R E C O V E R Y - 22nd June 1770

[Sydney Parkinson's sketch of the Endeavour, beached]

[Ship Beached in Endeavour River]
Winds at South-East, fair weather. At 4 p.m., having got out most of the Coals, cast loose the Ship's moorings, and warped her a little higher up the Harbour to a place I had pitched upon to lay her ashore to stop the Leak; draught of water Forward 7 feet 9 inches and abaft 13 feet 6 inches. At 8, being high water, hauld her bow close ashore, but Keept her stern afloat, because I was afraid of Neaping her,* (* i.e., Having her so far on shore that they could not heave her off at Neap tide.) and yet it was necessary to lay the whole of her as near the ground as possible.* (* The town of Cooktown now stands where the Endeavour was beached, and the (as near as can be judged) exact spot is marked by a monument.)  

At 2 a.m. the Tide left her, which gave us an Opportunity to Examine the Leak, which we found to be at her Floor Heads, a little before the Starboard Fore Chains; here the Rocks had made their way thro' 4 planks, quite to, and even into the Timbers, and wounded 3 more. The manner these planks were damaged--or cut out, as I may say--is hardly credible; scarce a Splinter was to be seen, but the whole was cut away as if it had been done by the Hands of Man with a blunt-edge Tool.

Fortunately for us the Timbers in this place were very close; other wise it would have been impossible to have saved the Ship, and even as it was it appeared very extraordinary that she made no more water than what she did. A large peice of Coral rock was sticking in one Hole, and several peices of the Fothering, small stones, etc., had made its way in, and lodged between the Timbers, which had stopped the Water from forcing its way in in great Quantities. Part of the Sheathing was gone from under the Larboard bow, part of the False Kiel was gone, and the remainder in such a Shatter'd Condition that we should be much better off if it was gone also; her Forefoot and some part of her Main Kiel was also damaged, but not Materially. What damage she may have received abaft we could not see, but believe not much, as the Ship makes but little water, while the Tide Keeps below the Leak forward. At 9 the Carpenters went to work upon the Ship, while the Armourers were buisy making Bolts, Nails, etc.

Joseph Banks Journal
In the morn I saw her leak which was very large: in the middle was a hole large enough to have sunk a ship with twice our pumps but here providence had most visibly workd in our favour, for it was in great measure pluggd up by a stone which was as big as a mans fist: round the Edges of this stone had all the water come in which had so near overcome us, and here we found the wool and oakum or fothering which had releivd us in so unexpected a manner. The effects of the Coral rock upon her bottom is dificult to describe but more to beleive; it had cut through her plank and deep into one of her timbers, smoothing the gashes still before it so that the whole might easily be imagind to be cut with an axe. Myself employd all day in laying in Plants. The People who were sent to the other side of the water in order to shoot Pigeons saw an animal as large as a grey hound, of a mouse coulour and very swift; they also saw many Indian houses and a brook of fresh water.

Sydney Parkinson Journal
On the 22d, we examined the ship’s bottom, and found a large hole; through the planks into the hold, which had a piece of coral-rock, half a yard square, sticking in it: the fame rock, therefore, that endangered us, yielded us the principal means of our redemption; for, had not this fragment intruded into the leak, in all probability the ship would have sunk.

No comments:

Post a Comment