Alan Bond (1938–2015) and some of his maritime connections

Endeavour Replica 2005

Endeavour replica pictured in 2005, the year HM Bark Endeavour Foundation transferred ownership of the vessel to the Australian National Maritime Museum.

This is not an obituary or eulogy but rather a note of recognition and acknowledgement of the man whose yachting and other nautical activities considerably influenced the maritime history of Australia. The Australian National Maritime Museum is connected to this history through objects in the National Maritime Collection and our management of the Endeavour replica. Continue reading

HMB Endeavour: Sydney to Hobart Voyage, Day 3

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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.

Friday 30 January 2015

With the wind now at our back, we have cut the engines and are enjoying ‘champagne sailing’ back to Sydney. Everyone is appreciating the sunshine and the much calmer seas.

Back in Sydney Harbour, people take advantage of the glorious clear sky to indulge in some photography. We are also finally able to undertake our climbing training: up the shrouds and futtocks of the foremast, onto the fighting top and down the other side. It’s exhilarating to succeed in what many people experience as a significant challenge.  Then up the masts again, this time to lay on the yard and furl sails. Continue reading

HMB Endeavour: Sydney to Hobart Voyage, Day 2

IMG_3096A 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.

Thursday 29 January 2015

The crew are in good spirits even though most are feeling some effects of the big waves.  More than one person has remarked that they would have felt ‘disappointed’ to come on this trip and not experience some challenging weather!

Man lines have been strung around the ship and we make our way carefully, clipped on for safety. There have been sightings of albatross, dolphins, flying fish and shearwaters, and a magic moment when a Caspian Tern kept with the shipwright beside the staysail. Continue reading

HMB Endeavour: Sydney to Hobart Voyage, Day 1

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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.

Wednesday 28 January 2015

A raining start to our grand adventure. By 12.30pm all voyage crew had completed their safety induction and necessary paperwork and after a delicious first lunch aboard of soup and salads, we were ready to depart.

The crews consists of 16 professional crew, 36 voyage crew and 4 supernumeries (for more information on crew types, see our Sail the Endeavour page).  There are a number of family groups aboard, including a group making up most of Foremast Watch, who are helping their father achieve a lifetime dream of sailing to Tasmania. Continue reading

Eden to Sydney voyage, day 3-4

Thursday 6 November 2013, 1800 hours

Hours under sail since 1800 Tuesday: 41
Hours under engine since 1800 Tuesday: 7
Distance over ground: 197 nautical miles

The last 48 hours have seen the HMB Endeavour replica sailing at some distance offshore and weathering variable winds. We’ve also encountered some heavy rain accompanied by a few flashes of lightning – followed the next day by clear skies and a hot sun! So it’s been a busy and exciting time handling sails in order to get the most out of the ship with the wind that we’ve had.

Our last post, written on Tuesday but unfortunately not online immediately due to lack of internet access offshore, saw us 33 miles off Montague Island, sailing slightly north of west. We made two more tacks back and forth off the coast but weren’t able to gain ground to the north.

Waiting for the southerly change. Image: EAP.

Waiting for the southerly change. Image: EAP.

On Wednesday morning as we waited hopefully for the predicted southerly change to arrive, the wind dropped off completely and given the distance we still needed to cover to arrive on time in Sydney on Friday, it was time to power up the ‘iron topsails’ and motor north.

As the day developed, a band of cloud formed in the west, but still no sign of the southerly change during the afternoon. When the change finally did arrive around 1700 on Wednesday evening, it brought with it plenty of wind and rain.

Setting sails in the rain. Image: Nick Brown.

Endeavour crew sets sails in the wind and rain. Image: Nick Brown.

The ‘all hands on deck’ call caught some of us unprepared but we were soon all on deck dressed in the various bright colours of our wet weather gear. Those that didn’t quite get their rain gear on in time ended up soaked through by the end of their time on deck!

Under sail in the rain! Image: Nick Brown.

Under sail in the rain! Image: Nick Brown.

Setting sails was harder work (and more exciting!) than we’d experienced so far this trip due to the stronger winds. Every sail required more muscle power to set and every line carried more weight due to the wind behind each sail.

All the watches had previously had ample practice setting sails and handling lines in light winds, so the voyage crew were well prepared when the wind did pick up and sails needed to be set in a hurry.

The hard work was definitely worth it, as we were soon powering along under topsails, forecourse, spritsail and two fore-and-aft sails. We averaged around 6 knots during the night and at times exceeded 9 knots.

Unfortunately, the swell was still running from the north, making for an uncomfortable ride as Endeavour’s bluff bows punched into the oncoming swell. It made for a tough night for some amongst the voyage crew who suffered from seasickness.

The next morning dawned bright and sunny and seemed to mark a turning point – everyone had a new spring in their step!

Sails set on the mainmast - as seen from above on Endeavour. Image: EAP.

Sails set on the mainmast – as seen from above on Endeavour. Image: EAP.

The swell finally eased as the day progressed, and with the sun shining and sails set it was a wonderful day’s sailing north towards Sydney.

We celebrated two birthdays in the afternoon – voyage crew member David Yarra and topman Amy Spets. In an unusual turn around, ‘all hands’ was called again – this time not to go on deck and set sails, but to gather on the 20th century deck for cake and candles.

Birthday cake, Endeavour style. Image: EAP.

Birthday cake, Endeavour style. Image: EAP.

We made sure the two people left on the helm and the lookouts didn’t miss out on cake!

All’s well.

– Suzannah Marshall Macbeth

Eden to Sydney voyage, day 1-2

Tuesday 4 November 2014, 1800 hours

Hours under sail since 1200 Monday: 17
Hours under engine since 1200 Monday: 11
Distance covered: 99 nautical miles

The HMB Endeavour replica is sailing on a starboard tack in a brisk 25 knot breeze, about 33 nautical miles southeast of Montague Island, off the New South Wales coast. With the wind from the northeast, we’re steering a course of west by north, hoping to gain a little ground to the north before we reach the coast.

We’re having a great sail, although the ship is rolling a bit in the light swell and some of our voyage crew are feeling a little green, but most are in high spirits and enjoying the experience. It’s the end of the second day of our voyage from Eden to Sydney.

Sunset on our last day in Eden. Image: Eden Alley-Porter

Sunset on our last day in Eden. Image: Eden Alley-Porter

We had a busy weekend in Eden, with more than 1300 visitors to the ship during our two days in town. Many of the visitors remembered seeing and, in some cases, coming aboard Endeavour last time she visited, towards the end of her circumnavigation of Australia in 2012.

A highlight of the weekend was the capstan competition, in which five competitors had to work a capstan to haul a car adapted to look like a whale up the boat ramp at Snug Cove.

Endeavour crew in action during the capstan competition at the Eden Whale Festival.  Image: Paula Tinney

Endeavour crew in action during the capstan competition at the Eden Whale Festival. Image: Paula Tinney

Our five team members – Captain Dikkenberg, first mate Anthony, bosun Matt, shipwright Cody and topman Eddie easily outpaced the competition!

Climbing aloft training in Twofold Bay on day 1.  Image: EAP

Climbing aloft training in Twofold Bay on day 1. Image: EAP

The new voyage crew for the Eden to Sydney trip were on the wharf bright and early Monday morning ready to go. After a wet and windy weekend, Monday was sunny and mostly calm.

Voyage crew training got underway immediately, both while alongside and later in the morning when at anchor in Twofold Bay.There was some urgency with the crew training as Captain John Dikkenberg hoped to get the ship to sea that afternoon to take advantage of the southerly breeze before a northerly change that was expected – correctly – to come through today.

We were not in Twofold Bay for long – after lunch the anchor was recovered and we left the bay, loosing and setting sail as we went. The southerly allowed us to set a course slightly east of north – heading back towards Sydney while staying well clear of the coast.

Just outside Twofold Bay, we saw two humpback whales off our starboard bow – one waving its enormous tail flukes at intervals for several minutes as we drew closer, passing with two or three hundred metres of the whales.

Australian sea lion checking out Endeavour!  Image: EAP

Australian sea lion checking out Endeavour! Image: EAP

Around dinnertime, we reefed the topsails in preparation for some expected strong winds overnight. While the main topsail was being reefed during the second dog watch (1800-2000 hours), the wind was light and the ship was travelling very slowly.  A juvenile Australian sea lion popped up alongside the ship and took a good look at us! We were moving slowly enough that it had time to lazily swim back and forth along the port side, popping up regularly to look at people on the deck.

 

 

The strong winds we’d prepared for didn’t eventuate but the wind did shift so the square sails were handed and engines started at 2000 hours on Monday night.

After motoring north into light winds overnight, a slight wind shift and the approaching day allowed us to set square sails again on Tuesday morning. We headed offshore, slightly north of east, until mid-afternoon.

At 1400 hours, we wore ship onto our current starboard tack and turned towards land. We may not make a great deal of ground to the north but hopefully won’t lose much to the south either. If the wind shifts to the south as predicted tomorrow, we should be in a good position to sail north for Sydney. That’s the plan – weather dependent as always!

There was one other rather unusual element to our day today. As most Australians will know, the first Tuesday in November is the day of the horserace that stops a nation: the Melbourne Cup. While it couldn’t stop Endeavour, it did manage to stop our crew.

Gathering on the quarterdeck to listen to the Melbourne Cup.  Image: EAP

Gathering on the quarterdeck to listen to the Melbourne Cup. Image: EAP

Despite being fifty nautical miles off the coast, we were able to get radio reception on deck and most of the crew gathered to hear the race. Our steward Eden organised a sweepstakes and most people had one or two tickets. In the end we had one winner from each of the three watches.

It was quite a sight, seeing most of the crew of a 19th century replica tall ship gathered around to hear a horse race on the radio, with no land in sight.

All’s well.

Suzannah Marshall Macbeth

 

On the whale trail: Voyage to Eden concludes

 

A humpback whale breaches near Endeavour. Image: Paula Tinney.

A humpback whale breaches near Endeavour. Image: Paula Tinney.

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.

Endeavour sails into Twofold Bay. Image: Eden Magnet.

Endeavour sails into Twofold Bay. Image: Eden Magnet.

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.

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Endeavour enters Twofold Bay. Image: EAP.

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!

All’s well.

– Suzannah Marshall Macbeth

View of Eden from aloft on Endeavour. Image: SMM.

View of Eden from aloft on Endeavour. Image: SMM.

 

On the whale trail: Voyage to Eden day 4

Thursday 30 October 2014, 1830 hours

Distance under sail since 1800 yesterday: 31.5 nautical miles

Distance under engine since 1800 yesterday: 31.4 nautical miles

It’s Day 4 of the HMB Endeavour replica’s voyage from Sydney to Eden, and the morning was almost entirely taken up with watching wildlife!

The sightings began at 0930 this morning when a blow was seen off the starboard bow. At first the ‘bushy’ nature of the blow suggested a humpback, but a subsequent blow was at an angle, suggesting another type of whale altogether. Whale spouts vary between species and provide one means of species identification.

Albatross and shearwater from onboard Endeavour. Credit Suzannah Marshall Macbeth

Albatross and shearwater seen from onboard Endeavour. Image SMM.

Our onboard whale expert Geoff Ross then spotted three spouts simultaneously – two large and one small. The whales seemed to be hanging around at the water’s surface for some time and Geoff soon identified them as sperm whales – two adults and a juvenile. As we approached they abruptly sounded – no doubt diving deep into the two kilometres of water under our keel in search of a meal of giant squid.

It sounds like a seafarer’s myth but Geoff assured us that it is true: sperm whales really do dive to depths of up to 3000m in search of giant squid – finding their prey not by sight but, in the darkest reaches of the ocean, using sound. The squid are large enough to fight back, armed with a beak like a parrot and tentacles with suckers that leave large scars on the sperm whale’s hide.

After the sperm whales left us it wasn’t long until we saw dolphins – a pod of at least eight animals passed us half a kilometre away, travelling north as we headed south. Then, in quick succession we saw sunfish (the fin of which was at first confused with a shark), two seals and pygmy sperm whale.

Calm day at sea. Credit Eden Alley-Porter.

Calm day at sea. Credit Eden Alley-Porter.

Around all of these mammals soared the albatross. At first they glided with us for a few minutes, perhaps two or three at any one time, before abruptly disappearing. As the wind dropped almost completely, they began to settle in the water, conserving energy. Geoff told us that a becalmed albatross is very easy to catch, as they are unable to get out of the water and into flight without some wind to give them a lift.

At one stage nine albatross drifted in a group off the starboard bow, binoculars revealing their dark backs and strong beaks. These albatross were black-browed albatross and over the course of the morning we also identified a yellow-nosed albatross.

Floating on the surface of the water at some distance, occasionally disappearing behind a swell, the albatross do not look huge. But once in the air and soaring past us, their size is impressive – and these are not the world’s largest albatross by any means. The most common albatross in this area, the black-browed, has a wingspan of 2.4m. With their large bodies, distinct black, grey and white markings and smooth gliding flight, they are an impressive bird.

While we’ve been kept busy with wildlife this morning and with sail handling this afternoon, the night watches last night were lovely as well. For most of the night, we had a great sail in light airs with four square sails (spritsail, two topsails and the forecourse) and five fore-and-aft sails set. It was a dark night to begin with but the cloud cover cleared shortly before midnight, and without much moon the stars were bright indeed.

Crew working aloft preparing to set sail. Image EAP

Crew working aloft preparing to set sail. Image EAP

One member of mizzenmast watch, Brian, who lives in Eden, said that he loves the night sailing most of all. He’s not a sailor at all – he’s here to experience sailing as Cook might have done. He says that at night, under sail on a calm sea with very few lights on the horizon, it feels that much closer to times long past. On a four hour night watch – which can feel very long indeed when it’s cold and everyone is short on sleep – one’s imagination really can wander.

As day 4 draws to a close, we have just worn ship 1.6 nautical miles off Merimbula Point and are sailing at about four knots. We will be off Twofold Bay around 0930 tomorrow morning, hopefully under sail (wind depending). We expect to go alongside in Snug Cove at 1100 in time for the opening of the Eden Whale Festival.

Endeavour will be open to the public on Saturday and Sunday in Eden and we hope to see you there!

All’s well.

– Suzannah Marshall Macbeth

On the whale trail: Voyage to Eden day 2-3

Wednesday 29 October 2014, 1800 hours

Distance under sail since midday yesterday: 25 nautical miles
Distance under engines since midday yesterday: 92 nautical miles

It’s been a very busy 30 hours since our last blog post! At the time of writing we are six miles off Snapper Point, south of Jervis Bay. We’ve passed parts of the coast of particular resonance to HMB Endeavour, have set sails, have covered 117 miles, have seen whales and have held a memorial service for one of Endeavour‘s past engineers who passed away recently.

Tribute to Wally Mounster. Image: Paula Tinney

Tribute to Wally Mounster. Image: Paula Tinney

Tribute to an engineer

Wally Mounster passed away on 22 October 2014. Wally was engineer on Endeavour during her world voyages and continued to be involved with the ship until recently. He was known among Australia’s tall ship fraternity as a much-loved shipmate and mentor to many other tall ship sailors and engineers.

Many of Endeavour‘s current professional crew have fond memories of sailing with him. Wally sailed on many of Australia’s tall ships – Endeavour, Enterprize, Duyfken and Leeuwin to name just a few.

Wally’s funeral was held at 3pm today in Hobart, so we held a memorial service to coincide with the funeral. Our third mate Penny, gave a tribute to Wally before the ship’s cannon was fired and as the smoke cleared across the waves with the distant land hazy in the background, I heard someone who knew Wally say, ‘he would have liked that.’

Wildlife sightings

Our first whale sighting for the voyage came at 1015 this morning – unfortunately right in the middle of a man overboard drill, meaning most of the crew didn’t see the whale!

Luckily, four more whales were sighted before midday. Geoff Ross was able to easily identify the whales as humpbacks by their pectoral fins and breaching behaviour. A sixth whale was sighted at 1600 – possibly a Sei or Minke whale, but it didn’t surface enough for Geoff to positively identify it.

Geoff has now started a whale log, which will be kept next to the helm so that anyone on board can log their sightings of whales during the voyage.

Since leaving Sydney Harbour, we’ve seen big numbers of short-tailed shearwaters (commonly known as muttonbirds) – sometimes gliding by, but often bobbing in the water near the ship, looking at us inquisitively or with heads down watching for fish beneath them.

Today, three albatross have been sighted – two black-browed albatross and one yellow-nosed albatross. Unfortunately no one has been quick enough with a camera to get a shot of any of our sightings so far, but hopefully there will be plenty more opportunities so stay tuned.

Sailing south from Sydney past Botany Bay

One of the interesting parts of the last day and a half has been sailing along the coastline south of Sydney – passing Botany Bay, which was the first place where crew of the original Endeavour landed on the Australian coastline.

We passed Botany Bay around 1700 hours yesterday evening. (Unlike the original Endeavour we were taking full advantage of our engines at this point, as the wind had shifted and after 1630 yesterday we were no longer able to hold a southerly course under sail.)

Looking westwards towards the entrance to Botany Bay.  Image: EAP

Looking westwards towards the entrance to Botany Bay. Image: EAP

I think I had always pictured Botany Bay as a place unchanged by human settlement and existing much as it was when Endeavour visited in 1770. Of course, this imagined place is long gone and Botany is now one of Australia’s largest commercial shipping ports. From our passage a few miles offshore we could see the rows of cranes that line the Port of Botany silhouetted against the afternoon sky.

The north head of Botany Bay is named Cape Banks and the southern head Cape Solander. This voyage we have supernumerary crew occupying the cabins that would have been occupied by the botanists Joseph Banks and Daniel Solander on the original vessel.

Joseph Banks is of course well known for his role in funding Cook’s voyage to the Pacific on Endeavour and for the flora and fauna specimens he collected in the South Pacific and along the east coast of Australia.

Daniel Solander was a Swedish naturalist who had studied under the famous botanist Linnaeus. He became a tutor and friend to Joseph Banks, who at 24 was 11 years Solander’s junior. This friendship led to Solander’s role in Cook’s voyage to the South Pacific and Australia.

All’s well.

Suzannah Marshall Macbeth

Hauling on the main course brace: Setting sail as we begin our journey south. Image: EAP

 

 

On the whale trail: Voyage to Eden day 1

Tuesday 28 October 2014 1300

The HMB Endeavour replica is heading back to sea! This time, we’re sailing south from Sydney to Eden, near the Victorian border, where we’ll join the festivities as part of Eden’s Whale Festival this coming weekend.

Voyage crew joined the ship in Darling Harbour yesterday morning. Almost all members of our three watches – including four supernumeraries – climbed the rigging to get their first taste of going aloft on Endeavour. With a strong southerly forecasted we stayed in Darling Harbour overnight to wait for the weather to pass.

Voyage crew go aloft for the first time on Endeavour. Image: Eden Alley-Porter.

Voyage crew go aloft for the first time on Endeavour. Image: Eden Alley-Porter.

At the end of a hot, humid and very busy day, voyage crew, supernumeraries and professional crew gathered on the quarterdeck to hear Geoff Ross, voyage crew member and whale expert from the New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service, talk to us about whales that we might see on our way to Eden.

It was quite a contrast: we gathered on the aft deck of an 18th century sailing vessel surrounded by Sydney’s skyscrapers as the sky lit up with a beautiful sunset – and we learnt about whales.

Geoff told us about about the whale species that frequent the Australia’s east coast as they travel to and from the Antarctica and about the decline of populations due to whaling in the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries.

Whale expert Geoff Ross shares his knowledge with the crew. Image: EAP.

Whale expert Geoff Ross shares his knowledge with the crew. Image: EAP.

Despite having heard about the huge size of blue whales many times before, it was only when Geoff compared the length of a blue whale (25-30m on average) with that of Endeavour (33.3m on deck) that I really grasped for the first time just how immense blue whales are. According to Geoff, the aorta of a blue whale is so large that an adult could stand up inside it. Despite their impressive size and weight, blue whales remain endangered and are not often seen off our coastline.

We have only scratched the surface of Geoff’s knowledge and he will be sharing much more with us over the next few days.

As we head out of Sydney’s heads and turn south towards Eden, our voyage crew will be working hard on deck and in the rigging, but there’ll always be at least one lookout with their gaze turned seaward, keeping an eye out for those elusive whales.

All’s well.

– Suzannah Marshall Macbeth

Looking back at Sydney Harbour Bridge as we begin our voyage to Eden. Image: SMM.

Looking back at Sydney Harbour Bridge as we begin our voyage to Eden. Image: SMM.

Day 1: Newcastle to Sydney

Wednesday 17 September 2014, 2000 hours

A new crew has joined the HMB Endeavour replica and are settling into the hammocks that will be their place of rest for the next four nights aboard. Welcoming a new crew aboard is always exciting and this morning in Newcastle was no exception.

We departed Queen’s Wharf at 0900 and headed north for Port Stephens under engines while the 24 new voyage crew and supernumeraries underwent training and ship familiarisation.

Through the heads into  Port Stephens. Photo: Suzannah Marshall Macbeth.

Through the heads past Mount Yakaba into Port Stephens. Photo: Suzannah Marshall Macbeth.

The most hotly anticipated part of the training is usually climbing aloft, and today was no exception. I get the feeling we have a bunch of keen climbers aboard for this voyage – many of the new crew were all smiles by the time they returned to the deck after their first introductory climb.

Voyage crew member Rachel descends from her first climb in Endeavour's rigging. Photo: SMM.

Supernumerary Rachael descends from her first climb in Endeavour’s rigging. Photo: SMM.

One group finished their climbing once we were at anchor in Port Stephens, with the sun beginning to glow orange as it set in the west.

The landscape around our anchorage tonight is, once again, quite spectacular, though not nearly as remote as the coast around Broken Bay where we anchored on the previous voyage.

Although Port Stephens is lovely, it’s a challenging place for a ship of Endeavour’s size to enter due to the narrow entrance and shallow waters in places once inside the heads. Captain Cook named Port Stephens when he sailed by on 11 May 1770, but did not enter the bay itself.

We will stay here overnight before heading to sea tomorrow for two nights. The voyage crew will have many more opportunities to go aloft in the coming days to loose and furl sails.

Two of the climbers who came down from the rigging delighted with their first experience aloft were Beth and Kristian, a mother-and-son team from Newcastle. Beth is a mariner by trade and an experienced yacht sailor, but has never sailed on a square-rigged sailing ship.

A kayaker circles Endeavour at anchor in Nelson Bay, Port Stephens. Photo: SMM.

A kayaker circles Endeavour at anchor in Nelson Bay, Port Stephens. Photo: SMM.

Like others on the trip, Beth has come aboard both to experience sailing on Endeavour and to meet the Astronomer in Charge of the Anglo-Australian Astronomical Observatory, Fred Watson, aboard the ship on Saturday afternoon. He will lead an astronomy session that evening while we are at anchor off Pittwater.

I’m looking forward to learning more about the constellations that we can see above us on a clear night – as well as hopefully learning a little about celestial navigation, an exact science that was vital to Captain Cook’s navigation of the original Endeavour.

All’s well.

– Suzannah Marshall Macbeth

Day 4-5 Botany Basics voyage and a weekend in Newcastle

Our final update from the Botany Basics voyage last week has been a little delayed due to the very busy few days we’ve had in Newcastle.

HMB Endeavour replica has been docked at Queen’s Wharf since Friday evening and nearly 3500 people have come aboard the ship in the four days since then, not including several groups of children from schools in the Newcastle area.

Endeavour exchanges gun salutes with Newcastle's Fort Scratchley. Photo by Eden Alley-Porter.

Endeavour exchanges gun salutes with Newcastle’s Fort Scratchley. Photo by Eden Alley-Porter.

At the time of our last post from the Botany Basics voyage, we were at sea in light airs, making the most of a gentle southerly to get in some good sailing offshore from Broken Bay before heading north towards Newcastle.

The light winds continued during Thursday (day 4 of the voyage) before a sudden change came through around 2200 hours – four bells into the evening watch*. The topsails had been reefed earlier in the evening and we had further shortened sail at the change of the watch (2000 hours) so were prepared for the increased wind.

The southerly breeze was ideal for sailing north to Newcastle. The ship zigzagged up the coast, sailing with the wind abaft the beam. We wore ship at each change of watch in order to head towards Newcastle, making it a busy night!

Endeavour sails Pittwater to Newcastle. Photo by SMM.

Endeavour sails Pittwater to Newcastle. Photo: SMM.

Closer to Newcastle on Friday morning, shipping traffic increased and our lookouts were kept busy keeping an eye on new ships appearing on the horizon at regular intervals.

The stern lookout also spotted two seals playing just behind us as we came into Newcastle. It was a good voyage for wildlife sightings, with a small minke whale swimming around the ship for about an hour on Thursday and humpbacks breaching close by during the night.

Endeavour entered Newcastle just before 1500 hours on Friday, exchanging gun salutes with the Fort Scratchley. Fort Scratchley is famous as the only coastal fortification to have fired at an enemy Naval vessel during World War II.

Endeavour at Queen's Wharf, Newcastle. Nobby's Head is visible in the background. Photo by SMM.

Endeavour at Queen’s Wharf, Newcastle. Nobby’s Head is visible in the background. Photo by SMM.

Newcastle is also significant for the Endeavour replica as Nobby’s Head, the headland at the southern entrance to Newcastle Harbour, was sighted by Captain Cook on 10 May 1770, four days after his departure from Botany Bay.

Endeavour has not visited Newcastle for about six years and we were delighted with the wonderful reception from the city. We were met by a large crowd on the wharf and the Newcastle Herald captured some lovely shots of the ship’s arrival.

Endeavour will depart Queen’s Wharf at 0900 hours this morning. We’ll keep you updated – depending on our access to the internet – during the next voyage, sailing from Newcastle to Port Stephens then south to Pittwater before arriving in Sydney on Sunday 21st September.

All’s well.

* The ship’s bell was traditionally struck each half hour, with one to eight bells struck during each four hour watch. Therefore two bells in the evening watch (2000-2400 hours) indicates 2200 hours, or 10pm.

– Suzannah Marshall Macbeth

Day 2: Botany Basics voyage, Sydney to Newcastle

Tuesday 9 September 2014

It was a glorious day on the Hawkesbury River today – perfect for voyage crew and the two botanists to head ashore in Refuge Bay to collect samples of native vegetation.

Endeavour crew land at Rescue Beach. Photo by Suzannah Marshall Macbeth.

Endeavour crew land at the second collection site, Rescue Beach. Photo by Suzannah Marshall Macbeth.

The ship’s fast rescue boat dropped the botanists and voyage crew onto a rocky stretch of coastline initially. This first site was predominantly riverine sheoak forest.

Voyage crew and botanists collecting samples above Refuge Beach. Photo by Matt Renner.

Collecting samples ashore. Photo by Matt Renner.

At this site the team collected the ‘infructescence’, or fruits, of Xanthorrhoea sp. The botanists have a permit to collect specimens of Xanthorrhoea, which was locally dominant in the understory at that site.

‘We needed to collect the full infructescence’if we are to fully understand the characteristics of this plant, particularly the seed structure,’ botanist Dr Trevor Wilson said.

‘The vegetation above Refuge Beach was more eucalypt dominated woodland, with some rainforest species around the waterfall,’ botanist Dr Matt Renner said.

‘At both sites there was lots of early spring colour – native wildflowers are in bloom, such as boronia, which we saw flowering in their wild state just as they would flower in your garden,’ Matt said.

Voyage crew and botanists record data along Refuge Bay. Photo by Matt Renner.

Voyage crew and botanists record data along Refuge Bay. Photo by Matt Renner.

‘So we collected plenty of specimens that were in flower.’

Back on ship, the voyage crew helped press the plants that they had collected – effectively contributing to a specimen that would remain in the National Herbarium of New South Wales for years to come.

Pressing plant specimens aboard HMB Endeavour. Photo by Eden Alley-Porter.

Pressing plant specimens aboard HMB Endeavour. Photo by Eden Alley-Porter.

The seed collected will go in PlantBank, the seed bank at the Mount Annan site of the Royal Botanic Gardens.At the end of a busy and unusually shore-based day for the crew of HMB Endeavour, we’ve remained at anchor and will set sail early in the morning for Newcastle.

All’s well.

– Suzannah Marshall Macbeth

Day 1: Botany Basics voyage, Sydney to Newcastle

Monday 8 September 2014

At 8am on Monday morning, 16 new HMB Endeavour crew members were waiting on the wharf – voyage crew, supernumeraries and two botanists from the Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney. Thankfully some of the fog captured by the Sydney Morning Herald photographer had faded by then!

The botanists, Dr Trevor Wilson and Dr Matt Renner, are with us as part of the voyage crew but are also on board to provide their expertise in explaining some of the vegetation in the Pittwater area of the lower Hawkesbury River.

Motoring into Broken  Bay. Photo by Eden Alley-Porter.

Motoring into Broken Bay. Photo by Eden Alley-Porter.

As soon as Endeavour‘s new crew were aboard, the priority was to head north towards Pittwater in preparation for the second day of the voyage, which would be spent ashore gathering plant specimens. With light northerlies forecast, we set off from Sydney Harbour under engines.

While motoring up the coast, the three watches undertook training rotations including climbing, line handling and a ship’s tour. This is the first stage of vessel familiarisation for voyage crew, in preparation for the anticipated sail to Newcastle later in the week.

After our difficulties with the ship’s smaller stream anchor in Broken Bay during last week’s voyage, we dropped the large bower anchor straight away and were comfortably at anchor by the time the nearly-full moon rose later in the evening.

Through the hawse pipe - the ship's anchor cable. Photo by Eden Alley-Porter.

Through the hawse pipe – the ship’s anchor cable. Photo by Eden Alley-Porter.

After dinner, the botanists gave a presentation about the vegetation that we could expect when going ashore the next day.

As Trevor explained, one of the exciting things about going ashore along the Hawkesbury River is that you might just find a plant species that hasn’t previously been collected or identified.

‘People tend to think all plant species have been described already, but that’s not the case at all,’ Trevor said.

‘The Sydney Basin is hugely diverse, and going to places where people haven’t collected in the past can provide the opportunity to find something new.’

‘The material collected during the voyage will be held at the National Herbarium of New South Wales indefinitely,’ Matt said. ‘So it will be available for other researchers to access in the future.’

All’s well.

– Suzannah Marshall Macbeth

Day 4-5: A Voyage on Endeavour

 

Early morning on the Hawkesbury River from onboard HMB Endeavour.

Early morning on the Hawkesbury River from onboard HMB Endeavour. Photo by Eden Alley-Porter.

On Day 4 of the HMB Endeavour replica’s first voyage of the season, we woke to a lovely sunrise on the Hawkesbury River. It was time to pick up the enormous 2.3 tonne bower anchor that we’d rigged and dropped late on day 2. Even better, it was time to go sailing!

The flukes of HMB Endeavour's 2.3 tonne bower anchor. Photo by Suzannah Marshall Macbeth.

The flukes of HMB Endeavour’s 2.3 tonne bower anchor. Photo by Suzannah Marshall Macbeth.

With the anchor safely lashed to the rail (along with a bit of that Hawkesbury River mud) we loosed sails and poked our nose outside Broken Bay late on Thursday morning. We found moderate swells and strong winds – mostly southerlies, which did not bode at all well for actual sailing back to Sydney.We had six sails set and for a while the wind looked as though it would allow us to set more, so both watches sent crew aloft to loose topsails (square sails) on the fore and main masts.However before the sails were loose and ready to be set, the wind picked up and we found ourselves re-furling the sails as quickly as possible.

Crew set sail as HMB Endeavour sails out of Broken Bay. Photo by Suzannah Marshall Macbeth.

Crew set sail as HMB Endeavour sails out of Broken Bay. Photo by Suzannah Marshall Macbeth.

For those who aren’t familiar with sailing, in stronger winds a ship will carry less canvas than she would in light winds. You may have seen pictures of Endeavour with most of her sails set – this would only be the case in light winds.

In strong winds, the smaller, higher sails could be torn, carried away altogether or put too much pressure on the ship’s rigging, which could pose a hazard to the ship. In this case, with 25-30 knot winds blowing and a relatively small crew on board, we were only able to safely set a small number of sails.

Still, the few sails that we’d set were certainly enough to provide plenty of hard work furling towards the end of the day, once we’d started the engines and turned around to head back to Sydney.

Voyage crew at the helm of HMB Endeavour. Photo by Suzannah Marshall Macbeth.

Voyage crew at the helm of HMB Endeavour. Photo by Eden Alley-Porter.

A few brave voyage crew joined the professional crew in the rig despite the rolling swell to bring in the ship’s two biggest square sails – the fore and main courses. It’s important the Endeavour’s sails are securely rolled up and lashed to the yard so that the sail can’t blow out and flog about in the wind.

Sydney Harbour as HMB Endeavour returns to port. Photo by Suzannah Marshall Macbeth.

Sydney Harbour as HMB Endeavour returns to port. Photo by Suzannah Marshall Macbeth.

The weather was against us all through the night as we motored into a headwind in order to get back to Sydney for the end of the voyage on Friday evening.We look forward to welcoming a new crew aboard Endeavour on Monday for the Botany Basics voyage to Newcastle!

All’s well.

– Suzannah Marshall Macbeth