Endeavour: Geelong to Adelaide, day 6

Endeavour minus main top gallant. Image: Paula Tinney

Endeavour, minus main top gallant. Image: Paula Tinney

A blog series by Steward Bill Ellemor from on board the Australian National Maritime Museum’s HMB Endeavour replica as it sails from Geelong to Adelaide. See our Sail the Endeavour page to learn more about joining voyages like this.

Sunday 14 February 2016

Last night’s conditions were not conducive to restful sleep. With the wind in the wrong quarter, we had to travel under engine power all night, which is usually a rougher ride. Add to that, being side-on to a rolling swell from the port beam, and the ship jumped around like a cranky horse. Most people managed to catch up on lost sleep to some extent during the day.

We were able to sail for a good part of the day — but again, not quite in the right direction for long enough. Thus, as night falls we are motoring again with a good roll happening. Such is life!

Endeavour, port quarter. Image: Paula Tinney

Endeavour, port quarter. Image: Paula Tinney

One issue we are having is that this section of coast is littered with fishing floats. Most comprise a set of four floats lashed together. Some have one orange float, which is easier to spot, but many comprise only white floats. Overnight and throughout today we have encountered many and so far have managed to avoid them all. Voyage crew are learning just how vital the role of bow lookout can be, and are become ever more vigilant.

If all goes to plan (the current plan that is, certainly not plan A) we should go to anchor in one of Kangaroo Island’s bays tomorrow night. We shall see!

February 14th is Valentine’s Day, but of more relevance to us it is also the anniversary of James Cook’s death in 1779.

Now yesterday’s question touched on a small but significant happenstance in the Endeavour story. While stuck on the reef the Endeavour was taking in water, but the three working pumps were just able to maintain the level at a tolerable four feet or so. When the ship was finally refloated by the high tide and then dragged free of the reef by the men on the capstan hauling on the anchors the great fear was that the inflow of water would increase—but it held.

After fothering, to further stem the flow, Endeavour was slowly taken to the mouth of a nearby river, taken up river a little distance and then beached. Then it was found that the reason the flow held was that a small piece of coral broke off when the ship was pulled clear, which had kept the hole in the hull from opening wider. Just how much difference that piece of coral made to the history of this nation we shall never know.

Following on from that, today’s question must surely be: What is fothering?

– Bill Ellemor, Steward

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