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A Chance to Replicate 18th Century Sailing Trip

Adventure: When the copy of Capt. James Cook's ship heads out after a local visit, a few paying passengers will face a new experience.

May 10, 1999|MATT SURMAN

PORT HUENEME — After the H.M. Bark Endeavour pulls out of port today, with cannons firing and sails billowing, Dick Grebeta of Simi Valley will have the experience of a lifetime.

He'll wake at the crack of dawn, he'll scrub and scrape paint, he'll hoist hefty sails, and he'll sleep crammed in like a sardine for five days--just as they did 230 years ago.

"He hasn't been sleeping at night, it's so exciting," said his wife, Sally.

As the replica of Capt. James Cook's square-rigged converted coal carrier heads to points north today, those wishing to see Grebeta, a maintenance supervisor, and other Ventura County folk who signed on for a five-day trip to Morro Bay should station themselves at La Jenelle Park at 2 p.m. for a prime view.

"La Jenelle is the sure thing," said David Leach, operations manager of the Ventura County Maritime Museum. "Outside of the harbor, it depends on the way of the wind and the whim of the captain. And believe me, the captain is his own man."

The ship will travel up the coast to its final West Coast destination in Vancouver, Canada, before setting sail for Hawaii.

About 8,000 people have visited the ship since its arrival at the Port of Hueneme on May 1, according to Leach.

A portion of the proceeds from ticket sales goes to the museum.

"Can you imagine sailing on that tiny thing for five days?" asked Ted Brill of Thousand Oaks. The ship packs in about 22 permanent crew members and a handful of landlubbers who have paid $750 to tag along for the ride to Morro Bay.

It's tight, admitted Jessica Smith, a 17-year-old Australian who acts as a guide on the ship.

"It's really squashy," she said. "If the ship's rocking, [our hammocks] will all be bumping. It's really fun."

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