A blog series by Steward Bill Ellemor from on board the Australian National Maritime Museum’s HMB Endeavour replica as it sails from Geelong to Adelaide. See our Sail the Endeavour page to learn more about joining voyages like this.
Monday 15 February 2016
In the pink and grey early morning light (“Galah light,” according to Peter), those on dawn watch had an encounter with a pod of spinner dolphins. By the time the rest of the crew woke and came on deck land was in sight — Fleurieu Peninsula. Meanwhile down below, with nasi goreng on the breakfast menu, Paula got into costume to serve it. As the morning wore on Kangaroo Island came into view and Backstairs Passage— between KI and the mainland — became clear. By 1400 we were nudging into our chosen anchorage of Antechamber Bay, and by 1500 we were snugged down.
Immediately professional crew got to work bending on the repaired t’gallant sail to its yard and sending it aloft again. With Matt and Finn on the crosstrees, Amy and Eddie on the tops, and others tending various lines on deck, the task was completed on 90 minutes or so. After that, almost everyone got involved to some degree in furling the square sails that had been left loose ready for use had the wind come around to the right direction at any time during the previous 36 hours.
Captain John conducted his second navigation lecture during the morning for interested voyage crew and supers. Participants especially enjoyed the chance to try their hand at taking a reading with a sextant. Evening saw a night sky talk on the quarter deck by Bill.
Fothering is a process which is never likely to be required on this ship. It involves using an old sail to apply a patch over a leak in the hull of a ship at sea. The sail is first packed with a layer of wool and oakum (fibres from old rope) stuck together and to the sail with animal dung “and other filth”. When the sail is dragged under the hull and pressed to it with ropes some of the fibre and dung fills the hole which, together with the sail itself, acts to slow or stop the leak. Although the pumps were holding the leak in the Endeavour, Cook used fothering to further stem the flow and ensure it could make it safely to shore for repairs to be carried out.
Today’s question: What happened at Wapping, London in June 1755?
– Bill Ellemor, Steward