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Insane Labyrinth

Posted: Thu May 24, 2012 2:37 pm
by Dennis N O'Brien
On the 11th of June 1770 HMS Endeavour under the command of Captain James Cook grounded on the Great Barrier Reef off the east coast of New Holland (Australia). The Endeavour came close to sinking but was eventually refloated and beached at Endeavour river for repairs, Cook described the passage between the reef and the mainland as an "Insane Labyrinth".

Insane Labyrinth

Between the mainland and the reef they sail
With shoals and islands all around;
“Ten fathoms – sandy bottom!” is the hail,
Then strikes the reef! - they’re stuck aground.

Take in the sails and launch the boats to sound;
Four fathoms to four feet they read.
Before the rising waves to pieces pound,
The Bark Endeavour must be freed.

With capstan, windlass, from this peril draw
Before the sea her timbers breach,
And fothered, then make for the barren shore
And haul her bow upon the beach.

Repair and rest then climb the highest peak
And gaze upon the hopeless sight.
Hides there the passage Captain Cook must seek;
Sees only from this lofty height

An insane labyrinth of shoal and reef,
Of danger beckoning them there.
This navigator blessed with self belief,
He’ll not surrender to despair.

So all the way by lead and line they sound,
‘Round obstacles they thread their way,
And there the waves upon the great reef pound;
For passage through that reef they pray.

Then eyes that strain, see - there the reef it breaks!
And soundings - deep the water shows
And under sail she for the passage makes
As now the wind from shore it blows.

Pacific’s waves break white - the wind it wails;
Endeavour’s deck is drenched with spray
As bravely through the narrow gap she sails
Then safe in open sea makes way.

And now this ship, the first upon this coast,
To home is bound with all her crew
And other men in times to come would toast
The strength and courage of these few.

© Dennis N. O'Brien, 2012

Re: Insane Labyrinth

Posted: Thu May 24, 2012 3:43 pm
by Rimeriter
"Way to go" Dennis.

Anything about Aus., even before it was known as that, appeals to me.


Re: Insane Labyrinth

Posted: Mon May 28, 2012 2:27 pm
by Dennis N O'Brien
Yes Jim, no Australia at that point in time.
We could easily have become French after that - Poètes de brousse? ;)

Re: Insane Labyrinth

Posted: Mon May 28, 2012 3:15 pm
by Rimeriter
Yeah mate, I feel like the quizzical emoticon you depict.

Poetic brew is my best guess.

Re: Insane Labyrinth

Posted: Mon May 28, 2012 4:32 pm
by Maureen K Clifford
Good one Dennis - well captured. Typo s/b barque Endeavour even if it was a bit of a mongrel to sail :lol: :lol:


Re: Insane Labyrinth

Posted: Mon May 28, 2012 4:50 pm
by Dennis N O'Brien
"Bush poets" Jim (I think) :)

Thanks Maureen.
Yes the bark / barque thing can be a bit confusing but "Bark" is the correct term here.
The following is an extract from an explanation by The Australian Maritime Museum:

"Bark versus Barque: All surviving British Admiralty documentation of 1768 titles the ship used by James Cook for his 1768-1771 voyage of discovery as the Bark Endeavour. In the 18th century, ships were classified by hull shape. A ship with a flat bow and square stern was termed a Bark. If the ship did not fit any category and the rank of the captain was Lieutenant, she was also classified Bark. Resolution, Cook's ship on his second and third circumnavigations, was also a Bark but was classified a Sloop due to Cook's promotion to Commander.

By the 19th century ships were classified by rig, not hull shape. A sailing ship with three or more masts, carrying square sails on all but the after mast or mizzen, was called a Barque."

Anyway thanks for bringing it to my attention as "bark" should be "Bark".
Also the Americans and others seem to call "barques" "barks" to add to the confusion.
Personally I think all sailors are barking mad. ;)

Re: Insane Labyrinth

Posted: Tue May 29, 2012 12:40 pm
by Rimeriter
"Okey Dokey" Dennis, thanks.

Re: Insane Labyrinth

Posted: Tue May 29, 2012 12:56 pm
by Maureen K Clifford
OMG sorry I mentioned it Dennis :lol: :oops: I'll stick to dogs - when they bark they bark unless its a howl or a whine (non- alcoholic) :roll:

Re: Insane Labyrinth

Posted: Tue May 29, 2012 8:14 pm
by Dennis N O'Brien
That's okay Maureen. :)

Re: Insane Labyrinth

Posted: Wed May 30, 2012 9:15 am
by Stephen Whiteside
I had to look up 'fothered'. Did you write that Wikipedia entry, Dennis?