Voyage Log: Brisbane-Coffs Harbour day 3

Saturday, 6 September 2008
Noon position: Lat 26°30.6´S Long 153°45.8´E
Day’s run: 122nm

With only 5 minutes until their sitting of lunch will be called, the foremast watch, lead by Ally and Josh, are charged with the task of setting the fore topsail. Quickly up the shrouds they go, eager to get down to the meal, and avoid upsetting Abi the catering officer – she’s already been traumatised by her offsider, Darby, who accidentally threw a vegetarian salad over the side – much to the pain of Dirk our navigator. Foremast watch set sail in sharp order and get below to enjoy the hearty soup, Abi – being an expert strategist – has set a menu to soothe the stomachs of those crew turned green by the swell – and they are grateful for it.

Up on deck there is the first of many excited hails: “Whale off the port bow!” Water spouts abound, and a mother with calf breaches slapping her tail, and another breaches off to starboard – but no one on deck is quick enough with a camera – so the skipper offers some inspiration: “a bottle of rum for whoever photographs a whale breaching with the ship in the foreground!” The pod is active around the ship for the rest of the afternoon but no more break the surface, the competition stands open for the rest of the voyage.

SAILING!! At 1800 hours the motors go off, and Endeavour is moving in the fashion designed for her, with the wind and the swell her allies. All in all she has six sails set: the fore, main and mizzen topsails, the main course, the fore topmast staysail, and the main topmast staysail. The billowing canvas is a welcome sight, and the movement of the ship in tune with the seas.

After sunset the chief officer, Marty –”Big M”, speaks fondly of his wife and wee puppy dog, who would have thought a salty sailor could be so sentimental – on only the first night at sea! Come 2200 hours though and there is work to be done, time to wear ship, the first big sailing manoeuvre. In the starlight the mainmast watch and some professional crew are called upon and they wear ship finely.

During the night there is the first hammock to go, and a conk to the head is heard, the voyage mates of the young fellow from foremast watch say he is “much more sensible” as a result. Apparently he was rigging it while dinner was called, and in his haste may not have given the knots the attention they deserved. The first day’s voyage was quiet for Wally, the ship’s engineer, and he says an uneventful day for him equals a “seriously happy” engineer. It turned out to be the hush before the storm, at 0200 hours he is woken to attend to a generator, and then spends the twilight hours cannibalising two ill pumps into one working one, keeping the main fridge-freezer alive.

At sunrise the winds freshen, and the mizzen topsail and main topmast staysail – up through the night – are struck. The remaining sails see out the rest of the morning, Endeavour rolling softly with the breeze and gentle swell.
 All is well.

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