For those who follow HMB Endeavour regularly, you’ll be aware she is great deal more than a static replica of Cook’s famous ship of science. Endeavour is a ‘Regulated Australian Vessel’ with a survey that allows her to operate at sea, anywhere worldwide. Supporting that survey is a regime of annual certifications and inspections and every second year, the ship is required to be lifted from the water.
Friday 7 November 2014, 1500 hours
Distance over ground since 1800 Thursday: 60 nautical miles
The HMB Endeavour replica is now back alongside her usual berth at the Australian National Maritime Museum in Sydney, concluding the Eden voyages.
Both voyages involved some exciting sailing, some stunning days at sea and the chance to see wildlife including whales and seabirds.
As with the last time we returned to the Museum at the end of a period of voyaging, I’d like to end this series of blog posts with a mention of the family groups on board this trip.
As topman of mizzenmast watch this voyage, there were no less than three family groups in my watch. Couple John and Lesley Rowe were both supernumeraries, while Emily Devine and father Michael were voyage crew in mizzenmast watch. Michael has been on Endeavour before and came back for another voyage with Emily as a present for Emily’s birthday.
My father Jim Macbeth came along as voyage crew, making us the third family group in mizzenmast watch. Several other voyage crew wondered how a parent would go ‘taking orders’ from a daughter, but we managed remarkably well and had a good time!
As I mentioned in the blog last time we had a number of family groups on board, it can be a very special experience not only for the families themselves but for others in the watch and on the voyage.
As Jim said: ‘The camaraderie is growing every day as the crew get to know each other and through sharing good, but often challenging, experiences. Sharing an adventure does bring people together, giving us all a sense of friendship and good will.’
This camaraderie was certainly in evidence during our last night at sea on the Eden to Sydney voyage. Everyone was in high spirits and keen to make the most of the experience. This voyage has been a little unusual in that we’ve been at sea every night – there were no nights at anchor.
At 2000 hours, the portside cannon was fired. It was just after dark and, as always, the explosion created by lighting the charge was a spectacular sight.
Mizzenmast watch had the morning watch (0400-0800) and we emerged on deck at 0400 into brilliant moonlight – so bright it seemed that dawn had arrived early. When dawn really did come, it was with a soft orange in the eastern sky, opposite the final light of the moon setting in the west.
Meanwhile, to our northwest the loom of Sydney had been visible for some time, and with the dawn we were able to see Botany Bay as we passed.
A large cargo ship emerged from the port of Botany as we approached, passing around 1.5 nautical miles ahead of us. 1.5 nautical miles sounds like a long way, but at sea it seems extremely close to a ship of that size!
This morning was busy as the whole crew got to work furling the remaining sails (furling involves rolling the sail up tightly and lashing it firmly with lines called gaskets so that the sail cannot flog in the wind or fill up with rainwater). Some sails had been furled the previous evening but the bulk of the work still remained.
On the calm seas and in the bright sunshine, most of the voyage crew were keen to go aloft and it was a good opportunity to put ‘harbour furls’ in all the sails. ‘Harbour furls’ refer to furls that are neat and tidy, ready for the ship to look presentable alongside the wharf – in contrast to storm furls, when the aim is to get the sail in as quickly as possible, with no time for presentation!
Once the sails were furled and the ship neat and tidy, we proceeded through the heads into Sydney Harbour just after lunch. Once again, I was sad to say goodbye to the voyage crew in Darling Harbour – it has been a wonderful few days.
As always, the ship herself attracts many people to come and sail – but it is these same people who give life to the experience of sailing a 19th century replica.
Endeavour’s next adventure on the high seas will be a series of three voyages, beginning in late January 2015. We will be sailing from Sydney to Hobart for the Wooden Boat Festival in early February, then undertaking a ten-day convict history voyage departing from and returning to Hobart, before the return voyage from Hobart to Sydney. The ship will be away from Sydney for six weeks and there are places available for voyage crew and supernumeraries.
Until next time Endeavour goes to sea, fair winds!
– Suzannah Marshall Macbeth