Captain James Cook 1
Continued on from Captain Cook Part 1
It was an important battle and decided the fate of North America and Canada. It was a poignant lesson in map making. Cook stayed on in Canada and proved himself the pre-eminent map maker of the British Navy. After five long years, Cook returned to London to court his future wife, Elizabeth. Eight weeks later, they were married. Cook is appointed Surveyor for Newfoundland and he returns to Canada to do more map making for the Admiralty. It is painstaking work but Cook demonstrates his thoroughness. Cook's map of Newfoundland, when put up against a modern satellite image, is comparable.
In 1768 Cook has three children and Cook spends summers in Newfoundland and winters in London. He is called to the Admiralty. Science is the new religion and the astronomers are obsessed with the transit of the planet Venus. They want to know how far the earth is from the sun. That is why Cook has been summoned to the Admiralty. The British Navy wants to send a ship to Tahiti and Cook is to command it. He also has secret orders that he will open on the other side of the earth. The Great Southern Land was waiting to be discovered, the boffins thought. For thousands of years , tales of a rich southern land , had been told. Cook was given the job because it would take a superb navigator to find it and a great map maker to chart it.
Cook would be given a Whitby cat, the newly named Endeavour. He would be Leiutenant James Cook, RN. He is brought into the orbit of the gentleman, because of his skills as a mariner and map-maker. The astronomers have identified the best place to observe Venus, and with the arrival of HMS Dolphin, they find out about the island of Tahiti, which is exactly where the astronomers want to go. And to go with them is Joseph Banks, a very rich natural scientist.
The Endeavour is quite an outstanding ship, but it is tiny - only 35 meters long. She had 94 men on board her, and everyone was jammed in together. The hold is deep and wide and you could pack a lot of stores in for a long voyage. The stowage of food and stores was more important than the stowage of men. The Great Cabin at the aft of the ship would have been buzzing with activity and scientific endeavour. On August 26th 1768, Cook sets off on his voyage of discovery to the southern seas. Out at sea, Cook is in total command of his small universe. He was obsessive about the health and diet of his men. He was worried about scurvy and tried to feed his men pickled cabbage, sauerkraut. Instead of forcing them to eat, he had it at his dining table and the men soon followed suit. Cook was a clever and intuitive leader and led by example and loyalty. He was way ahead of his time.
One month after Endeavour leaves, one of Elizabeths babies dies. James Cook would not find out for years. After four months at sea, the Endeavour enters the Pacific Ocean around the bottom of South America.
The Voyages of Captain James Cook Part 3 continued
Model Boat Building
16th Century Ships
17th Century Ships
18th Century Ships
ship of the line