GREAT LEAP FORWARD: A humpback calf shows what it is made of at Merimbula in 2012. Picture: WAYNE REYNOLDS.GeoffRoss will have a ringside seat as whales ply the Eurobodalla coastline this season.
The scientist sets sail next week from Sydney aboard the HM Bark Endeavour Replica, bound for the Far South Coast and an annual festival of all things hugely marine.
The replica of the HMS Endeavour, which was commanded by Lieutenant James Cook, will be a major attraction at the Eden Whale Festival.
Mr Ross, a National Parks and Wildlife Services whale and dolphin expert will join the crew on the once-in-a-lifetime five-day voyage.
“This is a joint venture with National Parks and the Australian National Maritime Museum and it’s going to be exciting,” Mr Ross said.
“This replica will be just like the ancient whaling vessels that once visited the region,” he said.
However the ship hands have swapped harpoons for cameras.
“Instead of hunting whales, we will be watching them and shooting photos,” Mr Ross said.
Built in 1988 for Australia’s Bicentennial, the ships masts and spars carry 28 sails spanning approximately 3048 metres.
Mr Ross said he would be thrilled to see a glimpse of how sailors’ lives were during Cook’s world voyage of 1768 to 1771.
“I’m excited about being on the replica of the 18th century ship,” he said.
“Sleeping conditions will be just like they were when Cook sailed, with hammocks and all,” he said
“There is other accommodation, called supernumerary, for those who don’t want to be part of the crew.
“They get a single cabin and get to relax in the Great Cabin, just as Cook himself would have done.
“I will teach people about marine mammals and help them identify sea birds.
“We will climb the mast and watch the humpback northern whale migration in the Pacific Ocean.
“It should be a once in a lifetime experience.”
In port, festival patrons can board the famous replica and explore the ship’s mess deck – where sailors lived and ate their meals – including the large fire-hearth (stove).
They can also glance around the Great Cabin where botanist Joseph Banks and his scientists worked and documented their botanical specimens.
The expedition leaves Sydney on Monday, October 27 and arrives in Eden on October 31.
The ship departs Eden on November 3, arriving in Sydney on November 7.
Visit www.anmm.gov.au for more details.
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