The crew are adjusting well into the three watch system. Each watch is named traditionally on Endeavour after the three masts on the ship; the Foremast, Mainmast and Mizzen. Again to keep with tradition the ship works on a dog watch. A dog watch is a watch between 1600 to 1800 and the second watch from 1800 to 2000, the reason behind this watch is that in order for the crew to rotate through all the watches it is necessary to split one of the watches in half, to create an odd number of watches in a ship’s day. This allows the crew to stand different watches instead of one team being forced to stand the mid-watch every night.
It is late afternoon and the sea has a 4 meter swell and there is a wind force of 5-6 Easterly’s with South Easterly gusts. The Forecourse and the fore topmast staysail are set after lunch to give us a bit more drive. The weather has deteriorated and there are heavy downpours leaving the Mizzen watch cold and wet. We are currently sailing further offshore as we are approaching Port Stephens, this is for two reasons. The first being that on the South side is ‘Stockton Bight’ which is notorious for shipwrecks and with Easterly winds we are going to be pushed closer inshore so it is important that we sail far enough out to clear the point. The second reason being that there is the Eastern Australian Current running down which we want to avoid sailing into as current speeds can reach up to 4 knots. This would have a great effect on Endeavour’s speed so much so it could actually stop us from making headway.
The weather continues to be unpredictable during the night and as anticipated the navigation around the point is tricky. Anthony from Canberra does a sterling job on the helm and keeps the ship on the correct course and sails her safely past the point. Our first sighting of dolphins off the bow sprit brings cheer to the gloomy, dark and wet night.
By morning most of the crew have found their sea legs and are ready to feast on breakfast. Although there is still a 3m swell there are blue skies and sunshine heightening the mood. Today we start with ‘Happy Hour.’ ‘Happy Hour’ is when each watch is designated a certain area of the ship to give her a thorough clean. After the rough seas and wet weather she definitely needs a good scrub. Ross begins his lectures this morning discussing 18th century sailing and the reality of what it would have been like to sail on the original Endeavour. The permanent crew are keen and eager to test their sextant* skills and I spot a few on deck taking sights.
*A sextant is an instrument used to measure the angle from a celestial body to the horizon and by using tables this helps determine your position.