Day 1 – Transit of Venus Sydney to Lord Howe and return

Holly checking in the new crew

Latitude; 33°51.85’S

Longitude; 151°15.78’E

Distance run; 4.1 NM

Weather; Sunny with scattered clouds, temp 20°

The Transit of Venus, what is it all about? Well it is an important phenomenon that occurs in a pattern, with transits occurring eight years apart followed by a gap of either 105.5 years or 121.5 years. The phenomenon its self is when the planet Venus passes directly between the sun and the earth. It is a visible occurrence as the planet crosses the solar disk. This year it will occur either on the 5th or the 6th June depending where you are geographically, as we will be in Eastern Australia it will be visible on the 6th June. The significance of the Transit of Venus historically allowed astronomers to realise the size of the solar system through a complex array of mathematics and as you can imagine with it happening so rarely it is still a phenomena of great significance to scientists and astronomers alike in modern times, to gain vital information on our solar system.

What significance does the Transit of Venus have to HMB Endeavour? The observations of the 1761 Transit of Venus had not been a great success and so eight years later in 1769 when the Transit of Venus would occur again the British Royal Society decided that they would be prepared for a more successful observation. In May 1768 King George III granted the British Royal Society £4000 to go to the Southern Seas to make these observations and the Royal Navy would provide a ship with its crew, the HMB Endeavour and lieutenant James Cook.

So HMB Endeavour has only been back in her home port of Sydney for ten days after her epic circumnavigation of Australia and she is already bound for another important voyage, to witness the 2012 Transit of Venus at Lord Howe Island. The crew have just caught their breath and are already busying around preparing the ship for sea once again. Why are we not sailing to Tahiti like Cook and his men?  Because the best viewing of the complete transit this time, is off the Eastern Sea board of Australia

Tomorrow we will take on 40 new voyage crew who will join us on our two week voyage out to Lord Howe and back. It will be interesting to talk to the new crew to find out just what aspect sold them this voyage, the scientific aspect, the historic aspect or the sailing. We prepare the ship for sea, but we are not packing down the museum on this occasion and so it is an early finish for some us to run any last minute errands.

Departing the wharf

By 0900 we have our new crew anxiously waiting to join the vessel. Holly and I start to check people in and assign them to their watches. With so many familiar faces re-joining the ship I already know that some people are here for the sailing for sure! Today we will make our way towards Rose Bay where we will anchor at lunch and carry on with the ships training and familiarisation.

After the crew introductions, where there were only two minor slip ups on the professional crews positions, it is time to stand by to slip our lines and say farewell to Sydney once more.

All’s well.

Sydney skyline sunset

2 thoughts on “Day 1 – Transit of Venus Sydney to Lord Howe and return

  1. Hey Bruce! You’re on the blog and back aboard the Endeavour for the transit ?!?! Good to see you dress for the occasion! Wish I was there setting the sails on the yard with you like we did from Cairns to TI. You were clearly born 200 years too late my friend. All the best! ~Eric Abraham, Seattle, WA (USA)

  2. I hope we can see some more photos of the crew and read your stories. What a pity there wasn’t more press coverage in Sydney of your departure.
    Good luck on your voyage. And here’s to fair weather for the transit.

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