The Ship: Retracing Cook's Endeavour Voyage. Baker, Simon. 2002

The Ship: Retracing Cook's Endeavour Voyage. Baker, Simon. 2002

Baker, Simon. 
The Ship: Retracing Cook's Endeavour Voyage.
BBC Worldwide Ltd. 
ISBN 0 563 53463 X.

This book was published to accompany the TV series The Ship, in which volunteers and specialists sailed with 16 permanent crew on the Endeavour replica in an "attempt to come closer to the past [and] shed new light on it and to re-evaluate Cook and his legacy."

The book describes how Cook's First Voyage round the World was planned and then describes in detail the part between Cairns and Jakarta, contrasting the 1770s experience with that of 2001. The result is an extensive description of the preparations for, and scientific results of, the original voyage, richly illustrated with excellent reproductions of relevant contemporary paintings, drawings and charts.

Whilst the passages about the original voyage are in the normal narrative format and easy to follow, those of the modern version are given by extracts from the journals of the 21st century people, making for a disjointed approach. As the extracts were headed by only the first name of the writer I got confused as to whether the Chris being quoted was Chris Blake, the captain of the replica or Chris Terrill, the producer of the TV series.

Having enjoyed the TV series which concentrated on the modern voyage, putting the activities and discoveries into the context of Cook's voyage, it was a surprise to find this book covering so much of the original Endeavour voyage with a poor reflection of what took place and was learned on the Endeavour replica.

Ian Boreham

Originally published in Cook's Log, page 2003, volume 25, number 4 (2002).

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