thinking outside the tank

Captain Cook in Google Earth: Thirsty Sound to Cape Upstart

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Endeavour in Whitsunday's Passage on 04Jun1770

Endeavour left Thirsty Sound on 31May1770 and followed the coast to the northward. More and more they encountered shoal water, sometimes as little as four feet beneath the keel. At least once they had to use an anchor as a brake to stop them going aground.

While anchoring overnight, Cook observed the speed, height, and direction of the tides. On Sunday, 03Jun1770, he noticed that the tide was rising from the Northwards; this warned him that there was no passage ahead to the north-west. They were about to enter Repulse Bay, but instead cut across its northern point (Cape Conway) and sailed into Whitsunday’s Passage. This maze of islands, inlets, and coves greatly impressed Cook with its range of safe anchorages.

Once through Whitsunday’s Passage, Cook continued along the coast past Cape Gloucester and Cape Upstart, this latter apparently having a marked magnetic affect on their azimuth compass.

Today, I added this leg of Cook’s exploration of the Australian coast to my Google Earth tour which presents his first voyage round the world. The screenshot above shows Endeavour sailing through Whitsunday’s Passage on 03Jun1770.

Copyright © Colin Hazlehurst, 2012

If you would like to follow Cook’s voyage, you will need to install the latest version of Google Earth on your computer; then go to the Captain Cook blog  and click on the links on the right-hand side of the page, under the ‘Google Earth’ heading. After the animation is loaded in Google Earth, you need to expand an entry in the Table of Contents. You will see a ‘Play’ icon which you double-click to start the animation. Don’t forget to enable your speakers to hear the spoken journal.


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