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10 June - James Cook's Endeavour hits reef and nearly sinks

Australian Events for the month of June
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10 June - James Cook's Endeavour hits reef and nearly sinks

Unread postby Max ADU » Mon Jun 10, 2013 10:29 pm

Today in Australian History
Sunday, June 10, 1770.

**See video below

Lieutenant James Cook's "The Endeavour" runs aground and nearly sinks on the Great Barrier Reef.
Image

Lieutenant James Cook's observed in Tahiti the transit of Venus across the sun, Cook then sailed southwest, where he explored and mapped the coastline of New Zealand.

Cook continued west, making the first European sighting of Australia's eastern coast in April 1770, claiming the continent for England.

Cook sailed up the coast, charting and naming points of interest as sailed north.

Just before 11 pm on 11 June 1770, The "Endeavour" struck a reef and nearly sank. The reef is now called Endeavour Reef.

ALL hands on deck
Cook immediately
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ordered that the sails be taken down and dropped anchor to help drag the ship back to open water.This was useless because the Endeavour hard stuck aground.

Cook then ordered to lighten the ship in attempt to re-float the Endeavour. Anything that was not needed was to be scuttled. The removal of the ship’s stone and iron ballast and all spoiled foods was given.

Attention was turned to the ship’s cannons, where all but four where thrown overboard. Needing to lighten the ship further, all the men, including Cook and Joseph Banks manned the pumps to unload the ship’s drinking water.

After lightening the ship by 40-50 tons, Cook at the next high tide tried to refloat the Endeavour but failed.

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Plan “B”

The Endeavour was stuck fast. Cook ordered the longships to carry out two large anchors with block and tackle to be rigged to the anchors in attempt to re-float the ship ant the next high tide.

That night at around 10 pm the Endeavour was refloated. Another problem arise, water was leaking into the ship from the damage from running aground. All pumps had again to continually manned again.

Many thought the vessel may soon sink as they were 39 km (24 miles) away from shore.

Midshipman Jonathon Monkhouse, previously merchant seaman, proposed fothering the ship.

Fother is sewing bits of oakum and wool into an old sail. Placing on the outside of the ship, the old sail in front of the damaged area allowing the water pressure to force it into the hole in the hull.

This deceased greatly the amount of water entering, allowing two of the three pumps to be stopped.

Not again!
On 13 June, the ship came to a broad watercourse that Cook named the Endeavour River.

Strong winds and rain prevented Endeavour from entering the river mouth. While crossing the sand bar the Endeavour again was grounded on a sand bar. One hour later, she was refloated.

The ship was promptly beached on the southern bank of the river where repairs to the hull was made.

Cook and his men could see how lucky they were. On examination of the hull they found a piece of coral the size of a man's fist had sliced clean through the timbers and then broken off.

Watch on youtube.com

This coral fragment had helped plug the hole in the hull and preserved the ship from sinking on the reef.
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