Captain James Cook 1728 – 1779

JeffM
24th March 2008, 02:48
Thanks Mark. Following your entry it appears there are two James Cook! The historic navigator and the ship. I am interested in the navigator and thought that the new discussion topic was about him.
PS. Glad you lost the film and not the wife.

non descript
24th March 2008, 12:48
Jeff, A nice afterthought – thank you. (Thumb)
As for Captain James Cook ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Cook), the British Navigator and Explorer, 1728 – 1779 – yes an amazing man and an impressive seaman as well as explorer. Having had the chance, some years ago, to study Mr John Harrison’s work, courtesy of the permanent exhibition of KI and K2 (and others) at Greenwich Maritime Museum and realised that both of these magnificent time pieces had been entrusted to Captain Cook – the latter unfortunately having to be retrieved from Pitcairn Island, after it has been “borrowed” by young Mr Fletcher Christian - I came to admire James Cook hugely and tried to study more of his history; so to end up on a ship named after him as almost too good to be true.

trotterdotpom
24th March 2008, 17:16
The chronometer K2 was a cheaper copy of Harrison's K1 and was actually made by a clockmaker called Larcum Kendall. Although it is engraved as such, it was never used by Captain Cook. There is an interesting history at http://www.lareau.org/chrono.html

Fletcher Christian was a bit of a blaggard, pilfering Captain Bligh's clock - of course, he was from Cockermouth, nary a stone's throw from the infamous Barrow-in-Furness, so what can I say?

John T.

PS In his younger days, the much maligned Captain Bligh was a sidekick of the great J.C.

non descript
24th March 2008, 18:50
John, thank you for your additional sound advice, and I am very grateful for your excllent and timely reminder of Mr Kendall and his involvement – Without the background, it is all a tad confusing with the alpha-numeric names of the various timepieces, and if my memory serves me correctly Harrison took seven years to build Harrison Number One or H1 and it was finally tested at sea in 1736. Some 5 years later in 1741 after 3 years of work in building and a further 2 years of testing, H2 was then made available; followed in 1755 by H3 and finally, Harrison’s real masterpiece – H4 – which took yet another 6 years in the making and should in theory have won him the prize for the Board of Longitude. It was this H4 that Mr Kendall made a copy of in 1769, and this reasonably accurate copy of John Harrison's H4 was built at an allegedly cost of £500; and it is known today as K1. Not surprisingly the huge cost was a worry to the Board and Kendall assured them that he would be able to build a similar, although less sophisticated timepiece, for close to £200. Based on this welcome financial news they gave him the order and he presented them with K2 in 1771. Unfortunately it did not work as well as the original and by the time Captain William Bligh took it away in 1787 on HMS Bounty, he was to record in his report that “it recorded a daily inaccuracy of between 1.1 and three seconds and that it had varied irregularly” – So, as much as I would like to pin the blame on that scoundrel of Pitcairn, it seems it was less than perfect before he stole it and took it off to his Island of Bounty. (Jester)

trotterdotpom
25th March 2008, 00:14
Thanks for the timely advice, Tonga.

For those interested in the subject, I can recommend the book "Longitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time", by Dava Sobel.

I wonder where Bligh was getting his time signals from so that he could work out the daily error of the chronometer - given the era and conditions, 1 or 2 seconds per day doesn't sound so bad - maybe he was a picky git! K2 was good enough to enable the Cumbrian pirate, Christian, to calculate that Pitcairn Island was not in the position marked on the chart and would therefore be a safe place to hide from the Royal Navy.

Tonga probably already knows this, but his islands were visited by Captain Cook, who, unaware that the locals were squabbling over the right to kill him and all his crew, named it "The Friendly Islands". I have also just discovered that the Bounty mutiny took place in Tonga, in the waters between the Ha'apai and Nomuka island groups (1789).

John T.

sparkie2182
25th March 2008, 00:18
trotterdot.........

when you refer to Captain Bligh being a sidekick of the "Great J.C"...........i have checked the names of the disciples.......Bligh was not one of them........pity really.

i feel you have got your biblical references cross wired, somehow........a bit like your radar maintenance exam.

:)


p.s.......... i trust your birthday went according to previous practice, and a full recovery has now been made.

my local amateur theatricals so admired your "fancy footwork" they wish to book you as Widow Twanky ( i think it was Twanky)..........next xmas.

Please advise intentions soonest.

hughesy
25th March 2008, 00:30
correct me if I'm wrong.
But was'nt that famous "Clockmaker, from Barton on Humber"
all the best
Hughsey

non descript
25th March 2008, 00:41
I could be wrong (as I was not there) but I was always under the impression that Captain James Cook was indeed a shipmate (sidekick) of the infamous Captain Bligh. - I am told that Bligh accepted Cook's offer to be sailing master aboard HMS Resolution. On May 1, 1776, he was promoted to lieutenant, departing in June 1776, Resolution and HMS Discovery sailed south and entered the Indian Ocean via the Cape of Good Hope. During the voyage Bligh's leg was injured, but he quickly recovered. While crossing the southern Indian Ocean, Cook discovered a small island, which he named Bligh's Cap in honor of his sailing master

non descript
25th March 2008, 00:44
correct me if I'm wrong.
But was'nt that famous "Clockmaker, from Barton on Humber"
all the best
Hughsey

Yes Sir, he moved there at the tender age of 7 (well I guess his Dad did and he just followed) - he was was born in Foulby, near Wakefield, in West Yorkshire.

sparkie2182
25th March 2008, 00:45
i seem to recollect reading of Bligh as sailing master under Cook surveying the present Canadian/Greenland coast.

hughesy
25th March 2008, 19:50
There in Cornerbrook Newfoundland, the river is called the Humber, I was told Cook called it that, as it had the same charecteristics as the Humber in the UK.
Plus there are quite historical markers along the west coast of the US were he Hydrographed ie "Cook Inlet" Alaska,
I read he knew there was a very large river "The Columbia" in Oregon, but he did'nt go to far down it, but still he Hydrographed a huge amount of the World for his time.

JeffM
27th March 2008, 14:43
I have had a long time interest in Cook with the best read being Ray Parkin's book H.M. Bark Endeavour, The Miegunyah Press, Melbourne, 1997. Parkin not only located the original construction drawings for the Endeavour and reproduced them in folio form, but also reproduced on a day by day basis, side by side, all the available diaries and logs for the 1770 voyage. This method allows contrasts between Cook and Banks and other members of the crew. Parkin's book has since been released as a paperback. This is a great read.
However, over the last few weeks I was reading Robert Clancy's book The Mapping of Terra Australis, Universal Press, Macquarie Park, 1995 and was struck by the change in the quality of maps before and after the resolution of the time keeping problem associated with measurement of longitude. Cook's charts of the pacific region (1773) published by Hawksworth when compared with those of Philipe Bauche (1752) and other French cartographers of that time clearly illustrate the leap that occurred - a mixture of an improved technology and Cook's skill.

So what did change his character and outlook on that last voyage?

trotterdotpom
27th March 2008, 16:00
".........So what did change his character and outlook on that last voyage?[/QUOTE]

Jeff, growing up a mere mile from the birthplace of Captain Cook, I too have had a lifelong interest in his exploits.

Another good read on the subject is Vanessa Collingridge's "Captain Cook", from which a TV documentary was also made. Miss Collingridge is obviously a great admirer of Cook, but gives a warts and all description of his personality change during the final voyage. While reading the book, I was eagerly expecting an explanation which I'd read years ago and never heard mentioned again, but it wasn't to be.

The explanation was that Cook had contracted syphilis years before and, by the time of the final voyage, it had affected his brain. In his writings, Cook made much of the dalliances between his crew and the Tahitians during his earlier voyages and it is known that the disease appeared on the island. Maybe it's too much to expect that Cook, being a youngish man and years away from home, kept himself aloof from the hi-jinx.

This might also explain why Cook's wife, Elizabeth, burned all his letters to her - maybe she got the hump!

Just a thought.

John T.

trotterdotpom
27th March 2008, 16:00
".........So what did change his character and outlook on that last voyage?[/QUOTE]

Jeff, growing up a mere mile from the birthplace of Captain Cook, I too have had a lifelong interest in his exploits.

Another good read on the subject is Vanessa Collingridge's "Captain Cook", from which a TV documentary was also made. Miss Collingridge is obviously a great admirer of Cook, but gives a warts and all description of his personality change during the final voyage. While reading the book, I was eagerly expecting an explanation which I'd read years ago and never heard mentioned again, but it wasn't to be.

The explanation was that Cook had contracted syphilis years before and, by the time of the final voyage, it had affected his brain. In his writings, Cook made much of the dalliances between his crew and the Tahitians during his earlier voyages and it is known that the disease appeared on the island. Maybe it's too much to expect that Cook, being a youngish man and years away from home, kept himself aloof from the hi-jinx.

This might also explain why Cook's wife, Elizabeth, burned all his letters to her - maybe she got the hump!

Just a thought.

John T.

JeffM
28th March 2008, 05:27
John, I also watched the recent TV doco on Cook and felt dissatisfied with the commentary. I did not know that Collingridge also wrote a book - so that is something else to chase up. I had heard about the syphilis theory but not much written about this. It is certainly an explanation for his behaviour. Now if Cook caught it did Joseph Banks get a dose as well?

spongebob
28th March 2008, 12:36
I have not long finished reading “The Trial of the Cannibal Dog” by Anne Salmon which centres on the three Pacific voyages of Captain James Cook and with emphasis on Cook and his crew’s relationship with the people of the various Pacific Islands.
Salmon is an NZ anthropologist and historian whom has majored in studies of early European and Pacific Islander’s relationships and her book offers a different perspective to this great man’s history.

To quote from the book’s dustcover flap;

“Anne Salmon shows that the story of these epic South Sea journeys is far more than one of conquest and control. She has devoted a lifetime to the study of relations between Europeans and Polynesians and this startling, rich, stylish book is the result.
In Salmons account, Cook’s great voyages regain their dreamlike quality as they encounter the last major human communities untouched by the wider world.
Far from being little wooden islands of Englishness in a Polynesian sea, his ships and the men in them are as much changed by what happens as the islanders they meet. We see them alarmed and entranced by the islanders’ open sexuality, shocked by human sacrifice and cannibalism but also forging relationships with Pacific Island friends and lovers, acquiring tattoos and learning to speak Polynesian languages, with Cook himself granted the status of a high chief in many areas before his violent downfall.”

Several passages in the book detail the sexual relationships between the islanders and ships crew but there is also an inference that Cook, while tolerating these dalliances in the name of overall goodwill and crew stability did not himself accept the many offers of maidens made to him by the various Polynesian chiefs.

Man of steel to the end?

JeffM
31st March 2008, 13:12
From Parkins book on the Endeavour: Four different recordings of the first sighting from the Endeavour of the Australian coast.

Ships Log, Thursday, April 19th, 1770.

6 o'clock, speed 3 knots, depth 4 fathoms, Course W b N, Wind SSW.

Saw the land making high, bearing from N.E.b.N. to W.bS.; dist'ce off the nearest shore, 7 or 8 leagues; out all reefs and made sail.

From Cook's journal.
We continued standing to to the westward with the wind at SSW until 8 o'clock at which time we got topgt yards aCross, made all sail and bore away along shore NE for the Easternmost land we had in sight, being at this time in the Latitude of 37 degrees 58 minutes S and Longd of 210 degrees 39 minutes West. The Southermost Point of land we had in sight which bore away from us W1/4S I judged to lay in the latitude of 38 degrees S and in the longitude of 211 degrees 07 minutes W from the meridien of Greenwich. I have named it Point Hicks, because Lieutt Hicks was the first who discovered this land.

Banks' diary
With the first daylight this morn the Land was seen, at 10 it was pretty plainly to be observed; it made sloping hills covered in Part with trees and bushes, but interspersed with large tracts of sand.

Parkinson's diary
We continued on our course, but nothing worthy of note occurred till the 19th, in the morning, and then we discovered the land of New Holland, extending a great way to the south and to the eastward. It is moderately high: part of it appeared to be flat, and covered with sand; but, the weather being foggy, we had not a good view of it. We were obliged to steer E.N.E. to clear it.

non descript
1st April 2008, 15:58
I have had a long time interest in Cook with the best read being Ray Parkin's book H.M. Bark Endeavour, The Miegunyah Press, Melbourne, 1997. Parkin not only located the original construction drawings for the Endeavour and reproduced them in folio form, but also reproduced on a day by day basis, side by side, all the available diaries and logs for the 1770 voyage. This method allows contrasts between Cook and Banks and other members of the crew.

Jeff,
Your interest in Captain Cook the Navigator and your postings made me move the relevant postings into this as a new thread and place it in its new home, "Places, People & Events of Maritime Interest".

(Thumb)
Mark

JeffM
28th April 2008, 15:13
Mark, I have been a bit slow in keeping up with the thread movements. Your suggestion is a good one and obviously has been taken up. Well done and thanks. I think that the general heading of the thread fills a needed gap for discussion on historical and hysterical maritime characters. Cheers, Jeff.

AncientBrit
28th April 2008, 15:58
This is not NOSTALGIA folks, its HISTORY.
For what its worth, that is my feeling about threads such as this, where do you draw the line? Who's next? Nelson, Vasco da Gama?
SN Cant be all things to all people. There are other sites which do an admirable job of adulating various historical persons.
AB

benjidog
28th April 2008, 19:54
This is not NOSTALGIA folks, its HISTORY.
For what its worth, that is my feeling about threads such as this, where do you draw the line? Who's next? Nelson, Vasco da Gama?
SN Cant be all things to all people. There are other sites which do an admirable job of adulating various historical persons.
AB

Are you in a bad mood today AncientBrit? :)

The forum this thread is in is entitled "Places, People & Events of Maritime Interest" and I don't think you could argue that Cook or the people you mention are not people of Maritime Interest.

Not all this site is about nostalgia despite its title as there are many of us here interested in ships that were gone long before we were born as well.

If we followed your guidelines to the letter we would also have to rule out discussions about Titanic (Hurrah!) and all the old liners that didn't hit icebergs and sink (Boo!).

Regards,

Brian

David Davies
28th April 2008, 22:09
Quote:- I wonder where Bligh was getting his time signals from to rate the clock? GMT and hence longitude can be obtained for about 3 weeks every month by measuring the angular distance between a star and the moon by a process known as the Lunar Distance. The moon travels about 13 and a 1/2 degrees across the celestial sphere every day and from this can be calculated a table of lunar distances relative to selected stars. This method was in use during Lt James Cook and William Bligh's time, also being part of the syllabus for Master FG upto 1906. In 2000 I bought a Nautical Almanac, price £28, it was about 5 bob in my day, and calculated my own Lunar Distance Tables, getting GMTs to within 16 to 28 secs equating to 4 to 7 minutes of longitude and 2 to 4 miles in my latitude. Another method was to take simultaneous altitudes of star and moon to get a GMT. In all these calculations the weak component is the moon. In my time at sea I often took a sight of the moon when taking stars as a matter of interest, seldom did it tie in with the stellar position lines. I think a more practiced observer would get better results with the Lunar Distance than I did so William Bligh's time signals would be more accurate than mine.

trotterdotpom
29th April 2008, 00:43
Thanks for the info David. I was just kidding when I mentioned time signals, didn't realise that there was a way of actually working our GMT. Those old timers get better and better, don't they?

John T.

Chouan
29th April 2008, 11:50
This is not NOSTALGIA folks, its HISTORY.
For what its worth, that is my feeling about threads such as this, where do you draw the line? Who's next? Nelson, Vasco da Gama?
SN Cant be all things to all people. There are other sites which do an admirable job of adulating various historical persons.
AB

If you're not interested in it, don't read it, rather than complain about it. SN can be all things to all people, if we want it to be.

spongebob
30th August 2008, 07:56
Sorry Ancient Brit for raising this subject again but;

Captain James Cook’s Endeavour


The replica of Captain Cook’s HMB Endeavour has been sailed up from Sydney and berthed on the Brisbane River for the annual River Fire celebrations. Apparently she broke her own speed record on the way up by achieving 10.5 knots for an hour or two during a good blow off Newcastle.
She was open to public viewing and I took the opportunity to go on board yesterday.
Rest assured this Australian Government owned ship is in excellent condition, a credit to the operating Trust and inspection of the vessel above deck and below was a great experience.
It is claimed to be a faithful reproduction right down to the smallest of details, apart from the modern but well hidden devices for safety’s sake such as the 400hp Caterpillar diesels, the quick launch capsuled life rafts, and no doubt a host of navigational and communication aids but what you see brings home the smallness of the ship for its tasks and the original ninety odd human crew plus a Noah’s Ark of animals.
Its original build as a collier has been accurately copied resulting in the true representation of the cramped crew’s quarters built as a tween deck over the cargo hold to provide a deck head height of about 4 feet. I banged my head more than three times while trying to inspect the quarters and “get the feel” and in the end decided that walking crouched in a squat was the only safe way to avoid knocking one’s brains out. Result, I can only walk today with difficulty! If you are in my age group, try the squat walk in the privacy of your own home.
The Ship’s Officers did not fare much better with cabins not much bigger than the modern house toilet.
All in all it certainly brings home the privations of those days when all those men spent two years and more on those voyages into the unknown.
The whole scene illustrates the extent of human and technological advances we have made in 240 odd years but brings home the comparative ‘frailty’ of we modern beings to endure as these men did as the norm.

We have Nelson’s Victory at Portsmouth and remnants of the Cutty Sark at Greenwich, both hero ships of bygone days which I have visited but I must say that the Endeavour, although a replica must be rated as highly.
She has already circled the globe tracing many parts of the original vessel’s voyages and is still a registered and fully operative ship but with all the time warp characteristics of her clone mother.
The whole experience gave me a real buzz

trotterdotpom
5th September 2008, 10:54
I went down to Hamilton too, Bob, but the queue was so big I gave up. I'd previously volunteered to work as a guide but was too late - they already had enough. Good to see there was plenty of interest. I got a good photo from the Clayton's Cruise Ship Terminal, but couldn't download it as I don't know how to make it smaller (byte-wise).

New Zealand frigate "Te Mana" was alongside "Endeavour" but didn't appear to be open to the public. Maybe the boys were all in the Breakfast Creek where we ended up too.

John T.

Chouan
5th September 2008, 13:50
"We have Nelson’s Victory at Portsmouth and remnants of the Cutty Sark at Greenwich, both hero ships of bygone days which I have visited but I must say that the Endeavour, although a replica must be rated as highly."

And the Trincomalee at Hartlepool, which was built in 1817, so surely stands along side those examples.