Don Fee on board a replica of the Endeavour taken at the Australian Wood Boat festival in Hobart last year
Don Fee on board a replica of the Endeavour taken at the Australian Wood Boat festival in Hobart last year

How boaties will mark 250th anniversary of Cook’s trip

DETERMINED the 250th anniversary of when James Cook sailed the Endeavour through The Keppels will not be overlooked, Yeppoon’s Don Fee is calling on boaties to join him to mark the event that gave our waters and islands their name.

In 1770, James Cook and his voyage of discovery sailed up the east coast of Australia, having already circumnavigated New Zealand.

On May 26 that year, he sailed his ship HMB Endeavour into Keppel Bay and anchored overnight between North Keppel Island and modern-day Yeppoon.

Mr Fee said at noon on May 26, Captain James recorded Endeavour’s position as latitude 23 degrees, 7 minutes south, and longitude 150 degrees, 50 minutes east.

“This is almost exactly halfway between Rosslyn Bay Harbour and the North Keppel Island Environmental Education Centre,” Mr Fee said.

“He sailed further north for another hour between North Keppel Island and the mainland before shallowing waters forced him to stop and anchor while he sent the Master ahead in a ship’s boat to sound a passage.

“When such could not be found, Cook sailed back the way he had come and anchored a little east of his noon position for the night in deeper water.

“The next morning, the Master reported a good channel to the east and Endeavour then set sail to the south of Pumpkin Island and turned north, passing between North Keppel Island and Outer Rock.”

Captain James Cook.
Captain James Cook.

There won’t be any crowds gathering to mark the anniversary of the historical event due to COVID-19 restrictions but Mr Fee said people were welcome to do so by joining him in their boats while maintaining social distancing restrictions.

On Tuesday, May 26, boaties are invited to cruise about 3.5 nautical miles from Rosslyn Bay Harbour to a position, about halfway to North Keppel Island and anchor safely in a group.

Mr Fee said this was the position of the Endeavour, recorded by James Cook, at noon on May 26, 1770.

“The coordinates are 23 degrees, 7 minutes south, and 150 degrees, 50 minutes east,” he said.

“Preferably, all boats would be in position by 11.45am when there would be a short commemorative speech followed by the casting of a commemorative bouquet into the ocean at noon, exactly 250 years after James Cook sailed over that very spot.

“For communication and speeches on water, we would ask all boats to initially tune to Channel 21 VHF Marine Radio as they normally would.

“A few minutes before speeches, an announcement will be made on Ch 21 to change to Ch 72. The ceremony will then be transmitted on Ch 72.

“At the end of the short ceremony, all boats would be invited to cruise another 2 nautical miles east to the position where the Endeavour anchored for the night before departing next morning, around the south of Pumpkin Island and then turning north.”

The plan has the blessing of the Capricorn Coast Historical Society, and Yeppoon Coast Guard has offered to have at least one rescue vessel on the water for the event.



Unauthorised tattoo parlour caught out in Coffs

Premium Content Unauthorised tattoo parlour caught out in Coffs

An unauthorised tattoo parlour has been caught out in Coffs Harbour.

‘In capable hands’: Meet the new boss of Coffs airport

Premium Content ‘In capable hands’: Meet the new boss of Coffs airport

New incoming manager announced as private firm takes on long-term lease of Coffs...

Houses likely to be pulled down after horrendous storm

Premium Content Houses likely to be pulled down after horrendous storm

Comparisons with 2019/20 bushfires drawn as Corindi faces long road to recovery