Captain Cook’s replica ship HM Bark Endeavour is set to become Whitby’s newest permanent visitor attraction when it opens its doors today (Friday).

The opening of The Endeavour Experience is the culmination of over three months of work during which the replica underwent a challenging, and at times, precarious journey from her landlocked status on the River Tees at Stockton to reach the harbour at Whitby as well as undergoing a comprehensive transformation from function venue to visitor attraction.

Since arriving in Whitby on the June 1 work has focussed on converting the top deck and two internal decks of the 33-metre long vessel to provide fun and educational interactive spaces and displays.

Specifically the interpretation elements are designed to help families imagine life for the 95 members of Captain Cook’s crew within the confines of the ship after they embarked on their three-year voyage from Plymouth bound for the Pacific Ocean in August 1768.

Key features on the top deck have been renovated and replaced including the ship’s wheel, capstan and bell. As visitors board the Endeavour they will be greeted by ‘Land Ahoy’ being shouted from the crow’s nest lookout point from above, cannons firing intermittently and the sound of goats and chickens coming from the animal crates on the deck.

As well as infographics explaining the purpose of each feature, visitors will also notice the ‘seats of ease’, the open-air toilet that sailors would have used comprising a plank with a hole at one end opening down into the sea.

Venturing down to the main deck visitors can explore 11 different cabins and spaces including:

• Captain Cook’s cabin – props and displays giving an insight into the explorer’s mindset including how he planned to keep the crew healthy through food and the discipline he expected on-board.

• Monkhouse cabin – a gory scene where silhouettes of the ‘barber’ surgeon Dr William Monkhouse and his assistant can be glimpsed operating behind a semi-transparent blood-splattered curtain with a bucket filled with body parts just visible at the end of the table and a display of crude surgical instruments on the wall.

• Banks and Parkinson Cabin – a small room re-imagining how naturalists Joseph Banks and Sydney Parkinson would have worked as they recorded the discovery of new plant and animal species.

• Charles Green Cabin – imagining what the astronomer saw when he observed the Transit of Venus. As visitors walk through the cabin the dark night atmosphere emerges showing the constellations of the southern hemisphere.

• Sailmakers – while watching moving silhouettes behind a sail, visitors can listen to conversations and documentary relating to everyday events including the 12 lashes that seaman John Thurman received for refusing to help repair the sails.

• The Great Cabin – charts, reference books and navigation equipment displayed on the table as if they were still in use by Cook and his crew while they made decisions that would define the expedition. As visitors stroll round the cabin, animated films projected onto the windows bring to life dramatic events such as the moment the Endeavour struck the Great Barrier Reef.

• Sea shanty karaoke – a sound-proofed room lined with a seascape and barrels and crates where families, with the help of audio visual equipment, can sing their hearts out to sea shanties that crew members would have sung to relieve the boredom of the voyage.

• Interactive areas where visitors can learn more about navigation techniques, play the games that sailors would have played, practise knot tying and solve puzzles relating to events during the voyage.

• Kitchen – complete with sounds and smells, visitors can picture what it was like to produce meals with dwindling rations and how foods such as sauerkraut helped stave off scurvy.

The final part of the transformation involves the lowest or Orlop deck. Visitors will be able to enjoy lunch surrounded by walls adorned with wooden planks inlaid with quotes from Cook’s journal.

Visitors will also be able to enjoy a fine dining experience on the Orlop Deck when the 60 seater restaurant opens later in August.

Whitby businessman and owner Andrew Fiddler purchased the Endeavour at auction last year for £155,000 and has since spent over £1 million transforming it into a visitor attraction.

He comments: “It is fantastic to see the Endeavour Experience opening particularly as it has been such a personal mission of mine to bring the ship to its rightful home in Whitby where the original vessel was built.

“In a similar way that Cook would have had to have held his nerve at moments during the voyage, so we too have needed to show grit and determination to overcome some really challenging times in the journey to get here, particularly when it came to lifting the Endeavour by crane over the Tees Barrage!

“This makes it all the more special to be at the point where the ship can now be enjoyed by visitors of all ages and helping complement the other Captain Cook attractions in Whitby.”

The Endeavour Experience opens on Friday 10 August. Tickets will cost £7.50 per adult and £4.50 for children aged 16 and under; under 3’s go free.

For further information