We set off on a journey this morning.
Thankfully it didn’t take us three years. Unlike James Cook, we had Google Maps!
We found Cook’s ship, the Endeavour, tied up at the Riverside Marina, on Eagle Street.
Isn’t she a beauty?!
We got there early and judging from the queues when we left, it was a very wise decision.
We were there around 9.30 (it opens at 10am) and had time to take lots of people-obstructed photos and still be near the head of the queue. We were the second batch of people on board.
(Oh, for those who are keen, there is a little merchandise stand there too: postcards, badges, posters, books, hats….all the usual stuff.)
There’s quite a few restrictions on board which you need to check out before you set off.
No prams, no infants, no one under 90cm tall, no backpacks, no big bags and no high heels (cause you know we all want to wear our heels on a ship!)
You also have to be prepared for some adventurous tour taking.
You’ll be climbing up and down steep stairs (and the steep ramp to get on board). Never fret there is a rope dangling from the roof for you to hold onto…hehehe…no it’s not all that bad. There’s only one downward climb and the worst part of that is stepping backwards, holding your rope, into the dark abyss of the unknown. The rest are relatively easy ascents.
The trickiest part is all the ducking and stooping. When they say, “Please watch your head”, they mean it. I’m only 5 ft tall and I was doing plenty of stooping. Even the boys had to duck. Poor 6 ft tall hubby had fun.
The challenges were half the fun though. I had no idea how small and confined the spaces were for Cook’s crew.
This is the foredeck – an important part of the ship.
But more importantly, it’s the home of the toilets, known to the crew as the “seats of ease”. I’m not sure what’s so “easy” about it. Aside from the rather public location, I’d be worried about falling into the ocean!! Wouldn’t you?
Oh sorry you can’t see any toilet. I should have been more specific – the hole there hanging out over the edge of the ship.
Where do they hang the toilet paper you might be wondering?
You don’t need toilet paper when you have a bucket of water and a rope end to take care of the nitty gritty jobs.
Time to go below deck. No, we weren’t already there!
These are the stairs you descend. They don’t look too bad do they.
and around to the mess deck
which double as the sailors’ sleeping quarters at night.
The thought that kept running through my mind as we toured the ship was, “‘How on earth did 94 men fit on this ship?!”
You’ll notice that there are two sorts of hammocks – the ordinary sort and the sort we dubbed the “first class” variety for the officers. I don’t know which I’d prefer. For either sort I’d have to stand on a sea chest to get into mine but at least the sea would rock me to sleep I suppose.
This whip-like rope is the cat-o’-nine-tails which lived in the red bag. Unless of course you needed punishing and they had to “let the cat out of the bag” to whip you. Rest assured, we were very well behaved!
Things got stoopy from this point onwards. This area being the “stoopiest” and if that’s not a word then it is now! The marines, servants and young boys on the crew slept in this height restricted area.
Some people resorted to crawling and even the kids had to duck and stoop.
These cute dwarf doorways took us through to …
the midshipmen and mates’ mess and several of the officers’ cabins.
This photo gives you an idea of just how little head space you had in these rooms.
Off this mess area where several little doors leading to…
…various officers’ cabins.
Now they look fairly big in these pictures but they are very deceiving.
I think this was the 3rd Lieutenant’s cabin.
This was the Surgeon’s cabin.
Back through to the marines, servants and young boys’ sleeping quarters.
Mind your head
and head up the little ladder there to the right.
Upstairs are the gentlemen’s cabins and the officers’ mess.
The astronomer and artists slept in the cabins off this area.
These were a few things from an artist’s room.
Down the corridor is James Cook’s cabin.
This is his room…actually it hardly qualifies as a room. Shall we forever more refer to it as his closet, because my wardrobe is bigger than his cabin.
And why didn’t he have a nice bed like the other dignitaries?
Perhaps he preferred sleeping in a hammock. I don’t know.
At the other end of Cook’s short corridor is the Great Cabin, where, alleluia, you can actually stand up!
This room is at the very back of the ship.
These are the Great Cabin’s windows from the outside.
Interestingly, Joseph Banks got the nice cabin off the Great Cabin.
You can see the door to his cabin over to the left of this photo on the right of the desk.
To me, Banks’ cabin looks bigger than Cooks’.
Mr Banks, is a man after my own heart. He travels with his book collection!!
Up another set of stairs and we are on the quarter deck, where only the captain and officers were permitted…unless you were livestock of course.
The boys liked the cannons.
Oh and the ship’s wheel.
And don’t go getting any rioting ideas waiting down there in the queues. The boat is well armed and prepared to control the locals. So be good!
I really didn’t want to disembark the Endeavour when it came time.
I could easily have done the tour a second time.
It was a wonderful field trip!
Now I’ll never be able to think of Cook and the Endeavour without remembering how cramped the conditions were.
The boys agreed that it was a grand way to spend a Saturday morning and none of us like to get up early on the weekends (or weekdays actually!) but this was well worth it!
If you’d like to visit the Endeavour she’s docked in Brisbane until the 8th May and then off to various other ports around Australia.
If I were you, I wouldn’t miss this opportunity!!!
You’ll kick yourself if you do!