It is the 6th day on the HMB Endeavour Replica and with two days separating us from the Transit of Venus expectations are growing fast. The weather is hinting at its power, tightening its patterns and reminding us of any object not tightly secured. Watching the few unattended items drift across the tables is a practical example of the words of Dirk, the 1st officer, about the importance of securing every object.
With a rocking ship as the setting, my first lecture was presented. A brief history of astronomy from the first naïf attempts to marry the skies with our daily lives, to our current understanding of the universe with a focus on the Transit of Venus as part of this learning process.
Despite having a fairly tired audience, everyone was kind enough to try to stay awake and many of them even succeeded. It is my intention to share everything I can about this astronomical event and astronomy in general. Casual conversations about astronomy permeate our free daily hours, all two of them.
Because this is the first sailing experience of this magnitude for many of the crew members, including myself, there is a steep learning curve and great physical strain. As the days go by, emotions shift over an increasingly wide range. Routine starts to settle and people’s core personalities start to emerge. I see this as another part of the value of this trip, it encourages all of us to develop genuine relationships and take care of one another. This also reflects well on the skill of the professional crew and the challenges of working with new members. The more time we spend together, the more respect we gain for their work.
As we approach the final opportunity for our generation to view the Transit, final preparations are commencing. The Australian National Maritime Museum and the Sydney Observatory are holding observation sessions and live streaming to give the public a chance to see this historic event. If you are going to observe it independently, make sure you do it safely. Looking at the sun without protection can be damaging for your eyes. Information about safe viewing, supervised observation sessions and live streaming can be found on either website.
As usual, it will be Dr. Alex Cook updating us on the new developments on this trip next time. I will return on the 5th of June on our arrival at Lord Howe Island. Until then …