Time for an adventure anyone? With National Maritime Museum

For the past few months I’ve been working with the National Maritime Museum on the Board of Longitude project linking objects from their museum database to texts at the Cambridge University Library relating to voyages of discovery, famous captains (such as James Cook) and distant lands. You can find more about this and my post on Marlon Brando, the Mutiny on the Bounty and Larcum Kendall’s well travelled K2 watch on the Board of Longitude blog – http://blogs.rmg.co.uk/longitude/2013/04/03/guest-post-the-board-bligh-and-brando/.

National Maritime Museum Mutiny on the Bounty image

The mutineers turning Bligh and his crew from the ‘Bounty’ Source: National Maritime Museum

But right now I can’t help but want to set sail on an adventure, although there are just a few things worrying me:


Will I make it back?

My namesake, William Gooch (who has been mentioned on the Board of Longitude blog a few times now), grew up in Norfolk (where, incidentally, so did I) and as a young astronomer he headed for the open seas in search of adventure and to join Captain Vancouver on his voyage of exploration in 1791 to chart North America’s northwest Pacific coast. But like Captain James Cook, he met a grizzly end in Hawaii where the locals weren’t too pleased to meet him. 

JAmes Cook, National Maritime Museum, death

View of Hawaii and the death of Captain James Cook. Source: National Maritime Museum

What will I need to take with me?
It appears from the images I’ve been looking at that a bag full of curly wigs and high collared blouses will be essential, but on a more practical level I should probably remember to take a very accurate watch with me (to help work out longitude), perhaps John Harrison’s H4 timepiece (below), although it may be a little big to fit in my pocket.

HA, JOhn Harrison, Board of Longitude

John Harrison’s H4 Chromometer at National Maritime Museum

And finally…Where should I go?
If I followed in Captain Cook’s footsteps there are many places to choose, maybe I’ll head off to Tahiti and relax at Point Venus to see how it feels to be surrounded by sea in the heart of the Pacific Ocean or perhaps Dusky Bay in New Zealand (below) as I’m quite intrigued by its name. I could then head north to Hawaii, with its diverse ecosystems and celebrated culture, but I’m a little worried whether I’ll get on with the locals or not, so it might be safer to stay closer to home and start off with a short trip to Lisbon and decide if the adventuring life is for me.

National Maritime Museum, Board of Longitude

Dusky Bay, New Zealand

Well I think that’s me sorted, just need to pack up and find myself a ship, if anyone would like to join me, do let me know!

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