Day 6 Hobart – Melbourne


Latitude; 40°38.5’S

Longitude; 147°56.1’E

Distance run in last 24hrs; 134.6 NM

Average speed; 5.6KN

Weather; SW by W force 4, blue skies with a scattering of cloud, slight sea, Temp 13°

All hands are called on deck once the second sitting of lunch had finished. We are going to do some sail handling by wearing ship a couple of times, as so far we have not had much opportunity for people to learn the ropes hands on and this is an ideal way to do it so that the crew can see step by step the process of what happens and why. All goes well and just as we are finishing up, the heavens open and give us an ice cold sleet fall. It is not so bad, as it gives the crew the excuse of getting a cup of tea to warm up.

Tonight we are making good way but we need to ensure that we enter Banks Strait in the morning at slack water because at times the current can run up to three knots. This current can be quite advantageous if it is running with you, but if not, it could be a very slow and rough passage through. This is the stretch of water that will lead us into Bass strait, we did have the other option of sailing up the East coast of Flinders Island but with the current prevailing winds coming from the west, we would put ourselves to far to the east.

As we are making such good process during the night we need to wear ship and idle back otherwise we will arrive at the straits too early and on the wrong tide. So at 0000 when there is a change of watch, with the main mast coming off and Mizzen mast coming on, the two watches work together to wear the ship. There is a bit of weather tonight and every now and then there are fronts passing over, bringing with them rain and wind making it all the more bitterly cold. The wind is at times gusting up to 30 knots making the sea state choppy and desperately cold especially when you are tired after having done a 4 hour watch, so there was great team work to wear ship and all done very effortlessly. There is no humidity in the sky tonight, which makes everything crisp and the clarity of the night sky very clear and incredible.

The wind is coming from the WSW this morning and we are unable to sail that close to the wind and with being on a schedule to get through the straits (approx. 25NM in length) we start the iron staysails. It is remarkable that even having the wind almost bow on, that we still make speed of 6-7 knots with having that strong tide with us.

All the sails are handed and the watches sent aloft to furl the sails. Captain Ross gets out some sextants so that those interested can learn how to use them to take a noon sight off the sun.

All’s well.   


Departure of Gladstone

Endeavour will be leaving Gladstone (O’Connells Wharf) upon the tide on Sunday the 29th  @ 0700hrs, come down and join us… may get a “bang” out of it!

Gladstone departure

Endeavour will be departing Gladstone (O’ Connells Wharf) at 0700hr on the 29th of May. Come down and wave us good bye, you may even get a bang out it!!

Gladstone open dates

The ship will be open from Saturday 21st – 26th May from 1000 – 1700. Last ticket sales and entrance 1600 (will take approx. 45 minutes to look around the ship.) We are situated off Finders Drive not far from the yacht club.

Day 10 Brisbane – Gladstone

Arriving into Gladstone

Latitude; 23°50.1 S

Longitude; 151°15.1 E

Distance run in the last 24hrs; 47 NM

After an exciting morning with the viz quiz the afternoon brings more entertainment with a video and photo slide show and the gentlemen’s afternoon tea. Everybody is putting together their last preparations for tonight’s sods opera. The Mizzenmast go up aloft to put harbour stows in the sails to make sure they look neat for our pending arrival in port.

Jeremy and Eddie do an excellent job on the dinner as always, and then it is time for tonight’s entertainment. The Mizzen Mast kick things off with a medley of blowing in the wind with a few minor lyrical adjustments, followed by the Mainmast. Now the Mainmast had a very special performance for us tonight involving the Bohemia bagpipes. I have never seen anything quite like these bagpipes are extraordinary and not traditionally like the standard bagpipes, please see photo for reference.

Captain Ross playing the Bohemia pipes

Unfortunately it is a very early start for some, as we weigh anchor at 0000 to ensure we are at the correct place to pick up the pilot at 0600 just outside the channel. It is an additional 47 NM from where we are at in Bustard Bay. We arrive on time into Gladstone and have a crowd to welcome us. It has been a fantastic trip and we are sad to see the crew leave, fair winds to all

All’s well.

Arrival Gladstone

We will be arriving in Gladstone on the 19th May at 1100 and then open to the public on the 21st May from 1000.

Day 9 Brisbane – Gladstone

Latitude; 24°08.0 S

Michael climbing to furl the Fore Course

Longitude; 151°50.7 E

At 1340 there is a call for hands on deck assist in furling (stowing) the sails and to run out the anchor line. Bustard Bay is how I imagine it to be, peaceful and picturesque. We fire the port cannon to let everyone know we have arrived and drop the anchor. It is not a very sheltered anchorage as we have to anchor two miles offshore due to a large sand bar.

Now being *Manx and not a fellow Australian I got a taste of the Australian sense of humour tonight, and I don’t think I like it! There was an announcement made after quiet time for me to come on deck and bring my passport, I knew it was serious when Captain Ross referred to me by my full name and not my commonly used name. As quick as I could I went straight on deck to be confronted by customs and four policemen. Customs asked me if I had applied for a working holiday visa, when it was done, and if it was direct
through the government or if I had used an agency. I gave him my passport and started to explain my situation as I had, had difficulties with my visa getting out to Australia but to my knowledge it had all since been rectified. Customs then told me my visa had expired and that I would have to leave the ship with them now. At this point my jaw dropped and finally Captain Ross stopped the wind up! All I can say on this matter is revenge is a dish best served cold and I have plenty of months to plot and plan.

Throughout the night the crew maintained an anchor watch to ensure the ship doesn’t drag. This morning we have lots of visitors out to the ship, but due to the strong swell unfortunately we are unable to go ashore and people are unable to come onboard. Instead we keep ourselves entertained with the Fizz quiz. A test of knowledge for the crew, to remember where the lines are and when called safely race to the correct line. Foremast came first, closely followed by Mainmast and in third place the Mizzen mast.

* Manx – somebody originating from the Isle of Man

All’s well.

Me being questioned by customs and the police

Day 8 Brisbane – Gladstone

Latitude; 24°11.2 S

Getting to grips with the sextant

Longitude; 152°00.7 E

Distance run in the last 24 hrs; 100.8Nm

Average speed; 4.2kn

This afternoon there are activities happening everywhere; maintenance on deck, sods practice in the 18th century deck and in the Great Cabin and the tracking chart being put together in the 20th century deck. Ralph, Harry and Bob are kindly preparing an informative chart for Captain Ross to take ashore to the town 1770, for a school that is
preparing a time capsule and they have asked if we could provide something for this.

Everybody is looking forward to arriving at Bustard Bay tomorrow and be able to take part in the festivities. Cook landed in Bustard Bay on 23rd May 1770. He named it Bustard Bay after a hunting party went ashore and brought back a bird resembling the British Bustard for dinner. The Bustard was over hunted in Britain and by the 18th century had been wiped out. Now they are gradually reintroducing the species back into England.

Reading Cook’s diary a curious event happened the night before they arrived at Bustard Bay. Cook’s clerk Mr. Orton had been drinking and had got himself suitably drunk, and was then maliciously taken advantage of. All the clothes had been cut off from his back and if that wasn’t enough, somebody then later went into his cabin and cut a
part off both of his ears while he slept. The suspicion was placed on Mr. Magra a midshipman. Thankfully we didn’t experience such event’s, it was more of an occasional offensive snore!

Some of the Foremast crew waving from the yard

This morning brings us more activities, but primarily on deck. We are still doing exceptionally well with our speed and are still ahead of schedule, so we wear ship and gradually zigzag our way North towards Bustard Bay. By noon we are not far away from our destination.

All’s Well.

Approach to Bustard Bay

Arrival Bustard Bay

We will be arriving into Bustard Bay this afternoon (17th May) at approx 1400

Day 7 Brisbane – Gladstone

Latitude; 24°12.9 S

Wearing ship at 0630 this morning

Longitude; 152°33.7 E

Distance run in last 24hrs; 111.3NM

Average speed; 4.6Kn

At noon it is time for the crew to have an opportunity to climb aloft and *reef the Fore Topsail and the Main Topsail. The crew on the Foremast spot a tiger shark off the Starboard bow coming to investigate, so they double clip their safety harnesses on to the line as an added precaution.

This afternoon the SE wind strengthens to 25Kn with gusts of 30Kn reaching force 6 -7 making the ship slightly challenging to manoeuvre. Subsequently the weather then demands a bit more concentration than usual for the two people on the helm, especially as we are sailing full and by (as close to the wind as possible). Our helming procedure follows a long standing tradition of using two helmsmen, as the steering can get quite heavy especially in gusting weather. Here we use what we call a brain and a brawn. The brain concentrates on the course given to him/her by the officer of the watch and the brawn helps assists the brain in adjusting the helm.

We know we are getting closer to shore when Lady Elliot lighthouse is sighted at 1900 and it seems to stay there forever, as we were only doing just over 3 knots. This is deliberately so, as we don’t want to work the ship too hard in these weather conditions, which would make it more uncomfortable and secondly because we didn’t want to make a landfall too early. Speaking of which it is dangerous to get too close to a lee shore in any sailing ship but in particular a square rigged one.

At 0630 this morning we are approx 10NM offshore so it is time to for the Mizzen mast watch to wear ship to head back out to sea, as previously explained we don’t want to arrive
ahead of time.

Deck wash

At 1130 there was an announcement made for the engineer Mark, to go on deck to assist with a fish on his line. Much to Mark’s despair Derby had got it to the rail and then it came free. We have since been hearing stories about the gigantic fish that got away. One rumor I heard is that it left teeth marks in the rail.

We have started are fun and games back up today at 1200 when the camera goes live. Hopefully those that were watching noticed our guest appearance

*Reefing the sails is a method used to shorten the area of a sail. This is done in stronger winds to provide the ship with more stability. Also if there is too much wind being driven into the sail it can blow out the sail or do damage to the rigging.

All’s Well.

Endeavours guest visitor

Day 6 Brisbane – Gladstone

Boatswain Ant pouring the pitch on the top of the Oakum

Latitude; 23°58.6 S

Longitude; 153°19 E

Distance run in the last 24hrs; 98.9 NM

Average speed; 4.1 Knots

The Boatswain Ant is caulking an area of the deck that has a minor leak. Caulking is a method used to waterproof and strength a wooden deck. We only have a small area that needs minor work, but it is an interesting process to watch. It involves using Oakum and pitch. Oakum is teased out hemp fibre coated in pine tar and pitch, is a type of putty. The oakum fibre is driven into a V shaped seam between the planks of wood with a caulking mallet and a caulking iron, until it is tightly packed to strengthen and stiffen the deck. The pitch is melted down at approx. 200° and poured on top of the seam to seal and waterproof the deck and protect the oakum from rotting.

In contrast to the previous voyage, we have had pretty much ideal sailing condition. The crew hasn’t had to hand too much sail due to prevailing winds. They have been nicely eased into the conditions with relatively calm seas. Tonight everyone is put to the test. There is an announcement made at 2048 for all hands to promptly muster on deck. This is very unusual as quiet time is after 1900 and most of the crew are already tucked up in their hammocks. It is then explained that 4 people on watch had witnessed two flares off our port side. The first
flare witnessed was an orange/white rocket flare and then approx. 15 minutes later a 2nd white rocket flare was witnessed, this time by several more of the crew on watch including Captain Ross. We are currently 130 NM offshore. All the crew muster at their life rafts to number off (ensure everyone is on deck) and then it is time to lose all sails as soon as possible. This is done outstandingly considering most of the crew is still half asleep. The engine is started and we put out a message on the VHF to any nearby vessels to alert them of what we have seen. We get a response back from a container ship, which then come to assist in searching the area with us. The RCC is notified of the sightings and all the details are given. We searched the area for several hours but don’t find anything.

A distress flare would be a red rocket flare and not a white rocket flare. A white flare is commonly used by submarines to alert vessels that they are emerging. So we are of the assumption that it was a military exercise being carried out, however it is a ships duty to report any flares sighted and also to investigate any sightings of flares disregarding the fact that it was awhite flare and not a red distress flare.

All’s well.      

Day 5 Brisbane – Gladstone

Latitude; 23°20.5 S

Longitude; 153°33.7 E

Distance run in 24hrs; 68.6 NM

Average speed; 2.8 Kn

At 1400 the call comes for all hands to wear ship. We have made such good progress that we are now North of Gladstone with SW winds. Unfortunately the wind direction will not allow us to sail West in through the reef towards the coast and Bustard Bay. Unlike the previous voyage we are well ahead of our schedule so we decide to wear ship and head east to make the most of the sailing.

While wearing ship Steve notices that we have finally got a fish on the Engineers fishing line, the first one since leaving Sydney. Steve and Captain Ross pull in the line and land a decent sized tuna. Now the question is who caught the fish? Is it the engineer Mark, because it is his tackle and line, or is it Captain Ross and Steve because they landed it? Comments and thoughts on this one would be appreciated.

Mark preparing sashimi

At dusk Mark starts brining in the fishing lines and much to our disbelief there is a fish on the hook but all that remains of it is the head, something bigger has come along and eater the rest of it! We also had a visitor today in the great cabin. As Peter was relaxing reading his book a swallow flew through the window did a lap and landed for a rest before flying back out, which is pretty incredible considering we are still over 65NM from land.

The afternoon also brings small groups of watches gathering for the Sod’s opera preparation. The last crew were fantastic but this crew also looks as though they are going to provide some top entertainment.

This morning we have another brief whale sighting but then it is followed by some very active jumping dolphins, that come and play in the wake. After the usual happy hour, Captain Ross gives a lecture on deck about meteorology.

All’s well.

Dolphins coming to play in the wake

Day 4 Brisbane – Gladstone

Latitude; 23°17.7 S

Longitude; 152°31.7 E

Distance run in 24 hrs; 127.4 NM

Average speed; 5.3 knots

This afternoon it is time for the crew to get involved in some maintenance. Endeavour’s anchor line is soaked in tar to keep the line preserved longer; unfortunately the tar on the line has not yet completely dried out, meaning it gets everywhere.  Since we anchored at Morton Bay you can hear people squelching their way across the deck and so today’s maintenance is to scrape the tar from the deck, people’s shoes and anywhere else it has spread to.

At 1600 the sighting everyone has been waiting for comes, a couple of humpback whales off the North of Fraser Island. It is only a brief viewing before they dive, but everyone is exceptionally happy to see them especially as it is earlier than the migration period. Perfect timing as Foremast and Mainmast watch are changing over so there are plenty of crew to
witness them.

Ralph making his wife proud

Stepping on deck this morning there is no land to be seen anywhere. We have cleared Fraser Island and seem to be sailing along at some speed and are now approx. 60 Nautical miles offshore. We have got good SW winds and we intend to make the most of them.

Today is Friday 13th and we thought we would make the most of this opportunity to play a trick on the viewers of the live stream which is live from 1200-1300. So at 1200 when the camera went live, we all hid including the helmsman and managed to do an hour of watch with no one being visible and not a soul being seen on the hours live feed. Looking at the
feedback on the Facebook page it appeared to have the desired effect.

Just as we are playing our practical joke we pass the Tropic of Capricorn at 23.5°, so are now official in the tropics. Looking around deck you wouldn’t think it, as the wind is cold and a lot of the crew are wearing thermal jackets. Then one by one the professional crew seem to appear with very loud floral shirts, oh yes we are definitely in the tropics.

All’s well.

Where did everyone go?

Day 3 Brisbane – Gladstone

Fraser Island

Latitude; 25°00.9 S

Longitude; 153°32.0 E

Distance run in the last 24 hours; 111NM

Average speed; 4.62 k

Brisbane – Gladstone

All is going well, the engine is off the sails are set, the sun is shining, then all of a sudden the sails went *aback. The wind totally shifts from SW to N so mainmast quickly and attentively wear ship and then we spend the next 10 minutes facing the wrong way towards Brisbane. Then the wind shifts back around to SW, so again mainmast wears ship and we are back on the right track. In the middle of this episode, we have our first pod of dolphins alongside and playing in the wake.

It is a cool evening with a beautiful sunset. The night has a few stars and a third quarter moon and although not particularly bright it is very peaceful and still, now that we are away from the town lights of the coast.

We wake to the view of the world’s largest sand Island, Fraser Island. It is a pretty spectacular view as Fraser Island is over 123km long and still growing. It was originally named ‘K’Gari’ which translates as paradise. The name was then changed after Eliza Fraser was shipwrecked there in 1839. She was the only survivor of a crew of 18 and she remained there for
several years with the local Indigenous inhabitants. Cook was the first European to chart the area but after reading Cook’s diary extracts, it reads as if he didn’t identify that Fraser Island was actually separate from the mainland.

We have all got our eyes peeled for Humpback Whales. They migrate up the coast to Hervey Bay usually in June time to calf, as the Bay provides shallow, warm water and plenty of shelter. Then in November they will migrate back down South once they have gained some blubber. So far there are no sightings.

*aback is when the wind bear’s on the forward side of the sail.

All’s well.

Jeremy the chef trying to escape from the galley

Day 2 Brisbane – Gladstone

Container ship passing near Caloundra

Latitude; 26°48’4 S

Longitude; 153°11.0E

Distance run in 26 hours; 73NM

Average speed; 5.21 knots (at anchor for 14 hours)

After lunch and once we have cleared the Gateway Bridge we start the going aloft procedures. There are a couple of anxious faces but otherwise the crew look like they might be naturals at climbing. We arrive off Morton Bay (Shark Spit) ahead of schedule at 1540 and drop the anchor for the night.  Tonight the watches will do an anchor watch. They will each be up on deck for an hour to keep an eye on the anchor buoy as opposed to the full watch being on deck for a standard four hour watch.

Robyn smiling as she climbs for the first time on Endeavour

After dinner it is time for the trickiest lesson of the day, learning to hang the hammocks. It seems to come with ease for most, but judging by the height of some of the hammocks last night some crew would have had an uncomfortable night sleep. There was even a stray leg hanging out of one of hammocks, which reminded me of a Joey I saw last week at Australia zoo!

We heave up anchor at 0640 and start to make our way up the coast towards Caloundra. There are a few blurry eye crew at breakfast, but everyone seems to be settling into the ships routine. Although it is a  bit cold this morning, it looks as though the day is going to bring good weather. Due to the wind and current direction we are making good head way at 7 knots. So again we are well ahead of our ETA of 1500 and pass Caloundra at 1140. As we pass by we set our first sails, setting the Fore Topmast Staysail, Foretopsail, Main Topmast Staysail, Mizzen Staysail and Mizzen course. Then finally silence as the engine is cut.

All’s well.

Setting the Fore Topsail