Voyage Log: Port Macquarie – Newcastle Day 6

Sunday, 5 October 2008

Noon position Lat 33°35.94’S Long 151°14.18’E
Broken Bay, at anchor off Hallet’s Beach
Day’s run  

The smell of mouth-watering steak sandwiches has been wafting up to the deck, and those in the 2nd sitting of lunch look forward to going down to the galley. At 1230 a trumpet sounds and starts blowing different tunes – it looks to be a music filled sods opera tomorrow night. The 2nd sitting of lunch is called down, and as they take their seats – plates laden – an announcement comes over the PA declaring a whale sighting. The diners look at one another, “Hmm… whales? Or steak sandwich?” No one opts for the whales! Matt the boatswain’s mate sets a lunchtime record, seconds, thirds, fourths! Four massive steak sandwiches, written on the menu as “Chippy’s Store Flame Grilled Steaks” in homage to the morning’s fire drill – which was hypothetically caused by Matt in the chippy’s store. All downed before the first end-of-lunch warning. Abi – the catering officer – gives him a knowing smile and nod as he takes his fourth helping.

As they finish lunch one of the voyage crew asks “what are we going to do now?” Someone mentions sods night and that they should prepare, but the first replies “I would love to hitch my hammock!” But they know there’s not much hope of that. For the rest of the afternoon any voyage crew with some idle time work on their sods ideas and routines. It is raining properly now and all on deck are in their wet weather gear. At 1300 we hand the main course followed by the fore course at 1400, handing the sails in preparation for our entrance into Broken Bay to anchor. At 1420 there are many sea buckets being handled on deck – but seem to be tossed back over the side; the biodegradable refuse (the “slops”) have been thrown over the side – and much has been left on the ship’s hull, the sea buckets are being used to wash it off.

At 1430 Captain Ross announces we will be entering Broken Bay – last opportunity for showers! And there is a mad dash of voyage crew down below – who had obviously forgotten that there is close control of the grey water tanks while we are close to shore or in port. We wear ship for our final approach into Broken Bay. At 1450 there is another whale sighting, a pair very close by. At 1500 hours the supernumeraries – the voyage crew housed in the gentleman’s quarters on the after-fall deck near the captain’s cabin – are treated to afternoon tea with the captain in the great cabin. The main engines are started and both the fore and main topsails are handed. All hands are employed to furl sails as we enter Broken Bay at 1640 hours, many voyage crew aloft – out on the yards – as we come in. At 1720 we lay anchor off Hallet’s Beach, amongst pristine national park bushland. For dinner Abi and Darbey, the cook’s mate, serve creamy mushroom pasta, with sumptuous honey-glazed sweet potato, pork fillets, and for desert bananas cooked in rum and brown sugar – to die for. The captain scampers in while the second sitting finishes, looking sheepish and humble as he looks at Abi with the best puppy-dog eyes he can muster – and is granted a plate of food.

At 1800 hours, with two and a half shackles of anchor cable out, there is 3.2 metres of depth under the keel. And it’s movie night! The captain, with assistance from the crew, sets up a screen on the weather deck, and projects incredible footage of Bark Endeavour ripping along under full sail, and rolling like anyone aboard knows she can, then plays a movie of a massive 7-storey high tallship sailing the wrong way around the horn. Everyone thoroughly enjoys the respite, the popcorn, and the chocolate. Afterwards there is a full night’s sleep for the crew (except for some brief anchor watches), and a sleep in, with brunch served at 1000 hours. At 1030, just as the crew prepares for a visit ashore for some more R&R, a nearby boat and sightseer fouls up our anchor buoy, very embarrassing for the boat’s helmsman. Ant the sailing master and boatswain, and Tom the mainmast topman, jump in the fizz boat and go out and untangle the cable from the propeller, luckily done without entering the water (just – Ant was almost down to his underwear to jump in and sort it out).

At about 1100 hours the first shore party is away, landing on the nearby beach, and the fizz boat begins ferrying back and fourth with boatloads of five voyage crew at a time. It is overcast but the rain seems to have abated, and it’s lovely to see the ship from the shore in this unspoilt, natural setting.

All is well.

Contributed by the ship’s steward Mischa Chaleyer-Kynaston