Here are some words to (I hope) intrigue you: spices, the wicked twin, birds of paradise, scurvy, arranged royal marriages, aromatic bark, kora-kora, trade wars, buccaneers, archipelago, witchery, faustian pact, 17th century galleons, bloody flux, pomanders, milliners, trepang, massoy, plumed cloaks, lost heir, deception and mayhem ... need I go on?
Needless to say, I am adoring writing this story. Ideas and words are just coming too fast!
|The Ship: Retracing Cook's Endeavour Voyage|
The book, written by Simon Baker, belongs to me: I bought it, not for this research, but because that voyage was part of my history. It tells a fascinating story, not just of the voyage of the original Endeavour but of a 20th century version of that voyage in a replica ship. It's a wonderful book to own.
Take a look at the map below, dated June 10th, 1770. It shows part of the Endeavour River in Queensland
|Don't you love the expression ""repaired her Bottom"?|
Many years after this voyage he told some children in his family about his experiences in Australia, and one of those children, my grandfather's father, listened to those stories and much later set sail for Australia himself, to settle. He wasn't much of an ancestor to have - by all reports, he was a drunkard and a gambler - but he's the reason that my mother was born in Australia. Her name was Jean Pickersgill.
Family legend says that Richard died falling in between a ship and the wharf while drunk...
Records state that there is a will belonging to a Richard Pickersgill of the HMS Dolphin dating to 1779 lodged in the British National Archives, but I've no idea if it is the same person.
Anyway, the book is now proving to be a wonderful fund of information about life, health and hardship on board a sailing ship...
If you want to know still more about the harrowing experience of being a British sailor in the 19th century, then try this website. Oh, yuk.
If you want something about sailing ships in general then this is a great website to start on, by a chap called Rob Ossian, one of those wonderful folk who so willingly share their passion.