March 13, 2012
Guest Blog: Commodore Rynd, Queen Mary 2
On 4 March those of us on board the magnificent Queen Mary 2 were lucky enough to witness an historic event, a rendezvous at sea with the sailing vessel Endeavour, a replica of the H.M.Bark Endeavour in which Captain James Cook RN carried out his explorations of New Zealand and Australia, off the headland near Portland on the coast of Victoria, Australia. The day dawned bright and clear with a fresh breeze, and, as 11am approached a square sail was sighted on the horizon. As Queen Mary 2 drew near this grew in form to the Bark Endeavour! Building of this extraordinary vessel commenced in Fremantle in 1998 with the ship being launched 5 years later. Currently carrying 54 passengers, who pay to sail as crew, she is 34 tonnes and 34 metres long – shorter than Queen Mary 2 is wide.
Since being launched the Bark Endeavour has sailed twice around the world, however just like Queen Mary 2 this is her first circumnavigation of Australia. Taking slightly longer than QM2, she departed Sydney in April 2011 and will complete her circumnavigation in May 2012.
Historian and Curator of the New South Wales State Library Paul Brunton, who was sailing on board as an enrichment lecturer says this was ‘an historic and thrilling moment when a 21st century liner and an 18th century ship of such significance to Australia and New Zealand meet’.
Seeing the Endeavour juxtaposed with the QM2 really gives a new perspective on what it must have been like for those early explorers to set out to the ends of the earth with no promise of return and pushed navigation to the limits.
As QM2 pulled up to parallel the course of the Endeavour, taking care not to blank her wind, the Endeavor fired her cannons in salute – startling many on board (including those on the Bridge) in spite of the advisory broadcast! In appreciation, Entertainment Director Keith Maynard led QM2 in three ‘HOORAYS’, which was returned by the more traditional ‘HUZZAHS’ from the Endeavour; both of which were easily heard across the 200 metres separating the two vessels and delighting those on board. Queen Mary 2’s famous whistle was then sounded booming out across the sea and she increased speed again to make her scheduled maiden call to Melbourne next day.
Endeavour was slowly left astern, her sails full and by in the fresh breeze and white against a blue sea. A rare sight in modern times and one which will become an historic moment of cherished recollection by all on board.