Thursday, 18th September 2008
Coffs Harbour, outer harbour anchorage
The day kicks off with many keen and eager voyage crew arriving early, Paula, Endeavour’s shore manager, greets them with the news that their bags are embarking, but they are not. Endeavour‘s sailing away with their luggage! Never fear, Paula reassures them, once Endeavour‘s safely out of the precarious narrow passage of the inner harbour, they will join the ship.
The voyage crew gather on the wharf and watch the final preparations for casting off. The gangway is dismantled and removed, and Craig, aka Drifty, the shore shipkeeper, meticulously lashes it down in his truck, along with the platform and marquees that accompany Bark Endeavour when she is alongside.
Conditions are calm, with a north westerly breeze, and Ross, the captain, gives the order to cast off the lines. The forward spring go first, so that the aft lines act as a spring, and bring the heading of the ship around to move away from the wharf. She gets underway smoothly and heads for the mouth of the inner harbour. The mouth has been dredged at great effort to ensure that the silt build up is removed, and there is enough depth to get Bark Endeavour out easily.
Before long Endeavour is in position in the outer harbour and the pick (the anchor) is dropped. She is ready to receive her voyage crew. With the invaluable assistance of the Coffs Harbour Water Police and local NSW Maritime Authority, the voyage crew are ferried out to Endeavour in their watches. Foremast watch is the first to board, and gets off to a dramatic start with a voyage crew member taking a plunge in the drink. The professional crew are impressed at her enthusiasm, usually swimming is saved for later in the voyage as a reward, but this crew member couldn’t wait! It is a warm day after all. Some suspect Tom, the mainmast topman, of getting the watch rivalry started properly and early, though he is very apologetic. The voyage crew member is happy to receive her Endeavour t-shirt upon boarding – something dry to put on.
It is a beautiful morning aboard the ship, the voyage crew stow their luggage and have a tour with their topman and upperyardies – their keepers and carers for the duration of the voyage – then muster on the deck for introductions in the sunlight. The captain introduces all of the professional crew, then the voyage crew spend some time with Toby, the chief officer, briefing them about general ship operations. Afterwards they return to their watches to go through their full induction, turning theory into practice.
Amongst the professional crew there is an extra little buzz of excitement in the air, as the second mate and the catering officer, Ben and Abi, are awaiting final confirmation on the condition of their new potential home – a yacht! The only worry is whether Davey, their budgie, will be happy to make it his own as he has Endeavour.
All is well.