The photos below by Joanne Morrison were originally published in Cook's Log, page 1973, volume 25, number 3 (2002).
The following was not published in Cook's Log.
It's a well-known fact that I really rather dislike boats. My husband works on one, and so I have plenty of opportunities to travel around the Falklands, but just the thought of it turns my stomach. I have been known to be ill whilst stood on a boat that is securely tied to the jetty. As I said, I dislike boats. They're pointy at one end, blunt at the other and damned uncomfortable in the middle. I don't find them remotely interesting, and I can't see what other people find so fascinating in them either. So why was the visit of Endeavour so very different?
The first I knew of her intended arrival in the Falklands was a few months back when I had a phonecall from a colleague, Sheena, at the Falkland Islands Company shipping agency. She told me that they had been appointed agents for the vessels' visit, and as manager of the Jetty Visitors Centre, she thought I might want to know. I must have had my mind on other things, as I heard myself saying that if there was anything she needed a hand with then I would happy to help out, and yes an exhibition was no problem.
A couple of weeks later, events included a buffet reception hosted by the Governor, commemorative t-shirts, letters from the Infant and Junior school here in Stanley to pupils of the Whitby County Primary School, a painting by a local artist of the original Endeavour at Port Egmont – the site of the first British settlement in the Falklands, dealing with the Whitby Gazette, keeping the HM Bark Endeavour Foundation informed of events, organising a display of beautiful black and white photographs of Whitby, UK by a local photographer (I lived in Whitby for 4 years before moving to the Falklands, and to my shame have no photos at all of Whitby). That was all from my end. As far as Sheena was concerned, her arrangements included everything from the usual agency arrangements including customs clearance, procurement of spares, bunkering, berthing, flight and accommodation arrangements for the one injured crew member and the National Geographic film crew, to having a cake made with the Endeavour Foundation logo on it. That was all in addition to our "day jobs". We both also developed a fixation with checking the position of the vessel every couple of hours via their web site. I still do it even now.
So, the exhibition. I knew that the Falklands had some connections with Endeavour, and I was determined to prove it. Hour after hour, surfing the internet, trying to get some information about the vessel after it had left the service of Cook. The Museum and Archives here in Stanley had no information other than a rather splendid aerial photograph of the site at Port Egmont as it stands today (which I still have in my office – I really must send that back one of these days). So, a desperate plea to the Captain Cook Society, and a promise that if anyone could provide me with information, I would join up. And hurrah, in the archives of their journal Cook's Log, there was some reference to a document about the Falkland Islands and Port Egmont in connection with Endeavour. I was over the moon to receive the information from Ian Boreham, which proved the link once and for all. On the way to discovering this, from pouring over Bank's journals late at night, I discovered that in fact Cook was supposed to have called in here after leaving Rio de Janeiro before rounding the Cape Horn on his first voyage, but due to weather, was unable to get within site of land – something that a few modern-day cruise ship passengers will be able to identify with. So, two links for the price of one.
Cathedral and arch
So, I had the exhibition sorted out, and all the other arrangements well on the way to being complete. All we had to do now was wait for the vessels arrival. The waiting was excruciating. Watching day after day on the internet (and laughing out of sheer horror when she started sailing north and west!), waiting for the vessel to round the horn, checking weather reports for the area, reading the crew reports, wondering what it was that we did before the word "Endeavour" was ever mentioned. And then finally, we had a date and time: 9am on Friday 19 April.
So, everything was in place. I had the painting, I had the chef from a local restaurant ready with the buffet, I had the Governor on standby, I had guests ready for the 6pm reception, the exhibition was printed, laminated and up, I had my staff sorted out for the Visitors Centre, I had the t-shirts, and nothing could go wrong.
Friday morning arrived, slightly breezy, with little white tops to the waves in the harbour. No problem. A group of us were meeting at 6.30am ready to go out in a launch at 7am, to go to Port William, the outer harbour to meet Endeavour coming in. It was dark and cold, but we were in good spirits and raring to go. So off we went, a whole happy (if rather sleepy) bunch, clutching our cameras and looking at our watches, wondering what the vessel would look like after all these weeks of anticipation and how we would feel finally seeing it in the flesh, so to speak. So, we went as far as the Cape Pembroke peninsula on the south side of Port William, about 7 miles away, and no sign of Endeavour. Still, it was lovely bright morning, and we were still in high spirits. Sheena called the Captain on the radio, and they were still heading in, giving their ETA at Cape Pembroke as 8am. But it was 8.10am already. What was going on? Then, the realisation struck. We were still on summer time, which was GMT –3 and Endeavour was working on their time which was GMT –4. We were an hour early. Several of the passengers on board our vessel couldn't afford the extra time, so we had to go all the way back to town to drop them off, followed by a toilet break for the rest of us, then to a different jetty in town to collect Customs officers and also let one poor chap off who had overindulged the night before and was feeling decidedly unwell in the slight swell we had encountered so far. So, back out to Cape Pembroke.
After what seemed like an age, finally, above the peninsula, there they were: mast tops and sails. The rush of adrenaline that accompanied that sight was huge. Almost as huge in fact, as the swell that had got up. What a fantastic sight: the blue, gold and white shone out against the bright blue of the sea and sky. Finally, after all the waiting, she was here, and looking marvellously splendid. However, the news that followed was something that none of us expected. They were having problems with one of their engines, and the Captain didn't think that they could make it up the outer harbour against the westerly breeze. So, the plan was to go to anchor, fix the engine and then carry on to Rio. What???!!!! Did he not know that I had a chef on standby with canapés? Suddenly the swell seemed enormous, and I felt very ill indeed. What were we going to do now? Thankfully we headed back to town to go and collect their spares. I was soaked to the skin with the spray and cold and miserable. I headed off home to a long hot shower and some dry clothes.
So, feeling a little better, I gave Sheena a call. What was happening? Well, they were going to try their very very best to get in, but they wouldn't know until 3pm whether they were coming in or not, and if so when that would be and how long they would stay. Great. I pretty confidently cancelled the guests for the reception at 6pm, but couldn't get hold of the chef. Then we waited, and waited and waited some more, taking phonecall after phonecall from people wanting to know what was going on, and feeling useless when telling them that no-one knew. Then came news: they had fixed their engine and would be in town by 7pm. They would stay until 4pm on Saturday, and would open to the public for a couple of hours on Saturday morning. The relief was overwhelming. I couldn't stop laughing, and still I couldn't get hold of the chef. It was 5pm by this stage, and I was expecting waiters and waitresses to turn up at the door at any second. Even more worrying was that it was supposedly one hour to go before the reception and no-one was here with food. Finally, finally, the phone rang, and the familiar Chilean voice said, "Hi Jo, it's Alex here. You were trying to get hold of me?" Turns out, he hadn't even started cooking his canapés yet, as he figured that as the boat hadn't turned up at 9am, there was some kind of problem. So, 2.30pm the following day would be fine for the reception instead. Amazing. The came another call to say that the boat was coming up Port William, almost through the Narrows and was about to enter Stanley harbour. What? It was only 5pm, she wasn't due in until at least 7pm, but anyway, she was nearly here, so who cares?! Quickly, I headed off with my camera and went and stood on the end of the East Jetty, waiting.
The sight of her coming through the Narrows was something that I had been thinking that I would never see. Her sails tightly furled, looking neat and businesslike, she steamed towards the jetty. Closer and closer, and my smile got bigger and bigger. Quite a crowd had gathered on the end of the jetty, everyone clutching cameras chattering and laughing. As she started to come alongside, the crowd fell silent. The captain was shouting orders to bring the vessel alongside, and I don't think any of us dare speak, just in case it was mistaken for an order and she ended up crashing – I could almost see the Whitby Gazette headline: "Jo Morrison chatting on end of jetty causes Endeavour to crash and sink". So, we all stayed silent, watching the faces of the crew, most of which were covered in beards and/or black stuff, and the smell wafting across the water was quite unlike anything I had experienced before.
So, she was here.
I spent the next 3 hours directing people to pubs and supermarkets and booking hotel beds for the crew and just generally doing my tourism information bit, which started again at 7am the next morning. The vessel was going to be open from 9am for a few hours, and 600 people took them up on the offer, which is pretty good when you consider the size of the population. I was supposed to be working in the Visitors Centre, which overlooks the jetty where she was berthed, but I just couldn't stop standing outside staring at her. She was magnificent and amazing and, well, just gorgeous.
The reception went off perfectly with a good mix of people, followed by visits on board. The Captain announced at the end of his speech that unfortunately the vessel had a flat tyre and so would have to stay until the following morning. A flat tyre, perhaps? Anyway, who was I to argue? There then followed another couple of hours of hotel bookings and giving of pub directions, and an unfortunate incident involving a hat. One of the crew had said earlier in the day that they wanted one of the hand spun, hand knit woollen hats that I had on one of my displays and they would come back for it later. However, just as I was about to go home, another chap said that he wanted it, so I took a gamble and sold it to him. Of course the inevitable happened and the original chap turn up to pay for it and I had sold it, so I then had to try and find the knitter of the hat to see if she had any more. She had a few in stock, and the end result was a happy chap and a happy knitter and everyone having hats that they loved. So, I went home happy and relieved.
The next day started early again so that I could go out on a launch and see the Endeavour's departure from the sea. There were some heavy snow squalls coming through, and it wasn't the nicest of days at all. She looked glorious with her sails unfurled, a background of Stanley's bright houses and leaden grey sky. As she sailed back into Port William, I suddenly felt empty inside. I was going to miss this squat little boat. She looked "right" at the end of the jetty, and the crew were a pleasure to have around. As I watched her sail off further into the distance, silhouetted against the morning sky, it wasn't just the cold wind that was making my eyes water and the sea spray wasn't just the only thing that was making my face salty. But it's a well known fact that I really rather dislike boats! How could this be happening?
So what IS so different about Endeavour? Since her departure I have come to realise that it is not Endeavour that I miss, beautiful and fantastic as she is – I have plenty of photos to remind me of how she looked. It is the feeling of community and togetherness that you get from being on board with the crew. You get a similar feeling here in the Falklands – an isolated community working together for the benefit of the whole – but it is more intensified on Endeavour. Endeavour isn't so much beautiful sailing ship, but a bringer together of people. Right from day one, there have always been people happily working together, in her design, her construction, whenever she sails, when she visits ports. The crew who sail on her go through quite a tough time with the authentic living conditions and hard work, but I was struck by the number of people who do it time and time again and pay for the privilege. She stirs something in people that results in a glow inside, a feeling of being part of a community, of being part of the human race, and that is what is so different about Endeavour. So, I would like to revise my original statement. I really rather dislike boats, but there's at least one out there that will always have a special place in my heart (despite the smell).
your email address will not be published