Voyage Log: Brisbane-Coffs Harbour day 5

Monday, 8th September 2008
Noon position: Lat 28°50.6’S Long 154°20.4’E
Day’s run: 67nm

Josh, the foremast upperyardie, is caught tardy with his fishing duties. The captain hails him over the ship’s PA system, and directs him aft asking only: “what’s missing?” Josh, a little bleary from rest down below, looks around uncertain – “ahh, fishing line..?” He got it. Onto the line goes an attractive piece of squid tentacle; Darbey, the cook’s mate, can think of better use for it – waste of good calamari – he is proven correct with not a bite on the line all day.

Just after 1300 hours the bow watch spot land, a familiar peak, it’s Mount Warning! After passing it only 24 hours after our departure from Brisbane, we’ve come back around to it since bouncing off the low pressure system. However, we are still south of Cape Byron, so no ground lost. Reports have come through regarding an overdue yacht, and a coastguard plane flies low over Endeavour, part of wide search. All hands aboard Endeavour keep their eyes peeled for any sign of the yacht, which has two souls aboard.

At 1530 hours Ally and his foremast watch head aloft while the ship rolls in the swell, they are there to reef the foremast topsail. Up high they swing side to side, a giant pendulum against the horizon. They are soon joined by Tom and the mainmast watch, to help finish the job. Below decks Wally has got his hands full, a sump pump for the grey water is on the blink, and the male showers and washbasins are non functional for a few hours.

At 1740 the ship is treated to a calm sunset, perfect pink on the horizon, after nightfall it becomes clear that the pink was a result of cane fires going up on the mainland, as a few are lit in the darkness and burn briefly but ferociously on the horizon – an awesome sight. Massive red glowing beacons streaming into the moonlit sky. For dinner Abi treats Endeavour’s crew to a delicious roast, so good that suddenly a few voyagers who’ve not eaten for a couple of days find an appetite.

Around 2000 hours the ship is weared under foremast watch and Tegan with the mizzenmast watch, otherwise it is a quiet shift but for some dolphins skirting the bow. At the witching hour mainmast watch and Tom come on, with no breeze to warrant any sail handling they bring down the safety lines that were put up for the difficult conditions of the day before, then pass the night sharing a few riddles. With no wind to keep her stable, Bark Endeavour bobs in the swell, and it is another rolly night below decks.

At 0800 hours mizzenmast watch wear the ship without aid from other watches, then are called to breakfast (sweet french toast and maple syrup – to die for), so foremast watch come on to clean up the ropes left on the deck from the operation. The morning meeting for the professional crew is interrupted by Dirk the navigator – on watch at the helm – with a sighting of a water spout off the port bow. A water spout is like a tornado at sea, it can suck up fish and scuba divers and relocate them miles away – not to mention what it could do to a ship. We rush up on deck to clew the courses in case there is a sudden need to wear the ship. We watch the water spout, a small funnel reaching down from the clouds and a smaller one reaching from below, but they do not join. A mixture of disappointment and relief, as they make for an incredible sight, as well as a terrible hazard.

The morning holds another rare occasion, the captain in the bilge! Ross volunteers to do the unenviable part of Engineer Wally’s job, hauling out the plumbing from below the heads. Ross is still recovering from the job, and Wally is still recovering from the shock of the captain’s assistance, otherwise…

All is well.