A blog series from on board the Endeavour ship as she sails to Tasmania. See our Sail the Endeavour page to learn more about joining voyages like this.
Day one – Wednesday 11 February 2015
Today we set sail again for Hobart! Our first Tasmanian voyage was cancelled, and we missed the Australian Wooden Boat Festival but intend to be the star attraction at Elizabeth Street Pier from 20 to 24 February! The voyage crew joined at 0800, 16 in total; twelve sailors and four supernumeraries — a small crew for the trip to Hobart.
Day one was dominated by training — some whole group and some in watches — including ship’s tour, safety rounds, emergency muster, helming and line handling. Each watch took their first steps on footropes to loose the fore and main topsails and fore course.
Our 1500 departure was earlier than planned due to our efficient training. By 1630 we were outside the heads with just a little roll separating harbour and ocean. We set those three squares and three staysails, then the spritsail during the late dog 1800-2000 on the brand new yard! Superb effort by Ant and his team to make and install this yard in less than one week. The Sydney skyline fades into the distance — we hope not to see it again until early March.
The sailors slung hammocks and we savoured a sublime first night at sea – light breeze and following sea, riding the current south.
Day two – Thursday 12 February 2015
It was humid below and mild on deck. Mizzen watch stood the morning watch (0400–0800) in t-shirts and shorts, with a sprinkling of stars breaking through the clouds. A wind change preceded 0600 wear ship (taking the stern through the wind), commendable effort by 6 Mizzenites and Bosun and Bosun’s mate. A stunning sunrise silhouetted the rig on the sails.
Breakfast call was accompanied by whale sightings off the port quarter – distant spume sprays generated excitement. At this moment many landlubbers would be commuting to the city to commence another day at the office. Oh, the vast horizon and gentle sea for me!
By 0800 we are already south of Jarvis Bay (100 nautical miles — notable, as last voyage we spent five days trying to achieve this in adverse winds). All hands worked together to put a reef in both topsails. This process involves lowering the yard, sending hands aloft to shorten the sail area by tying reef knots with reefing pennants, then raising the yard again. Terrific teamwork in preparation for stronger wind. Everyone is settling in well to ship’s routine.
A post-lunch nap was most welcome. At around 1500 main watch and idlers (day workers like Cook’s mate) stealthily wore ship without disturbing our slumber. Early dog 1600–1800 was cooler, and the sailors enjoyed seeing a large pod of dolphins leaping alongside.
Day three – Friday 13 February 2015
We passed Montague Island at 0900. Only 470 nautical miles to go!
One of our supernumaries, Alan, commented that, although the ocean is calming and he enjoyed watching the birds swoop in and out of the water, he would like to experience a little more. His wish came true; his 12–4 am watch contained three short, sharp rain showers, with frequent sheet lightning briefly illuminating the deck. He also noticed distant squid trawlers and a cruise ship. Two of these showers were at change of watch, equitably sharing the ‘wet weather experience’ around.
At 0630 square sails were clewed up and engines switched on, allowing the ship to take advantage of the adverse light airs to head south. We enjoyed comfortable motoring in gentle seas with staysails buffeting the roll.
Just a few voyage crew have made friends with happy buckets (not the type that contain alcohol). Watch leaders told their crew how the different parts of the sails work; Natalie illustrated her explanation with chalk drawings.
The Boson and his mate were busy splicing and rigging safety lines on the 18th century deck.
A few voyage crew saw what they first thought to be a seal, but was actually a far rarer sighting: a sun fish, described as large, flat, circular, a bit ugly, with a long fin penetrating the surface.
We passed Narooma around 1200, as well as Mount Dromedary and Pigeon House Mountain, both of which were named by Captain James Cook.
– Annette Hicks (Steward) and Natalie Moore (Topman), Endeavour Professional Crew