Distance under sail from 1830 Thursday until our arrival in Eden on Friday: 39 nautical miles
We’ve plenty to report since our last blog post from HMB Endeavour. Before the sun set on our last night at sea, three humpback whales were sighted off the port side.
One humpback rolled from side to side, slapping its pectoral fins against the water. Another breached and the cook’s mate, Paula, captured the photo below. We were under sail at the time, about three miles off Merimbula Point, and seeing the whales breach was a magical experience.
When mizzenmast watch came on deck at 0400 the following morning ready for our turn at helm and lookout, the bow wave and the disturbed water along the sides of the ship were glowing with bioluminescence. It’s hard to imagine until you have seen it: sometimes the glow is quite diffuse and soft, but at other times the bioluminescence is in the form of innumerable pinpricks of light that appear on the crests of waves and in any disturbed water.
The ship soon sailed into a school of fish, which were easily visible beneath the surface thanks to the glow of the bioluminescence. A pod of dolphins joined us, streaking brightly through the water as they hunted.
I went up to the foredeck to join the lookouts there for a short time and watched the dolphins playing in the ship’s bow wave, their bodies fringed with light as they twisted and turned through the water.
It was a wonderful end to our last night on board for the Sydney to Eden voyage. As the sun rose, the bioluminescence faded and it was not long before we were preparing to head into Twofold Bay.
The local newspaper, Eden Magnet, tweeted the photo above of Endeavour coming through the heads of the bay. There are more photos in an online gallery here.
Once inside the bay, it was all hands on deck to bring in sail, fire the cannons and then come alongside the wharf in Snug Cove. After going aloft to furl sails and check out the view across Eden and Twofold Bay, the voyage crew and supernumeraries went ashore to the opening ceremony of the Eden Whale Festival.
I was sorry to say goodbye to the voyage crew. Geoff Ross’s presence on board for the voyage made us all very attuned to the wildlife around us. Geoff has left a logbook with us that we’ll use to keep records of wildlife that we see – particularly whales, dolphins and seabirds. We will be able to record our whale sightings with the Wild about Whales app and thereby help to contribute data about whale numbers and habits off the east coast.
This morning, we woke to a sunny day and the Whale Festival was soon in full swing. Unfortunately the weather has turned this afternoon with strong winds and rain, but it is warm and dry below decks so Endeavour is a good place to be!
We will remain in Eden for the rest of the weekend and visitors are most welcome on board between 10am and 5pm (last entry 4.30pm). There are more details here.
On Monday, Endeavour will leave Eden for the return trip to Sydney. We’re still within the whale migration season so I hope we’ll see many more cetaceans on the way!
– Suzannah Marshall Macbeth