HMB Endeavour: Sydney to Botany Bay Voyage – Day Four

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Noon position Lat 34º20’S  Long 151º25’E
Heading toward Botany Bay
Day’s run 75.9nm
Average speed 3.2kn

Everyone who is not on watch is napping during their downtime in the afternoon, many sleep on the sea chests in the mess deck others quietly fall asleep on deck as they are writing their memoirs. Suddenly, with an announcement over the PA, there are pilot whales sighted off the starboard beam and everyone rushes to the rough-tree rail to look.

There is a pod of pilot whales, perhaps even as many as seven, and it has brought back the smiles on many faces that have, up until this morning, been consumed with exhaustion and seasickness.

The ocean is calm, it is still an indescribable blue but has now softened to a gentle sway rather than the battering onslaught of the day before. There is an icy chill blowing softly over the deck and even Davey, the ship’s budgie, bunkers down in his home and burrows his beak under his wing.

Just as afternoon tea is called it is hastily retracted and instead all hands are required on deck! We are going to tack Endeavour, why? Because we can! Tacking a vessel of Endeavour’s build is extremely difficult, it involves turning 180º through the wind and waiting for it to cross the bow. You feel her slow down and as the heads’ls are let fly the wind starts to rush the length of the ship, all fifty six souls hold their breath in anticipation and then all of a sudden, with the help of many hands and skilled co-ordination from a well trained crew, we have done it, first go!

We tack ship not once but twice!

As we are all congratulating each other on a job well done the call comes that we are going to do it all again so we’re back heading in the right direction. We manage a second tack first go, as flawlessly as the last!

As the first sitting of dinner is called there is a glint of blood orange seeping between the cloud bank and the horizon onto those lucky enough to be furling the topgallants.

The night passes quietly with a wear carried out at 0230hrs with those on watch taking shelter from the cold for a hurried cuppa as they do their safety rounds.

Wearing ship on our approach to Botany Bay

A crisp cool morning becomes hurried when sail handling gets in the way of routine (as it so often does!) and happy hour is delayed until after we’ve worn ship. We are now heading towards Botany Bay.

It has been 240 years since Cook first entered Botany Bay and we are now following in his wake in a replica of the little collier that made a place in history for herself and Cook for their relentless tenacity.

All’s well.