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.
All is well.