Having emigrated to Australia at the age of 19 in 1968 as a ten pound pom, I found myself living on the fringe of Botany Bay during the bi-centenary celebrations in 1970 of Cook's arrival 200 years before. This was the start of my interest in the voyages of Capt. Cook.
I now live in the middle of Devon and work in Plymouth and, having recently read Cook's biography by Richard Hough, I was desperately seeking a group who actively studied the life of Cook and his world voyages.
I was lucky enough to get a place as working crew aboard Endeavour on the leg between Falmouth and Plymouth and was looking forward to sailing into Plymouth Sound on the Friday afternoon.
I was assigned to the foremast watch and immediately set about questioning my crew mates as to why they were sailing aboard Endeavour. Surprisingly very few were there because of the history of Cook and his ship, and even more surprisingly not one reference was made or lecture given by the permanent crew as to the original goals of the Endeavour voyage, most seemed to be on board for the tall ship experience. Fortunately on my second day I met Ron Moore who introduced me to the CCSU.
The entry into Plymouth Sound and sail past the Hoe was a terrible anti-climax to what should have been one of the highlights of the world voyage; a sentiment expressed not only by myself but many other members of the crew. Possibly the Plymouth mizzle tempered the reception.
But there had been moments of pure magic. The night watch between midnight and 0400 with a gentle breeze and a full moon casting shadows through the rigging. I made my way to the stern of Endeavour and just sat alone to take in the atmosphere, the moon glinting on sails and sea.
Originally published in Cook's Log, page 1477, volume 21, number 1 (1998).
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