Voyages of the H.M. Bark Endeavour and its Replica

By Dan & Hiromi Yoshimoto

On August 25,1768, when the H.M. Bark Endeavour sailed out of Plymouth, England, with James Cook as her captain, she had, as her mission, the tracking of the Transit of Venus across the sun.  Aboard the ship were two major scientists, Sir Joseph Banks and Dr. Daniel Carl Solander, along with two scientific artists, Sydney Parkinson and Alexander Buchan.


The ship, before being refitted for scientific "Voyages of Discovery”, had already spent three years as the collier (coal carrier) The Earl of Pembrook, carrying coal up & down the Thames River.  For the next three years she was to be the first of three ships, captained by James Cook as he charted and described an “unknown” world.

In the 1960's, the idea of a new ship was conceived in Whitby, England, where the original ship had been built in 1764, but it was not until April 16, 1994 that the "New H.M. Bark Endeavour was completed and commissioned to sail on another Voyage of Discovery and Friendship Tour.

        On June 25th, 1999, (Photo page) The H.M. Bark Endeavour sailed into Humboldt Bay, California and as she entered the bay, with brilliant Australian flags and tumultuous cannon fire, she was greeted by a anxious community awaiting her arrival.  When she left, 11 days later, over 5500 people had been given the experience they had been promised... a "time travel tour" back to the 18th century and a period of exploration.

     On the 26th of June, as the first tours were given aboard the ship, I, along with about 20 other "tourists", entered into this "time machine" and room by room was guided by costumed docents, from the community, through her rooms. (Photo)  When we reached The Great Cabin, where Banks and Solander had spent their time describing and naming new species; I noticed a problem that to my eyes, as a shell collector, caused some questions. I thought that the original Endeavour had collected many specimens of new shells (for the period).  Dr. Daniel Solander had been a student of Carl Linnaeus, the famous Swedish botanist, who had, just 10 years earlier, published his 10th edition of Systema Naturae  and a listing, for the first time of the names of new species of mollusks.  Where were the shells on this New Endeavour? (Library photo)

        The following day I made an appointment with the First Mate, Geoff Kerr, and we discussed the possibility of a "New Banks' Shell Collection for the ship.  He agreed that it would be appropriate.  Leaving the ship, I returned home and by e-mail, contacted Conch-L about the idea and there came many positive suggestions for the project, one of which was to contact The London Natural History Museum to see if they had information on the species collected originally.  The next day I was sent a fax copy from a book by Guy Wilkins, of the list of shells from the Endeavour.  Once again appealed to Conch-L for interested persons who would like to donate specimens matching the original list.  I received 3 wonderful responses from Paul Monfils, Dr. Harry G. Lee and Tom Eichhorst, each of which provided wonderful specimens.  Along with my wife's donations, there were now more than 40 specimens collected.

        On September 15, 1999, my wife and I packed up the collection and headed north to Victoria, Vancouver Island, Canada to meet with Dee Nolan & Geoff Kerr, who were awaiting the final touches in dry dock of the work on The Endeavour.  When we reached Victoria, we were met by Dee, who took us to the naval dry docks in Esquimalt to see the ship.   Among the other ships, and in a hole, about 80 feet deep and several football fields long, The Endeavour looked like a toy boat in some child's toy box... small!

        In November the Endeavour went to Honolulu, Hawaii, and was carrying a new display, a group of representative shells donated by collectors in the U.S.  Yes, there still are many species missing from the collection, but I'm sure that, now that a collection has been started, new specimens will be donated by other collectors wanting to participate in the new adventure.

We say a fond farewell to the H.M Bark Endeavour

Shells that are still not represented are the following:    
  • Leucozonia brasiliana (d'Orbigny)
  • Aulacomya ovalis (Lamarck)
  • Modiolus falcatus       (d'Orbigny)
  • Modiolus guanensis (d'Orbigny)
  • Pinctada vulgaris (Reeve)
  • Pteria argentia (Reeve)
  • Tivela trigonella  (Lamarck)
  • Dosinia concentrica (Born)
  • Atactodea striata (Gmelin)
  • Modiolus auriculatus Krauss
  • Modiolus metcalfei Hanley
  • Cypraea tortilis Martyn 1788
  • Conus eburneus Bruguiere
  • Natirus reflexus (Gray)
  • Aulacomya maoriana Iredale = magellanicus Auct
  • Musculus impactus (Hermann)
  • Tridacna gigas Linnaeus (seen but not collected)
  • Modiolus auriculatus Krauss
  • Amydalum arborescens (Dillwyn)
  • Lithophaga teres Philippi
  • Mytilus lithophagus
  • Mytilus pinnulatus Lamarck
  • Aulacamya maoriana Iredale
  • Crenatula nigrina Lamarck
  • Electroma georgiana (Quoy & Gaimard)
  • Electroma punctulata (Reeve)
  • Austrapteria lata (Gray)
  • Pinctada reeveana (Dunker)
To talk to the authors of this article
contact Dan & Hiromi Yoshimoto

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