Ecuadorian navy training tall ship Guayas arrives at the museum

Guaya enters Sydney Harbour 8 January, 2016 - harbour bridge to the right on a sunny day.

Guayas enters Sydney Harbour, 8 January 2016. Photo Jude Timms/ANMM

The Ecuadorian navy training tall ship Guayas arrived at the Australian National Maritime Museum this morning to an enthusiastic welcome from members of the Ecuadorian community and museum visitors and staff.

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Palate and sea passages: wine tasting and conversation with the Captain of the Endeavour

For those with an appreciation of wine and tall ships, you can indulge both interests on Friday 26 June at the Australian National Maritime Museum.

Captain John Dikkenberg of our HMB Endeavour replica will impart first-hand accounts of his voyages on this popular ship while our friends Angove Family Winemakers share samples of their delicious wines.

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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

In the footsteps of Cook, La Perouse and d’Entrecasteaux

Efforts are now well underway to get Endeavour ready for her voyage to New Caledonia. You’ll note that the dates for the voyage have changed slightly. The amended dates avoid clashes with other events underway in New Caledonia and are now:

  • 27 May to 6 June Sydney to Noumea.
  • 10 June to 17 June Noumea to Noumea. Coastal sail and visit Isle of Pines.
  • 19 June to 29 June Noumea to Sydney

The program looks really exciting and for those joining, the voyage provides an opportunity to sail this wonderful ship while going to a new destination. Hopefully you’ll disembark with an appreciation of what Cook and other 18th century explorers achieved, a knowledge of square rig sailing, a love of the sea and a little French language.

If you would like to become involved in this exciting event, full details are now on our website.

Sailing programs on HMB Endeavour

Sailing programs in Cook’s Endeavour are all designed to give those joining an unforgettable experience. Unlike passengers in a cruise liner, those joining this stunning ship do not enjoy a swimming pool, a casino or an evening in the cocktail bar. In fact, the ship is dry. Those joining the ship are not even referred to as passengers but as voyage crew and supernumeraries. The 36 voyage crew help sail the ship, climb the rigging and sleep in hammocks. The four supernumeraries occupy the cabins once the home of Cook’s scientific team including Banks and Solander. Whilst not compelled to crew the ship, the four supernumeraries often find themselves drawn into the same tight knit team of true voyagers.

With no modern sailing aids onboard, crew must climb aloft up to 39 metres to unfurl and furl Endeavour's 17 sails.

With no modern sailing aids onboard, crew must climb aloft up to 39 metres to unfurl and furl Endeavour’s 17 sails.

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International Fleet Review and Tall Ships Fesitval Wrap-up

Seventeen tall ships, more than 40 warships, 8000 navy personnel from 19 nations and almost two million visitors flooded into Sydney during the first two weeks of October for the International Fleet Review. The celebration was to commemorate the centenary of the first Royal Australian Navy fleet entry into Sydney Harbour on 4 October 1913, with activities and events spanning nine days.

A wet and overcast day did nothing to dampen the enthusiasm with large crowds venturing out to welcome the tall ships into Sydney Harbour. Lord Nelson, Lady Nelson, Spirit of New Zealand, Tecla, Europa, Coral Trekker, South Passage, Picton Castle and Yukon made the museum their base with their captains and crews a welcome addition to the museums community for the duration of the IFR and Tall Ships festivities.

HMB Endeavour with Picton Castle en route to the Australian National Maritime Museum. Photographer Milo Brogan

HMB Endeavour with Picton Castle en route to the Australian National Maritime Museum. Photographer Milo Brogan

On October 4, the anniversary of the first fleet entry, people crowded to witness seven warships follow the same route as the first Royal Australian Navy vessels into Sydney Harbour. This was an impressive sight with the namesake ships of the original seven, HMAS Sydney, HMAS Parramatta, HMAS Yarra, HMAS Darwin, HMAS Perth, HMAS Bundaberg and HMAS Diamantina, making the journey.

HMAS Sydney followed by HMAS Darwin and HMAS Perth. Photographer Milo Brogan

HMAS Sydney followed by HMAS Darwin and HMAS Perth. Photographer Milo Brogan

The formal ceremony for the fleet review occurred on the Saturday with Governor General Quentin Bryce in the role of Reviewing Officer. This was followed by impressive military displays including aerial displays and flypasts by Australian and visiting aircraft and a spectacular pyrotechnics and lightshow in the evening centred on Sydney Harbour and the Opera House.

Crowds at the Australian National Maritime Museum

Crowds at the Australian National Maritime Museum

The two main days for public access to the ships saw thousands of people visit Garden Island, Barangaroo and the museum wharves in Darling Harbour for a rare chance to get on board the vessels. Crews and hundreds of volunteers worked tirelessly to ensure each day ran smoothly with almost two million visitors enjoying the long weekend. The museum offered various sailing and ferry opportunities that allowed the public and members onto the harbour to see the vessels up close from the water. Additional entertainment was provided by the RAN Navy Band and several visiting bands from the UK, New Zealand, South Africa and Nigeria.

At the end of the review the tall ships gathered in Sydney Harbour for the 2013 Sydney to Auckland tall ship race. The challenging conditions had four vessels retire, with HMB Europa coming home strong to land first place.

Europa overtaking Picton Castle. Photographer Milo Brogan

Europa overtaking Picton Castle. Photographer Milo Brogan

With the review now over, the tall ships remain in Auckland to continue the International Tall Ship Festival and the warships have departed for training activities on the east coast of Australia. We wish all ships a safe journey home and thank all captains, crew, staff and volunteers for their hard work during the nine days of the International Fleet Review and Tall Ships Festival!

HMB Endeavour stripped bare

On 3 June HMB Endeavour headed to dry-dock for scheduled maintenance, and now as we have reached the halfway point in her docking, all is proceeding well. For the last week or so, a team of contractors have been removing the antifouling paint from the ship’s bottom and after nearly 20 years, we are back to bare timber.

HMB Endeavour replica (front) and James Craig (background) in the Captain Cook Graving Dock at Garden Island, Sydney.

HMB Endeavour replica (front) and James Craig (background) in the Captain Cook Graving Dock at Garden Island, Sydney.

A bi-product of the stripping has been dust and grit and the poor old ship looks a little under the weather. Over the next four or five days the topsides will be sanded and oiled and the underwater areas will be primed and repainted. Continue reading

Meet John Dikkenberg, captain of HMB Endeavour

John Dikkenberg on board Endeavour.

John Dikkenberg on board Endeavour.

Meet John Dikkenberg, the new captain of HMB Endeavour, replica. John joined the museum about three weeks ago and it’s fantastic to have him on board. We caught up with John to find out more about his experience sailing tall ships and his new role as captain. If you have any questions for John, add them in the comments section of this blog and we’ll have them answered for you.

It’s great to have you on board as the new captain of Endeavour. Can you tell us about your experience at sea and on tall ships?

Most of my experience in tall ships comes from James Craig. I’ve been with that ship for about seven years, and been with her as master for about five years. I’ve been going to sea since the late 60s and in a previous life I was the captain of two Oberon class submarines and a River class destroyer. Continue reading

Ferguson Reef archaeology expedition – 30 and 31 March

Saturday 30 March 2013

Woke up this morning to a very empty anchorage at the back of Ferguson Reef – with Silentworld II (SWII) and the Hydro-sport dive tender having left for Portland Roads at 0330 this morning – leaving a much reduced crew (Xanthe, Andrew, Grant, Freddy and I) on board Hellraiser 2 to check out the last remaining anomalies and take the last measurements before cleaning up the site and sailing westward to meet the larger team at Eel Reef, and hopefully the wreck of the Indian-built opium clipper Morning Star wrecked three miles south west of Quoin Island in 1814.

With a much smaller team to get ready we got to the outer edge of Ferguson Reef and the wrecksite of the Ferguson in plenty of time for the high water slack.

Xanthe, Grant and Andrew from the Silentworld Foundation and I jumped in just to the seaward of the ‘picked in’ anchor and allowed the last few minutes of the floodtide to carry us in over the reef top and along the stud link anchor chain which runs back over the top of the reef for some 200 metres before ending amongst flat plate and staghorn coral.

Kieran underwater looking at anchor chain

Kieran inspecting the anchor chain.

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Sail with Endeavour during the International Fleet Review

On 4 October it will be 100 years since the first Royal Australian Navy fleet arrived in Sydney. To mark the occasion, nine days of events are being planned called the International Fleet Review and best of all HMB Endeavour is taking part!

Endeavour on Sydney Harbour wth Sydney Opera House in background

HMB Endeavour, replica looks majestic on Sydney Harbour

We will be one of the 11 Australian and 10 international tall ships sailing in company with about 40 warships from around the world as part of the celebrations. With the waters off Jervis Bay the final mustering point, the flotilla will enter Sydney Harbour on 3 October to kick off the International Fleet Review. What a magnificent sight it’s going to be, especially from the decks and the rigging of Endeavour.

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Crew furling the sails

If you’re keen to be part of Endeavour’s paying voyage crew, head to our website to register your interest. Final details of the 10 or 12 day voyage are being confirmed, so we’ll keep you posted with all of the exciting developments.

We’ve also received word that tall ships Oosterschelde, Europa and Tecla from the Netherlands are already on their way to Australia, arriving in Fremantle from July 2013. Other ships coming are STS Lord Nelson from UK and Spirit of New Zealand.

I can almost see the sails filling and hear her cannon roar as Endeavour comes into with fleet, wouldn’t miss it for anything!

Vicki Northey
Endeavour project manager

Behind the scenes with our textile conservators

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Julie prepares flag from 1900s for storage

This week we are going to take you behind the scenes of the museum to meet some of our staff and see the interesting things they get up to!

Today we’ve checked in with our conservators… Julie is preparing a flag from the early 1900s for storage and Sue is painstakingly conserving a sailors woolie from the late 1800s!

To make sure the flag can be safely stored, Julie will need to stabilise the damaged corner of the flag by attaching a temporary patch. She has chosen to use a piece of silk, which is a protein based fabric with a similar weave to the original flag. To avoid further damage she’ll attach the patch with thread, using existing holes created by insect damage to thread her needle through.

The stabilised flag will be stored in the museum’s new textile storage system, along with over 3,000 other textile items including flags, uniforms, shoes, head wear, bedding, towels, and clothing.

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Julie adds a patch to stabilise the flag for storage

Our conservator Sue shows us a beautiful embroidery she has been conserving for a while now – it’s one of her favourite objects to work on. Originally in a wooden frame, she has carefully removed the artwork to conserve it as best she can.

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Sue uses a low suction vacuum to remove insect debris and dust from the sailor’s woolie.

As part of the conservation process Sue uses a low suction vacuum to remove insect debris and dust from the artwork. The wool and silk thread are extremley fragile and in some parts the thread has already snapped or been nibbled by insects.

On the underside of the embroidery you can see how vibrant the original thread was, before being damaged by the sun. It would have been a glorious piece of needlework!

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Julie shows the underside of the sailor’s woolie showing the original colour of the thread

Wool pictures (or ‘woolies’) like these were mostly produced between 1840 and 1900 by British sailors. This one was thought to be made in the late 1800s. They cover many subjects, but commonly show broadside views of ships, ‘patriotic’ flags, and samples of embroidered patterns such as flowers, demonstrating the skill of the embroiderer. They were almost never signed, and are usually naive in character, but the detail of the ships in woolworks indicates that they were the work of seamen. Sewing and sailmaking were important skills of seamen, and woolwork pictures show the expertise they brought to this engaging handcraft.

We’ve uploaded a few more photos of Julie and Sue in action on our Flickr and Facebook pages for you to check out. Otherwise, stay tuned for more behind the scenes posts this week!



Oprah show ‘Ultimate Viewers’ learn the ropes on Endeavour

HMB Endeavour in the midst of Oprah's sailing regatta on Sydney Harbour

HMB Endeavour in the midst of Oprah's sailing regatta on Sydney Harbour

The National Maritime Museum was delighted to welcome a special audience just this morning… seventy “ Oprah” show Ultimate Viewers sailed into the 18th century on beautiful Sydney Harbour today.

They joined the crew on the museum’s magnificently crafted replica of Captain Cook’s ship of discovery, HM Bark Endeavour, learning how to steer the vessel, haul on the sails and navigate with sextants.

“We were delighted some of Oprah’s visiting audience were able to come out on Endeavour for a taste of life at sea in the age of global exploration,”  the museum director, Mary-Louise Williams, said today.

A voyage along the Australian coast in the full-scale replica of Cook’s famous ship has become one of Australia’s great adventure holidays.

Endeavour Adventure: Day one – departure is nigh

30 March 2010:  It is early in the morning and the HMB Endeavour is alive with chatter as the crew prepares for its first morning briefings. After being in museum mode for many months, Endeavour is about to set sail again.

Following informal greetings and quick catch ups, the formalities and paperwork has begun.
Manuals are being issued, standing orders signed and I deliver the Captain’s briefing about why we are here, what we are doing and how it will be done.

Cabins that were on historical display will now be home to the crew for the next month. Some have three bunks per cabin and some are just single berths for the officers.

Personal belongings are stowed, photos of loved ones appear on bulk heads, a violin is seen in an officer’s cabin and a recently purchased “vintage” sextant is proudly displayed. The crew is back on deck.

Once the professional crew settle in they begin transforming the Endeavour from museum mode to a fully operational vessel. All museum artefacts showing how Captain Cook once lived on board are safely stowed or lashed down before we sail – any loose object becomes a potential hazard at sea.

The 21st century safety items appear on deck. Covers are removed from our cleverly disguised 25 man life rafts and the rescue craft is ready to be hoisted back on board. Radars and radios are tested while audible alarms sound off during the testing programs.

As the officers laboriously tick off their check lists a crew member asks if anyone has seen the happy buckets? Happy buckets are essential for when crew get sea sick or, in the crew’s words, make a “happy smile”.

As the happy buckets search begins lost property and odd items like a tar-stained sock and an infamous old pink wet weather jacket that someone left behind some time ago are found. While the crew continues working, I continuously chant “a place for everything and everything in its place”.

And so, for the crew the voyage begins.

Yours aye
Captain Ross Mattson

HMB Endeavour adventure begins

29 March 2010: The museum’s HMB Endeavour Adventure Sails are about to begin! We have a full crew ready and waiting. Well not really waiting… we’re busily preparing the ship for cast off.
We’ve been preparing for months – developing a diverse sailing program and signing up more than 450 paying voyage crew keen to learn all about life on an 18th century sailing ship.

How do you prepare an 18th century vessel for sea? To begin with, it needs a professional crew!

Long gone are the days  when heavy-handed “press gangs” recruited crew members in Britain’s waterfront taverns. All 16 professional crew positions on Endeavour need qualifications for ship board safety, first aid and fire fighting. Additional responsibilities require further qualifications.

Our professional crew, with their contemporary qualifications, have impressive sailing experience on tall ships. This secures safety for our 18th century vessel on its 21st century voyages.

Yours aye
Captain Ross Mattson