Day 7 Gladstone – Townsville

Tall ship sailing is very tiring

Latitude; 20°22.8 S

Longitude; 148°57.4 E

Distance run in the last 24hrs; 52NM

Average speed; 2.1 KN

After lunch it is all hands on deck to get ready to heave up the anchor, but this time we are going to do it the traditional way and sail off the anchorage. Everybody gets in position. The first sails we set are the Fore Topsail, and then we set the Fore Topmast Staysail, Main Topmast Staysail and the jib to help push the bow of the ship around to face out of the Bay.

We have a new Upperyardsman this voyage, Victoria who is from Sweden. The Mainmast watch are inducting her to Australia and its famous national traits. There are such tasks that they believe she needs to complete before she can say she has experienced the real Australia. To begin her on her way, they have created a ‘to do’ list for her to achieve while onboard. There are such tasks as; eat a cheese and vegemite sandwich, greet everyone with ”G’Day mate” and find a drop bear. By the face that she pulls, while taking a bite from the cheese and vegemite sandwich, I am going to say that she was not a fan.

Taking in the beauty of Scawfell

Once under way there seems to be an abundance of wet swimming clothes lying around on deck and so Captain Ross makes it very clear that he would like all the clothes to be taken off the deck and stowed down below. Little does he realise that he had left his own boardies up on deck, so Darby thought he would teach Captain Ross a lesson. When Ross comes on deck for
watch at 2000, he discovers that his shorts are flying high on the flag halyard.

The sunrise was pretty spectacular this morning, just as we are heading into the Whitsunday passage the sun rises and casts an orange glow over everything. Lauren, from the mainmast watch described it as entering Utopia.

There are more giggles over breakfast when Victoria blurts to Jeremy the chef “G’day mate, where’s my bloody breakfast.” She says it in a very Swedish accent, but it stops Jeremy dead in his tracks as he tries to register what has just been said to him.

On our approach to Dent passage we wear ship as quickly and as efficiently as we can. We now have a very competent crew, who appear to know and understand what they are doing. Manoeuvring goes like clockwork and the crew seem to have that unity and team work to make things happen when they need to.  Once at the mouth of the channel we set all the sails apart from the Sprit topsail.

I am very fortunate and get a chance to go out in the rescue boat to get some photos of the ship as she sails through the passage. It truly is a spectacular sight to see, even after having spent two months onboard, this is a sight that the crew don’t get to witness often. The sun rays hit the port bow and highlight the white sails, but also cast immense shadows, making her look
even more majestic and dramatic. Dent passage is less than half a nautical mile wide, so it takes real skill and seamanship to handle her through such a narrow passage, especially with all the movement from other passing vessels.

The majestic Endeavour through dent passage

What also adds to this special moment is that Cook and his crew were exploring this same stretch on the same day 241 years ago to the day (3rd June 1771.)

All’s Well.

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