About Me

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Sacramento, California, United States
so salty pieces of coral from surfing Hawaii in the 60's and 70's getting reef pounded living in my body fall through my skin from time to time!

sailing to Oahu

Jimi Hendrix was playing on Oahu. I had never sailed. Surfed Mexico, California, Hawaii! Aw, how hard could it be to sail 90-110 miles from Kauai to Oahu? Piece of cake, right? Remember it was the 60's! This is so bad. We thought we were looking at Kaiena Point,Ohau, knowing we weren't going to make the concert! But at least we were in site of Oahu-wrong! Coy, who had never sailed before, me,who had never sailed before, jeff and Abbott etc. We were looking at the sleeping giant on Kauai! We had done three-sixty's in the night! We sailed on the only tri-marran I've ever sailed on ( except later ) in my life, missed the concert! It was at the Waikiki Shell Ampitheater ( Moon eclipsed . We finally made Nawilwili Harbor! The Skipper tried to give us his boat saying, " It's trying to kill me"! We watched him go stark raving mad not even realising that had we got caught in the channel current we were on our way to Japan! Remember it was the 60's and we were going to see Hendrix. I left out some of the good stuff but I will make up for it later!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Accidental feather in their cap-footnote

A cannon, from the 18th-century sailing ship voyage to the Pacific Ocean, by British Captain James Cook. When one of Cook's ships ran aground in Australia's Great Barrier Reef in June 1770, its cannon lay unrecovered for nearly two centuries.

That is, until the Academy of Natural Sciences, in the 1960s, was collecting fish in the Reef, and discovered several of Cook's cannon. The Australian government donated one of the cannon to the Academy, where it resides on the second floor.

Was it an accident?  Or a successful exploritive fishing expedition?  Ask the fish!

Captain Cook aground-Australia..... 6/10/1770

Cook charted the coast of Australia, until the ship ran aground on the Great Barrier Reef.

In 1969 an American expedition from the Philadelphia Academy of Natural Science was successful in locating the six guns jettisoned on the night of 10 June 1770. Captain Vince Vlassof with his 'Tropic Seas' was of vital local assistance in recovering the six cannons which were transported to Defence Standards Laboratories in Melbourne for reconditioning

Endeavour Reef

Just before 11pm on the evening of 10 June 1770 the ship struck a reef, today called Endeavour Reef, within the Great Barrier Reef. The part they struck stands up steeply from the seabed, so casting the lead had shown 20 fathoms (36 metres) of water right up to the point of striking.

With the sails immediately taken down, the coasting anchor was set out and an attempt made to pull the ship back off the reef, unsuccessfully. Because it was already around high tide the only option was to lighten the ship to float her off, so iron and stone ballast, spoiled stores, and the ships guns were thrown overboard, and the ship's water (drinking water) pumped out. The guns were not simply discarded; Sydney Parkinson records[2] buoys were attached with the intention of retrieving them later, but that proved impractical. (The guns and ballast were found in 1969, see recoveries below.) Parkinson also notes that every man on board took turns on the pumps, including Cook, Banks, and the officers.

With about 40 or 50 tons lightened, by Cook's reckoning, on the high tide the next morning a further attempt was made to pull the ship free, but again unsuccessfully. In the afternoon the longboat carried out the two large bower anchors, and block and tackles were put on a total 5 anchors now set, ready to try again on the evening high tide. The ship started to take on water through the damage from the reef, and though the leak would certainly increase once off the reef Cook decided to risk that. At about 10:20pm the ship floated with the tide and was successfully drawn off. The anchors were retrieved, except for the small bower which could not be freed. (It too was found in 1969; see below).

The leak increased with the ship off the reef, and the three working pumps were manned. A mistake happened in sounding the depth of water in the hold when a new man took over and measured from the outside plank where his predecessor had used the ceiling (the top of the cross-beams of the hull). The difference was about 18 inches so the new man's call made it seem the leak had gained on the pumps that much in just a short time, sending a wave of fear through the ship. As soon as the mistake was realized the relief acted like a charm and with redoubled efforts the pumps kept ahead of the leak.

The prospects if the ship sank were grim. The typical understatement in the journals of the seamen make it easy to underestimate the danger, only in Banks is there a taste of it. For a start the ship was miles from shore and the boats could not carry everyone (being made for work, not as lifeboats) so many would surely drown. And those who survived would be left unarmed and without food in an unknown land. Banks noted the calm efficiency of the crew in the face of danger, contrary to stories he'd heard of seamen turning to plunder and refusing command in such circumstances.

Midshipman Jonathon Munkhouse proposed fothering the ship, having been on a merchant ship which used the technique successfully. He was entrusted with supervising the task, sewing bits of oakum and wool into an old sail which was drawn under the ship, the theory being suction would draw those material to the leak and plug it. This worked better than any hoped and soon the pumps could be stopped and very little water came in.

They proceeded north looking for a harbour to make repairs and on the afternoon of 13 June came to Endeavour River, as Cook later named it. Strong winds prevented the ship getting across the bar until the afternoon of 17 June. There they careened her and made repairs to the hull. A piece of coral the size of a man's fist had sliced clean through the planks of the hull, and broken off, wedged there. It was fortunate it stuck, because (on Parkinson's reckoning at least) an open hole that size would in all probability have sunk the ship.

With repairs made and after a delay waiting for the wind they were able to set off again on the afternoon of 3 August. The careening hadn't got the ship completely out of the water, so only a limited examination of the very bottom had been possible, but it seemed sound enough. When they later reached Batavia (9 November) it turned out some planks were damaged to within 1/8 inch (3 millimetres) of being cut through. It was a "surprise to every one who saw her bottom how we had kept her above water" as Cook said (though doing more at Endeavour River may not have been practical anyway).

Personal note:  I sailed into Grafton Passage from Samurai, PNG to Cairns, Aus.  Even with modern day equipment it was difficult to find the entrance (one of the few) through the Great Barrier Reef.  Later on, different boats I sailed to Port Douglas and Cooktown.  I visited the Captain Cook Musuem in Cooktown (impressed) and was very surprised that the artifacts I was interested in were so recently freed from the reef herself!  One would think that the father of true navigation would have left (as he tried with buoys) (didn't work) a longitude/latitude reference that would be applicable today.  The reef is alive.  I believe it hid what it took from Captain Cook until it was time.  Many people have searched for the ballast James was compelled to remove from " Endeavor ", to survive!  When it was located and brought to the surface, Cooktown itself and a few remaining buildings from a great period, needed help in order to maintain it's status as a city. Possibly the town  (named after the greatest sailor and the river named after a his vessel) without the timing of the find of  Endeavor's treasure searched for by many but only found in 1969 would be a ghost town today!  It's not!  At one time Cooktown had a population of 30.000 people.  After the gold rush/ and over a period of time it was reduced to 1500 people.  With the boost of tourism in North Queensland I believe the population of Cooktown is 2000 souls today.  What was retrieved from the Endeavor Reef in 1969 revitalised Cooktown itself, re-establishing it's importance, historically, as part of the life and travels of the greatest sailor the world has ever known.  Captain James Cook.        

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