Day 13 Transit of Venus Sydney to Lord Howe return


Latitude; 32°53.3’S

Longitude; 153°13.4’E

Distance run in the last 24hrs; 92NM

Average speed; 3.8KN

Weather; Overcast and drizzly, SE x S force 4, temp 16.4°

At 1530 there is an all hands call as it is now time to set sail for the last time and to undertake the rest of journey under canvas. It is a bleak afternoon and the wind hasn’t yet quite kicked in but we aren’t expecting it to until after dark at approx. 2000. Those of the voyage crew who have been unsure of climbing aloft get their ideal opportunity to help unfurl. The sea brings relatively large but slow waves that are in rhythmic sequence making it easy to predict when the roll will come. It is rewarding to see Julie, Karen and Gaye unfurling the Fore course as this is their first time aloft since the up and overs. Other crew are up aloft unfurling the Fore Topsail and main topsail whilst Graham and Natasha keep us on course at the helm. There are some interesting heavy rain clouds on the horizon and one resembles a giant jelly fish, its cumulus cloud top and the heavy rain as its tentacles.

At 1700 the cats are put to sleep and we sail gently and quietly along, waiting patiently for the wind to guide us home.

Tonight we are invited to a special event, an 18th century fireworks display. After the second sitting of dinner is done and the voyage crew have their hammocks strung it is all hands on deck for the spectaculous spectacle. Bosun Drew and a few comrades such as chief officer Dirk, third officer Ant and Bosun’s mate Ed have been very busy but very secretive all day with lots of work being undertaken in the stores, but all is about to become apparent as the cannons are being loaded. Captain Ross makes the announcement that we still have a substantial amount of gunpowder left and so tonight we will be firing some of the cannons. Some of the loads have certain compounds in them to change the colour of the flame. We have some Copper filings which should make the flame green, some aluminium filings that should make the flame white, some lead filings which we are a little unsure what colour it will make the flame and finally a mystery compound.

First fired is the copper load and what an enormous bang and epic flame, it really makes a difference seeing the cannon fired at night in all its glory especially on such a dark, dark night. Next is the lead load, then the aluminium and finally the mystery load. The colour changes don’t seem apparent but whatever was in the mystery load I am sure briefly and very quickly there was a purple colouration, I am not sure what compound would create purple. Regardless of the flames not producing quite the effect we hoped for it was still sensational to see and most defiantly hear!

This morning brings us more bleak weather but it matters not, as we are sailing and Endeavour gets to stretch her canvas once more before having several months rest back at the Australian Maritime Museum. She will undergo a little more ‘make up’ before reopening to the public as a museum on the 23rd June.

All’s well.

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