30 March 2010: It is early in the morning and the HMB Endeavour is alive with chatter as the crew prepares for its first morning briefings. After being in museum mode for many months, Endeavour is about to set sail again.
Following informal greetings and quick catch ups, the formalities and paperwork has begun.
Manuals are being issued, standing orders signed and I deliver the Captain’s briefing about why we are here, what we are doing and how it will be done.
Cabins that were on historical display will now be home to the crew for the next month. Some have three bunks per cabin and some are just single berths for the officers.
Personal belongings are stowed, photos of loved ones appear on bulk heads, a violin is seen in an officer’s cabin and a recently purchased “vintage” sextant is proudly displayed. The crew is back on deck.
Once the professional crew settle in they begin transforming the Endeavour from museum mode to a fully operational vessel. All museum artefacts showing how Captain Cook once lived on board are safely stowed or lashed down before we sail – any loose object becomes a potential hazard at sea.
The 21st century safety items appear on deck. Covers are removed from our cleverly disguised 25 man life rafts and the rescue craft is ready to be hoisted back on board. Radars and radios are tested while audible alarms sound off during the testing programs.
As the officers laboriously tick off their check lists a crew member asks if anyone has seen the happy buckets? Happy buckets are essential for when crew get sea sick or, in the crew’s words, make a “happy smile”.
As the happy buckets search begins lost property and odd items like a tar-stained sock and an infamous old pink wet weather jacket that someone left behind some time ago are found. While the crew continues working, I continuously chant “a place for everything and everything in its place”.
And so, for the crew the voyage begins.
Captain Ross Mattson