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 four – Saturday 14 February
Under a clear sky and thousands of stars overnight the sails were handed (clewed up to the yards) as we motored south.
The Main Mast Foremast Crew sat together laughing and chatting on how “hard it is to helm”, when they had been given direction from the Officer of the Watch and the Watch Leader.
Supernumerary Bill gave an interesting talk on sextants in the Great Cabin. Bill explained a little of the history of this navigation instrument and the subtle differences between types. We regularly see Bill out with his own sextant, recording his observations.
Outside there are lightning flashes and it looks like rain. Our wet weather gear is going to get a wash or get tested.
Early this morning the squares were reset along with the main t’gallant and the engines shut down. We are sailing again – making a great eight knots. The seldom-used Jib and Mizzen topmast sails were set.
We are on steering 180 degree heading due south midway across Bass Strait.
Two of the most valued people on board have yet to be mentioned: our Cook Nigel and his assistant Paula, who steadily work away in the galley to keep the crew well nourished. Each meal is beautifully presented and thoroughly enjoyed by all the crew.
Day five – Sunday 15 February
Yesterday evening the weather took an unexpected change, which called for all hands on deck. Permanent crew and the more intrepid Voyage Crew lay aloft to furl both topsails and the spritsail in rolling swell as darkness descended and rain increased. An experience not soon to be forgotten by all those involved. Indeed, a unique end to Valentine’s Day (thanks to our Steward for celebratory chocolate). Main and Mizzen sailors came down feeling totally exhilarated with their dark and stormy sail handling.
It’s still wet this morning with strong winds forecast – once again all hands are called on deck. A second reef is put in the fore topsail, and second and third reefs in the main topsail, then these sails reset. Now, the hammocks are calling. We had little sleep with the constant rolling last night.
At 0900 we are 180 nautical miles to Hobart. The weather is more settled, with strong winds filling the sails. No happy buckets used today – Voyage Crew have adjusted to Endeavour’s motion and are enjoying sailing. This afternoon shows both crystal blue and light turquoise; as the ship rolls with the waves, their colours magically change. Breathtakingly beautiful.
Paulie arrived from Ireland about a week ago to visit family and friends. His cousin Michelle, who had won two passages on Endeavour at a silent auction, asked Paulie to accompany her on the adventure of lifetime. They are loving every minute of their time as Voyage Crew, having overcome seasickness, and approach every task with huge smiles and laughter.
Day six – Monday 16 February
A soft mild breeze on deck at 7am this morning with nothing around except the many colours of the ocean. We are sailing at around 5-8 knots and making good progress.
Happy to report that our happy buckets have been stowed. Our Voyage Crew historian Paddy gave a talk about Tasmania, which the crew found enlightening as there were aspects of this island’s history they we were not aware of. Paddy had the crew listening intensely as she talks with such passion.
Land ho! A welcome site to spy Tasmania, this long-awaited island, shrouded in a pinkish haze.
Mizzen Watch (and friends) clewed up the sails so we could motor in around Maria Island for a closer look. Several dandelion seeds blew across the deck – they’ve travelled far. Early explorers would have similarly welcomed such signs of land.
Contented Voyage Crew musings:
Michelle: “Being on this amazing voyage, on deck reading a book under the beautiful blue sky and sailing”.
Harry: “Out on the spritsail with a pod of dolphins frolicking below; where would you rather be?”
Paddy: “Absolutely glorious – holiday mode with everyone up on deck, even if not on watch.”
Fiona: “While crossing from port to starboard on the forecourse yard, another pod of ten dolphins playing in unison in our bow wash…absolute amazing”.
– Annette Hicks (Steward) and Natalie Moore (Topman), Endeavour Professional Crew