Monday, 20 January 2020


Cooks Beach local to participate in replica HM Bark Endeavour voyage

Well-known Cooks Beach local, Miriam Dawson, has been selected to sail as part of the crew aboard the replica of HM Bark Endeavour from Sydney to Auckland in September this year.

The Endeavour was the ship with which the explorer James Cook arrived in New Zealand in 1769. The replica Endeavour will play a significant role in the Tuia 250 commemorations that will be held around New Zealand to mark the 250th anniversary of Cook’s first visit to New Zealand. It’s expected that the replica Endeavour will visit Mercury Bay in October this year.

“I’ll be part of a ‘trainee crew’ of 15,” says Miriam. “The replica Endeavour will also have 27 professional sailors on board and 10 people who can be classed as ‘passengers.’ It obviously costs less to participate in the voyage as a crew member than as a passenger and a keen seen of adventure is required.

“Make no mistake, I’ll be expected to work on board the ship, including climbing up a 43m mast. I have to make sure I keep my fitness levels up in the lead-up to the voyage.”

Miriam, who held a national sailing title while in high school, had to undergo a stringent selection process before she was chosen for the voyage. “The fact that I have sailing experience and a genuine interest in the history of the Cooks Beach area certainly counted in my favour,” says Miriam.

Miriam started her sailing career while a student at Whenuakite School. She was initially coached by Roger Harwood and later on by Russell Chaney at the Mercury Bay Boating Club. Both Roger and Russell are still involved in youth sailing.

It was also at Whenuakite School where Miriam’s fascination with the history of Cooks Beach started to develop. “Once a year we all would dress up in theme and former Whenuakite School principal, Jamie Marsden, would take all of us around the Cooks beach area, including Shakespeare Cliff and the Purangi Reserve, and tell us all these amazing stories of Captain Cook’s visit to Mercury Bay,” says Miriam.

Miriam’s partner, Fletcher Handscomb, is fully supportive of Miriam’s voyage on the replica Endeavour. “There is a significant of time and money involved, so we’ve had a lot of discussions,” says Miriam. “It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and we both feel that it’s pretty special that someone from Cooks Beach gets to be part of the experience. I also have a lot of support from the local community and look forward to share with all of them the experience on my return,”

The replica Endeavour is permanently based at the Australian National Maritime Museum in Sydney. The voyage Miriam will participate in will depart Sydney on Thursday 12 September and will arrive in Auckland on Tuesday 1 October.

Picture: Cooks Beach local, Miriam Dawson, will participate in the voyage of the replica HM Bark Endeavour from Sydney to Auckland in September this year.


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