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4 September 2012

Postcard from Hawaii

by Sub-Lieutenant Sarah Taylor

En route to Honolulu, HMNZS ENDEAVOUR provided about 70,000 litres of diesel fuel to the Cook Islands in early June in response to the South Pacific country’s request for assistance. The fuel supplies were expected to keep power generators humming at Nassau, Pukapuka and Penrhyn Islands in the Northern Cook Islands for at least three months.


Cdr Keith Robb, Commanding Officer of HMNZS ENDEAVOUR, congratulates Sub-Lieutenant Sarah Taylor after awarding her a Harbour Watchkeeping Certificate

At Nassau and Pukapuka, dozens of local boats shuttled fuel tanks between the islands and ENDEAVOUR, which drifted 1000 metres from the reef as the water was too deep to cast anchor. ENDEAVOUR’s sea boat and local boats shuttled 240-litre drums between Penrhyn and ENDEAVOUR on 15 June, allowing the ship to supply 28,000 litres of diesel fuel to the island on that day. It was time-consuming and meant a lot of hard work for the stokers and seamen on board.

ENDEAVOUR transferred an additional 32,000 litres of fuel the following day, using four rigid hull inflatable boats and two helicopters provided by ANZAC-class frigate HMNZS TE KAHA and HMAS DARWIN, the Royal Australian Navy’s guided missile frigate.

The ship’s crew were able to visit the islands, stretch their legs, familiarise themselves with the local culture and gorge on coconuts. We were also able to get the much-requested hands to bathe, which did not go well for all the ship’s crew. Acting Lieutenant Samantha Palmer had a close encounter with a jellyfish!

In addition to my responsibilities as Assistant Supply Officer during exercise RIMPAC, I was appointed the FAGO or the Fun and Games Officer. This meant that when the ship’s crew were either on the bridge, in the machinery control room, or on the RAS deck for replenishments at sea, my job was to make sure everyone was well looked after. I provided them lollies and ice blocks, did canteen runs and gave them an opportunity to pose for a few photos. It was a great job as I was able to go throughout the ship and provide the crew with a fun break.

Being at sea was not all fun and games though. ENDEAVOUR’s programme of activities included damage control exercises, about 16 refueling tasks, boarding exercises and a number of helicopter operations. Everybody looks forward to going back ashore in Honolulu and get a chance to let off steam, go for a run and catch a few winks.

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