Overnight Experience 3 – Voyaging in the Wake of Cook 5th/6th April 2010

Captain’s Log

Port Jackson (Sydney) over night. 05/04/2010-06/04/2010

Weather S/E 10-15 knots

1500hrs: Departed North Wharf at the Australian National Maritime Museum. Motored to South Head and returned to Watson’s Bay for sail setting. Wind was a light South Easterly and all squares (including top gallant) were set on our fore mast, braced sharp port tack. After setting our largest stay sail, the main top mast stay sail, we sailed against the tide, back to our mooring by night fall.

After a quiet and still night, we then motored back to the museum by 1000hrs

Yours aye,

Capt Ross Mattson

Ship’s Steward Log

The crew welcomed passengers on board at 1500. It wasn’t long before first mate Ben was asked to pose for a photo with the smallest crew member, outspoken Davey Jones – the ship’s mascot budgie.

Davey Jones, our smallest crew member

We motored down the harbour heading past Bottle and Glass Point at 1600 and as we neared South Head 30 minutes later we readied to turn around and head back towards Athol Bight. There was a swell coming in through the heads and we set stays’ls to help counteract the rolls.

Passengers help with sail setting

The fore course yard was braced in preparation to set the sail which was done quite soon after and by 1645 we were able to turn off our motors. At 1700 the fore tops’l was set and the crew prepared for the first setting of a topgallant this sailing season! We had very little wind and an out going tide so consequently we were going at a fairly sedate pace, approximately 2 knots (nautical miles per hour).

Unfortunately the fore topgallant was only up for half an hour before we started handing sails and by 1800 the last of the square sails were handed as we arrived at our mooring for the night.

As the enveloping darkness began to creep in and the lights of the Harbour Bridge started to twinkle, our passengers made their way down below to the first of their two talks from the ship’s curator Nigel Erskine. Nigel spoke about some South Sea Island artefacts collected by Cook and his crew on Cook’s second voyage to the Pacific (1772-1775). These special pieces, known as the Omai Relics, were recently purchased by the Australian National Maritime Museum. They are now on display.

Sunset as we near our mooring for the night

After dinner (themed on the original Endeavour’s menu) Nigel treated our passengers to a short film and his second talk of the evening on Pitcairn Island and the Bounty Mutineers.

As the passengers came back on deck they heard the gentle sounds of two of our ships minstrels, captain Ross on his guitar and navigator Toby on his green fiddle. Hammocks were slung by the topmen and upperyardies and our passengers excitedly (but with some trepidation) began to get ready for ‘quiet ship’ at 2300.

The new day dawned bright and we departed our mooring by 0900.  One passenger was overheard saying that his night’s sleep was “at least more comfortable than an economy seat on an international flight.”

We motored back to the museum and our guests disembarked at the National Maritime Museum’s North Wharf in Darling Harbour at 1000, leaving us with their kind words of how much they had enjoyed themselves while on board.

All’s well,

Ship’s Steward Kat Lindsay

About the project

Talking over the plans with curator Nigel Erskine

Talking over the plans of the Beagle with curator Nigel Erskine

2009 is the 150th anniversary of the publication of Charles Darwin’s ground breaking book ‘On the Origin of Species by Natural Selection’ and the bicentenary of his birth.  The ANMM is going to celebrate by staging a Charles Darwin exhibition.

As part of the exhibition the museum asked me to build a model of the HMS Beagle, the ship that took Darwin on his voyage of discovery back in 1831.

When I take on a project like this, for me it’s not just another build. Museum work is definitely special as you are creating a bit of history and hopefully portray it in 3D to the public something interesting.

My initial impression when viewing the drawing for the Beagle was “the real thing was so small, how did they work and live on board”.  The other problem I discovered was the limited sources of information for the Beagle. Written descriptions and line drawings are all that I have to go on as well as help from allot of experts in the fields of Maritime Archeology and weaponry of the time.

What I do not want to produce is a nice shinny model with clean glossy wood finishes.
At the initial meeting to get a feel for the model I described wanting to give the model a finish “as if it has been at sea for a few weeks”. I will use subtle weathering and shading techniques to create not only a model but hopefully a snap shot of the past.

There are areas of the ship that are ‘grey areas’ such as would the Beagle continue to have the cannonade at the front of the ship, etc. I will be opening problems I encounter to the forum here hopefully for some educated answers.

I have 4 ½ Months to complete the model.

I aim to have the following done:
The hull and deck – Mid October
All components and Masts – End November.
Rigging, Base and Travel Case – End December.

I have been looking forward to this journey and as you watch me make the Beagle, I hope you enjoy it as well.

Mike Bass