Day 2 Cairns – Thursday Island

Endeavour off Endeavour reef

Latitude; 15°33.605’S

Longitude; 145°23.797’E

Distance run in the last 26hrs; 93.8 NM

Average Speed; 3.6kn

After lunch the training continues on deck, below deck and up aloft. We want to arrive in Cooktown by tomorrow afternoon (Friday) and so we are not going to have our usual night’s anchorage on the first night of the voyage. The new crew go straight into the standard watch system. Although the first day is always a busy one with so much to learn, it is very exciting to
know that in the next 24 hours we are going to be sailing the same route that Cook did in 1770 and see where he experienced his misfortune of events.

The place names around this area show you the despair and depression Cook was going through during his times in this stretch of water.  All the difficulties started off Cape Tribulation, hence the name, which is ironic as it is one of the most beautiful & picturesque places where the reef meets the rainforest. Then there is Mount Sorrow and further North Weary Bay and finally Hope Islands the closest visible Islands to where Endeavour ran aground on Endeavour reef for 24 hours.

Cape Tribulation where the rain forrest met the reef

At 1630 our first wildlife is spotted, a whale breaching. Now we are at the start of the whale migration season we hope to see a lot more in the coming weeks. At 1900 the Mizzen mast assisted by the Foremast, hand the Fore topmast staysail and the Foremast bravely go up aloft in the dark to furl the sail for the first time.

At 0700 there is a call for anyone interested in seeing where the Endeavour reef is to come on deck as we are about to sail past it. The only thing that is visible is the wave breakers on the reef.

As Cook passed Pickersgill reef at 2100 on the 11th June, he had everyone at their stations to drop the anchor as the sea level had gone from 21 fathoms, suddenly dropping to 8 fathoms. However the depth started to increase again as they passed Northward of the reef so stood everyone down. In Cooks journal he describes the following; ‘Before 10 O’clock we had 20 and 21 fathoms, and continued in that depth until a few minutes before 11, when we had 17, and before the man at the lead could have another cast, the ship struck and stuck fast.’  They then took soundings around the ship to find the deepest area to drop the anchor and put a great deal of strain on it to heave them off the reef, but to no avail. The next plan at high tide was to
throw overboard their guns, Iron and stone ballast, Casks, Hoop Staves, Oil Jars, Decayed stores. She didn’t move even after 40 or 50 tonnes of weight had been thrown over. Unbeknown back in those times the reason for this is that along this coast it is only ever alternate tide that rises to a full height.

Although there isn’t much visible for us to see on the reef it is a satisfying feeling to know that we can follow Cook’s route safely after his discovery and be able to continue on to Cooktown to celebrate his discoveries rather than his dismays.

All’s well.

Lunch time