Voyage Log: Brisbane-Coffs Harbour 4-11 September 2008 day 1

Thursday, 4 September
Alongside Hamilton 2, Brisbane

It is time to prepare Bark Endeavour for sea. After a week of perfect weather and a glorious Brisbane reception, the skies have opened giving the voyage crew a taste of a deep eastern-seaboard low pressure system. Everyone is soaked and chilled to the bone, and the ship is still alongside in port! Lucky for them, the catering officer, Abi, has noticed, and changes the first lunch menu to something good and hot, ready to ease the pain.

To start the day the voyage crew give their luggage to the always charming Ben, our second officer, who gives them a big smiling welcome and sends them back to hide in the shelter of the security check-point tent, til the ship is spick and span and ready to take them on – with arrangements made to allow for the weather. Everyone is gathered into their watches and sent to board the ship, as they do so, they are issued a maroon crew t-shirt by Paula, the shore manager – happy and dry in her brand new red jacket, and Matt, the bosun’s mate, who after a morning in the rigging is not so dry. Onboard each watch meets their topman and upperyardie, who will be their guide, mentor, and “hard-tack” for the duration of the voyage to Coffs Harbour.

The first task is to designate each voyage crew with a number within their watch – from 1 to 13, which will be used often by their topman and yardie to ensure all a present and accounted for by sounding off: calling out their individual numbers in turn. But as well as this important safety aspect the number designations are also useful for other things like organising the galley duty for each meal – the lucky few who get to do the dishes for their 50 crewmates. Once this is done they move onto the quick logistical task of being issued a locker and stowing their possessions, then it’s time for introductions and a briefing from the skipper.

Briefing and training for the new crew.

HMB Endeavour briefing and training of the new crew.

Usually the welcome and introduction of the crew is done up on the quarter deck, but with rain pummeling down, Ross, our captain, musters the crew below on the 18th-century deck. His first piece of important news is that due to the conditions ie severe low developing pressure system near south eastern Queensland we won’t be sailing today. Everyone takes the news well, balanced between the disappointment after the excitement and anticipation of departure (felt most strongly by Ross himself!), and the relief of not having to work the ship immediately in the pouring rain. Little did they know that they would soon be on deck regardless, undergoing a safety induction including going aloft into the wind and the wet. But the voyage crew get stuck into it without hesitation, eager to get their first taste of climbing the shrouds and looking down on the deck from on high, a little wind and rain whipping the cheek is a small price to pay for the feeling of being up there for the first time.
All is soggy, and well.
contributed by ship’s steward, Mischa Chaleyer-Kynaston