These pages will record the recent encounter with the historic voyage of Cook's Endeavour, which circumnavigated the globe in 1768-1771.
James Cook and the Endeavour left London 6 Aug 1768, stopping in Plymouth to pick-up the private scientific team financed by Joseph Banks. The Endeavour left Plymouth on the 26th August.
On 12th September the Endeavour anchored in Funchal bay, Madeira. This Portuguese colony was well established as a provisioning point for ships heading across the Atlantic towards the Americas. While Cook provisioned the ship, Banks and his Botanists used as much of the five days as they could to collect plants from the island
After the Atlantic crossing the Endeavour anchored at Rio de Janeiro on 11 November 1768. However, for much of the stay, Cook along with the crew and the scientists were confined to ship by the Portuguese Viceroy. They were suspected them of spying, smuggling or worse. Offended Cook could not wait to re-provision and leave.
On 13 January 1769, after fighting through the surge tide of the Strait-le-Maire Cook found safe anchorage in a bay on the tip of Tierra del Fuego. It was here that Banks led an expedition inland to disaster when the weather suddenly turned, resulting in the immediate death of two menservants from exposure and narrow escapes for the rest. On the 21st January Cook up-anchored, after successfully finding water, he names the place Bay of Good Success.
A key order of Cook's mission was to record a predicted astronomical event from the newly discovered King Georges Island (Tahiti). The rare eclipse or transit of Venus across the face of the Sun was due on the 3rd June 1769; Endeavour arrived there on the 12th April, with 6 weeks to prepare. They built a fort as a base for the observation on a sandy spit they named Point Venus. With the ship at anchor they spent time trading with the Polynesian inhabitants, exploring and recording the land its people and natural history.
After the recording of the transit, the re-provisioned Endeavour charted and made brief visits to the other main Islands of the Societies, including Huahine, Raiatea and Tahaa.
On 9th October 1769 Endeavour anchored in Poverty Bay on the east side of New Zealand. They were only the second Europeans to visit this land since Abel Tasman's discovery of the west coast. Over the next five months Cook circumnavigated both Eaheino Mauve (North Island) and Tavai Poenammoo (South Island) disproving the armchair geographer's belief that this was part of the fabled Terra Australis Incognita; the giant southern continent. On March 31 1770 the Endeavour left Cape Farewell, striking for New Holland across the Tasman Sea.
Endeavour sighted Australia, Hick's point on the 19th April. After stopping at the Bay most synonymous with the work of the scientists - Botany Bay, Endeavour headed north; Cook carefully charting the west coast that was unknown to Europeans.
Unknown to Cook he was travelling within the Great Barrier Reef, slowly becoming meshed in its labyrinth until the Endeavour struck a coral shelf north of Cape Tribulation. After a truly heroic rescue and extended repair at Endeavour River, Cook managed with high drama to evade the treacherous reef and beat north to the Torres Strait, There Cook made claim to the continent at Possession Island on 20th August 1770
After briefly touching the south west coast of New Guinea, Cook sailed below East Timor before landing on the Island of Sabu (Savu) on 15 September. After a short stay, Cook was forced to seek repairs in the Dutch East Indies port of Batavia (Jakarta) where the Endeavour anchored on the 7th October. With its reputation for Malaria and Dysentery it took no time for fever and ague to decimate the crew. Cook had no choice but to wait for the ship to be repaired, and even after they left, made worse by taking on infested drinking water, the men of the Endeavour suffered, seamen, marines, astronomers and draftsmen died, this place of sickness was no respecter of position. Those who survived knew they were lucky to be alive.
Cook made Cape Town in March 1771, and tried to rest and recover his sick crew. The botanists collected, but only with limited heath.
After leaving Cape Town Endeavour made one final port before returning to England, stopping at St James on the tiny Island of St Helena in the centre of the Atlantic. Here was a last chance for botanising before the Endeavour was to return to England - with society acclaim for the botanist Banks and for Cook a confirmed reputation with the Admiralty for his unrivalled navigation and cartography.