Endeavour: Portland to Sydney, days 1-3

Departing Portland. Image: ANMM.

Departing Portland. Image: ANMM.

A blog series by Steward John Cowie from on board the Australian National Maritime Museum’s HMB Endeavour replica as it sails from Port Lincoln to Portland. See our Sail the Endeavour page to learn more about joining voyages like this.

Day 1, Friday 25 March, 2016

Departed Portland.

We sailed from Portland on time, fired our cannon at the well-wishers on the wharf and motored south to clear the lobster pots in Portland Bay. An hour clear of the port the wind filled in from the south west and shortly afterwards, a smattering of sail broke out and the engines were stopped. Training commenced in earnest and as the new voyage crew settled in, more sail was set. The medium swell coming in on the starboard beam gave the old girl a chance to strut her stuff, seemingly very happy to be back at sea.

All aboard. Image: ANMM.

All aboard. Image: ANMM.

A dolphin was spotted. Image: ANMM.

A dolphin was spotted. Image: ANMM.

The southwester kept up during the night and averaging over five knots, the intention was to pass south of King Island before sailing into Bass Strait. What’s the old saying: ‘God does not count a day’s sailing in the life span of man’.

Cook’s Journal: Daily Entries

25 March 1770

Sunday 25th

Winds Easterly, towards noon had little wind and hazey with rain ­ made several trips but gain’d nothing to windward so that at noon our situation was nearly the same as yesterday

The crew at sea. Image: ANMM.

The crew at sea. Image: ANMM.

Day 2, Saturday 26 march 2016

Although we are sailing an 18th century ship in the 21st century, some things do not change. Although it had been intended to pass south of King Island and sail across the top of Tasmania, the wind during the day had other ideas. Slowly it began to back and as the morning worn on our bow was slowly forced up. By lunch time, the new plan was to sail north of the island and head east from there.

Our 20th century freezer also decided to do an 18th thing and stop working and for a while it looked like ice cream for every meal, morning and afternoon tea. At the point where there seemed no solution, the engineer managed to get a phone call out and after some Eater Saturday advice from a familiar ‘fridgie’, found a way to work around the problem.

The voyage crew and supers are settling in well. There are a hand full of repeat offenders on-board and in one case, the daughter of someone who has sailed on-board several times before. There’s also a family of three.

The wind remains in the southwest and over the first 24 hours we covered about 115 miles, all in the right direction. Wonder where the Easter Bunny is?

Cook’s Journal: Daily Entries
26 March 1770

Monday 26th

At 3pm the wind came to north and we steer’d ESE with all the sail we could set untill dark when we shortend sail untill the morning having thick misty weather all night     we kept the lead going continualy and had from 37 to 42 fathoms At day light we saw the land bearing SEBE and an Island laying near it bearing ESE distant 5 Leagues, This I knew to be the Island seen from the Entrance of Queen Charlotte’s Sound from which it bears NWBN distant 9 Leagues ­ At Noon it bore SE distant 4 or 5 miles, and the NW head of Queen Charlottes Sound bore SEBS distant 101/2 Leagues   Latitude Observed 43°.. 33′ So Longitude made from 0°.. 43′ East —

Sunrise on Easter Sunday, Image: ANMM.

Sunrise on Easter Sunday, Image: ANMM.

Day 3, Sunday 27 march 2016

The sunrise on Easter Sunday was somewhat different to the sunrises of the last couple of days, no sun just a bank of cloud with the rays breaking through. It was also the day when the voyage crew put their recently learnt climbing skills to the test. Their first task was to shake out the reefs on the fore and main topsails and that done, they then set the mizzen topsail, sprit topsail and the jib

During the day we continued to travel east through Bass Strait on a sou’wester and as long as it remains favorable we should be at Deal Island tomorrow morning.

With night falling, the watch on deck were treated to an extreme display of bioluminescence. In the gathering gloom each small wave showed itself as a breaking white-horse and the sea appeared to boil around the ship. Overhead the Milky Way etched the night sky.

A low swell has made Strait travelling very pleasant and the Easter Bunny managed to make a brief appearance leaving a basket of eggs in its wake. In keeping with Tasmanian weather, it was seen to be wearing thermals.

In the last 48 hours we have covered 250 miles from Portland and are easily meeting our planned speed of advance.


Cook’s Journal: Daily Entries

27 March 1770

Tuesday 27th

Fresh breeze of wind westerly and hazy misty weather with drizzling rain. As we have now circumnavigated the whole of this country it is time for me to think of quiting of it, but before I do this it will be necessary first to compleat our water especialy as we have on board above 30 Tuns of Casks empty and knowing that there is a bay between the above mentioned Island and Queen Charlottes Sound wherein, no doubt there is anchorage and convenient watering places, for accordingly in the PM we hauled round the Island and into the bay, leaving three more Islands on our Starboard hand which lay close under the west shore 3 or 4 Miles within the entrance,   as we run in we kept the lead going and had from 40 to 12 fathom ­ At 6 o’clock we anchored in a 11 fathom water a Muddy bottom under the west shore   in the second Cove within the fore mentioned Islands —

— John Cowie, Steward 

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