SPECIAL: Don Fee “dressing” his vessel NEESEA for the commemoration service. Picture: Contributed
SPECIAL: Don Fee “dressing” his vessel NEESEA for the commemoration service. Picture: Contributed

Boaties mark 250th anniversary of Captain Cook’s trip

NOTHING could stop boaties from hitting the water last Tuesday to celebrate the 250th anniversary of when Captain James Cook sailed the Endeavour through The Keppels.

In 1770, Cptn Cook sailed up the east coast of Australia, having already circumnavigated New Zealand.

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

Skipper Don Price casting the commemorative bouquet into the ocean.
Skipper Don Price casting the commemorative bouquet into the ocean.

Event organiser Don Fee said he would have been happy with half-a-dozen boats in attendance, however, about 50 vessels attended the special milestone event.

“I was absolutely blown away,” Mr Fee said.

Mr Fee said the major concern he had for the day was the weather.

“As it turned out the weather couldn’t have been more perfect,” he said.

“The weather mirrored almost exactly the description Cook gave on that day 250 years ago.

“He described a light southerly wind in the morning when he sailed north and ran into some shallow water and got into a bit of trouble.

“Suddenly the wind changed to a light northerly and he was able to sail back into deeper water. That wind change happened for us almost as he had described.”

He said there had been huge plans for the day before the COVID-19 pandemic forced their cancellation.

However, with some innovation, new plans were made to work with COVID-19 restrictions and feedback from participants was nothing but positive.

The commemoration service was held about 3.5 nautical miles from Rosslyn Bay Harbour, about halfway to North Keppel Island.

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

About 11.50am, Mr Fee gave a short commemorative speech over the radio followed by a minute of silence and the casting of a commemorative bouquet into the ocean at midday.

At the end of the short ceremony, all boats were invited to cruise another 2 nautical miles east to the position where the Endeavour anchored for the night before departing next morning.

Mr Fee wanted to thank all the people who made the effort to head out on their boat and help make it a tremendous celebration.



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