. Lord Nelson, Lady Nelson, Spirit of New Zealand, Tecla, Europa, Coral Trekker, South Passage, Picton Castle and Yukon made the museum their base with their captains and crews a welcome addition to the museums community for the duration of the IFR and Tall Ships festivities.

HMB Endeavour with Picton Castle en route to the Australian National Maritime Museum. Photographer Milo Brogan

HMB Endeavour with Picton Castle en route to the Australian National Maritime Museum. Photographer Milo Brogan

On October 4, the anniversary of the first fleet entry, people crowded to witness seven warships follow the same route as the first Royal Australian Navy vessels into Sydney Harbour. This was an impressive sight with the namesake ships of the original seven, HMAS Sydney, HMAS Parramatta, HMAS Yarra, HMAS Darwin, HMAS Perth, HMAS Bundaberg and HMAS Diamantina, making the journey.

HMAS Sydney followed by HMAS Darwin and HMAS Perth. Photographer Milo Brogan

HMAS Sydney followed by HMAS Darwin and HMAS Perth. Photographer Milo Brogan

The formal ceremony for the fleet review occurred on the Saturday with Governor General Quentin Bryce in the role of Reviewing Officer. This was followed by impressive military displays including aerial displays and flypasts by Australian and visiting aircraft and a spectacular pyrotechnics and lightshow in the evening centred on Sydney Harbour and the Opera House.

Crowds at the Australian National Maritime Museum

Crowds at the Australian National Maritime Museum

The two main days for public access to the ships saw thousands of people visit Garden Island, Barangaroo and the museum wharves in Darling Harbour for a rare chance to get on board the vessels. Crews and hundreds of volunteers worked tirelessly to ensure each day ran smoothly with almost two million visitors enjoying the long weekend. The museum offered various sailing and ferry opportunities that allowed the public and members onto the harbour to see the vessels up close from the water. Additional entertainment was provided by the RAN Navy Band and several visiting bands from the UK, New Zealand, South Africa and Nigeria.

At the end of the review the tall ships gathered in Sydney Harbour for the 2013 Sydney to Auckland tall ship race. The challenging conditions had four vessels retire, with HMB Europa coming home strong to land first place.

Europa overtaking Picton Castle. Photographer Milo Brogan

Europa overtaking Picton Castle. Photographer Milo Brogan

With the review now over, the tall ships remain in Auckland to continue the International Tall Ship Festival and the warships have departed for training activities on the east coast of Australia. We wish all ships a safe journey home and thank all captains, crew, staff and volunteers for their hard work during the nine days of the International Fleet Review and Tall Ships Festival!

International Fleet Review 5 day voyage: Day 4

After an eventful couple of days, we resumed our voyage to Jervis Bay. Although we remain slightly short-handed, we still managed to set the fore and main courses, the fore and main topsails, the spritsail, sprit topsail, fore topmast, main topmast and mizzen staysails and the jib, with the breeze on the quarter, it was time for the crew to take in its surroundings.

Soaking up the sunshine

Soaking up the sunshine

Noting the work put in by them, the routine was relaxed a little and for a lot of the day, the voyage crew were allowed to keep their hammocks slung so they could sleep. If they weren’t all snuggled into their bunks, they took the opportunity on deck to soak up the sunshine and sea air.

Lessons on square rigged sailing

Lessons on square rigged sailing

A feature of sailing in Endeavour is the opportunity to understand square rigged sailing to a better level and the officers and watch leaders had regular sessions during the day on the use of sails and running rigging. This hopefully helped to explain to the voyage crew just what they had been doing over the last few days.

Point Perpendicular

Point Perpendicular

At approximately 1600, as we neared Point Perpendicular, the crew were all called up on deck, to hand in sail, begin furling and range the anchor cable on deck. Under the lee in the northern corner of the bay, the stream anchor was deployed with five shackles of anchor cable. Almost immediately the strong nor’easter eased and the ship settled for the night.

Main Mast

Main Mast

International Fleet Review 5 day voyage: Day 3

After a busy night furling sprits’ls at nearly midnight, wearing ship at 3am and quite lumpy weather, an exciting day was sure to come!

With the crew up and about, the morning meeting was called to let them know of today’s plan. The crew was informed that the ship would be picking up more passengers during the afternoon.

After the meeting, all hands were called for sail handling as the ship was prepared to motor into Darling Harbour. Arriving off Sydney Heads, the crew was treated to its own naval review as the ship was passed by a large number of warships leaving Australia to return home. Many had come to this country from all over the world to help celebrate the International Fleet Review.

Motoring into Darling Harbour

Motoring into Darling Harbour

Once the naval vessels had cleared the heads, Endeavour made her way through to Darling Harbour where we rendezvoused with the museum’s tender. Radio communications were established and three new voyage crew joined to enjoy some 18th century sailing.

New voyage crew joining the vessel

New voyage crew joining the vessel

We cleared the heads at about 5.30 PM and started making our way south towards Jervis Bay where we plan to anchor tomorrow night. This will give the voyage crew a well earned rest and a taste of this beautiful harbour.

All is well.

International Fleet Review 5 day voyage: Day 1-2

After such an exciting and memorable time back in Port it’s now time for our second voyage to begin, not to welcome the tall ships into Sydney Harbour, but to unfortunately bid them farewell. Our visitors have come to Australia from all around the world to help us celebrate the 100th anniversary of our naval operations. Though after a short stay we are saying goodbye so that they can continue their journeys and start the last leg of the Tall Ship Races for this year.

The voyage crew all embarked on the Wednesday afternoon, with a busy crew swapping from day sail mode to voyage mode in a small amount of hours. Although this voyage would be run a little differently to the last voyages. For the first night Endeavour stayed alongside at the museum, with the professional and voyage crew invited to a crew barbeque on wharf 7 in front of Europa and James Craig. Many sailors and Museum staff and even tall ship crew from other ships around the globe showed up to the barbeque to celebrate the successful gathering of the fleet.

New voyage crew at the Museum Wharf

New voyage crew at the Museum Wharf

After many of the ships crews enjoying a laugh and meeting each other all was quietened down and soon all were snug away on the ship to sleep, ready to set sail the next day.

In the morning, many of the crew got up quite early, excited about what the new day would bring. After breakfast all hands were mustered into their watches and the safety training for the voyage began soon after. The training consisted of up and overs and the normal but very important life jacket and life raft briefings.

The start of the 5 day voyage

The start of the 5 day voyage

Once the training was complete the lines were cast off and Endeavour started making her way out of Darling Harbour and on her way to the heads to be a witness to the start of the race to Auckland. As we made it to the gathering point of ships just inside the heads, the breeze was light and the day was warming up, getting up to 39 degrees. The ships started to set sails and waited for the race to start. Unfortunately due to fire risks we were unable to fire any cannons near the heads so the announcements for the start of the race were made over the radio.

The start of the tall ship race to Auckland

The start of the tall ship race to Auckland

After the tall ships had begun the race, Endeavour started making her way South with the breeze and began the purpose of this voyage, to sail!! With the engines turned off, Endeavour was back in her element in no time at all. Once we were sailing the captain believed a little more training was in order, so we conducted some emergency drills. These drills included a fire drill, abandon ship and also a man overboard.

After 2 days of settling in, the time had come for dinner before the night watches were commenced.

All is well.

International Fleet Review voyage – Day 9 & 10

Endeavour continued her passage north overnight and by early morning was off Wollongong and two miles ahead of James Craig. As predicted, however, the wind began to back and by about 5.00AM we were once again on our way to New Zealand. It was with great reluctance that we began to hand in sail and begin our first serious period of motoring.

Initially the plan was to go up to Pittwater for a final night at anchor but in the event, a slight problem with the port engine meant that we were required to drift as we sorted it out. By the time we were underway again it was too late to reach Pittwater and the captain decided to remain at sea, off Sydney overnight.

Thursday morning, 3 October dawned bright and clear but the weather report indicated that it would not be smooth sailing for the tall ship entry into Sydney. Over a period of two hours, fifteen sailing ships gathered and in naval fashion, a rough column was formed. I’d have to say, not without its moments. As Endeavour approached the heads, so did the southerly change and within minutes we were motoring into a 25 knot head wind and heavy rain. The little sail we had up was quickly taken in.

Despite the atrocious conditions, the entry was great fun and the ships were well rewarded with thousands of people at Bradley’s Head, Bennelong Point, Dawes Point and Milson’s Point. In the space of 20 minutes the ship fired a quick five rounds from the cannons, a gesture appreciated by those sheltering in ponchos and under their brollies.

At 1230, the first line was passed to the wharf and for the voyage crew, it marked the end of their adventure. At the ‘passing out parade, where each member of the team was given a Certificate of Service, there were hugs, tears and promises to keep in touch. No one disagreed when the statement was made that it was the best voyage ever.

Endeavour entry into Sydney harbour

Endeavour entring Sydney harbour

All is well.

International Fleet Review voyage – Day 8

On Day 8 of our voyage, the crew woke up refreshed after being at anchor all night and enjoying a motionless deck. Overnight the breeze had been from the north and by this morning it was quite fresh. Many of the voyage crew were on deck simply to enjoy the picturesque foreshore of the bay.

Crew from the Young Endeavour boarding HMB Endeavour

Crew from the Young Endeavour boarding HMB Endeavour

At the morning brief the Captain explained he wished to weigh anchor and be underway by noon, He added that everyone on-board would probably enjoy a play with the other tall ships in the bay before making our way north to Sydney. First of course was ‘happy hour’ which this time involved a deep clean of the lower decks.

The day mainly went to plan with a few distractions, the rescue boat being sent ashore for an errand and some of Young Endeavour’s crew being brought on board for a look around and to help weight our bower anchor.   The anchor party closed up as briefed and the evolution had hardly begun before the wind swung dramatically from north-north-west to southwest. Within a few minutes it was blowing at 35 to 40 knots. Great work by the chief mate and bosun had the anchor aweigh in quick time allowing the ship to move off a lee shore and up into the body of the bay.

While loitering with intent off Huskisson to recover the sea boat, the ship was joined by the barque James Craig and the training ship Young Endeavour. It was interesting that at this time there were three ‘Endeavours’ in the bay, ourselves, Young Endeavour and the Singaporean landing ship RSS Endeavour.

The sea boat back on deck and Young Endeavour visitors back in their vessel, the three sailing ships began getting sail into its gear and within 15 minutes, our own local tall ships’ race was underway. As if that was not exciting enough, we found ourselves passing through various formations of warships entering the bay as we sailed out. Many passed down the ship at two or three hundred metres. No complaints from the crew on board for it gave some amazing opportunities for photos.

james craig with Point Perpendicular in the background

Once under Point Perpendicular the race was on with the James Craig

Once under Point Perpendicular, the race was on in earnest with ourselves and James Craig abeam. Our smaller competitor was not far behind. Had we had time but to load the cannon.

The James Craig

Racing against the James Craig

With the ships beam reaching in the strong gusts, sailing was again perfect and the collier from old England was picking up her skirts. Showing their approval, two humpbacks breached nearby and waved their petrel fins as they swam within 20 feet of the ship’s side.

All is well.