Distance run in the last 8hrs; 51.2NM
Average speed; 6.4KN
Because of the speed in which we have been doing we have made really good ground giving us the opportunity to explore this remote and historical area, so we decide to sail toward Mount Adolphus Island (or Muri Island the traditional Torres Straits name.) Looking at the charts of the surrounding area there are many Islands, passages and reefs named after great
explorers and ships which have travelled through the North Coral Sea from, Bligh, Cook, Flinders and The Pandora. Reading through Cook’s journal it is difficult to follow his track in this area, however we do know that Cook thought Mount Adolphus was part of the mainland, before sailing closer and realising it was an Island. There are still many areas in these parts that are unsurveyed which has led to some tragedies. In 1890 the RMS Quetta was following Adolphus Channel in fair weather, good visibility and with an experienced pilot when the ship struck an unchartered rock in the middle of the channel near Albany Island. The rock ripped a hole from the bow to the engine room amidships. The ship sank in less than five minutes.
After lunch Captain Ross gives a lecture on navigation, while this is happening the professional crew are busy with maintenance and scraping the tar off the deck, from where the anchor cable has been resting. At 2000 there is a call for all hands, as we approach Mount Adolphus Island in the dark and with the wind gusting to 38 knots. Endeavour reaches her record speed on the circumnavigation voyage of 8.6 knots. There is an air of apprehension on deck as we exit the channel, into the unknown territory and head for a shadow of an Island in such
strong winds. All the watches stand by their nominated areas to hand the sail when commanded. All sail handling goes efficiently, as the crew are competent on their knowledge of the ships lines. There is not a shortage of hands when it comes to volunteering to go aloft and furl the sails in 30 knots of wind and darkness. There is no doubt that this crew like their adrenalin. We anchor safely but the winds continue to gust strongly throughout the night and into the morning.
Unfortunately due to the strong winds we are unable to go ashore as we had hoped to, which might be just as well. While on deck this morning as Captain Ross gives his morning talk to the voyage crew, Eddie the cook’s mate looks through the binoculars and spots what he thinks to be a crocodile lazing in the sun on the beach. There is much discussion amongst some of the crew if it is a log, turtle, a shadow or a crocodile. Just before we leave the anchorage shortly before midday Ant the third officer has another look and it appears that what it ever it may be has since made its way further up the beach….