Endeavour in Dock


Its modern day namesake ship, the Space Shuttle Endeavour, made the news of late, on its last voyage to its museum home. But this is the Endeavour that the Shuttle is named for and a ship that also made scientific history.

This is the modern but authentically crafted replica of HMB Endeavour, the ship Lt. James Cook commanded on his first round the world expedition. The principle goal was to observe the June 1769 transit of Venus from Tahiti. But Cook sailed on to map the then unknown coastline of New Zealand and the east coast of New Holland, now Australia. It was an astronomical expedition that changed the world.

The replica Endeavour just completed a circumnavigation of Australia, something the original ship never did, and now is moored at the National Maritime Museum in Darling Harbour, Sydney. I visited it October 30 as part of my homage to Cook and my own astronomical expedition to see the total eclipse of the Sun. In a couple of weeks I’ll be in Cooktown near the top end of Queensland where, in 1770, the original Endeavour ran aground on the Barrier Reef. An anchor from the original ship is still there.

– Alan, November 1, 2012 / © 2012 Alan Dyer