Overnight Experience 2 – Joseph Banks’ Adventures in Botany 3rd/4th April 2010

Captain’s Log

Port Jackson (Sydney) overnight: 03/04/2010-04/04/2010

Weather S/SE 10-15 knots

1000hrs departed North Wharf at the Australian National Maritime Museum.

As predicted the wind was S/SE. This gave us the opportunity to unfurl the necessary sails as we were underway with our iron staysails (motors) down-stream towards the heads of Port Jackson. The vessel was turned about in Watson’s Bay enabling us to have the wind mostly abaft the beam and we proceeded to set our fore topmast staysail, fore course, mizzen stay sail and one of our largest sails, our main topsail. As we left Watson’s Bay we braced on a sharp port tack and sailed upstream towards the Harbour Bridge with a boat speed of 3-4 knots, unfortunately with considerable lee-way. We managed to hold onto our sails until the bridge where sails were handed and we motored back to our mooring in Athol Bight at 1800hrs, just in time for a couple of rain squalls!

After squaring away the vessel (coiling lines and putting things back in order) and furling the remaining sails the crew were slightly damp but still in good cheer. By this stage all of the voyage crew were listening intently to our guest speakers from the Botanic Gardens. The vessel was well secured with a double bridle attached to the mooring.

Endeavour’s lines were slipped at 0900hrs and we proceeded back to the Australian National Maritime Museum by 1000hrs.

Yours aye,
Capt Ross Mattson

Ship’s Steward Log

We met our new voyage crew on North Wharf at the museum where they were assigned to one of three watches. As the voyage crew and their topmen came on board, they were quickly shown where to stow their gear with everyone ready for a safety briefing from first mate Ben as we left the wharf at 1520.

We had lots of help throughout the afternoon from the voyage crew, hauling on lines as we braced the yards and helping out on the helm, even with the rain coming and going just enough to make everything wet and cold!

Hauling on Lines

On Bow Lookout

Having reached Watsons Bay, we turned back and finally arrived at our mooring in Athol Bight.  The voyage crew were then able to take refuge on the mess deck for the first talk from one of two guest speakers from the Royal Botanic Gardens. Catherine Wardrop, a botanical illustrator, spoke about the skill and detail involved when recording botanical specimens and the work done by Sydney Parkinson, one of the artists on Cook’s Endeavour. She also discussed the publication of ‘The Florilegium’ of Cook, Banks and Parkinson, a portfolio of botanical illustrations from the Endeavour voyage.

Detailed work of botantical illustrator, Catherine Wardrop

Dinner was another spectacular affair from catering officer Abi and cook’s mate Jade. With more platters of 18th century-inspired food and a scrumptious pork roast!

As the plates were cleared from the mess tables the voyage crew heard a great cheer from the deck below. The professional crew came rushing up as they’d heard it was time for their ‘pay’. In the past on Royal Navy vessels, it was traditional that the crew would be issued a tot of rum. Our modern crew were forced to balance their tot in soup spoons until the last was handed around…then there was a cry of ‘Huzzah’ as all the rum was downed!

After dinner, the mess deck was again hushed as the crew heard from the second speaker of the night, Dr Brett Summerell. He spoke of the discoveries Banks made in the Botany Bay area and the methods he employed to preserve and carry home specimens for further study.

With the rain still falling up on deck the crew slung the hammocks. The voyage crew questioned their topmen and upperyardies about the likelihood of falling out! Needless to say they were all safe and secure in their hammocks by ‘quiet ship’ at 2300.

As the day dawned clear and fresh, many of the passengers had already roused from their slumber. The change from daylight saving had luckily given everyone an extra hour of sleep!

Breakfast was called at 0730 with the crew choosing to eat either in the 20th century mess down below or up on deck in the fresh air. We then left our mooring and headed back towards the museum. As we motored past Fort Denison we were all treated to a beautiful rainbow which landed in the Botanic Gardens, it’s pot of golden Easter eggs just out of reach!

Homeward Bound

We came into Darling Harbour just as another shower of rain fell and we disembarked slightly bedraggled and damp but not without smiles on our faces!

All’s well.

Ship’s Steward Kat Lindsay