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.
Thursday 18 February 2016
We have had a stowaway on board this voyage. With Enterprize (enterprize.org.au) on the next wharf during our Geelong stay, and crew to-ing and fro-ing between the ships, it is perhaps not surprising that Enterprize’s mascot, Mister Blue, was still on board when we set sail — Eden is strongly suspected. Throughout the voyage Mister Blue has appeared in various spots around the ship, even disappeared from time to time. His latest perch is under the bowsprit, like a miniature figurehead—see if you can spot him in the picture.
This morning the wind died away almost completely, so we were more or less becalmed off the lower east coast of Yorke Peninsula — a taste of life in the Doldrums in the sailing ship era. By mid-afternoon there was just enough wind for us to tack twice, an exercise for the officers as much as anything else. Tacking (taking the head of the ship through the wind in order to change direction) is not often done on a square rigger, but here we had both time and sea space in which to practice the manoeuvre, and everyone enjoyed the experience.
By late afternoon, a freshening wind saw us whistling along at a brisk six and a half knots. As we did so, the pleasant sound of flute and violin could be heard on the quarter deck as Greg and Eden got together in the Great Cabin for a jam session. Roger listened in while writing his diary.
For our last dinner on board, we had another birthday cake, our second for the voyage. Guest of honour this time was Andrew (his birthday is actually tomorrow) who showed great pleasure at the recognition and made a generous and warm speech in reply.
We will spend the night zig-zagging our way slowly up St Vincent Gulf (changing course by the more usual wearing — keeping the wind behind the ship). The aim is to stay south of Adelaide so we are ready to make our final run along the suburban coast in the morning.
James Cook’s family life contained its own measure of tragedy. There were six children, three of whom, including the only daughter, died in infancy. The other three pursued naval careers, but two were lost at sea, including one not long after his father’s death, but before this was know back in England. The last two deaths occurred in 1793, of illness, and 1794, also drowned at sea. Cook’s widow, Elizabeth had seen all of her children die by the time she reached 50 years of age. She herself lived to 93, dying in 1835 “a handsome and venerable lady”, wearing “a ring with her husband’s hair in it” and “measuring everything by his standards of honour and morality”.
Today’s question — my last: Where did Cook’s Endeavour end her days?
Many thanks as always,
– Bill Ellemor, Steward