Endeavour: Portland to Sydney, days 4-6

All calm on deck. Image: ANMM.

All calm on deck. 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 4, Monday 28 March 2016

The day dawned overcast, the sou’wester had dropped overnight and we were 3 miles off the SE corner of Deal Island and still travelling East. The plan was still to give us sea room to take advantage of possible wind changes.

By the forenoon watch the wind had become light and variable the captain ordered a course change, set the fore and main t’gallants, the sprit topsail, the mizzen topsail, the mizzen topmast staysail and the jib. With pretty much everything set, we ghosted along making the ground we needed. By evening we had covered over 350 miles, all under sail.

Spirits are high and depending on the winds we could be off Eden by Wednesday.

The day was overcast at dawn. Image: ANMM.

The day was overcast at dawn. Image: ANMM.

Cook’s Journal: Daily Entries
28 March 1770

Wednesday 28th

Winds Westerly which in the AM blowed a fresh gale attend with rain. Employ’d getting on board Wood and water and fishing in the latter of which we were pretty successful —

Here comes the rain and wind. Image: ANMM.

Here comes the rain and wind. Image: ANMM.

Day 5 and 6, Tuesday, 29 March and Wednesday 30 march, 2016

How things change and again it was the wind forcing us to wear ship a number of times during the night putting us, this morning, on a beam reach in the Bass Strait about 13 miles from where we were last night. The day remained overcast and we sailed with the sails remaining as we had set them yesterday. The medium swell made for a reasonably relaxed day, the voyage crew attending the captain’s lecture on navigation, the professional crew carrying out maintenance.

Around midday a pair of swallows appeared flying around the ship – whether they had been blown out to sea by the prevailing wind or had been hiding in the rigging since Portland is uncertain but they continued to appear throughout the day.

Our new friend. Image: ANMM.

Our new friend. Image: ANMM.

Late afternoon the captain ordered the fore and main topsails to be reefed in preparation for a change in conditions overnight. The reefing was accompanied by the ship’s chant – two, six, heave – and shortly after the sail changes had been made three sperm whales appeared off the starboard beam. Ignoring the 100 metre rule they stayed with us for a while before continuing on their way. There was speculation that the ship’s chant had attracted them.

And then the rains came, the 1200 – 0400 watch endured around two hours of squalls.

We have covered 450 miles since leaving Portland, all under sail – just as the Old Girl was designed to do.

The rain continued intermittently throughout Day 6, the wind is predicted to come from the sou’west for the next 2 days and then swing around to the North. Eden is off the agenda but if we can get far enough north before the northerly hits we could make a stopover in Jervis Bay. We still have 350 miles to before we reach Sydney but one thing that has proved certain on this voyage is that change is a constant.

The swallows did not appear on Day 6 but a peregrine falcon has taken to perching on the yards and it doesn’t look particularly hungry.

Cook’s Journal: Daily Entries

29 March 1770

Thursday 29th

In the PM had a strong gale from the westward, in the AM variable light airs from the eastward and hazey rainy weather the whole day which however did not prevent us from geting on board wood and water —

Cook’s Journal: Daily Entries

30 March 1770

Friday 30th

Winds at SE a moderate breeze, the first and middle parts dark hazey weather with rain the latter fair. In the AM as the wind seem’d to be settled at SE and having nearly compleated our water we warp’d the Ship out of the Cove in order to have room to get under sail, before this was done it was Noon at which time I went away in the Pinnace in order to examine the Bay and to explore as much of it as the little time I had would admit —

— John Cowie, Steward 

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